5 Steps to Selling Out Your Event With Facebook Ads
Putting on a great event is hard work, but you know what’s even harder? Selling it out. It’s every event owner’s dream, to put on a spectacle of a show that’s remembered for its incredible atmosphere. But if no one is showing up to your event, it’s unlikely there’s going to be any atmosphere at all. Luckily, selling out doesn’t have to be an impossible task.
In fact, with Facebook Ads you can create killer marketing campaigns that will pack your event out and give customers the experience they’re looking for.
But it’s not enough to use Facebook Ads – you need to have the right strategy, too. That’s why this post will be focusing on the 5 key steps in creating a successful Facebook campaign to help you sell out your event.
As a quick side-note, I run a Facebook marketing agency specialising in events. And whatever event we run campaigns for, these are the key components we make sure are water-tight before putting any ad spend into Facebook.
Let’s get into it!
1. Make Your Landing Page Traffic-Ready.
The most important part of any Facebook campaign actually starts outside of Facebook...
The landing page.
This is where you’ll showcase all the fun details, features, and images of the event. And of course, this is where visitors will ultimately buy tickets. But there’s no point wasting time and money running ads if your landing page isn't up to scratch.
“Never let ads write checks your website can’t cash” - Avinash Kaushik, Data Analytics Entrepreneur
Here are three easy ways to make your event shine.
Use images to show off your event.
A picture speaks a thousand words. And by using images to show off the one-of-a-kind experience of your event, you’ll give your visitors the chance to picture themselves right in the middle of it. Use eye-catching photography from previous events to grab people as soon as they land on the page; if you have a professionally made video – even better.
Let people know what they can expect at the event.
You’ve grabbed the attention of the user, but your job isn’t finished yet. Now you need to show people why your event is different to any other they’ve experienced. Flex your copywriting muscles and lead with your USP. Perhaps it’s a Circus-themed club night with a modern twist? Or maybe you brought together all the biggest tribute acts in the country? Whatever it is, make sure to highlight this aspect and tell people why they simply can’t miss out.
Create urgency with tiered tickets.
People may love the idea of your event, but may not have a reason to buy now. To remedy this, a tiered ticket system of rising prices (Early Bird, 1st release, and so on) can work quite successfully. By doing this, you’re injecting the vital piece of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to take people off the fence and send them diving for their wallets.
Once your landing page is traffic ready, you can move on to the fun stuff: Facebook Ads.
2. Correctly Install Your Facebook Pixel
The beauty of advertising on Facebook is the ability to target your users on such a granular level. And when it comes to marketing your event, a pixel isn’t just a convenient marketing tool, but an essential piece of your advertising puzzle.
Whatever action a user takes on your site, your Facebook pixel will record it. So whether it’s landing on the page and leaving soon after, or initiating a checkout without completing the purchase, you can track it. As the old adage goes…
“If you can measure it, you can improve it.”
And measuring the performance of your ads is key to knowing whether your ads are achieving a positive ROI.
The other advantage of having a correctly installed pixel is its ability to identify your ideal customers. Once your Facebook pixel has gathered enough data about the action you’re tracking, it becomes “seasoned”. This means that it can do a better job of finding and showing ads to your ideal customers, giving you even more bang for your marketing buck.
If you're looking to set up a Facebook pixel on your site, Facebook has written an article the subject here. Just know – without a correctly-installed pixel, you may as well be running your ads blind.
After installing your Facebook pixel, it’s time to think about the targeting of your ads.
3. Get Your Targeting Right
Facebook has 1.4 billion active users each day, so there’s a good chance your ideal customer is on there.
But even with such a huge number all on one platform, you still need to make sure your targeting is dialed in.
Nailing down your audience interests, age groups, and general demographics is one thing; But even more so with events, it’s important to create an advertising radius around your event.
This is where it pays to know your audience – how far are your ideal customers willing to travel to get to your event?
