how to engage an online audience

How to use data to sell event tickets

Data is the hottest topic in events this year. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union changing the way we collect and use our data, event managers have to be data savvy like never before. So, in this post I thought I would focus on how to use data to sell event tickets.

To get down and dirty with your data I will concentre on the four best ways to segment your database. If you start to look at your database and use these four approaches you will achieve more ticket sales.

As well as detailing the four ways to use data to sell tickets I have included, as a little bonus, examples of exactly what your messages can say.

Use it or lose it

Using data to sell event tickets is of course the primary use of the information we collect and store. Despite the importance I often find that many clients don’t use their data to properly target their products. If you don’t use the data you can’t store it. So you lost it.

What you have to avoid is the shotgun approach to selling event tickets. There are products that will only really be of interest to a section of your audience but still many organisations start with the blanket email that goes out to EVERYONE. This shotgun approach can work on an individual event level, but overall, and overtime, it is a sure fire way to reduce the number and quality of contacts on your mailing list so: blanket marketing emails are to be avoided. In their place should come targeted and tailored campaigns. 

how to use data to sell tickets

Spending a bit of time segmenting your database will have a positive return

Targeting is the best way to sell tickets for your event

It is likely that you have a lot of different things you know about your contacts. Those contacts may be previous customers, subscribers or members. To turn those contacts into customers for your next event you need to ensure a high conversion rate, and the best way to do that is to segment your database. Once you have segmented your data the next step is to write specific marketing for each of those segments.

Lets concentrate on how you can break down your data to be able to target your marketing and what types of things you should say:

1. Segment by Job Title

For almost every industry you will be able to tailor your messages depending on the specific job title of the potential attendee. Your messaging will be different for Directors, Heads and Managers. For example our imaginary Annual Risk Conference would be marketed differently:

“As a senior Risk Director we know that you have to keep abreast of all the upcoming regulation, and all of our plenary sessions in the morning are designed to help you stay informed of the most important parts of each piece of new regulation”

“As a Head of Risk we know that you have to continue to have a deep understand of all the upcoming regulation and this year we have FOUR breakout sessions looking at each of the new regulations in detail”

2. Segment by past relationship

This is a great way to target your event ticket sales. Look at who has attended the event over the last few years and contact them with a targeted message like:

“We have spent a lot of time making sure the event this year is even better than the event you attended last year. We’ve taken on board all the helpful feedback and we have added more time for networking. Check out this year’s event and we hope to see you again in June”

Then look at who has attended a similar event before. You may have had a conference that covered some of the content that your current event will cover. Or perhaps they signed up for a Risk breakout session at your annual conference. The key is to find a hook that will get them to consider coming to the event you are marketing.

The two ways above are pretty obvious and are pretty common. But how about contacting those who have never attended before? As I said at the top of this post, you don’t want to start to blanket email your database, so a great idea is to look at the job title first to reduce your target mailing. So let’s say we have 1000 contacts with “Risk” in their job title who have never attended any of your events. You should take the time to message these contacts with a tailored message and perhaps even an offer:

“We have great confidence in the content at our Risk conference as well as the environment we have created that will allow you to network and share best practice with your peers. We hope that a 20% discount as an introductory offer to those new to our events will prove even more value.”

3. Segment by interests

It’s sometimes difficult to get to the specific interest of some job titles. Many job titles can be very general, just think what the Office Manager actually covers! It is a great idea to collect “interests” for all your contacts. These give you an extra level of detail on your potential customers.

Depending on the products you offer you will be collecting very different interests. You may want to concentrate on the job, so for example, for our Office Manager you may ask “What are your interests from Events, Office Supplies, Travel, Office Management.” Collecting this level of detail will allow you to target along these lines:

“You have indicated that you have a special interest in events and technology and at the conference this year not only do we have three sessions on event management but we have several event technology suppliers taking part in our exhibition”

I am sure you can see the power of this type of approach when it relates to the job. Another way to segment is to look at their job as a career, so why not ask “What are your interests from career development, acquiring new skills, softer skills, working relationships” Assuming you have products that cover these areas you would be able to segment along these lines.

events in dresden

The location of your attendees has to be turned to your advantage.

4. Geographical location

If you have a physical event it is likely that the nearer you are to the venue the more likely you are to attend. Your target marketing should use this fact to your advantage. The distance / time to an event is one of the major hurdles to people attending an event. So consider your messaging along these lines:

“We hope that by choosing a London venue we will make it easier for you to attend the event this year”

“We know that it is a big commitment to travel all the way to London for a one day event, however we hope that with a longer event than last year, you will be able to draw more benefit from attending this year”

No matter what way you cut it, it is well worth mentioning a potential customers geographical location as you can always put a positive spin on the event.

We used this geographical targeting to brilliant effect for a hybrid event we ran earlier this year. We had very different messages for those potential attendees from the UK to those from Europe. We also had very different messages for those who hoped would purchase the online event. The physical event sold out and we sold over 100 tickets for the online event. This stuff really works.

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