Marketing Meetup Recap: “Marketing With Eventbrite”

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On Thursday, November 21, the American Booksellers Association presented a Marketing Meetup that focused on how booksellers can market their events using Eventbrite. Guest speakers included Jorge Portillo of Eventbrite; Jill Hendrix of Fiction Addiction; and John Ganiard of Literati Bookstore.

Here are some of Portillo’s key points:

  • Eventbrite has three features that are useful for marketing. They are:

    • Embedded Checkout, which allows booksellers to take the Eventbrite experience from the service’s website to their e-commerce site using a simple widget that takes customers directly to the order screen. This decreases the number of steps it takes to purchase tickets by keeping them on the store’s e-commerce site, which can increase how many tickets are sold. Since implementing, Eventbrite has seen a 30 percent increase in ticket buying.
    • Eventbrite Buy on Facebook, which is a similar concept to Embedded Checkout. For this, the widget goes on the store’s Facebook page instead of its e-commerce site. The purchased ticket appears in Facebook and can be used in Facebook. Tickets can also be sold through Instagram.
    • Eventbrite Promote, which is now called Paid Social Ads. It allows booksellers to use Eventbrite’s partnership with ToneDen, which offers an easier way to build campaigns within Facebook. The program is dynamic in that it understands when certain audiences and campaigns are working better, and then it automatically reallocates the resources directly within the Facebook experience so that booksellers are marketing to people who respond to their campaigns. This is a paid feature, but there is an option for a 150-day free trial.
  • Eventbrite also offers different types of discounts for tickets. Access codes, only viewable through the back end of Eventbrite, can allow a hidden/VIP ticket to appear for people who enter the code or present public discounts that are programmed to surface at a specific time.

Here are some of Hendrix’s key points:

  • Fiction Addiction originally used their POS for ticketing needs, but began using Eventbrite in June. So far, the store has been pleased with the service.

    • The store rolled it out in stages because there were lots of details and nuances that need to be figured out, said Hendrix. She wouldn’t recommend jumping right into it, but instead to think through the whole process first because for her store, events touch every aspect of the business. This means that things such as bookkeeping, customer service training, and sales need to be taken into consideration.
  • Since using Eventbrite, Fiction Addiction has sold out two events in-store, which means there hasn’t been a decrease in ticket purchases since taking on the service. The store uses it for almost all of its events, including free ones, but it doesn’t use it for partnerships, such as events the store might have with libraries where it is not allowed to sell tickets.
  • Fiction Addiction currently uses the Facebook widget, which has seemed to promote ease of sale.
  • Constant Contact integration has helped standardize details for an event across mailings, the ticket, and social media. This means that Fiction Addiction doesn’t have to worry that there’s a typo for the date or time on one channel of communication.
  • The store switched to Eventbrite for the ability to track Facebook ads. Fiction Addiction’s website does not allow for tracking Facebook ads all the way to the purchase of the ticket, so this feature is useful for Hendrix.
  • When the store first started hosting events, it offered a gift certificate with ticket purchase instead of a book; this can still be done using Eventbrite.
  • Those who have questions can contact Hendrix, who offers coaching and consulting for booksellers, at

Here are some of Ganiard’s key points:

  • Literati has been using Eventbrite for two full seasons of its offsite literary events series, including bundled and tiered ticketing options. During slower event times, it will also host a learning series of classes with local artisans, curators, and instructors.
  • The store made the switch to Eventbrite because it wanted to integrate ticket sales with its website and Facebook page. Eventbrite also directs traffic to the store’s website and its Instagram page.
  • Ganiard recommends that booksellers familiarize themselves with all of the features of Eventbrite, especially on the customer-facing end.
  • Users can host a test event to familiarize themselves with the process. Eventbrite customer service is helpful for setting this up.
  • Literati also uses Eventbrite’s mobile app, Eventbrite Organizer, which allows the store to scan tickets and see attendees check in live as well as keep track of their inventory; knowing who has checked in can make getting books to those who missed the event much easier.
  • In terms of how the store prices its tickets, it has a one book, one ticket policy. The ticket price is usually the price of the book with tax. If there are extra costs associated with the event, such as the cost of the venue, Literati will add a small surcharge to round the price out. For example, a $29.95 ticket will become $30 to help offset that cost.

    • While the store has had some pushback in regard to the ticket/book bundle, it has explained to customers that there’s usually a signing in some capacity at these events, and a signed edition makes a great gift.
  • Ganiard recommended figuring out the fee structure, as well as other ticketing policies, in advance and to stay consistent with it to avoid customer pushback.
  • Booksellers should also start small and ticket an in-store event, such as something for Epic Reads, as it’s a low-pressure environment that will help booksellers learn the ins and outs of the service.

Eventbrite is among the many affinity partnerships ABA has developed to help offer booksellers discounted products, services, and business opportunities. To get started with Eventbrite, ABA member booksellers should fill out this form.

Recorded Marketing Meetups can be found on the American Booksellers Association’s Education Resources page. Booksellers must be logged in to to view the recording of the session.

The American Booksellers Association now offers two opportunities for live online education: a twice-monthly Marketing Meetup and a monthly Technology Meetup. All member booksellers are invited to participate in these online discussions; subscribe to the mailing list here to receive invitations for the Technology Meetups, Marketing Meetups, or both.