Flash Sales work well for festivals and conferences and can dramatically increase sales across all channels, but only provided the method is used the right way. This article explains how to increase sales by 200-300% with a Flash Sale when the event is coming.
Do you want your sales to take off?
Then keep reading.
Launching a Flash Sale: when and why?
Is there a way to make good sales without discounts in the century of promos and special offers? Definitely not. People are waiting for cut-prices, so event organizers should come up with a win-win strategy to ensure both good sales and happy customers. A Flash Sale can increase conference ticket sales in a short time due to price reduction. The trick is to make a significant discount: 5-10% off are not likely to bring good results. Give a discount of 40% or more and secure a soldout.
How to organize a sale?
Our colleagues from Timepad single out several stages in event promotion (they know the field, having sold tickets for tens of thousands of events). This scheme works perfectly for any event.
|Sales launch||“Early bird” + standard prices||Test demand, first contacts with loyal audience, sales over the accumulated base|
|Promotion launch||Stop to “early bird”; standard prices (in different categories), promo codes, flash sales||Test ad channels, test partner sales, test additional sales|
|Active sales||Dynamic pricing, regular price increases, group sales, building interest||Build the bulk of the profit, scale effective channels|
|Final lap||“Last minute”, promo codes, partner offers, abandoned carts||Maximize profit|
|After-event sales||Offers to purchase event materials, “early bird” offers||Check satisfaction|
Sales are handy at the stage of active sales, when you already have a warm audience – people who displayed interest to the conference, but have not bought tickets yet.
Flash Sale strategy
Step 1: choosing the sale mechanisms
When you are pressed for time, a Flash Sale is the fastest way to sell tickets in bulk.
What is a Flash Sale
Flash Sale is a significant decrease in tickets prices for a limited time (a couple of days or even several hours). It depends on the size of the discount and the number of tickets offered at the lowered price. Such sale is a great trigger: you announce the discount and everybody who is still in doubts rushes to purchase to the benefit while the offer is available. Announcement of the limited number of tickets left, indication of the actual sold/available quantities can work to create a real craze.
Here is an example.
An example of Growth Marketing Conf banner showing the number of tickets left.
How to launch a Flash Sale
A Flash Sale can be rendered through different mechanics.
- Promo code in ads. Benefits: it is easy to implement, helps to create an exquisite sensation in the customer when offered for a limited time or to a selected part of the audience. The number of tickets sold with discount can be easily limited (practically every ticketing platform has this option), and you can track efficiency of each marketing channel by using individual promo codes. Drawbacks: not every user is ready to purchase tickets right away, and promo codes need to be written down or remembered, and then perhaps lost and forgotten.
- Total discount on all tickets. The method is simple, fast and universal. However, you need to ensure sending accurate data to your analytics system (e.g. Google Analytics) to be able to track and compare efficiency per each marketing channel.
- Separate landing page for the time of the campaign. A hat trick combining the previous two approaches. In case you worry that people who have already bought tickets will get frustrated about the newly announced discount, you can advertise the Flash Sale only to some part of your audience and lead them to a separate landing page to purchase tickets.
Step 2: choosing the right time for your sale
What is the best time for a Flash Sale? Definitely, you should not plan the discounts to the very end of your promotion – the final lap is to work with abandoned carts, use the remaining number of days as a trigger for purchases, or even to ‘threaten’ the audience with a price increase coming the day before the event.
The golden rule of discounts is to have the right audience. Flash Sale is good at the stage of active promotion when the audience is basically familiar with the event (you have responders in you events on social networks, and an audience collected by Facebook Pixel). Starting a grand sale at the beginning of your event promotion is likely to bring more losses than profit, while right before the event it is wiser to maximise your profits and slightly raise your ticket prices.
In case you have several months before the event, you can launch several Flash Sales, increasing the discount % with each new wave.
Step 3: the sale
It is best to have the sale during several days, it will help to maximise the purchase motivation. We consider 3-4 days ideal. In case you’ve got enough time for preparation, it is wise to develop a separate landing page. But when pressed for time, use a countdown timer on the landing. Such prominent element gives a good motive to purchase, influencing human psychology – you don’t want to miss the benefit!
An example of a timer on the event page:
The offer should be covered across all channels: include Facebook and Instagram. Also publish posts regarding the Flash Sale to social networks to capture the responders who have not yet made a purchase decision. All ads should lead to the landing page of the event.
Flash Sale ads on Cyber Monday:
Of course, it is pointless to advertise a Flash Sale to everyone interested in the topic of your conference or festival. Our main goal was to boost sales among those who showed interest in the event but have not yet bought tickets. Use the following warm audiences for Facebook promotion:
- People who opened the ticketing widget but have not bought tickets.
- People who visited the landing page but also have not made purchase.
- People who followed the event on social networks or visited other events of the organizer.
Step 4: analysing the results
Analysis of the results is a very demanding stage of your campaign. It is crucial to attribute the results correctly and make the right conclusions.
How to determine if the campaign worked well and what the performance per each channel is? Use UTM tags in your links! It is essential to tag every channel to see where the strategy worked and where it failed.
Make it a general rule to tag all links you publish. It takes time, but the result will definitely be rewarding when you start analysing your success and failures once the event is over and yields to the routine report preparation.
Tendee has a built-in link shortener that employs a verified UTM tagging convention and can do all the work for you. Read more on our convention in the corporate blog. And here you can learn more about what UTM tags are and why online promotion cannot do without them.
Do not forget the following while analysing results:
- Compare sales to the previous equal period
- Monitor if the sales volume distributes evenly among the channels
- Control dynamic sales growth across channels in Google Analytics. It helps to check whether the ads are shown to the right audience. For instance, after the discount is announced all but one channel demonstrate growth. In this case, it’s necessary to change audience settings for this channel.
Bonus: our insights into a really good Flash Sale
Here is our advice how to prepare everything a Flash Sale requires:
- Сreatives. The image should talk for itself. The audience should immediately know what the discount is and how it works. Don’t make it wordy, Facebook bans creatives with more than 20% of the text. If your discount works only for some people or in case there are special conditions (for example, the offer includes 20 tickets and the sale lasts for 24 hours only), mention this information in the ad. You need conversions on your landing, but not lots of disappointed people.
- Texts. Don’t be wordy. No one reads long texts. Moreover, you offer a discount to people who are already familiar with your event. Make your offer short and clear.
- Audience. Leave big discounts to warm audience. Don’t offer bonuses for those who have just heard about your event. Concentrate on people who responded to your event on social networks and reached your lending but have not bought a ticket. They might be interested in the event but waiting for a discount. Use the sale to move them forward to purchase. You can avoid negative reactions from people who bought full-price tickets by announcing the discount in ads only, not on your social networks.
- Preparation. Plan ahead. Promotion of big events is a job for a big team and always requires lots of approvals. How to embrace everything? Start in advance, especially when you plan to create a new landing.
A perfect preparation means scheduled reminder posts and ad campaigns. With Tendee you can schedule posts for a certain time.
You can also set the beginning and the end of an ad campaign. Tendee won’t let you forget to launch and turn off ads when the time comes.
A Flash Sale works best at the stage of active sales in your event promotion. It is a good idea to limit the audience – to display ads to your warm audience only and not to distress those who have already purchased tickets at full price. It is crucial to start promotion as early as possible: this will enable you to setup all channels, track any possible problems, prepare for the sale, launch ads, and fine-tune data analytics tools.