In this article, I’ll list the main ingredients that you’ll need in order to successfully sell tickets online. We’ll also look at a way to grow your attendees by using the ticket purchase process to market your event. Marketing your event with your current ticket purchasers leads to extra signups and sustainable new growth.
First, I’d like to define what an ASP is. An application service provider (i.e. ASP) is a company that offers companies like your company, software through the cloud. That is, software where there is only one copy of it in the world, located on some webserver, somewhere. The range of software available from ASPs is varied, but in this article, we’ll be focusing on ticketing software. It is my opinion, that you are best served by finding a well respected ASP ticketing vendor, as opposed to trying to sell tickets online yourself with some sort of an in-house initiative.
Your ticket vendor choice is the most important decision you can make. If you choose poorly, your purchaser’s information could be exposed to hackers, or worse your credit card numbers could be stolen. Both of these scenarios would lead to embarrassment and could expose you to fines and penalties. A good choice however, might lead to some surprising unexpected things, like significant attendee growth from the ticket vendor’s rather clever use of social media integration.
When you begin thinking about selling event tickets to your event, approach the challenge in this order:
- Search google (or your favourite search engine) for a list of ASPs that sell tickets online. Make contact with their sales department. If the answer is NO, to any of the questions below, it’s probably a good idea to move onto the next vendor.
- ask about customer service availability, is it free?
- ask whether they have an “app” for scanning barcodes
- ask if you can use your own visa/mc merchant account, note: most ASPs can recommend to you where the best deals are, out there for VISA/MC acquirers.
- ask for a personalized demonstration over gotoMeeting or equivalent. Get a sense of the ASP’s team.
- Acquire on your own, a VISA/MC merchant account in the name of your business. This is a very competitive space, so you should be able to find a “real” good deal. The only restriction you have, is to make sure that your chosen ASP in #1 above can gateway connect to the VISA/MC card provider that you’ve chosen.
Best Way to Sell Tickets Online
Here’s what you need to sell event tickets online.
i) A website which describes to purchasers the details of your show and/or event. This website doesn’t need to be a secure website. In most cases, a page on your corporate website will serve this purpose. On your corporate website, explain the event details and provide a link to the ticket software vendor which might say, click here to Buy Tickets. eMail blasts and tweets can also help notify the world that you are currently selling tickets online.
ii) Ticketing Software. You absolutely need to find a good application service provider, i.e. ASP vendor which offers you the ability to sell tickets to your event online. Choosing the best event ticket management software will no doubt be the most challenging task in front of you. I’ve written on this in the past, in a blog, Best Way to Sell Tickets Online. The ASP vendor needs to design you a good looking ticket and provide you with a link to insert onto your website which might say, ‘click here to buy a ticket‘. The ASP’s webpages MUST be secure with the lock showing in each browser window. It’s also essential that the vendor is PCI compliant. In case something goes wrong at the worst time, you need a customer support number to call for help.
iii) You’re going to need a merchant account in order to process VISA/MC and AMEX transactions. For the merchant account requirement, make your own deal with a respected merchant transaction acquirer. It’s much cheaper to have your own visa/mc merchant account than to use the merchant account belonging to the ASP vendor. Companies like, Apriva, BluePay, Beanstream, Optimal and Paymentech are excellent credit card processors all of whom will offer you excellent rates. The market for merchant accounts is very competitive, so go to each of them and get a quote. Ask the ASP provider if there are any group pricing deals that they can recommend. At our ASP, if we refer a merchant to an acquirer first, the merchant usually gets a better deal.
iv) On the day of the show or event, you’ll going to need some software or a device to redeem tickets as people go through your gates. It can be expensive to rent laptops, networking gear and scanners, so instead I recommend making sure that the ASP vendor, you have chosen, has an iPhone App for redeeming tickets. It’s easy to rent a few iPhones for your event from most computer rental companies and downloading a iPhone Barcode Scanner should be easy from the app store. For great prices on computer hardware rentals, check out MCR rentals. MCR rents hardware & IOS devices to shows throughout Canada and the USA. The iPhone app needs to report redemptions to the ticket selling software in real-time. The app also needs to keep the other gate redemption apps in sync in real time.
v) For events that need attendee growth, the best way to grow your event, concert or show is to market your event using your existing ticket purchasers. The concept is simple, the ASP’s ticket purchase process begins by giving ticket purchasers the option to login to a social media account like, Facebook. Purchasers can then see which of their friends are already going to the show and can also invite certain other friends to go to the show with a one-click simple email invite. Watch the InGo movie and learn about creating advocates. I’ve written on this in the past, in a blog, Sell Tickets Online. e-RegisterNow.com and InGo.me have a unique partnership designed to serve companies with the best integration of social media within a registration sequence. You’ll be surprised at how other shows simliar to your show have been able to grow attendance with our simple techniques.
In conclusion, the best advice is to study as many ASP ticket vendor websites as you can, and then call a few of the better ones, that fit the best with your needs, for a demonstration.