photo from FreeFoto.com
But over time, you can’t rely on friends and family and will have to widen the net. Here are some ideas on how to sell tickets in other ways.
- sensible pricing – don’t get greedy and over-price your tickets. Do some local research to see how similar choirs or other events at your venue price their tickets. But also don’t under-sell yourself: if it’s too cheap, people won’t value what you have to offer.
- print real tickets – I mentioned this last week: it’s always a good idea to have a physical ticket, no matter how they are sold. It makes accounting easier and you have something concrete to deal with at the concert itself.
- use the venue as outlet – even if it’s not a regular performance venue with a box office, try to get the venue to offer tickets for sale whether it’s through the church shop or parish magazine, or the community hall’s noticeboard or weekly bingo sessions.
- delegate – don’t try to do it all yourself. Get volunteers from the choir or members of your committee to offer to be the contact point for ticket sales. Make sure they know how to keep track of money, number sold, and that they’re available regularly at the end of the phone (or email inbox).
- get box office support – sometimes it’s too much to expect the MD or committee to organise a concert AND deal with the admin. of selling tickets. You can try to rope in other members of your local community, but sometimes it makes sense to get professional support. This might be in the form of the venue organising box office services for you and taking a cut (split of the overall ticket sales or percentage of each ticket sold). This works best if the venue has a regularly staffed box office (e.g. arts centre, concert hall) especially if they can deal with credit card bookings, and bookings on the phone or via their website.
- pay for online ticketing – even if your venue doesn’t have a formal box office, there are several online services that can do it for you. They will take payment online and keep track of tickets sold. One such service which is relatively cheap is WeGotTickets. They charge a 10% handling fee for each ticket (no extra credit card or admin. costs). Another service with no upfront costs who also take a percentage of each ticket is Oxboffice.com. Both services offer the option of e-tickets which are cheaper than posting out printed tickets: customers just bring a confirmation code to the concert. Bookings can be made by phone or via their website. There are other online services out there, all with varying costs.
- set up online payment on your own website – one of the best-known online payment services is PayPal. People don’t have to have an account to pay using this service, and they can use their credit or debit card to do so. PayPal charges sellers a fee of between 1.4% and 3.4% on the total sale amount plus a 20p per transaction. You can set up an online checkout which allows you to specify different ticket prices, etc. People then add however many tickets of each type to their ‘shopping basket’, then pay at the ‘checkout’.
- maximise number of outlets – however you decide to sell tickets, you will want to maximise the number of different ways that people can get hold of tickets. If you limit yourself to people having to phone up and send cheques, then you are missing a trick. The only hard part about having several ways of buying tickets is keeping track of the number of tickets sold, and keeping accurate accounts.
- run promotions – everybody does this nowadays, so jump on the bandwagon! Offer two for one deals, or get one ticket free if you buy five, or set up a competition where the prize is two free tickets. You get the idea. Not only does this make ticket buying more attractive, it helps you to promote your concert in a variety of different ways.
- have different ways of paying for (and collecting) tickets – the more ways you have of allowing people to pay for tickets, the more likely you will hit on each customer’s preferred method. Some people like to bring cash to choir, whereas others prefer online bank transfers. Some people still like to post cheques, whereas others use PayPal on their smartphone.
I have a concert coming up soon, so need all the ideas I can get!
Next week I’ll be looking at ways to promote your concert. If people don’t know about it, they won’t want to buy tickets!