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Live Events - How to Sell More Tickets Online

Increase your tickets sales online simply and easily by putting the right offer in front of the customer at the right time. Timing is everything, you want to incentivize ticket purchase, but not if they are going to buy anyway right?

The below is an example of a live event that took place in 2019, the Ecommerce Expo Budapest. We walk you through the entire process and the buildup to the event effectively showing you how to increase ticket sales online. 

It’s simple just follow what the Ecommerce Expo did and you can also achieve:


decrease in cart abandonment rate


of buyers interested in upselling offer



Hungary, Europe


Ecommerce Expo Budapest is intended to provide a contact point and a great opportunity to network for all the participants of local ecommerce and any SMBs interested in online retailing. The 4th Ecommerce Expo attracted 2,000+ attendees in 2019 where 40+ parallel sessions were held in 5 rooms, while 50+ suppliers provided their best deals at the exhibition hall.

Table of Contents

Challenges in event marketing

Have you ever organized a live seminar, a thought-leadership conference, or even an international expo with thousands of open-minded attendees?

If so, you know that getting up and running is tough.

Putting together a team, determining your budget, finalizing dates, securing a venue space, planning sessions – you’re managing a lot… There are countless steps to take before your tickets go on sale.

And here’s where the real challenges just start.

According to Eventbride, the number one challenge faced by event creators is reaching new attendees. However, if you raise awareness successfully and there is a pulsating interest in your event, it doesn’t mean that you can move forward…

Securing event registrations can be a REAL challenge.

Visme’s statistics show that increasing event registrations is the biggest challenge for 36% of event marketers, while 29% of them say that increasing revenue from events is another pain point.

Selling tickets online means that there’s always room for improvement to optimize the conversion rate of your website and to monetize existing website visitors – who already show some level of interest in your event.

As ecommerce has grown, one thing remains the same: the majority of visitors don’t make a purchase when they visit your website.

As a website owner, event manager, or marketer, I’m sure you’ve seen this for yourself. You can feel pretty helpless pouring money into ad campaigns and content creation, seeing traffic, but not getting the results you’d like.

If you find yourself facing any of these challenges, don’t worry, you’re not alone… instead, keep reading and check out how Ecommerce Expo Budapest was able to get their sales back on track and kickstart their growth strategy with 5 simple on-site message campaigns.

Tip #1: Recover cart abandoners by creating a sense of urgency

Even if online sellers spend millions to drive traffic, buyers abandon carts. It’s normal. On average, 7 out of 10 visitors who add an item to their cart will leave without buying.

Although it’s a huge problem for online retailers, it also provides a significant opportunity to generate more sales. Once a visitor leaves items behind, it doesn’t mean that the sale is gone. Just make sure you care about abandoners.

That’s why the team behind Ecommerce Expo Budapest decided to target those visitors who are about to leave their cart.

A simple notification that appeared on exit intent was enough to recover 23% of abandoning visitors:

As Ecommerce Expo Budapest uses tiered pricing, providing 40% off is the strongest persuasive element of this offer. However, they also created a sense of urgency by communicating that this special ‘Super Early Bird’ discount won’t be available forever.

Fostering a sense of urgency by setting limitations is a very effective way to overcome procrastination. When you give shoppers time to think, they’ll delay in making their purchase. If this delay happens for long enough, they might not make a purchase at all. Don’t let this happen to you, check out these 20+ tips to increase the sense of urgency.

After getting a deeper insight into their offer, now take a closer look at the settings of this popup.

All of the OptiMonk popups are responsive, so this campaign appeared both on desktop and mobile when visitors – who spent at least 60 seconds on the site – were about to leave without buying. 

To make sure, only the cart abandoners are targeted, they excluded those visitors who had seen the order confirmation page and the popup only appeared on the cart and checkout pages.


To avoid annoying visitors, this popup only appeared a maximum number of 3 times per visitor, with at least 1 hour between two appearances.

The same offer was used later, in the ‘Early Bird’ period, with similar results: almost 25% of abandoning visitors changed their mind and continued the checkout process.

The formula is simple.

Everyone loves to save money, and offering limited discounts is one of the most effective ways to encourage customers to buy. For a customer to take advantage of the lower price, they have to buy soon.

Tip #2: Use a ‘ticking clock’ before a price increase

There is nothing more urgent than having a ‘ticking clock’ counting down the minutes and seconds to the deadline. Having a countdown timer can really ratchet up the tension and encourage shoppers to take the plunge.

This psychological effect can be perceived on this nanobar that appeared on the top of 1 week before the Early Bird pricing went away:


This slight nanobar can work as a healthy part of the website, so it’s worth showing it permanently. To avoid disturbing those visitors who have already made a decision, the nanobar didn’t appear on cart and checkout pages:

This ‘ticking clock’ of urgency was a constant reminder to the visitors of the event website telling them to ‘Buy Now’. It can be an effective tactic for you as well if you want to boost your sales at the last moment.

Tip #3: Retarget early-stage visitors before it’s too late

To attract a relevant audience, Ecommerce Expo Budapest started blogging. Writing about topics that can be interesting for online store owners can help them promote their expo to people who are more likely to buy a ticket.

