The Ultimate guide to your events special offers

This is not the first time we touch on the subject of Special offers and it won’t be the last. Their importance cannot be overstated – they can be one of the most powerful tools for increasing your event sales. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to make the best of this marketing technique and reach your goals, as well as avoid the potential downsides of using them.

What’s a Special Offer

This wouldn’t be an ultimate guide if we didn’t first explain what a special offer is and does as far events are concerned. Basically it’s any kind of sales promotion – discounts, coupons, freebies, prizes, etc. Special offers help attract new customers, retain previous event participants, and in many cases help counteract the competition, thus increasing the number of registrations for your event.

What Makes an Offer ‘Special’

What makes a sale promotion ‘special’ is that delicate balance, where both your organization and the potential customer benefit from an actual purchase. There are 4 main aspects of a Special offer you need to consider:

1. Define a goal for your special offer. What do you want to achieve with your special offer? Normally you’d want to acquire new customers, reward your existing customers, or simply increase your event revenue. Once you define the goal you’re ready to decide on how to meet it.

2. Calculate its profitability – as stated above you need to give good value, but without sacrificing profitability margins. This is probably the most important part of creating the special offer. It requires some calculations on your side to make sure the offer is healthy for your event revenue.

3. Make it attractive – when we say attractive we don’t mean flashy ‘SALE’ signs (although they do help). Your customers will always know a good value offer when they see it. And they will always know a bad one! Your special offers should never be in the latter category. If you have doubts that your offer isn’t attractive – it probably is not good enough. Either rethink it or don’t make it at all. Just don’t make it too attractive to the point where it becomes unprofitable!

4. Give it some exclusivity – a special offer works best when it has an element of exclusivity. This is achieved by limiting your offer in one way or another – making it a timed offer, setting a maximum number of times it can be used, seasonal sales, returning customer promo codes, etc. Exclusivity is always good!

Addressing these 4 aspects properly is key to making a great Special offer. There are a number of ways you can utilize special offers for your event registration process so that it benefits not only the paying customer, but also your revenue.

Special Offer Examples and How They Work

2-for-1 offers

2-for-1 offers are very popular as they are an excellent way to increase conversions and bring more people aboard. Unless you are certain to reach the maximum capacity for your event, you will definitely want to consider this option. There’s nothing more sad than a half-empty (or half-full, if like us, you like to look on the bright side of life) event hall. Keep in mind the 2-for-1 offer equates to a 50% ticket discount, so if you don’t expect problems with low attendance numbers, that kind of discount might be a bit high and you may want to go for a different Special offer type.

Example: Web Summit set a limited number of 2-for-1 tickets for this year’s edition of the event and they sold out before their General Tickets even went on sale.


Free upgrade offers

This is a straight up offer that gives participants more value for their money, so as long as such an upgrade doesn’t mean more expenses for your organization, by all means consider it a good option. Especially when it’s not directly tied to an actual discount. There’s a whole lot of people who’d jump at the chance to get a VIP pass for the conference, or watch the concert from the best seats in the house, or receive a business ticket and all at the price of a regular ticket.

Free t-shirt / book / anything

Everybody loves a freebie. Again an increased value proposition without an actual discount. Such an offer can be a good motivator and trigger a purchase for those participants that are still in two minds about registering for your event. This gets particularly budget-friendly when the freebies are provided by one of your event partners – you get more registrations, participants are happy with their gifts, and the event partners get some extra publicity.



10% volume discount

You should always keep an eye on what the average amount of tickets per order is. By creating a Special offer that gives a discount for every order with more than the average number of tickets you are essentially pushing towards increased order sizes and more sales. If for example you see people tend to buy 2 tickets per order more often, you can create a 10% discount for 3 or more tickets.

Registration Design Content Conference 2015

20% limited time offer

Percentage discounts for a limited time are always a very strong special offer. They generate urgency in potential buyers and in most cases trigger a sale. The % off the price can be lower or higher than the one suggested in this example, but 20% is generally considered to be just about right.


50 EUR voucher

One of the strongest performers from these examples. People often see discounts based on a set amount as a form of credit and makes them want to use that credit on an actual purchase. Obviously the set amount can vary according to the price of your tickets and as long as it’s an attractive offer, the potential buyer will see amazing value in registering for your event.

Pre-launch offer

You can use a pre-launch offer before the start of the actual ticket sales. Ask your event website visitors to subscribe to your newsletter if they are interested in attending. In return you will send them a promotional code with a discount. As an added bonus these offers can be utilized to generate some buzz around your event and peak the potential buyer’s interest in it.


Holiday sale offers

Holidays are always a good time to announce a promotional sale because the customer is hungry for a good deal and essentially more willing to spend money. In many cases the savvy buyer will be waiting for such a special offer to pop up on your site so they can register for your event at a better price.

Meeting their expectations will go a long way towards retaining these customers in the future, generating a positive vibe around the event, and improving your brand’s image. Be aware though, that this kind of Special offer can be somewhat predictable and overusing it might cause your sales outside of the promotional periods to suffer, if your customers learn to anticipate them.

Unfinished registrations offers

A powerful technique to bringing back people who didn’t complete the registration process for some reason. In Weemss you have the option to export all unfinished registrations for that very reason – so you can contact anyone who didn’t go through the whole registration process and maybe offer them the chance to do so at a reduced price. Send them a promo code with a 10% or 20% discount that’s only active for the next 24 hours and convert them to event participants fast and easy.


Loyal Customer offers

This one obviously requires you to have a database of people who usually attend your events, which you really, really should! A lot of event registration solutions out there don’t let you to retain all data after an event. These databases are essential if you’re in the events business and helps build strong relationships with your customers and with your event partners and sponsors. Then you can send them a promo code with a ticket discount to show how much you value them.


Some Words of Advice

As you can see creating a great special offer is definitely not rocket science. However it’s important to understand that there are dangers to using promotional sales without a strategic approach. A special offer will always give good value to the event participant, but obviously that won’t necessarily mean a good piece of business for your organization. Here are some potential CONS you need to be aware of before coming up with your Special offers strategy:

– risk of devaluing the event experience
– decreased profitability
– lower sales outside of promotional periods
– possibility of damaging the brand

You must set a clear goal, do the simple maths, consider your brand and its target audience and always plan your Special offers carefully. Do this and your profits will skyrocket!

Your Event Sales Turbo-Charged by Weemss

Nearly every design decision and feature in Weemss works so that you can sell more tickets than ever – amazing number of localization options, powerful marketing tools, fully responsive registration forms optimized for sales and so on. Because our success is tied to yours the marketing features are based on the latest statistics and reports and all the best-in-business techniques that lead to higher conversion rates. Get started with Weemss – it’s free and it will change the way you create, promote, sell, and manage events!

To learn all about pricing and selling event tickets, check out our brilliant (and free) guide: The Absolute Guide to Pricing and Selling Event Tickets.


Featured image: Ryan McGuire, Gratisography licensed under CC0