But with Facebook’s ability to target audiences at such a detailed level, demographics and location targeting is only scratching the surface.
Take it one step further by leveraging Lookalike Audiences.
Lookalike Audiences are a percentage (between 1% and 10%) of a region’s population that most resemble your “seed audience” (the audience data you provide to Facebook). Seed audiences may be made up of email lists you have, lists of customers who have previously purchased from you, or even prospects who’ve engaged with your Instagram page.
With lookalike audiences, you can cut the fluff and be more able to target prospects who have the most likelihood of buying. This is just another way to make your advertising dollars go even further and give you a healthy return on ad spend (ROAS).
But as with most marketing with Facebook, it’s important to test. What works for one event may yield no results for another. Make sure you experiment with different audiences to find what’s most effective for your event.
Now that you’ve pinpointed your ideal audience, you need to lay down the yellow-brick road to the purchase: The Sales Funnel.
4. Build a Sales Funnel for Your Visitors
Let’s resurrect a classic piece of marketing wisdom from down the generations…
“You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date.”
And many would agree. But when it comes to Facebook advertising, this is something I’ve noticed many event owners seem to forget.
They start running Facebook ads for their event, and target the biggest pool of people they can – a cold audience. The ads will make a big show of the event, perhaps even mention a discount on the tickets, and ask people to buy right then and there.
…Meanwhile the user is wondering what the event is, why they’re getting targeted, and why it’s even relevant to them. But if a sales funnel had been set up in the first place, all of this could have been avoided.
A sales funnel guides your customer down a natural path to purchase in stages by establishing purchase-intent. And while there an infinite number stages you can create for your funnel, there are three main stages you should implement.
Here you’re targeting people who’ve never heard of your brand. These people aren’t in buying mode, and will need warming up to the brand first.
These are people who have clicked on your ads or visited your landing page, but not yet bought a ticket. Here, you can expand upon what to expect at your event by highlighting the USP – what makes it different and why should people attend.
Bottom of Funnel (BOF)
This stage is made up of people who have added a ticket to their cart, but not fully completed the purchase. These users have shown the most purchase intent, and just need a final push to take action.
Creating a sales funnel can make your marketing more effective by tailoring your message to specific groups of customers. But a sales funnel is only as effective as the message within it, which is why the next step is just as important: producing creative based on purchase intent.
5. Make Creative Based on Purchase Intent
You've split up your audience based on their stage in the funnel - now you can make that funnel work for you.
Set yourself apart from the rest of the events marketing world and add creative based on purchase intent to your campaigns. Here are some suggestions of what you can add for each stage of the funnel.
People at this stage are best targeted with short videos (30 – 60s) showcasing the event, with no hard-selling. The added benefit of using video means that you can retarget users who have watched a certain percentage of the video as well.
Here, you’re nurturing the prospect and giving them a reason to buy. Different videos and images from previous events work well here, and we’ve also seen success using testimonials from previous attendees.
Bottom of Funnel (BOF)
At this stage, you need to give your users the final push to buy. We’ve seen success using ethical scarcity tactics to create a sense of urgency in the customer. Videos or images with “Tickets Selling Fast” or “Only X Tickets Left” warnings are most effective at this stage.
By using creative based on purchase intent, visitors are much more likely to buy than if they were simply shown the same “hard-sell” ad on repeat.
It's important to be creative at this stage. Use a mix of videos and images and create content that’s thumb-stopping for your user. Make your ads stand out, because after all your hard work up until now, it would be a shame for people to just scroll past your ad!
And there you have it.
Marketing an event with Facebook isn’t easy.
But with the right strategy, it can be an incredibly lucrative platform for event organisers. And with those discussed above, you can build a solid foundation to marketing your next event. The key here is to remember that Facebook is about testing, testing, and testing to find what works for you.
And once you put all the puzzle pieces in the right place, you may find yourself well on your way to selling out your next event, too.