How to Breath Life Into a Flatlining Event

How to Breath Life Into a Flatlining Event (2)

For events that take place year after year, it might seem like all the heavy lifting would happen up front. Once you’ve worked out the kinks and established relationships with venues, vendors, and technology partners, you should be able to relax and rely on your good planning, right? A little tweaking here and there might be in order, but all in all, you have your system, and it works.

But then it doesn’t. Ticket sales flatten out or even flounder, and you’re left wondering where you went wrong. Before you get discouraged, consult the following list:

  1.     Check that nothing is broken.

If you’re getting a lot of traffic to your website, but those clicks aren’t converting into actual sales like they used to, the problem might be as simple as a broken link or a flawed checkout process. Check your analytics to see where people are falling off. If they consistently get into your checkout process but don’t follow it through, make sure all your links and buttons are working.

  1.     Make it easier for people to buy tickets.

If nothing’s broken, look for ways to simplify your online ticket-buying process. Studies show that every time you add a step to the checkout process, you lose up to 10% of your potential ticket buyers. And when you force someone to log in to buy a ticket you lose 23% of potential buyers.

Your online ticket-buying option should be streamlined and easy for people to use even when multitasking and distracted. And since most people now use the internet on mobile devices most of the time, it’s essential that your ticket-buying process work well in that format too.

If you’re unsure how to make this process easy, we’ve got you covered with this detailed guide on how to double your ticket sales without increasing your budget.

  1.     Revisit your value proposition.

Your value proposition is what you give attendees in exchange for the price of their ticket. Revisit the value proposition you came up with in the beginning. Is it still true? Have ticket prices gone up — but you’re still offering the same ol’ stuff?

To inject a little more value into your proposition, consider testing out some new ideas using surveys and social media. A/B testing is another effective way of testing two versions of your webpage, email marketing, or other types of online marketing. It allows you to see which version works best, and is surprisingly easy thanks to tools like Optimizely.

Over and over at Eventbrite, our research and experience has shown that events that differentiate themselves with superior experience are the ones that fans and bands line up for. You can read more about how to create a compelling value proposition here.

  1.     Then compare your pricing strategy to the competition.

Once you have a handle on what value you are offering attendees, the next step is evaluate your event pricing. Value-based pricing means finding a balance between the per-ticket-cost of putting on your event and the perceived value — what the attendee thinks it’s worth.

Certain industries — like live music and technology conferences — are seeing exponential numbers of events pop up every year. You might feel good about your value proposition, but if your competition is charging less for the same value, you’re missing a prime opportunity to compete.

Of course, you don’t have to start a ‘race to the bottom’ by simply trying to undercut the competition. In our guide to pricing event tickets, we’ll show you other ways to keep your profit margins up while remain competitive on price.

  1. Brainstorm new formats and ideas that could be exciting.

People are taking Ubers and Lyfts instead of taxis. They’re staying in AirBnBs instead of hotels. And they’re signing up food trucks instead of hiring caterers. In the same vein, nontraditional venues like airport hangars, parking lots, warehouses, vineyards, and museums are on the rise these days. Depending on what type of event you host, one great way to reinvigorate is to shake up your venue choice.

Or why not check out these 83 event ideas and formats you could use to inject some freshness into your event.

  1.     Take feedback seriously.

If you’re wondering “What feedback?” then the first step is for you to start asking your attendees for feedback after every event.

We’ve even create a handy event evaluation template to help get you started.

Start this year. While the event is still fresh in their mind, send your attendees an easy online form asking a few key questions, or ask them to rate things like your food and drink, parking options, and online ticketing process.

If you’re using Eventbrite for your online ticketing, we have a great free integration with SurveyMonkey that lets you collect post-event feedback with an easy, intuitive interface — both for you to set up and your attendees to fill out.

Not only will you get great feedback from those who know your event best, but the SurveyMonkey tool will help you segment your participants into “promoters” versus “detractors” so you can leverage the social media prowess of the former.

  1. Look to concentric audiences for growth.

Picture your audience as a bulls eye. In the centre is your core audience, the people you know will show up year after year. But as you move out from the centre, there are concentric layers of growth possibility.

Perhaps it’s time to look beyond your core. Maybe you’ve always marketed your music festival primarily to millennials, but you’re missing a potential slice of ticket buyers from an older fan base. Or maybe there’s a family component to your event that you’ve overlooked.

  1.     Up your social media game.

Facebook is only a starting point. There are more and more social media platforms gaining traction in the event market, and innovative event marketers are using LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Take a little time to get to know each platform and optimise the way you market your event on it.

If you’re serious about social, you should also check out our guide to mastering social media for events.

  1.     Outsource some of your marketing effort.

Event sponsorship is big business. In 2015, it was a $54.5 billion market. Your sponsors are ideally getting a lot of out of their relationship with your event. It behooves everyone for them to help you with promotion.

After all, the more people that show up, the more successful the event is for everyone. Make sure your sponsors, vendors, and partners are doing at least some of the marketing work for you.

And if your event has got to a certain size, you might also benefit from a professional outside perspective (and their resources), so why not consider hiring a marketing agency?

In conclusion

There’s never an ‘easy year’ when it comes to events. The first year is tough because nobody knows you, but the fifth, tenth (or even hundredth) time you run it will present challenges – like remaining fresh, reaching new audiences and staying on top of the shifting digital marketing landscape.

If your ticket sales have started to flatline, try some of the ideas above to breath fresh life into it and kick start your growth back in the right direction.

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Mark Walker

Hi, I’m the Head of Content for Eventbrite UK and Ireland.

I love writing (and reading) about events, marketing, technology and entrepreneurship.

I’m also a recovering #eventprof, having spent the first 7 years of my career running large scale international conferences and exhibitions. (Of course I relapse all the time and enjoy running content-led events for Eventbrite too.)

Thanks for reading and get in touch with any feedback you have at