In Blog Form

February 20, 2020
Event Technology
by
Ben Myers

14 Free & Low-Cost Tools To Revolutionize The Conference Ticket Sales Funnel (And One Bonus)

The process of making a ticket sale starts with an attendee becoming aware of your event and (ideally) ends with *ka-ching*. What happens in between could mean the difference between your conference being a success or failure.

The effectiveness of your advertising, promotion, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), price strategy and early bird dates ultimately comes down to one question that might not receive as much attention as it should: How effective is your conference registration process? 

The conversion funnel for your conference tickets describes the process of a potential attendee becoming aware of your event and ends with the ticket sale. What happens in between could mean the difference between your conference being a success or failure.


Here are the tools you need to optimize each step of the conversion funnel: Need, Awareness, Interest, and Acquisition. For a more in-depth look at the conversion funnel and why it’s an important framework for evaluating your marketing and ticket sales, read our resource How To Get Conference Registration Right Using E-Commerce Conversion Funnels. For more techniques to employ, see 9 Ways To Supercharge Your Conference Registration Process.

Need

When a person senses a need for information, connections in an industry, training, or products, they may begin a search in order to satisfy that need. This could be a google search or a word-of-mouth discussion among co-workers. As mobile searches become a more integrated part of any research, search trends can be a valuable way to see what things people are looking for information on right now. For a more general introduction to the Need portion of the funnel, see our How To Get Conference Registration Right resource.

Google Trends

Google trends is an excellent tool for finding a relative level of interest in a topic. From an event organizer perspective, it can tell you what topics are on the rise in the minds of the general public. For instance, a conference about space travel might be interested to know that the term “mars mission” is currently more searched worldwide than “moon mission”, which could lead to more sessions dedicated to Mars.

Google Search Console

Search console shows how often your website appears in search results, even if you don't get the click.

Google Search Console offers more insight into how your website appears in search. You will have to install a script on your website (and you can connect it to Google Analytics if you like), but it’s definitely worth the effort to see what search terms are leading traffic to your website. 

When your website appears on the search engine results page for a particular search term, it’s called an impression. If your website is well structured for search engines, this can offer a lot of insight into what speakers and topics are growing in popularity, even if they’re not getting the clicks you would like. If that’s the case, it may be time to review your SEO fundamentals and copywriting best practices.

Ahrefs

Why only look at your search results when you could look at your competitors’ as well? Ahrefs is a tool that could tell you many things you don’t know about how other organizations are being found. Their Content Explorer tool to see which content has performed best in terms of social buzz, number of backlinks and organic search traffic.

Awareness

You want your conference to be found and included as one of the options considered in the next stage. Of course, the competition to be found is tough whether you’re using old-school advertising or going all-in on digital. It could be time to think outside the box.  

For a more general introduction to the Awareness portion of the funnel, see our How To Get Conference Registration Right resource.

Tools For Submitting A Podcast

Search engine optimization has become table stakes, but there’s a new category for brands to increase their appearance in search results: podcasts.

Podcasts continue to grow in popularity as an easy way for people to learn things whether they’re relaxing at home or on the go. It’s important to note that Google is showing individual podcasts in search results, much like blog results. Google’s improving voice recognition and transcription technologies should only increase this trend - perhaps even down to a particular sentence that might contain the answer a person is searching for.

To create an RSS feed and submit a podcast to major directories like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, we recommend an easy-to-use platform like Buzzsprout, Podbean or Anchor.

BuzzSprout

We use BuzzSprout for the PheedLoop podcast and it’s made the whole process easy. One tool we really love is creating the video soundbites for each episode, which are easily shared on all kinds of social media, giving people a short taste of what can can expect. It’s free to try and $12 to permanently host up to 3 hours each month on the platform.

Podbean

Podbean is another free-to-start podcast hosting service that’s easy to use for uploading audio and submitting to major podcast hubs. It also offers additional features for adding programmatic ads in your podcast if you’re looking to monetize quickly. 

Anchor

Unlike the above options, Anchor has a companion app that helps you create and edit new podcasts directly. The website is more of a feed manager, but the magic comes from the app itself, which lets you edit your voice clips and add beds of audio and intro and outro music from its free library. It also promotes its one-click podcast directory submission feature.

