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Archives for : Ticket Posting Tips

Converting Clicks into Ticket Sales

Posting ticket classified ads is part art and part science. A good ticket ad will incite the user to conduct an action that will hopefully convert into a sale. For many of our premium members that action is clicking on a link that takes the user to their website where they will hopefully complete a transaction. For others, that action is simply replying to the listing in the form of an email. For both types of users the goal is the same – converting ads into sales. At Free Ticket Classifieds we have been extremely successful at bring eager ticket buyers to the site – getting those users to buy those tickets is up to the poster.

For this weeks blog post lets just focus on the premium members running 3rd party ticket brokerage websites. One of the most common mistakes we see ads that make it confusing to the user how to actually purchase tickets. In particular, some new Free Ticket Classifieds (FTC) posters fail to properly highlight the link to their website where they can purchase tickets or, even worse, they use poor HTML which effectively hides the link. By looking at our analytics we found that the most productive links as the ones the uses clickable images to incite an action (e.g. clicking through to your website).

For those that may not be familiar with basic HTML, you can use the provided WYSIWYG editor to “hotlink” an image so that when the user clicks it, it takes them to your website. To do this, just follow the below steps.

1. Click the “Picture” button or enter Control-P.

picbutton2. Enter the URL of the Image.
enterPICURL

3.  Enter alternative Text.  This is important for SEO as the alternative text will be the anchor text that describes the link.  In this example we use, “Taylor Swift Tickets Chicago”.  Click OK.

enterPICalt

4.  Next you want to select, or highlight the code you just entered for the image so that you can make it clickable…

enterPICselect

5.  Then you want to click the hyperlink button to link the image to your URL.

enterLINKurl

6. Click OK

Now you are all done.- its that easy!  In the description field your ad will now look something like this…

example

Competing with Craigslist?

This post may be a bit unrelated to “Ticket Classifieds”, but I’ve often been asked by others who are looking to tap into the online classifieds market about what it takes to make it and can Craigslist.org be surpassed as the undisputed “King of Classifieds”. Before I delve into this question further, let’s identify some of the top online classifieds sites out there (Alexa Traffic Rank in parentheses).

  1. Craigslist.org (#38)
  2. Gumtree.com (#936)
  3. Backpage.com (#1021)
  4. Kijiji.com (#2953)
  5. Oodle.com (#3066)
  6. USFreeAds.com (#4,762)
  7. Yakaz.com (#10,083) 1.2 M
  8. Classifiedads.com (#10,263)
  9. AdlandPro.com (#10,433)
  10. Vast (#18,939)
  11. DomesticSale.com (#20,766)
  12. Recycler.com (#28,071)
  13. Sell.com (#29,400)
  14. ePage.com (#31,067)
  15. uPillar.com (#79, 591)
  16. FreeTicketClassifieds.com (#82,145)

What you notice from this list is that you have Craigslist (CL), then a huge gap between the next closest competitor.It would seem that CLs grasp on the market is pretty insurmountable until you consider the fact that Craigslist has 40+ for sale categories, 30+ Jobs categories, personals, and their forums spread across hundreds of cities. So when you consider Craigslist has at least 100 different sections in at least 100 different major cities (10,000 total sections), their 50 million monthly visitors (US) equate to roughly 5000 visitors per month, per category, per city. While that is still a fair amount of traffic and is not evenly distributed, it clearly illustrates that it is feasible to break into the market by simply focusing on a particular niche or geographic location.

Even more promising is the fact that other popular sites like GumTree.com, Backpage.com, and Oodle.com all have significant traffic spread out across the same categories and geographic locations. You take their traffic and spread it out across all their categories and cities and you are talking approximately only 200 vistors per month! While it’s important to remember that these are just averages, it just goes to show you the tremendous opportunity there is for new online classifieds websites if you focus on one niche. Remember, Craigslist started as a local classifieds site just for the San Franciscon Bay Area.

At Free Ticket Classifieds we feel we are well on our way to becoming (if we aren’t already) the “King of Ticket Classifieds” as indicated by our continued increases in traffic and growth. While the ticket categories at Craigslist may still be getting more traffic in major US cities, there is no question that we have surpassed internet giants Backpage.com, Oodle.com, Kijiji.com, and Gumtree.com. Further, our current Alexa rank of 82,145 represents traffic for roughly 1/200 of the US classified market. Factoring that in, our relative Alexa rank would be around 410! A few more months of steady growth and FreeTicketClassifieds.com is poised to take over Craigslist as the largest and most visited online ticket classifieds website.

 

 

 

Using Keywords in your Ticket Ads

It’s been a while since our last post (before the holidays) and we thought it would be time to focus today’s lesson on a simple and often overlooked technique to get your ticket ads more traffic – use good meta keywords!   Although meta keywords alone are no longer a major factor search engines consider when ranking search results, they should not be left off the page as they help direct the search engines as to what terms in your post are important. In fact, we feel they are so important they are mandatory when submitting your ticket ad.

Often overlooked, well crafted keywords can bring even more highly targeted traffic to your ticket ad!

Often overlooked, well crafted keywords can bring even more highly targeted traffic to your ticket ad!

