Sell Tickets Online & Measuring Success
All too often, when you first start to sell tickets to your event online, the act of measuring success goes neglected or put off until after the event is over. Such an oversight is understandable (events are hard work!) but there are critical measurements to be taken during the entire timeline of a ticket sale.
Measuring Tools When You Sell Tickets to Your Event Online
Why - Measuring sales velocity during the entire ticket sale allows you to make adjustments (major and minor) along the way.
When - Don't wait until after the event to take measurements. Gauge how ticket sales are going before (pre-sale), during, as well as after.
What - There are many different tools to measure with - from very simple to very complex.
Additional Ticketing Software 101 blog posts are available.
Why should you measure?
Event tickets go on sale at a specific time and date, then remain available for a set duration, and ultimately concluding (set time and date or by selling out all tickets). This finite timeline is the foundation for measuring the success of your event - with time being a key factor (more on that below).
When you sell tickets online, it's important to take online ticket sale measurements. These measurements tell you to make adjustments to the price (up or down), amount (including so-called “hold backs”) as well as other interim goals like having enough cash on-hand from the sale to make event related purchases.
Every event is unique of course, but there are a lot of commonalities that apply universally to every event type. For example, if you notice that your 14 day ticket sales have been selling out in less than 72 hours, you may want to consider adding a pricing tier since demand is obviously very high. Conversely, mid way through your ticket sale timeline, if inventory is still rather high, you can increase the number of outlet points (like selling tickets on B2B partner websites) or hire additional sales agents.
Pricing can be fine tuned along the way as well. Your revenue goals for a given event are set early on, but don’t let that be a liability by being too rigid. Very small price adjustments can result in a big jump in sales. Something as simple as announcing that you have removed all ticket fees - be it permanently or for a “week-end special" - can have a very positive psychological effect on would be buyers. Procrastinators and those who have yet to commit their free time to your event may take action if they hear there are no ticket fees for the next 48 hours (Try it, see what happens).
When should you start measuring?
Short answer: Constantly, the millisecond the ticket pre-sale starts :D
Kidding aside, the busy venue owner or event organizer may be tempted to measure an event’s success once it is over. A postmortem will always need to be done, yes, but that shouldn't be the only point in the timeline that measurements are taken.
Think of how Wall Street measures their data. As stocks are bought and sold, the transactions are measured every millisecond, even several times every millisecond. No one is suggesting you emulate such a high sampling rate, but it is an example of how important measuring success is.
For that standard 14 day ticket sale timeline mentioned earlier, how often do you take measurements? Once an hour may be too much work and be an interruption to all the other important tasks you have to complete. But putting measurements off until after the event is over runs the risk of lost revenue. The middle ground of how frequently you measure a ticket sale’s success is subjective. But consider this...
An event owner such as yourself has paid for a radio advertising campaign to raise event awareness. The ad is set to air three days after tickets go on sale and will run once an hour, every hour. That hourly schedule is an excellent basis for when to measure. Why? Because you can see how well each ad performed based on ticket sale spikes. That radio ad that ran at 8 PM (when everyone is home and in front of their computers) resulted in a pronounced uptick in online sales. The ad that ran at 4 AM barely did anything at all. Since you are carefully measuring the sales data (by time of day and by zip code), you’ll know which ads sell more tickets, then adjust your advertising budget for the next event.
What tools should you use to measure?
There are different kinds of measuring tools to help you gauge the success of your event tickets online. To list every type of measuring tool is far beyond the scope of a single blog post, but a curated list looks like this:
- The measuring tools already inside your ticketing software
- Social media
- Mailing list(s)
- Google Analytics
Baked right into your current ticket selling platform should be the means to run reports as frequently as you need them. Know that ticketing software measuring tools vary widely in their scope and robustness. If you are about to sell event tickets online for the first time, be sure to carefully compare the reporting features since it will be the aspect you use most often long-term. Selling tickets online allows you the ability to select the online ticket selling platform with the best reporting tools for your venue.
With the ticket app sales measuring tools being the default, there are additional tools that operate outside the realm of your ticketing software - like social media. ThunderTix offers several helpful social sharing features for your events.
A lot has been said about Twitter and Facebook’s ability to generate so-called “social ticket sales” and you can treat both platforms as extra tools in the toolbox for measuring your event's success. It just takes one person with 15,000 followers to retweet a link to your event to cause an instant sell out. A more realistic expectation is the long-tail process of your buyers sharing the excitement of buying your tickets with their friends and family. When they do, you can use a tool like bit.ly to measure how many times your social media efforts have been re-shared.
Another overlooked resource for measuring event ticket sales is mailing list software like MailChimp. Before tickets go on sale, sending out a mass mailing to all the people who bought tickets to your last event (Your choice in ticketing software has captured all those email addresses, right?). The ThunderTix ticketing website offers Constant Contact and Mailchimp integration. That same email announcement can also contain a special code for a “coupon” or “early bird” discount. Some people will only buy something if they feel like they have gotten a “deal” so make use of human nature with ticket coupon codes.
Finally there are very sophisticated tools to measure success. There was a time when powerful analytic software tools were too expensive for the everyday small business owner, but that is no longer the case in 2014.
Google Analytics offers rocket scientist level complexity and power to measure how your ticket inventory is selling. But do let the complexity of Google Analytics deter you because Google has provided very well written help files. Google Analytics offer near real-time view of every mouse click that happens on your website. This provides you with an extremely detailed view of who bought what, how much they spent and who abandon your shopping cart before the sale was completed.
Sell Tickets to Your Event Online with ThunderTix
There is a lot to consider in the above, and you are encouraged to explore the benefits of measuring ticket sales velocity as frequently as you have time for.
ThunderTix offers intricate measuring tools and robust sales reports.
Event Waiting List
When your events are so successful they sell out, we’ll automatically display the words SOLD OUT to your customers. In addition, with each event, we include a waiting list! This option allows interested buyers to add themselves to that event’s waiting list. Set at what number of remaining tickets you want the waiting list to display to customers. Once your event has only that amount of remaining tickets left, customers will be able to add their name to the list.
We collect their contact information, the number of tickets needed, whether they have accessibility needs and any other pertinent details. The waiting list will help you sell tickets to your event by helping you sell those last minute seats when customers cancel or reschedule. You’ll have access to each event waiting list in priority order in case any tickets become available. Further, for really popular events, if your waiting list grows beyond your projections, you can use that information to consider adding another show date for those who weren’t able to secure their event tickets online initially.
If you have questions, or are in a hurry to sell tickets to your event, you are welcome to contact us and we’ll take care of you right away. If you would like to learn more about ThunderTix, we encourage you to read more about our features and pricing or best yet, to sign up for a free trial.
Image source: Wiki Commons