As if anyone needs the reminder, it’s almost time to ring in 2023. While the collective focus is on the start of a new year, most event creators and marketers have one last goal for 2022: Maximize ticket sales to their NYE event! For most in these industries, the winter holidays constitute the most competitive time of year. If that sounds more overwhelming than wonderful, you’re in good company. This time of year brings as much madness and mayhem as it does joy, especially for event creators and retailers. That’s why we decided to gift you the ultimate guide to promoting your NYE event and selling those tickets. Thank us later!
1. Be An Early Bird
It’s unanimous among the pros: The early bird gets the proverbial worm when it comes to promoting NYE events. This is generally a good rule of thumb, but it’s especially important when we’re talking about New Year’s Eve. Think about it: NYE is one of the most popular holidays celebrated around the world. It marks the end of one chapter and the start of another, and what better way to commemorate the passage of time than to party? Revelers all around the world agree: The best way to get excited about the future (or drown the sorrows of the past) is to drink, dance, and engage in the kind of debauchery that makes a night to remember- or forget. We’re not saying all NYE celebrations have to get wild- some are family friendly, and we’ll talk about promoting those, too.
On one hand, NYE events tend to sell out quickly. For many, these winter months are the busiest time of the year- so it makes sense that people like to book in advance. That said, the earlier your event makes a splash publicly, the better. If you start promoting too late, people may have already RSVP’d to other events- even attendees who are loyal to your brand every other time of the year.
However, on the other hand, 50 percent of customers buy tickets to NYE events within 7 days before the holiday takes place! Just as some people like to book well in advance, others are so harried that they wait until the last minute. (We’ve all been there once or twice, if not more times). Furthermore, a lot of partygoers like to wait and see what their friends are doing on the big night so they can join in. Our advice? Make a big social media splash early on and promote early bird/tiered pricing early on. This way, you’re more likely to sell a lot of tickets early in the game. And when people see that their friends are already going to your event, they won’t want to miss it. At this time of year, FOMO is a more powerful emotion- and promotional tool- than at any other.
How early should you start promoting your NYE event? We recommend putting the word out as early as November. And according to Mike Schwarz, the CEO of myZone media, aggressive early bird pricing catches the most worms. For an event that starts at $75 per ticket in the early promotion stages, he’s not averse to hiking the price as high as $275 as the holiday looms closer. Simply stated, low prices are a powerful incentive to commit early, and thus boost ticket sales.
While tiered pricing based on early bird deals is great, we don’t want to discount the element of exclusivity. VIP experiences that offer special treats, seating, experiences, and more incentivize people to spend more. And millennials are especially experiential creatures; they often don’t even wait to share a VIP experience on social media until the party’s over.
VIP tickets cost more than regular tickets, and it should be that way. But offering reasonable discounts based on early bird pricing is ideal. When people think they’re getting more value for less, they get excited- and they spread the word like wildfire.
Not sure what VIP perks to offer? You have more tools in your arsenal than you might think. Something as simple as expedient, private entry (instead of waiting in a long line) is tantalizing on a cold New Year’s Eve night. If there will be live entertainment at your event, VIP treatment is worthy of front-row or close-up seating. Want to take that experience a step further? If you can swing it, include a meet-and-greet with the artist or artist lounge access. The more up close and personal VIPS can get, the more valuable- and Instagram-worthy- the event is.
2. Go Big or Go Home
“Go big or go home” is a good general rule for NYE, but it has a special meaning here. During this time of year, people are inundated with more media than they can process per minute. As marketers feverishly compete to promote NYE sales and events, pop-up ads explode like fireworks across screens. Social media accounts blow up with (largely unwanted) notifications, adding to the madness and mayhem of the season. People hardly have a chance to get out of Christmas alive before New Year’s Eve encroaches upon us all. For a season of giving, the winter holidays have a way of depleting pockets. (That’s yet another reason to offer the best prices to the earliest buyers- at this time of year, people are understandably anxious to save money).
