Few would argue that the internet is a wonderful thing.

Marketers certainly wouldn’t, because it allows us to reach almost anybody on earth at the click of a button.  That’s an exciting prospect for any marketer, to be so close to reaching billions of people!

Yet it can make us forget a really crucial demographic when working out our marketing plans to sell more tickets to our events.

  • Social media? Tick.
  • Email to our database? Tick.
  • Content marketing? Tick.
  • Ask our friends and family to help? Err, what?

Sometimes it just doesn’t seem, well, very British of us to ask our close friends and family for help to sell things.  We separate business and personal life as best possible, but in doing so we miss utilising a really valuable resource.

Here’s our guide to working with your personal network in a non-spammy, effective way to help you sell more tickets.

The Golden Rules

Believe in what you’re selling – The best sales people are those that don’t see their job as getting someone to buy stuff they don’t want; they genuinely believe that whatever solution or product they’re selling will make their customers happier, healthier, wealthier or in some way better off than they are without it.

If you don’t believe in the value of your event to the point that you’re not proud to ask your family and friends to spread the word about it, then you’ve got bigger problems than this post can help you with!  Have another think about your event’s purpose.

Be personal ­– Please, don’t approach your friends and family in the same way you would a media partner or unknown industry influencer!  And don’t mass-email or blanket-contact them.  Pick up the phone.  Send a fully tailored email to each. Go grab a coffee.

The whole point of approaching friends and family is that you have a personal connection with them, so don’t forget that just because you’re asking them to help sell your event.

Keep it simple & easy – This rule applies whenever you’re asking someone else to help do some marketing for you.  Remember they’re doing you a favour, so just keep your ask to one thing, and make sure it very clear how they can help you and the steps they need to take.

Thank them – You should of course thank your friends and family for their help.  However don’t mistake this for rewarding them.  That’s transactional and should be saved for affiliates and marketing partners.  You also shouldn’t tie their ‘thank you’ to ‘performance’- they’re not employees!

Instead, offer them a free pass, VIP access, an Amazon gift voucher or even just a genuine thank you and the offer of a free drink (which you should make good on!) just for helping, regardless of the final result.  If they haven’t helped at all, you can always decline to ask them for help in the future.

So, with these ‘golden rules’ in place, let’s have a look at some specific ways your family and friends could help you sell more tickets.

Tactical Ideas

Tell their friends – Network effects can be so powerful.  If you ask 10 friends to tell their 10 best friends, you’ll immediately reach 100 people with a personal invitation to your event.  Even better, because it’s a trusted friend, they’re much more likely to buy a ticket than if they hear about your event through some impersonal marketing channel.

Share on social networks – Assuming most of your friends and family are active users of at least one social network like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Instagram then you can encourage them to share details of your event through their social channels.  Assuming a modest audience of 200 people per friend, 10 friends doing this quickly introduces your event to 2000 new people – and again it comes from a trusted source so conversions should be relatively higher than through other channels.

Give them flyers – Physical invitations may not be as trackable or scalable as digital channels, but they can be high-impact and effective.  So give your friends a small stack of flyers and just ask them to leave a few when they’re next out at the pub, local music venue, even the hairdressers!

Provide a testimonial – Being one of the six principles of influence, social proof can be a very powerful way of selling more tickets.  Ask any of your friends and family that have been to previous events to provide testimonials for upcoming events and place them prominently on your event pages and marketing communications.

Provide feedback – Sometimes you might have a broken link, a confusing website or a badly articulated value proposition – any of which will severely hamper your ability to sell more tickets.  Unfortunately most strangers won’t take the time to tell you about these errors, and they’ll simply not buy a ticket.  Asking friends and family to check these basics could unearth pain points before they lose you sales.

Ask them to buy a ticket  If your friends and family are not willing to buy a ticket to your event, how authentic will their endorsements really be?  Once they’re committed to attend (another of the six principles of influence), they’re much more likely to advocate for your event with genuine enthusiasm.

They won’t even realise they’re doing it, but when their friends ask what they’re doing on so-and-so a date, and they say they’re attending your event, they’re providing more of that social proof and spreading the word completely naturally.  Remember, asking friends or family to buy from you isn’t a scary prospect if you know your event is going to be awesome!


Got an upcoming event you’d like to organise, why not use Eventbrite? Sign-up today, it’s free!

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