However, despite the fact that they published new articles regularly, their blog wasn’t directing a satisfactory amount of referral traffic to the main website. After reading an exciting blog post, a lot of potential buyers left the site without buying.

This obstacle can occur often.

For this reason, event marketing essentially includes ‘retargeting’ to keep the brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. That’s where Google or Facebook remarketing ads come in.

However, 90% of potential buyers cannot be reached effectively 1 hour after the abandonment.

So what you can do to reach 100% of visitors who didn’t convert?

Retarget them right BEFORE they leave your site.

That’s why the marketers at Ecommerce Expo Budapest created a general on-site message campaign that retargeted the blog visitors:

This popup appeared to both desktop and mobile visitors who have spent at least 45 seconds on the website. By excluding the visitors of their sales pages, they could target the blog visitors easily.


This on-site retargeting campaign was able to recover 14.5% of their (almost) lost visitors – so they got a second chance to convince these potential buyers to make a purchase.

Tip #4: Increase your order value with upselling

Driving new sales is not the only way of increasing revenues and profit. Nay, nay!

You can also boost your revenue by increasing your average transaction value – the average amount a customer spends on your site. Here’s where the upselling techniques come into play.

To convince a customer to spend more, Ecommerce Expo Budapest promoted an irresistible package deal. This popup appeared to visitors who have added at least 1 ticket into their cart:


The key success factor of this campaign is the proper use of cart rules. It only appeared on the cart page if the cart contained 1 or 2 items.


Promoting further products for free is a great way to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

You only need to be sure to provide something valuable to your customers when using this technique. Sending a free item of low-quality to a customer who purchased an expensive high-quality item can do more harm than good.

In the case of Ecommerce Expo Budapest, 30.4% of the buyers went back to the cart to add more tickets – which is a great achievement.

Tip #5: Build healthy email list to promote your event 

As email marketing is still one of the most effective ways of connecting with leads, nurturing them, and turning them into customers, not surprisingly, most ticket buyers of Ecommerce Expo Budapest usually come from email campaigns.

For this reason, they pay a special attention to maintaining a healthy email list that contains thousands of potential buyers who can be real attendees in the future.

Well, offering your prospects a free giveaway is one of the best ways to make them sign up to your newsletter – because everyone loves FREE.

We’ve seen conversion rates double and even triple when free shipping or a free giveaway like an eBook are used as incentives. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot of time or money either. A free eBook or white paper can be written in a few hours and goes a long way to show your visitors that you value them. In return, they will reward you by signing up for your list.

After promoting a free eBook previously, Ecommerce Expo Budapest decided to share the recording of last year’s top 6 presentations with the new email subscribers – outside the campaign period.

To make their promotion successful, they used a dedicated landing page that explained it’s worth and how to get access to the presentations. After clicking on the CTA button of this landing page, the following fullscreen appeared:

So this OptiMonk campaign has worked as a ‘lightbox form’.

When a visitor clicked on a special element of the dedicated landing page (= a CTA button on a banner), the fullscreen popup appeared on all devices. All of the new subscribers were forwarded to the Expo’s MailChimp account:

As this campaign was live outside the campaign period, it was intended to monetize their low organic traffic and collect new email subscribers before launching the agenda of the next event. 

During this short period of just a couple of weeks, they generated 90 new subscribers out of 790 impressions – which is 11.4% conversion rate.

5 key takeaways from Ecommerce Expo Budapest

1. 25% of cart abandoners can be saved by creating a sense of urgency before they leave

2. Using a ‘ticking clock’ before a price increase can supercharge ticket sales

3. You can turn 14% of blog visitors into potential buyers with a simple traffic redirection campaign

4. Promoting a package deal can help you earn more by increasing the average order value

5. A healthy email list is essential in event marketing – start promoting a free giveaway if you haven’t started yet

Why Ecommerce Expo Budapest chose OptiMonk

"I've been creating popups with OptiMonk for 5+ years. This is one of the best marketing software that I use continuously. I can't imagine the promotion of eCommerce Expo without OptiMonk - it not only helps our teaser campaign by getting new email subscribers but also boosts the direct ticket sales. Highly recommended!"


The campaigns used by Ecommerce Expo Budapest prove that it’s not enough to communicate the special ‘Super Early Bird’ and ‘Early Bird’ discounts during the ticket sales. You need to care about both the early-stage visitors – who are not ready to buy yet – and the hottest prospects with some tickets in their cart.

As we can see, using some well-timed popups and nanobars on your site helps raise awareness, reduce cart abandonment and increase cart value as well.

With these 5 campaigns above, Ecommerce Expo Budapest managed to save 25% of cart abandoners, collect almost 100 new subscribers in downtime with zero spending on marketing and get a second chance to convince 30.4% of buyers to spend more!

Congratulations, guys! 

Vanda Guba, the lead organizer of Ecommerce Expo Budapest, and the OptiMonk team in January, 2019

If you as well would like to achieve such great results, why no try OptiMonk? You can easily create a free account. Or if you already have an account, just sign in.

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