However, #2 on our list is all about content. In a sea of fierce competitors, you’ve got to stand out. The best way to do this is essentially by being you and letting your brand shine through. When forming a promotion strategy, consider who your audience is. No, really think about your customers from a demographic and psychographic perspective. Go beyond age and socioeconomic or marital status. There’s no better time than now to take an inspired look at what your attendees enjoy, value, and feel motivated by when they attend events/make holiday purchases.
For example, let’s say that the vast majority of your attendees are millennials or younger. Generally speaking, millennials and younger people are less financially secure than older people. (Of course that’s not always true, but many of them are just emerging into their careers, paying off school loans, and generally striving to become secure). Any financial constraints that may have existed before the pandemic may be exacerbated now. Considering the fact that millennials are a highly experiential group, they’re going to be both savvy and selective when it comes to NYE events. Basically, like older generations, they want to get the most for their money. For them, that means investing in a worthwhile NYE experience that delivers value.
What does value mean for your specific audience? Maybe it means art, culture, and elegance. Maybe it means an event that is bursting at the seams with glamour, fun, and finesse. Perhaps it’s all about creative expression and out-of-this-world costumes. Whatever the case, you know your customers best- and this knowledge should inform your promotional content as well as the main event.
Some promotional standards are gold and should always be employed. It goes without saying that you should always promote your event across social media platforms. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and wherever else you connect with your audience. As a highly visual platform, Instagram really sparkles at this time of year. Some brands use animated countdown clocks to spark anticipation around their event; these can be embedded into websites, and Facebook has a countdown timer of its own. Many hold contests via social media in which lucky winners get free tickets, VIP experiences, or free products or services. This is a powerful way to engage attendees before the big event-and add value to their experience with your brand.
Content really is key. Over 65 percent of traffic to MyZone is directed via search engines- and that’s been true since 2001. It’s safe to assume that directing relevant traffic to your website is vital, and you can do that by posting unique content frequently on all your channels. On your busiest channels, you might want to post promo content as often as once per day in the month before NYE approaches. Curate specific content for your individual channels. For example, an in-depth article about your event or a relevant topic might be better received on LinkedIn or Facebook than a visual platform like Instagram. On Instagram, you might want to post stories that give viewers an exclusive window into past NYE events or a preview into this one. Why not take potential attendees on a virtual tour of your event? Let them know what to expect while teasing surprise elements.
Pro tip: If you’ve added something sparkling and new to your agenda, even if it’s a charitable activity or fun new food on the menu, promote it! But you have to know how to tailor specific content to different platforms and audiences. Your audience is likely diverse, and different platforms attract specific niche customers. But also, the same people may go on Instagram for different reasons than they log into their LinkedIn account. Generally speaking, people want to digest organized and cohesive content, even when it’s for fun. So instead of linking an in-depth article to Insta, where people want to scroll through and click on the next bold image, try sharing it on Facebook or LinkedIn. And remember, people are visual by nature- so be sure to animate articles with standout graphics.
SEO is another one of the best promotional tools you can have at your disposal. The most popular keywords associated with the type of event you’re holding are easy to find via Google Ads data. Using these words in your event description- and regularly in your content- maximizes traffic to your website, and therefore leads to more ticket sales. Just make sure your content is unique, animated, and caters to your niche audience(s).
3. Choose a Theme- and Stick With It
Obviously, you’ll be deciding on a solid theme before you start promoting your event. Experts recommend building on that theme throughout promotions and not deterring from it. The theme is the biggest part of what makes your event stand out. Taking that into account, you’ll want it to be solid, cohesive, and spectacular! When your theme is executed creatively and professionally, entering your event will be like walking into another world. And your promotional content can serve as a sparkling window into that world, enticing potential guests to experience it for themselves.
