Getting people to come to free seminars at a university can be difficult. So I am trying the web based ticket sales system "Eventbrite" for my talk "MOOCs with Books" on 8 July at ANU. It may seem unnecessary to issue tickets for a free event where there are usually plenty of seats. But the ticket system's website provides a useful way to promote an event. Also potential attendees may feel more commitment to the event if they have been issued with a "ticket", even though there is no financial penalty for not turning up.
It was relatively simple registering the event in the web based system. As the event is free, there is no charge for using the system (a commission is charged on credit card sales). After entering the event details I selected the option to have the event promoted in an email newsletter and on social media. So far 12 tickets have been issued. This may not sound a lot, but it is for a university talk.
According to the Eventbrite system, about 58% of the tickets were referrals from their email newsletter, 25% from a search on the website and 17% from LinkedIn. No tickets came from Twitter or Facebook promotion. This is not surprising as the event is a professional, rather than recreational, one. What is surprising is how important a relatively old fashioned email newsletter is, compared to social media.