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13 Event Promo Code Ideas for Driving Event Attendance

Discover how to increase event registrations with creative promo code ideas. From seasonal deals, flash sales, and #fridayfeeling Twitter campaigns—learn the best tricks to maximize event ROI.

What Are Event Promo Codes?

Deals, deals, deals—sometimes it’s just too hard to resist. Have you ever checked your inbox and seen a flash sale for your favorite brand or a flight to a balmy, far-away destination? Great promotions can push buyers into a brand new pair of jeans or the next round trip to Bali.

In the event marketing world, promos and discount codes work in the same way. They break down barriers to a potential sale, build momentum, and ultimately drive registrations for events. From the event organizer’s perspective, creative promotions are essential for driving registrations. As the sixth most stressful job in 2019, event coordinators have a lot on their mind—losing registrations and event attendance shouldn’t be one of them.

So fear not, event heroes! Promo codes are limitless: from early bird promos, to flash sales, and social campaigns, there are a variety of ways to generate buzz and amplify your next event. 

Promotions & Ticket Segmentation

Event promotions are a key driver for event registrations, but if used correctly they can also be a great way to segment your attendee audiences. By combining specific ticket types and promotions, you can build more targeted and effective event promotion strategies that boost your ability to personalize each attendee’s event experience.

For example, before brainstorming fun promo code campaigns, start by building different ticket types like VIPs, Sponsors, Limited-Access Passes, Day Passes, and General Admissions for your registration flow. 

You can complement these ticket types with more relevant promo codes and promotions at different times during the registration period. Add in robust analytics and reporting and you’ve got a recipe for measuring event ROI

13 Event Promotion Ideas for Driving Event Attendance

Once you have your ticket types ironed out, check out our top 13 promo code and promo code-inspired ideas. You'll be able to troubleshoot your event ticket slumps and ensure your next event is packed with happy attendees.

1. Seasonal Promo Codes

One of the most effective ways to drive ticket sales is a seasonal promotion. Shaving 15-30% off the ticket price during a holiday promo is a very effective way to generate both revenue and attendance. Check the calendar to see if your next event is running up to a specific holiday and create a relevant promo campaign that registrants can apply to their ticket.

Example: One software company used a seasonal sale during a holiday weekend and, according to anonymously pulled data from Bizzabo, generated $15K in total ticket sales from that promotion. Below is an example of how to incorporate a holiday into a fun, event promo code to drive event registrations.

Promo code ideas - holiday promo codesSource: Bizzabo

2. Flash Sale Promo Codes

Event tickets naturally sell during two periods: the moment ticket sales begin and immediately before the opening of an event. It’s that middle buying period where event tire kickers languish. Don’t get caught in ticket-selling doldrums. Create a series of time-sensitize discount codes and build urgency for buyers who would otherwise wait out the eleventh hour to register. 

Example: For Optimizely’s upcoming event Opticon19, the team created a flash sale banner on the event landing page to drive registrations.

Promo code ideas - flash sale promosSource: Optimizely Opticon

3. Customer Promo Codes

Spread some love to your customers! A special code for your users and brand advocates is a great way to surprise and delight. Customer-specific promo codes not only help boost event attendance, but also increase your customer satisfaction scores. Another plus is that your prospects can network with current users and customers while in line for coffee or while walking the event hall. 

Example: For Gainsight’s Pulse 2019, the team gamified a customer promotion campaign with a competition within their Gainsight community. The contest focused on finding the most helpful Gainsight Community members and was a race to help other users solve feature and product related issues. The winners received a promo code for 50% off their Pulse 2019 Ticket. 

Promo code ideas - customer promo codesSource: Gainsight Community

4. Sponsor/Exhibitor Promo Codes

Sponsor promo codes are a fantastic way to amp up the sponsor experience and round out an engaging and valuable event partnership strategy. Your sponsors share the same goal of making investments and attracting the right attendees to your event. By creating individual promo codes your sponsors can use, you enable them to attract a wider net of prospective attendees. 

Tip: Try building promo codes into your event sponsor packages. Promo codes can be tiered by sponsor packages and can help increase sponsor revenue. 

Example: During CoinDesk’s flagship conference Consensus, sponsors like Particl were able to share instructions on how their customers could snag a discount code.

Promo code ideas - sponsor promo codesSource: Particl on Medium

5. Speaker Guest Promo Codes

Your speakers are a big draw to your event—they bring thought leadership, branding, and inspirational content. Give your speaker plus-ones a promotional deal for a general ticket or create a unique speaker-only Guest Pass that makes your speaker and their guests feel welcomed. 

Example: As Bizzabo users, you can create an invisible ticket in the registration process that unlocks only when purchasing a Speaker ticket. Similar to a promo code, this method allows your Speakers to purchase a plus-one ticket at a marked down price or as a complimentary pass.

Promo code ideas - Bizzabo invisible tickets promo code ideas-minSource: Bizzabo

Curious to see how Bizzabo and other Event Management platforms can help you build your upcoming events and drive registrations? Check out the Event Software Buyers Guide for in-depth comparisons of the top platforms.

Compare the leading event platforms with our 2019 Buyer's Guide

6. Social Referral Codes

Some businesses thrive exclusively on referral clients. Take advantage of that referral business by giving your attendees a way to drive more registrants through the gates.

