Ticket Prices: How Do You Set Them for Your Next Event?

Not sure how much you should charge? There’s a simple process to figuring that out, and I outline exactly how to decide what to price your tickets at in this post!

I see you over there.

Struggling hard to find out if your event is priced appropriately.

Unsure whether or not you’re going to take a bath on your event or totally hit the lottery.

Scared that you totally forgot something that may or may not blow your budget?

Listen, I get it. Pricing tickets for an event can be hard, especially if you don’t really know what your break even cost is. But even if you have a general idea ($50 per person for food, $1000 for the venue, $300 for a projector, $100 for printed worksheets), you can still totally blow your ticket pricing and end up making far less than you would (or converting the WRONG kinds of clients).

That’s why today, I wanted to fill you in on the three things to consider when you’re preparing the pricing for your event, and one thing to DEFINITELY remember when you’re setting those ticket prices live!

What are your event goals?

Ugh, I basically write this in every post, so instead of just asking you to “brainstorm it and write them down” (still do that if you haven’t because DUH, YOU NEED GOALS), I’m going to help you figure out which goals to aim for and what to do about them.

If your goal is to increase conversions on your higher level coaching or products, then you’re going to want to keep ticket prices pretty available to the people who REALLY need your services, but you’re also not going to want it to be so open that you attract the wrong types of clientele who may just be looking for a free session. The tricky part with this is that most people who want to invest in your higher level stuff are going to need to pay SOMETHING of a price in order to feel like your content is valuable, but if they spend their education budget on your workshop or event, they may not be planning on working with you more intimately than outside this one event.

If your goal is to turn a profit only, then you’re going to aim for 20% - 50% of profit on top of your COGS (that’s “cost of goods sold”) which is basically the raw cost for any single person to come to the event (all your expenses, per person). This means that you’re going to show up and DELIVER your best stuff, and charge accordingly. This event should basically be a place where your attendees get something that they can’t get anywhere else...you’re leaving it ALL on the floor for them here (I’d argue that you should do that anyway, but imagine that this event is your creme de la creme of students PLUS your creme de la creme of content all rolled into one HIGH IMPACT, HIGH COST package).

If your goal is to build a community that you can eventually leverage in a different way, then you should make your events accessible to that community, which means *gasp* losing money on an event. Or breaking even. OR treating it as a way to market your business and build relationships with potential future clients. This option is USUALLY the best bet for those of you who are just getting started with your business or with high end services, so building a community first is going to be a great way to get started with leveraging a network to eventually be clients or customers.

And inevitably, what 9/10 of you are going to tell me is that you have all of these goals! And can’t you create an event that does all of these things? And you know of X person who did Y thing and came out with Z results and if they can do it why can’t you?

Because you can’t have 3 goals that target VERY different subsets of your market and be happy with the outcome. It’s just not going to lead you to a very proud, happy place after your event. Because you WON’T get to all three if you’re focusing on all three. So pick ONE, and get moving.

Want my detailed budget template for finding out your break even number of tickets? Click below to enter your info and snag it! 

What are your other streams of income?

This may not seem important BUT IT TOTALLY IS. If you’re only relying on ticket sales to fund your event (and if you are, you should read about other ways to make money on your event), then you need to consider that you have to be pretty focused on making sure you sell tickets to cover your event costs (which is a little unpredictable).

However, if you’re working with sponsors or vendor booths, or you’re planning on converting attendees into clients, then you have a little more wiggle room with your budget. My rule of thumb is to do everything you can to make sure your basic event costs are covered by your ticket price and then everything beyond that can be profit or be put toward fun event-based surprises.

I always, always recommend having at least 2 streams of income for larger events (sponsorship + tickets, tickets + booth sales, booth sales + sponsorships, etc.), but for smaller events, you may be reliant on ticket sales alone. Plan your costs accordingly.

What is your break even cost (roughly)?

This is a HUGE thing that most people don’t think to do because they don’t know how to. Never fear! I’ve created a budget template that you can download and it will tell you your break even number. How cool is that? Download it below!

But before you do that, I want to explain to you WHY your break even number is so important:

Because your break even cost will tell you a VERY important piece of information about whether or not you should even host your event.

Yep, I said it. You may or may not be hosting your event, and it all depends on what happens if you don’t hit your break even number.

Sometimes, if we are 2 months out from an event and we’re not even close to our break even number, I’ll talk to my clients about possibly reframing the event to the audience, creating some new goals for the event (an intimate experience for high touch clients, or something else if it’s going to be small), or even not running the event at all.

I know, I know, it’s not ideal BUT if you really don’t feel like you’re going to be able to show up and deliver your event, then I’d highly, highly recommend canceling it, and refunding the money. Sure, you may take a hit, but sometimes it’s better to lose a little bit of money than to not be able to deliver an event (that said, if you still CAN deliver the event and not go broke, then you should do it as a learning experience! But this note is really to encourage those people who may feel too scared to cancel an event. People cancel events all the time for thousands of reasons! You’re not the first and you won’t be the last!).

I don’t want you to go in the hole on your next event so, enter your info below to grab my sample event budget template! 

AND PLEASE! One thing I definitely don’t want you to forget is this:

Someone will ALWAYS complain that your event is too expensive and someone will always tell you that it’s a not expensive enough! Even if 100,000 people tell you that you need to charge more, that ONE person who says it’s too expensive?

That person isn’t your audience.

Your turn! What’s the one thing that concerns you about setting your event’s ticket prices?

Need to make sure you haven’t forgotten any line items for your next event? Click below to grab my Sample Budget Template that I use with all my clients!