How do you sell event tickets? Most theaters have their own box office, with set hours when patrons can come and purchase seats to upcoming performances. But what if you’re not a theater? What if you only hold one or two events a year? Sometimes, companies will let your organization sell its own tickets out of their box office, even if you’re not affiliated with the theater or selling tickets for a show. Or, you might have a team of dedicated sales professionals, or dedicated sales volunteers, or an office manager who can deal with the numbers. But there are other options.
Increasingly, we live in a twenty-four hour society, and increasingly, our patrons find that they’d rather deal with a computer on their own terms than have to go out and wait in line, or even on the telephone, to speak to a real human being. If I can spend two minutes on the Internet and save twenty minutes of my life, I’ll chose ecommerce every time.
There are a few options for those who want to help their guests and supporters purchase tickets on their own schedules, at their own convenience, online.
- Hire a web designer to build the perfect checkout for your website, allowing customers to purchase tickets to your event right from your homepage. You’ll get exactly what you want, and make it easy for your guests to check out, but this is an expensive option, and may take some time to develop.
- Build a virtual store using a site such as Shopify.com, Flyingcart.com, or Highwire.com. These sites allow you to add events, collect payment, and track sales. However, you will have to spend some time setting them up, and maintaining them can be costly. There may be monthly fees, or a cost for adding new items for purchase.
- Use an online ticket sales site, such as Ticket River, where you can create a page for your event in a minute or two and start selling event tickets immediately. You’ll be able to accept all major credit cards, plus PayPal payments, and it won’t cost you anything!
The online ticket sales site is really your best value. You don’t have to host anything, or pay for anything. You’ll never lose money if sales are down. At Ticket River, the only cost is a 3% service charge added to each transaction, pretty much the lowest surcharge in the industry. Compare that to a markup that could exceed 58% from a company like TicketMaster! Most customers don’t mind paying a tiny fee for the convenience of doing business on their own terms (e.g. at 3 a.m. in pajamas and bunny slippers).
Creating a page for your event helps you sell more tickets, since it’s easy to paste the URL wherever you think people might be interested to know about your event. Customize your event page with a photograph and all the details about your event and your organization and put that page to work for you.
Once you start selling event tickets, a good online ticket sales site, such as Ticket River, will collect names and addresses for your mailing list and even help you track sales by generating charts and graphs! You’ll be able to sell e-tickets, which can be printed out at home, or you can send paper tickets out through the mail, or hold tickets at will call. Whatever makes sense to you: selling tickets through an online ticket sales website is a flexible way to create the sales you want.