Pro tip: Bizzabo offers Ticket Boost, which is a great feature event organizers can offer ticket holders. Once a ticket is purchased, Ticket Boost gives ticket holders a chance to share a discount code on social media to snag additional discounts, bring friends, and amplify your event.

Promo code ideas - Social referral promo codesSource: Bizzabo

7. Prospective Customer Promo Codes

Prospective customers can be pretty jaded in the sales process. Thankfully, events offer a refreshing way to connect with your brand at a human level. A nice promo code for your future customers provides them with a wonderful incentive to say hello to your team, demo your product, and engage with inspiring and relevant content that interests them. Let your prospective customers know you’re invested in their success by offering promos or limited-time offers that get them in the door.

Example: A B2B company offered a specific promo code for future customers that ultimately helped bring prospects and their client-facing team of sales reps, product experts, and account managers together during their flagship event. Below is an example of a promo code for your prospective customers.

Promo code ideas - Prospective customer promo codesSource: Bizzabo

8. Early Bird Promotions

Early Bird Promos are great for two reasons: they help your ticket sales hit the ground running and boost your event launch as your market to attendees. Something as simple as an email campaign sent to your last event’s attendees and registrants can ignite interest in your coming event. Below is an example of a simple Early Bird promo code.

Promo code ideas - Early Bird PromotionsSource: Bizzabo

Example: Another option, is to go the route of Adobe Summit 2020. The team at Adobe Summit prepared an Early bird registration promotion for their event in Las Vegas. This is a great way to give early access to some of your most avid event goers and fans.

Promo code ideas - Early Bird promotionsSource: Adobe Summit

9. Internal Promo Codes

Time to rally the troops! Getting internal buy-in is key for a successful event launch. A fun and effective way to get your company invested in event success is to create unique codes for your sales, marketing, client services, or product teams. They can then share with their network or—for your sales team—with their book of business. 

Tip: Gamify your internal promo codes to get people excited. Add in a prize for the sales rep or team member that delivers the most registrations to help incentivize their promo code use. Below is an example of how to create promo codes for each individual member of your sales team. 

Promo Code Ideas - Sales Rep Promo CodesSource:Bizzabo

Example: For Bizzabo users, creating Bulk Promo Codes is a great way to incentivize your team to drive ticket sales and attendance. With Bizzabo, you can generate any number of unique promo codes for each member of your team and track the numbers of tickets sold with each promo code.

Promo code ideas - Bulk Promo Codes Source: Bizzabo

10. Student Promo Codes

If your event audience includes students and educators or if your event happens to be near a local campus, make sure to include a sweet deal for students and faculty. For media events or B2B events that focus on education, this is the perfect promo code type to attract your target audience.

Example: Cult favorite SXSW created a discount for students and faculty members and shared the news on Twitter. This allowed educators and students to access a fully immersive experience at a globally recognized event.

Promo code ideas - Student promo codesSource: SXSW Twitter

11. Promo Codes for Nonprofits

Don’t forget to include nonprofits that are looking for a spot at your big bash! For companies that target nonprofits as a key customer or audience, this is a great way to generate interest from the public sector.

Example: In 2016, Salesforce posted a promo for Nonprofits interested in going to their flagship Dreamforce event. 

Promo code ideas - dreamforce - Nonprofit promosSource: Salesforce Twitter

12. Social Media Promotion Campaigns

When in doubt, social is one of the most effective channels to promote your next event and share across audiences. For Twitter, leverage an existing hashtag or create your own and build out a promotional contest where potential attendees can snag a ticket.

Example: For Hubspot’s flagship event INBOUND, the team had a fun campaign for the trending hashtag #fridayfeeling to find any person with the name Jennifer. While this social campaign didn’t specifically include a promo code, INBOUND gave those with the namesake the chance to win a pass to see the actress turned entrepreneur/INBOUND19 speaker, Jennifer Garner!

Promo code ideas - Social media promotional campaignsSource: Twitter

13. Track Your Promo Code Performance

Promo codes build momentum, delight customers and prospective customers alike, and generate positive energy and excitement around your event. Demonstrate that your promo codes and promotional campaigns make for a business win by finding the right tools to track and analyze your performance.

Example: With Bizzabo, users can generate revenue reports that include promo code types for performance tracking as well as the option to view analytics that give visibility to promo code attribution to your gross revenue. 

Promo_code_ideas_track you promo codes-minSource: Bizzabo

Wrapping Up: The right promo code campaign for your next event

Promo codes are an easy and effective way to drive registrations for your event. Use the most relevant promotions that will help boost registrations and keep your attendees engaged as they gear up for your event.

Here are our three main takeaways:

  • Find the target audience: Create unique ticket types for different attendees allowing you to segment your promo codes accordingly.
  • Make sure the time is right: An early bird sale and a flash sale come up at different times in the sales cycle. Pinpoint the areas where you’re seeing a slump in sales and target your promos accordingly to minimize buyer paralysis.
  • Don’t forget Twitter: Social is a powerful tool for event organizers. Leverage hashtags, ticket boost (for Bizzabo users), and influencers to supercharge your event momentum and bring the noise. 

Feeling pumped about your next event? Check out Bizzabo’s IN-PERSON Podcast to see how other event leaders are building their event strategies and get a behind-the-scenes scoop on the people that make events happen. 

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