Running an events business can be very tricky, as the marketing world is always changing.
You stumble upon that golden strategy that drives ticket sales sky high, and before you know it, that system no longer works any more, meaning you have to find a new way to reach your audience, and most importantly, convert to sales.
What I’ve learned is that complacency just doesn’t cut it in the events industry.
The key to success is to always be trying out new tactics, consistently refining your strategy and never relying on one single channel. You must build a potent cocktail of different types of marketing to achieve the results you want.
The great news is, the more routes to market you come up with, and the more bullet proof strategies you discover/create, the more likely you’ll succeed, and there is no better feeling than selling out an event. That’s why we do it! For that unexplainable, unquantifiable buzz. And to have fun on the day of course, and impact people’s lives through experiences.
In my first ever Eventbrite post back in July 2014, I wrote an article on ‘How To Use Media Partnerships To Sell Out Your Event,’ which is a system I still use today as it works wonders, but what I have found is that it’s not quite as effective as it used to be, because people become immune to overused methods.
Besides, one obvious problem with partnerships is you have to pay your partners affiliate fees. I’ve found that getting more mainstream press coverage has helped to reduce how much I have to pay out, but there is no guarantee when it comes to press coverage, so I felt it was time to find a system that put me in complete control of my own success.
I wanted to find a way to keep more of my revenue and drive sales myself without relying on partners or editors to publish my events. There is a cheaper way to sell tickets, but it just requires a lot of work, but by using this system, you OWN that database. It’s yours to keep forever. Welcome to the world of LinkedIn Prospecting, Qualification and Automation.
This is a strategy that I use in my role as Digital Marketing Manager at a B2B software sales (SAAS) company, and I have to say, it works exceptionally well.
That’s when I realised that I could use this system with events, so I’ve recently integrated it into my events’ business and already it has worked magic. I’ve drawn a small diagram to show how it works below.
To use this strategy, you need to change your mindset first. You have to view every single source, or channel (Twitter, Facebook, Website, etc) as a lead generation/capture tool and keep an eye out for new likes, followers, website visits, and connection requests/acceptances every single day, and take note of that information in a spreadsheet.
There’s also a qualification process to go through to ensure you’re getting the right people into the funnel, which I’ll explain as we go along.
DuxSoup is an automated LinkedIn profile visiting tool. Once you’ve set up an advanced search, and hit the ‘view profiles’ button, it’ll automatically view 100 profiles with the free version and 1000 for the premium version, daily. The key is to make sure that your LinkedIn profile description explains and sells your product, event or service, and to keep an eye on who views back. Use a copywriter!
**NB: Use this tool with caution, as over-use can result in your account being suspended by LinkedIn for excessive profile views. Please see their advice and also err on the side of restraint if in doubt. **
If you’ve written your profile properly and someone does view back, you can pretty much guarantee that they will have read the dialogue on your profile, meaning they’ll already know a bit about your product, service or event. The next step is to connect with those people. If they don’t accept, you can use another genius tool called ‘Email Hunter‘ which will download their email even if they’re outside your network.
Once you’ve got that, add it to the spreadsheet. For the ones that accept, send them a generic sales email with a call to action on LinkedIn messaging (to buy tickets, etc), extract their email from their profile page and add them to the spreadsheet. If you do this daily in large enough volume, you’ll sell tickets through LinkedIn private messaging daily.
The same system applies with Facebook and Twitter. Keep an eye on new followers and likes, and find those people on LinkedIn and check them out. If they work in your demographic and target market, send them a connection request. If they don’t accept, use Email Hunter. But if they do, send the generic sales email out and copy their email, ready to add to the spreadsheet.
Lead Forensics is tool that allows you to keep an eye on which businesses have visited your website, and it tracks this through their registered IP. It doesn’t work for home IP addresses though. Registered businesses only!
But trust me when I say that it’s really powerful when it comes to tracking your visits from organic searches, social media, content or PPC Campaigns, because you can view and download a report on which companies have visited your website, daily.
Once you’ve opened that list, you can cross reference the data to see if anybody you pitched has taken a peek at your website. For the unknown companies, check them out on LinkedIn, qualify them, and send the relevant people a connection request if needed. Follow the usual strategy to get their email address and add them to the spreadsheet.
Marketing automation or CRM
Next up is to use marketing automation software. Ideally one that allows you to set up email sequences so that when you upload these email contacts, it’ll send a sequence of emails out, say…7 days after uploading their details, and every week or fortnight. If you can’t afford software like Infusion Soft, and only have a basic package like Mailchimp, then do it manually.
Create some templates, upload the data weekly, and schedule some emails out to go out to that specific segment a week after you uploaded it. This might all sound like a lot of work, but if you have a big conference that you hold yearly, this is perfect. It only takes 20 minutes a day, but in 6 months, you’ll have a few hundred, or a few thousand qualified, relevant contacts on your database without paying hardly anything.
And most importantly, it converts!
This process works. I know because I use it on a daily basis.
You’ll get sales weekly by using this strategy either through LinkedIn private messaging, or through the email sequences you send out. Just make sure your marketing message is written by a copywriter and offers some sort of urgency or incentive to maximise sales, and I can guarantee you’ll do just fine.