4 Tips to Selling Tickets


Putting on your own show (or event) is a lot of work! You put so much time, money, effort and energy into creating the work. I know it can be very frustrating to see the sales (or registrations) come trickling in. 

This past week, I was honored to support several past clients doing solo shows. Helping them fine tune their messaging was not only an honor—but brought me great joy.

My hope is these four tips help all artists affect more people with their work. After reading my four tips, I invite you to share your creative ideas in the comments below!


1. Create urgency. 

People always wait until the last minute. Rest assured this happens for most live events—whether seats are free or for sale! Not only are we increasingly busy as growing adults, many people like to keep their options open until the last-minute—choosing activities spontaneously rather than planning ahead. 

The biggest mistake I’ve seen (and made) is punishing fast-action buyers (rather than rewarding them) through discounts at the last minute. Though this happens often with live events (as the marketing and box office teams work hard to fill every seat), see if you can find a way to reward your most enthusiastic fans, rather than punishing them!

To create authentic urgency, consider opening up the best seats for a limited time to your VIPs or inner circle. This could be your email list, Facebook fans or even the contacts in your address book. The idea is that you offer your VIPs first dibs on the best seats before opening sales to the general public. 

Another way to create real urgency is to offer early-bird pricing. Perhaps the first twenty tickets sold are only $20? Regardless, set a deadline for all advance sales and make sure these seats are cheaper than those at the door!


2. Create scarcity. 

F.O.M.O. (or the fear of missing out) is a very real thing! Make sure people realize they might miss out on this incredible opportunity if they don’t take action!

To create scarcity, make sure you’re always saying something like “A few great seats are still available!” Whether that’s literally three center seats or three hundred… a “few” is subjective! ;) Never lie, but realize there really are a limited number of seats available!  

Another idea to create scarcity (and reward your best fans) is to put together an exclusive VIP package. Perhaps that includes exclusive pre/post show activities in addition to the very best seats. You can really only handle a select number of these packages—so add scarcity with a limited amount of VIP ticket packages. Set a deadline for this exclusive offer to add urgency, too!


3. Add a direct link! 

The great thing about digital marketing is the instant gratification. As opposed to the “old media” of radio/tv/magazine advertisements, you have less hoops for your audience to go through. You’re aiming for one click (as opposed to someone grabbing their phone, computer or car keys to visit the box office).

Though it’s not that difficult to be seen and heard on social media, it can be difficult to get people to take action. Make sure that you’re always sharing the easiest and most direct link for ticket sales.

If you want to get fancy, consider running online ads to a targeted audience. You could also use a link shortener (such as bit.ly or goo.gl.) to make long links more attractive AND track the clicks. With either option, you’ll have analytics showing what is (or isn’t effective). Do more of what works!


4. Get creative and personal!

Keep in mind, as with all social media, that quality is better than quantity. Try to mix up what you’re sharing. Give your audience a real backstage peek at various parts of the process. (Be sure to add a direct link!)

Rather share something more polished? Give them a taste of what they’ll experience!

In addition to urgency, scarcity and creative content, make sure that you’re very personal—especially if you’re promoting the show on your personal email and social media. Add some vulnerability/transparency in your communication. When you share your emotions, the emotional response from your audience will create more action.

Try it! Start with excitement and experiment with more authentic transparency. With social media, you can always edit or delete posts that aren’t getting engagement.

In addition to conveying your personality, don’t be afraid to send personal emails or handwritten postcards. It doesn’t have to be an epic task—but a little extra effort and personal touch can go a long way. For example, even if you save time by using MailChimp or Paperless Post, make sure you say, “Hi <<First Name>>!” and continue on with a very personal note or invitation. 

What do you have coming up? Comment below!