Business 1/4/2023,
5 mins

Guest Blog: Marketing Methods to Improve Ticket Sales


Guest Blog by Jason Mace of The Empress Building 

In the midst of uncertain times driven by a cost-of-living crisis, a night out can be what keeps some people going. Something to look forward to; a comedy gig or music concert. As these occasions become more and more rare for many people during tricky times, it can be tough as an event promoter or venue operator to generate interest in the functions you put on.   

Here’s the problem - you're organising and promoting an event but you need to sell more tickets. It’s a problem that all venue and event operators have faced at one time or another. There aren’t enough people coming to the events, so they're losing money, and on a personal level, losing face.  

I have managed and owned multiple venues, promoting hundreds of events over the years, most recently at the Empress Building in Mexborough, South Yorkshire. We promote various types of function, from children’s parties and discos to Northern Soul club nights, and classic tribute acts performing fan-favourite concerts. I’ve seen events sell out in a matter of minutes, and others deliver less-than-satisfactory turnouts. 

I have experienced the ups and downs as much as anybody else, and this is my guide to some effective marketing methods that can improve your ticket sales.  


People celebrating in a nightclub with fireworks

I’m going to tell you how to sell more event tickets. 

First, let's talk about why this is important. You don't want your event to fail because no one came! Plus, if it doesn't sell enough tickets in advance and people buy them at the door, that means your event wasn’t that well marketed or relevant.  

Make sure that your event is relevant and timely. If there's no reason people should care about it, they won't buy tickets. 

Make sure you have a clear plan for how many tickets need to be sold in order for it all to work out financially for everyone involved, including your business.  

So now that we've established why this is such an important issue, let's present some marketing solutions. 


Early bird discount 

Early bird discount strategies can increase your ticket sales by 12%, particularly because people like to save money. In this current climate, every penny counts, so give your customers an incentive to make a commitment to your event.  

Your early bird incentive should end around 3 weeks before the event, but if you use a strategy like adding a countdown timer to the discount ending, then you put some urgency on the matter.  

There is a whole psychology behind ticket pricing and scheduling. Event ticketing is more complicated than just setting it up and sitting back. Depending on the ticket price, early bird discounts might range from 20 to 50%, I would recommend 30% which could seem like a lot but could just be a few pounds off to get the place sold out early and job done. 


Yellow sticker with limited time offer text in red

Offer event goers group discounts. 

Group discounts are effective in that people are generally social creatures who enjoy attending special events with groups of their friends. Couples go out with other couples to enjoy that group setting. Incentivise your customers to invite more of their friends along so that they can secure reduced pricing and positively impact everybody’s pocket.  

Group pricing can also attract businesses looking to reward their workforce, or schools and family outings if your venue puts on family-friendly events. Discounted rates for groups of ten, for example, can work really well to fill your venue. 


Charm Pricing for your event tickets 

I’m a huge advocate of Charm Pricing (also known as Psychological Pricing) for my ticket pricing. You’ll certainly have encountered it in your consumer-life; prices that end with an odd number - usually 9 or a 99 - that make prices appear cheaper than they are. Instead of £15, price it at £14.99 - your customers’ minds feel more comfortable with the lower number at the start.  In my experience, tickets with Charm Pricing strategies applied tend to outperform round number pricing. 



Price poster with 5.99 printed on it in a store

Announce Your Event with Effective Timing 

Huge acts will announce a tour and tickets well over a year in advance, and many will sell out immediately. Take the examples of Peter Kay’s current tour, or the reunion of the Sheffield band Pulp in 2023. Timing is everything for smaller venues and their events.  

Local promoters should often give themselves six to eight weeks to actively market an event, using all of the tools they have at their disposal. That is not to say that you cannot release some light marketing material up to a year in advance if you have an annual local event, such a social media post or page on their website. Or if it’s a local small festival, announcing acts that will feature is a great way of maintaining interest in the event.  

While we’re on the subject of timing, let’s talk ticket sales quickly. The likes of Peter Kay might shift all of his tickets within a few minutes, but the majority of smaller events sadly do not happen this way. Only 6% of tickets for comedy performances typically sell in the first week. 75% of sales occurred in the previous week; 31% occurred on the final day. 

You can look to invest more of your money in promoting early bird incentives to entice patrons to purchase tickets sooner, but remember that the majority of tickets sales take place within 2 weeks of show date for most acts. 


Time your Emails and Text Messages to Perfection 

Research suggests that the ideal time to send consumer emails to your subscribers is around lunch time. People will spend the majority of their lunchtime breaks looking at their phones, catching up on their inboxes. Send an email around that time to ensure you sit at the top of the list when they do. Another great strategy to consider sending an SMS notice to subscribers is around 8pm. It’s a time when most people will be winding down. Those with children will have packed them off to bed, and they’ll be staring at their phones, checking their notifications. Catch them now! 

If you’re focusing any of your outreach of businesses and other organisations, think about sending an email at around 8:45am. The first thing that most people do when they get to their desks is to check their emails. By sending just before 9am, you stand a much better chance of being at the top of the list when they open their inbox. 


A woman looking at her laptop

Build Your Social Media Profile and Personal Brand with Videos 

Pitch your event online using video on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Create simple videos on your phone that sell the amazing experience your customers will receive by attending your shows. Nothing long and drawn out; you don’t want to bore your audience, but you want them to get the message.  

In between those messages, create great content that gives people a reason to keep returning to your platform. It does take time to build an online audience, but by being yourself, creating charming and authentic content that relates back to your events and your venue, you will find your viewer count increasing along the way.  

Before long, people will attend your events simply because it’s you that put them on. If you can hit this golden objective, you’re on your way to regular sell-outs. 


Use Traditional Marketing Methods in your Local Area 

Ask your neighbouring businesses for space in their windows and on their walls to promote your events at the venue. Build relationships and see if you can get onto the office noticeboard of local business.  

With so many digital options available, some Traditional Marketing outlets are much more cost effective than they used to be. Consider adding a leaflet drop to your marketing mix – for only a few hundred pounds you can get an A5 leaflet into the homes of around 20,000 local people via free newspapers. 


Try to Eradicate Booking Fees 

Everybody hates booking fees when it comes to buying tickets. I hate it myself. Buying tickets that cost £20 each but then by the time you’re done with the fees it costs closer to £30. Using a ticketing platform such as SOTpay means you can manage your own ticketing processes. This takes it out of the hands of third-party platforms that can demand a huge chunk of your revenue, and passing on those savings to your customers, who will be much more willing to spend money on tickets that are more honestly and realistically priced.  


A very handsome man looks into the near distance

Jason Mace is a serial entrepreneur whose Mace Group is the organisation behind the UK’s market leading retailer of marquees, party tents, and pop-up gazebos, Gala Tent. He has won countless business awards in a variety of industries, including Financial Technology, Printing and Commerce. Mace also owns a series of properties and businesses in the hospitality industry, including the recently refurbished and reopened Empress Building in Mexborough, South Yorkshire.