Interest

With many options now being considered, a potential customer will research and compare what’s available for the best possible way to reach their goal. This is the time for offers and content marketing to capture a potential attendee and ensure that they come back when they’re ready to make a purchase. For a more general introduction to the Interest portion of the funnel, see our How To Get Conference Registration Right resource.

PheedLoop

PheedLoop collects emails in the first step of the registration process so it can help return drop-offs later.

Lucky for our clients, PheedLoop has built-in email lead capture as the first step in the registration process. We call it SalesBoost, and it is setup to automatically email potential attendees who drop out of registration at key times before the event date reminding them that they can quickly and easily pick up where they dropped off.

Typeform

An example of the unique look that Typeform uses.

For events that might need a solution for capturing leads between events, Typeform can get the job done with a really nice-looking interface and excellent multi-step forms. It makes rating events or filling in quick details  very visual, so it feels like it’s moving along easily.

Hubspot Forms

As part of its CRM, Hubspot offers a number of forms to collect email addresses.

If you’re already invested in a CRM, it may already be the best option to collect leads and have them automatically inputted into your email campaigns and other sales channels using something like the forms in Hubspot. Hubspot is a full-featured CRM that can also host your blog, do keyword research, marketing and sales emails, and much more. If you need for a pop-up form or a less intrusive capture that appears at the top or bottom of your page, look no further. Hubspot's services can cost between $50-$180 per month per user plus set-up fees.

Acquisition

The first experience that a person has with your brand is an extremely important step in the conversion funnel. A strategic approach to landing pages can help create trust, convey value and collect that all-important email address for further engagement. An ongoing framework to compare the results of landing pages against one another, as well as testing elements on each pages can accelerate the desired results.

For a more general introduction to the Awareness portion of the funnel, see our How To Get Conference Registration Right resource.

Landing pages / Testing

Having a framework to test and improve your ticket offers and email capture can be easier than you think! Thanks to these tools, you can run multiple landing pages and test different elements with an easy drag-and-drop or click-and-replace interface. After a few weeks, you could have thousands of pageviews in your experiments from which to learn.

Optimizely

To create a test in Optimizely, just click on an element and change what you like.

Optimizely’s A/B testing platform is an accessible visual editor that lets marketers create multiple versions of the their landing pages or offers and see the impact they have on conversions. 

Unlike the other platforms in this blog, Optimizely can cost thousands of dollars annually.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is best known for its easy email marketing tool (with surprising depth of features), but they have brought the same philosophy to other parts of the marketing suite including landing pages - a natural way to build your email list. Use them for special offers, contests and more. The drag-and-drop interface you’re familiar with is still there.

Google Website Optimizer

A look at the dashboard in Optimizer.

Google website optimizer is free to use and provides an easy way to run tests on any page on your website, and even test pages by audience. Though not as easy to use as the drag-and-drop editor interfaces on other platforms, it’s easy to replace titles, images and offers and watch the results roll in each day. 

Unbounce

Unbounce not only lets you create landing pages with a drag-and-drop editor, it throws in a lot for free: 100+ customizable templates, high resolution stock photos and more. Their killer features allow you to dynamically replace text on your landing page to match search terms and simultaneous A/B testing. Plus, they know have some awesome tips for how to pull off a good conference.

Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg's heatmaps show where the user's cursor goes most frequently on a website.

Crazy Egg was best known for its website heatmapping tool, but has since expanded into more testing and optimization tools. It can show you how people interact with your website, test the placement of buttons, and try different offers. Crazy Egg integrates with many popular website and e-commerce platforms like Wix, Shopify, Wordpress and Squarespace. You can get a free 30-day trial to see if it’s the best option for your website and packages start at $21/month.

BONUS - PheedLoop Exit Capture

PheedLoop has recently added one more way to capture people during the registration process called Exit Capture. Exit Capture is a pop-up during the registration process that offers event organizers one last chance to incentivize a ticket purchase before the user leaves. That could be a discount code or a timely reminder about early bird deadlines. Keep an eye on our product updates to see when this feature will be widely available.

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