How to get the word-of-mouth marketing machine working for your event

How to sell more tickets through word of mouth marketing

‘Haven’t you heard? Everyone’s talking about it!’ 

Could there be seven more beautiful words in the English language? For event planners – probably not. Because if everyone’s talking about your Next Big Thing, it’s going to be so much easier to sell tickets.

True – but how do you get people talking about your event in the first place?

Let’s take a look 👀.

What is word-of-mouth marketing?

Word-of-mouth marketing does what it says on the tin. It’s the phenomenon of people talking about a certain brand, experience, or product, and in doing so causing a boost in sales. Whole books have been written on the topic. One of the most widely known being Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz. In it, Sernovitz defines word of mouth marketing as when brands give people a reason to talk about them, and make it easier for those conversations to take place. 

This quote from the book sums things up pretty well:

“Real word of mouth dips in and out of different spaces. You eat at a good restaurant. You mention it to people at the office. One of them emails your recommendation to his wife. She emails four friends, and they have lunch there. Two mention the restaurant to other friends at a party, and one of them blogs about it. Someone reads the blog and calls a buddy about eating there. They review it online. You get the idea.” – Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, Andy Sernovitz

Good to know word-of-mouth marketing statistics👇

So how effective is word-of-mouth marketing? Here are a few statistics to give you an idea:

  • 78% of people rave about amazing experiences they’ve had to people they know at least once a week.

  • 88% of people have the highest trust in a brand when it’s been recommended by a friend or family member.

  • Word of mouth drives an average of $6trillion in annual global spending (yup, we said trillion).

  • 64% of marketers agree that word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.

  • Word of mouth gets five times more sales than paid ads.

How to get word-of-mouth marketing to work for your event so you can sell more tickets, faster

Convinced that it’s a good idea to oil the wheels of the word-of-mouth marketing machine for your upcoming events? Smart move, we say. Here are some tips and tricks for getting started:

Increase ticket sales through word of mouth marketing

🔥 Put all your efforts into delivering true value

Just as Andy Sernovitz talks about in his book, word-of-mouth marketing can only be successful if people have something to talk about. In the events world, that means making sure your attendees are truly blown away by the experience you provide them with. What’s important to realise is that this doesn’t just mean securing a killer headliner or landing an impressive location. It’s equally as important to focus on the finer details that leave an attendee feeling satisfied. 

Think about things that might leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth after attending an event. Was there a huge queue to get in? Was there a long wait at the bar? Were there not enough toilets? Was the ticketing software hard to use?

All of this stuff can seriously impact a person’s enjoyment of an event, no matter how great its core content is. So before you even begin to think about taking steps towards increasing word of mouth marketing for your event, make sure you genuinely are doing everything you can to make it the best it can be.

If you do a good job, your customers will tell their friends, who then become customers too. 

Here at Ticket Tailor, we know a thing or two about how impactful word-of-mouth can be if you are prepared to deliver an excellent service. Here’s what our Founder & CEO Jonny has to say:

“I started Ticket Tailor 11 years ago to provide an affordable and simple ticketing solution for event organisers. Fast-forward to today and we’re issuing around 35,000 tickets every day, around the same amount we issued in our first full year of trading!

Our biggest growth channel has always been word-of-mouth. It’s an efficient way to grow a company. If you do a good job, your customers will tell their friends, who then become customers too. Because of this, we’ve always been motivated by delivering value. In fact, we barely spent a penny on marketing for the first seven years, focussing exclusively on doing a better job. Our team was half product development, half customer service, and it doesn’t look too different today.”

How to sell more tickets through word of mouth marketing

⚡ Make your event as buzz-worthy as possible

This is word-of-mouth 101. Focusing on creating a genuinely buzzworthy experience is probably the single most valuable thing you can do when it comes to sparking off that conversation. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Secure a less obvious choice for your headliner – someone with a more underground following, or a more niche offering. It might feel risky, but it’s a great way to shake things up and show people you’re not as predictable as they thought. Cue: “Have you heard…?” Plus, underground or emerging artists might be more active on social media, as they’ll be trying to build up their own presence – which can definitely work in your favour.

  • Create a feeling of exclusivity – releasing a small set of VIP tickets well in advance of your event helps create a buzz long before you make your main ticket drop. The sooner the chitter-chatter starts, the longer it has to spread.

  • Make the location secret – nothing gets tongues wagging like speculation. Make your event’s location a secret until the last minute to get people guessing and, most importantly, talking.

🙏 Be clear on your values

An IBM report shows that 40% of consumers seek out companies that showcase values that they themselves have, such as sustainability, and racial equality. 

So if you want to resonate with the right people, in the right way, it’s really important to make your values known. (And to make sure you genuinely live up to them!)

Influencer marketing can also be a great way to increase word-of-mouth for your event – and influencers tend to only work with brands whose values align with theirs. Which is another good reason to make yours as clear as possible. 

🔧  Explore word-of-mouth tools

If you’ve got money to invest, it might be worth looking into using some word-of-mouth marketing tools to help boost your efforts. 

AnswerRepublic, for example, is a platform designed to help you boost ticket sales through word of mouth campaigns and the utilisation of your customer data. 

🎤 Give ‘talkers’ a little nudge 

Some people will talk about your events more than others – fact. The good news? Social media makes it pretty easy to find out who they are. 

Sell more tickets to your event by getting people talking about it

Once you’ve found them (a simple scout through comments, likes and shares should do it), try sending your ‘talkers’ some freebies, merch, and even tickets in the post. Receiving an unexpected gift like this might just prompt a faithful fan to post about your event that bit more.

🙋 Join the conversation

Last but not least, one really effective way of keeping people talking about your events is to join the conversation (especially on social media). Reply to comments, re-post content, and drop likes for anyone who interacts with your channels. This is also great for building a loyal community for your event.

As for any bad stuff? Reply to that too! If you notice any complaints popping up, tackling them head-on is the best way to keep your brand reputation intact. 

✅ Key takeaways

Getting people talking about your event doesn’t have to mean employing shock-tactics or going all-out controversial. Focusing on the quality of the experience your attendees get, making an effort to interact with fans online, and creating a robust brand are all effective ways to encourage the conversation. If you have money to invest in marketing, utilising specialised word-of-mouth tools could help you boost your efforts even further. 

Looking for an affordable, hassle-free way to sell tickets? Sign up to Ticket Tailor event registration software for free >