We’ll say it again: Immersive content is both unique and highly visual. Whether you’re throwing an 80s dance party or hosting a Gatsby-themed gala, you’ll want to curate content that reaches out from the screen and pulls viewers into that unique world. In a way, NYE is similar to Halloween: People like to celebrate it by stepping out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. If your staff has fair acting chops, have them dress up as themed characters and lead viewers on a virtual tour of your event. If you regularly feature live entertainment, set the stage for excitement by sharing videography of past NYE events.
When choosing a theme, it may seem boring to ask yourself, “Does it advance my marketing goals for this event?” But that’s exactly what you should do. If your goal is to generate leads, you won’t want to blast the night away with continuous loud music and brighter-than-life attractions. Yes, you’ll want stunning visuals, but choose a quieter theme in which people feel comfortable to chat and network. A winter wonderland theme can be picture perfect for such a mix-and-mingle event. A Gatsby theme has been done before- but there’s a reason it repeats itself. It injects fun and jazziness into an elegant event that can also shine as a professional opportunity.
If your goal is to entertain and make a huge splash, go big! Hire engaging entertainment, make some noise, and go in for spectacular displays of color and light. Masquerade parties are extravagant, exciting, and present an opportunity to show off creative costumes. If you’re going with this idea, why not promote the event with DIY costume ideas leading up to the big night? Stepping into more glamorous shoes and becoming someone else for the evening is fun, and your promotions should be, too! Decade-themed parties can be promoted this way as well- especially on Instagram, where DIY- and showing off- is par for the course. Masquerade parties don’t have to break anyone’s break. Sharing cheap but fabulous costume idea hacks for your party is a fun way to create hype. Doing it in a visual way is even more exciting.
4. Stay On Top of Your Sales Game
Ideally, businesses need to know the sales cycles for their target market. According to Mike Schwarz of myZone, by Dec. 3rd, we are approximately 15 percent into the New Years Eve sales cycle. So let’s say you’ve already sold 30 percent of your inventory by this date. That means you’re selling two times faster than the market, and you’re well ahead of the game.
But what if you’re behind the game? Schwarz suggests developing a strong marketing strategy based on the lead generation. This involves researching sales-qualified leads (SQLs) who are presumably a good fit for your product/service. As an event creator, you can do this research and reach out to potential partners or hire a marketer if feasible. Connect and engage with potential SQLs before presenting a proposal to join forces; building relationships takes time.
Lead generation is integral to gradually increasing sales, but it’s a process. If your ticket sales are low, don’t expect it to happen overnight or in time for this New Year’s Eve. Focus on promoting this year’s event to the fullest extent while prospecting SQLs in your free time. And if you don’t have any until your event goes live, relegate it to after NYE. Don’t take the focus off of promoting the main event! If your NYE bash is a hit, people will talk about it, and your business will grow.
5. Track Your Target Audience
This may sound cringy and slightly reminiscent of stalking, but it’s necessary. As we mentioned earlier, the NYE market is competitive. Every day, people are inundated by ads, emails, and social media posts about a maelstrom of events. To stand out, you need to be remembered, and that’s a real challenge. While uploading and consistently sharing unique content goes a long way, sometimes you still get lost in the crowd. It’s no fault of your own- it’s simply that the NYE market is massive and it floods channels.
That’s where remarketing comes in. Having a tracking code placed on your event page, shopping cart, and other listings literally tracks people who have expressed interest in your event. This means that these people will frequently see ads for your event throughout their daily scrolling. We know what you’re thinking: At what high price can you literally follow potential buyers around the internet through the holiday season? It turns out, it’s not that high. According to Schwarz, you can run a program like this for weeks without paying more than a few dollars per user. At myZone, you can invest in this service and apply the same benefits to your listing on ticketZone.
If you haven’t checked off the items on this list, it’s not too late to get started. After all, Dec. 3rd only puts us 15 percent into the NYE sales cycle. Don’t stress if you can’t fit all of these pro tips into your NYE strategy. Even employing one or two has the potential to increase your sales- or at least propel you in the right direction. Happy ticketing (and holidays)!