From concerts and festivals to full-fledged Broadway shows, SocialToaster clients have used our advocacy marketing platform to support a number of social media marketing initiatives designed to do one thing: sell their tickets. We’ve made several enhancements to the SocialToaster platform over the years, adding new functionality and support based on field-tested campaigns to help ticketed events meet their sales goals. Of these additions, the SocialToaster ticket lottery system has proven to be one of the most popular (and successful) ticket sales driving tools we’ve created.
What is a ticket lottery system, and how does this system help to drive ticket sales? Well step right up, hit the concession stand, and take a seat (preferably Orchestra section), because the SocialToaster ticket lottery system show is about to begin!
What Exactly Is A Ticket Lottery?
Before we start sharing best practices on using the ticket lottery system, let’s build the set and outline the basic mechanics of the ticket lottery system. First and foremost, legally, a ticket lottery isn’t a lottery in the traditional sense. People aren’t making a purchase from their local corner store and then taking home the big prize.
Instead, a ticket lottery is used for any event that sells tickets. Your show allocates a handful of tickets (however many you want) from the open marketplace to the ticket lottery. It’s up to you how you want to handle this ticket allocation, every client is different, but we’ve seen shows:
- Use the ticket lottery to allow fans to buy high-end tickets at a discounted price
- Allocate rare standing-room-only seats to shows that have sold out
- Broad discounts to a larger audience
- Provide free seats or VIP experiences (since you control the number of tickets available, you don’t have to worry about the impact to your margins)
When it’s time to award a winner, an email is sent to the lucky fan announcing that they have been awarded the opportunity to purchase tickets to the show (or whatever the specifics of your lottery). Winners pay for the tickets and pick them up at the will call station before the show.
Who Should Use A Ticket Lottery?
Short answer, any venue or show that uses a ticketing platform to handle event admission. This includes:
- Broadway shows
- Arena tours
- Sporting events
- Comedy venues and acts
- Performance Venues (think House of Blues or the Fillmore properties)
You get the picture.
The ticket lottery pushes fans to take action. It’s a way for a show or event to build insane amounts of buzz and anticipation for the upcoming performance and (say it with us) SELL TICKETS!
How? Glad you asked.
Best Practices for Driving Ticket Sales
1) Support Daily Lottery Entry
If you want to build awareness and anticipation for an event, set up your lottery to support daily entry. While some advocates may choose to only enter once, many will return to the contest page repeatedly (read: daily) to increase their odds of winning.
This tactic is especially useful for events that have multiple shows (Broadway shows, traveling arena shows, venue-specific lotteries, etc.). Each show can have its own ticket lottery associated with it, allowing you to award lottery tickets over the course of an entire season.
This repeated exposure to your show or venue not only drives higher impressions and click counts, but it also builds anticipation and emotional investment in your upcoming show(s). The more eager and excited someone is to attend, the more likely they are to pull the trigger on purchasing tickets, regardless of whether they win the lottery.
2) Encourage Social Sharing Post-Entry
Once a fan has completed their daily entry into your ticket lottery, encourage them to share a piece of branded content to their social channels. Give them an opportunity to share their passion and excitement with their friends and family!
As organic reach on social media networks continues to decline, posts published on your brand’s social channels become less visible to your audience. We find that the average entrant is connected to over 600 people on social networks. By encouraging your fans to share branded content to their channels, you’re able to tap into their network of friends and family, increasing your visibility without having to “pay to play”
Be sure to mix up the content you’re asking your entrants to share throughout the lottery to maximize how often content is shared. A fan isn’t going to share the same content 5 days in a row, but they may share 2 different pieces of content in a week if given the opportunity. As a best practice for increasing your share rate, make sure the content being shared is exciting (and where possible) unique to fans in the ticket lottery. The content could be anything from backstage videos, released tracks, interviews, and photo galleries.
3) Chase Those Waterfalls
In the world of ticketed events, there’s nothing worse than holding empty seats for people that never show up. That’s why the SocialToster ticket lottery system was designed with Waterfall functionality. Winners have a set time limit to pay for (and capture) their tickets. If a ticket goes unclaimed (or if the winner can’t make the show), the tickets are released back into the lottery, and a new fan can win those tickets.
This way you’re not wasting great seats on a no-pay, no-call, no-show.
4) Maximize Ticket Revenue with A Backup Plan
It’s going to happen. You’re going to have more people in the ticket lottery than you have tickets available. To further drive ticket sales, you need to have a plan in place to monetize everyone who enters the program. Here are a couple ways our clients have handled that need:
- Hold a second-chance entry for standing-room-only tickets that allow a set number of fans the opportunity to purchase tickets
- Use your ticket lottery audience to support an additional show by offering them the first opportunity to purchase tickets
- Institute a revenue share with another property by allowing them to advertise a discount ticket buying opportunity through your lottery