(Author's Note: This is part of a 5 email mini-course for planning a New Years Eve party. If you'd like more actionable tactics for throwing an NYE event, click here.)
It is time to unleash your beast of a NYE event to the masses. This week, I'll be breaking down marketing channels that you can use to fuel your ticket sales.
Each part of this post will cover owned, earned, and paid channels. Before diving into each channel, let's go over the tools you'll use within your ticketing system to leverage marketing efforts.
Scheduled Ticketing: Allows you to schedule a start and end date for tiered ticket prices. I recommend going beyond just offering an Early Bird and GA. By offering several rounds of tiered pricing, you will create scarcity and can judge interest for your NYE event.
Discount Codes: Create discount codes to generate more ticket sales. Great for using on ads targeted at specific groups. These can also have a scheduled start and end date as well.
Referral Tracking Codes: Use to track all your online marketing efforts. You'll be able to track the number of clicks and tickets sold. This is a no-brainer and will tell you where to allocate your marketing dollars.Complimentary Tickets: Ideal for sending tickets to influencers or doing free ticket giveaways.
Owned Media Tactics
Owned Media: Using marketing channels that you have full control over. This is where you can leverage relationships with an existing customer base.
Each channel type is bolded with examples of how to leverage them.
Email/Mailing List: This could be a mailing list from previous events or, in the case of a venue owner, a dedicated subscriber list for updating your fans. An easy win with this channel is creating and sending invitations. This is part of your built-in audience so it makes sense to start here.
For sending invitations, you can use the email invitation tool offered by your ticketing solution or go with something like MailChimp or Paperless Post for more customization. I like Paperless Post for NYE as they have nicely designed templates and you can do print or online invitations.
Blog/Website: Another easy win here. In the case that your venue/bar is hosting the NYE event, promote the hell out of it via a blog announcement or right on your website. Look at it as free advertising with the only costs involving your time.
If you are working with a client, ensure that they write a blog post announcement. If they don't have a website, it might make sense to set one up if the event is large enough. It's super easy to launch a website with a site builder like Squarespace.
As an aside, you can also embed a ticket widget on your own site for seamless ticket purchasing.
Social Channels: Take a look at leveraging social networks if you or your client already has a built-in following. Ensure that these followers could be part of your potential NYE audience. It will be a giant time suck for you if this isn't the case!
Understand that each channel requires a different approach to gain attention. The workings of a Facebook post will differ from composing a tweet. Also consider experimenting in not-so-obvious social channels if you see an opportunity.
I suggest doing ticket giveaways or offering promo codes through these channels. There's an opportunity for a viral effect here which could extend your potential reach.
Venue: If you own the venue for your NYE party, might as well advertise to the customers already walking through the door. Post flyers, chat with patrons about NYE, offer promo codes etc.
Earned Media Tactics
Earned Media: Getting other people to talk about your event. Your promotional efforts generate free publicity and you'll get to reap the benefits.
Word-Of-Mouth, Viral Effects: Remember when we talked about creating a theme around your NYE event so it sticks out like a sore thumb? Well if you took the time to do this, Word-Of-Mouth should be a natural progression.
People like to tell their friends about exciting events that they plan on attending (duh!). This is especially true for New Years since everyone usually gets together in groups to celebrate.
Let's look at this real-life example:
I took a screenshot of the comments from a large festival's Facebook post. This particular post revealed their comedy lineup. In the comments, you can see people tagging their friends so that they also see the post. The viral effect in action!
What's interesting about earned media is that they usually begin on an owned channel. In this case, the festival posted on their own Facebook account but earned the attention of their followers. Pretty cool stuff.
With a event registration system like Ticketbud, you'll also benefit from built-in social sharing. After completing a ticket purchase, your attendees are prompted to share your event via their social networks.
This is a win-win for both you and the attendee. The attendee gets to share your event with their friends and you get to extend your reach without doing any work.
Co-Promotional Tactics: Two types that come to mind here. The first is leveraging the audiences of parties who are affected by your NYE event's success. This includes your sponsors, booked entertainment, and the venue (in the case that you aren't already the owner).
If these parties aren't already promoting for you, reach out and make sure they get on it. A quick blast through their own channels takes no time and exposes you to a completely new audience. Giving them unique referral codes to use is a great way to see who's driving the most traffic to your event page.
Another co-promotion tactic is identifying influencers and sending them complimentary tickets for the NYE event. While this at first seems counterintuitive, it could score a huge return for your ticket sales.
Let's say your throwing a black-tie NYE event and have a connection to a pretty big socialite in your city. If said socialite has a huge network that is a part of your potential audience, why not shoot him/her a couple VIP tickets? For all you know, they'll end up going and bring their network with them.
Paid Media Tactics
Paid Media: Paying to leverage a channel. Since this involves spending money, you'll want to determine a budget to stay within.
Social Advertising: In my opinion, this can be your most fruitful paid channel if executed correctly. I like Facebook Advertising as you can target specific demographics. Promoted Tweets is also viable option as you can target certain users' followers and interests.
The anatomy of creating either a Facebook or Twitter advertisement is pretty similar. Each ad you create should contain:
Solid copy to entice an action
Unique referral or discount code link back to your event page to track results
You'll want to promote either a discount or some type of early bird pricing in your ad. Aim to create a sense of urgency here to generate ticket sales.
Search Engine Marketing: Refers to placing advertisements on search engines like Google. To use this channel for your NYE event, you'll want to determine what keywords people are typing in when searching for something to do on New Years.
For New Years, you'll want to be detailed with your keyword strategy. I recommend specifying your city for all the keywords you target.
Let's say you are organizing your NYE event in Chicago. Instead of targeting 'new years eve', be more specific and add 'new years eve in chicago' to your keyword list. Search Engine Marketing definitely has a learning curve but there's a lot of resources to help you get off the ground. I recommend starting with Google Adwords. Here's a link to get started.
Offline Advertising: Event flyers, how I've missed you so. I ragged on event flyers in a previous post but I'd be lying if I said offline advertising wasn't a viable option for selling tickets. The key is to know your audience and track results as best as you can.
Event flyers: Easy to make and distribute if you have enough people helping out. This is technically owned media but I've wrapped it in along with other offline methods.
Magazines: Get in touch with local magazines if you're going down this route. Request information regarding reader demographics, circulation, and publication frequency. This should come in the form of a media kit PDF.
Newspapers: Similar setup to magazines. If your city has alternative, culturally-tied newspaper, I'd inquire about advertising opportunities over traditional. These readers are more likely to be interested in attending events.
Billboard: If your NYE event and budget are big enough, billboard advertising could work for you. I recommend checking out Adstruc which is a solution that helps you plan and buy outdoor advertising.
Radio: Just like our other offline options, stay local to be more targeted. Work with the radio station to determine if your ad will be relevant to their listening audience.
To determine the ROI on these offline options, I recommend using referral links or discount codes in the ad content. While you won't be able to attribute each ticket sale to an ad, you'll at least get a general idea of what's working.