When posting an ad it’s always a good idea to put together a mental list of the most important search terms.  When you make your list, start by looking over the ad copy on the submit ad form and ask yourself, “what terms are users likely to use when search for tickets to your event?”.  Pick  the terms that most accurately describe the event and tickets for sale and are likely to be used in internet searches.  Because of the uber-competitiveness of the current search engine placement landscape in the ticket industry, pages need to be very focused on one or two specific keyword phrases in order to have a chance to get a top ten placement.  For example, an ad about 2010 Winter Games snowboarding  and hockey tickets doesn’t have much of a chance to get high placement for either “2010 Winter Games Hockey Tickets” or “2010 Winter Games Snowboarding Tickets”.  Essentially, your keywords would have to be all over the place and this dilutes the value of each keyword.  This is why we do not allow (nor recommend) generic ads.  Each ad posted should represent a group of tickets to a specific event and your should be able to describe that with 4 keyword terms or phrases.

So now that we have covered the basics of keywords, let’s try some examples.  Let’s say you are looking to sell tickets to 2010 Winer Games Snowboarding Events- what are the key terms that best describe the event and the ticket that are for sale?  Let’s make a list and answer the 4 basic questions that are critical to ticket ads:

  • What is the event? 2010 Winter Games Snowboarding
  • When is the event? 2/15/2010
  • Where is the event? Cypress Mountain, Victoria, British Columbia
  • Where are the tickets? Category A Reserved

Now after having answered those basic questions, you have your finely tuned keyword list:  “2010 Winter Games Snowboarding, 2/15/2010, Cypress Mountain, Victoria, British Columbia, Category A Reserved”.  Now you’ve just told the search engines what are the important terms in your ad!  It’s that simple.

Converting Traffic into Ticket Sales

If you have been listing your tickets on Free Ticket Classifieds you will probably notice each ad gets quite a bit of traffic (especially if you upgraded your account to a premium membership!) thanks to our search engine optimization efforts. However, traffic does not necessarily equate to click-throughs or sales. Since roughly 85% of our traffic comes directly through search engines many ticket buyers are shopping around looking for the best deal. Since pretty much all the ticket infomation is included in the ad most buyers have no incentive to click-thourgh unless they are VERY interested in purchasing the tickets. Don’t think of this as a bad thing – essentially you are getting highly targeted traffic from visitors that are interested in purchasing tickets. Below are some tips to help you maximize click-throughs and sales:

1). List tickets at competitive prices.

Some of the tickets that get the most traffic are also the same tickets that are the most expensive. You may get a lot of traffic by posting an ad for a Taylor Swift concert but you may be much more successful selling tickets to a Weezer concert. Ultimately sales are most important so focus on actually selling tickets.

2). Put some thought and effort into each ad.

Users can usually tell which ads are posted hastily with a copy and paste template that provide little in terms of details. This is your chance to be a salesperson and tell the user why they should buy from you. Not many people have a favorable view of ticket brokers and human element can go a long way towards gaining the trust of ticket buyers.

3). Make it clear how to purchase the tickets.

People have a short attention span and will move on to other ads if you do not make it clear how to purchase the tickets. If you plan to coordinate the sale through email, encourage users to click the reply button. If you want them to follow a link, make sure the link stands out from other text in the ad description. For links, the most successful method seems to be placing a hyperlinked “Buy Now” button in the ad description. To place a button in the ad description just use the following HTML snippet:

<p><a href=”http://YOUR LINK HERE.com”><img src=”http://YOUR IMAGE LINK HERE.jpg” title=”Your title”></a></p>

If you want us to host your button image let us know and we can upload it for you.

While these suggestions have been proven to be successful it’s most important to do what works for you. Feel free to expirament with different ad copy to see what gets the best results. Ultimately, the best way to be successful is to sell a quality product and offer good service at a good price.

No Shortcuts in Making Ticket Sales

Recently a Free Ticket Classifieds (FTC) user emailed us asking if we had any way to bulk upload an entire inventory of tickets.  While this question has been asked before we thought it was a good example to illustrate why there are no shortcuts to being successful in the secondary ticket market and there is  no substitute to manually promoting your tickets and/or events at Free Ticket Classifieds.

Whether you are an affiliate marketer or a full fledged ticket broker it can be difficult to find success in such a competitive market.  Anyone that has examined the industry knows how many ticket websites come and go on a daily basis.  How can a small ticket broker compete with some of the monsters of the industry like Stubhub, Ticketsnow, LiveNation, and TicketMaster with seemingly endless budgets?  Many online ticket sellers fail because they spread themselves too thin thinking they need to promote each of the thousands of events and tickets in their inventory and lose sight of the individual sale.  This common mistake is the single largest reason many ticket websites go under and disappear.  A much better strategy is to focus on a particular niche within the secondary ticket market and work to indivdually promote specific events.

If you think of your ticket business the same way you view any retail store, you will quickly notice not many distribute large product “Sears Catalogs” anymore. These can be expensive and today’s information hungry people only want the “Cliff Notes” version.   FTC is the perfect place to begin putting out the “Cliff Notes” version of your event ticket service highlighting the special events, deals, and reasons to buy from your ticket brokerage firm.  If a ticket buyer wants the “Sears Catalog” version they should be simply going to your “Store” (ie. your website).

Bulk listing tickets does not make good marketing sense nor does it make sense from a search engine optimization standpoint.  Not only will snippets from your inventory be treated as duplicate content by the search engines, it will also serve to dilute the impact of each ticket listed at FTC (or anywhere).  How will the search engines know what is important?

The most effective way to let both the consumer and the search engines (SEs) know what is important is to manually listing tickets at FTC .  By doing so you are telling the SEs and the consumer, “Hey , this is important”.  Bulk listing tickets is likely to make the consumer and the search engines tune out your claims that this is important (afterall you can’t have 10,000 tickets that everyone must see).