7 Tips to Boost Raffle Ticket Sales at an Open House
Diane Giraudo McDermott, May 14, 2010
I found that the Open House brought in more ticket sales than any other form of paid advertising. They take some effort and preparation, but with little cost you can get an added “push” in ticket sales. Use the following tips to pull in a bunch of sold tickets at an Open House held at your prize home.
Schedule the Open House on a Sunday from 11:00 am – 6:00 p.m. on a good weather day. Some people work on Sundays and they will appreciate the extra hour to be able to make it to your Open House.
Stage the home. If this is an empty house, see if a local furniture store would be willing to take advantage of a golden opportunity to stage the home. Remember, this allows them to place brochures advertising their store throughout the home so they should do it at no cost. And not every room has to be staged. Stage the living room, and dining room, and possibly the master bedroom. In the kitchen and baths place simple items to dress it up such as towels, flowers, cookbooks, or a bowl of fruit. You can mention the furniture store’s name in any of your Open House advertising. If this is not an empty house, then be sure it is clean, and not cluttered. Put away any valuables.
Inside the home display two things; The details of your house raffle—include the number of total tickets that can be sold, the cost of the ticket, the drawing date, and the prizes. Secondly, display the good work of the charity throughout the home.
Let the public know about your open house. In the week leading up to the Open House, prepare and distribute fliers, send out press releases, run ads in the newspaper and create signs. If funding permits, have a radio station broadcast live from the open house.
Avoid the temptation to save money by overly abbreviating your open house ads. The newspaper representative may suggest their standard abbreviations; and real estate brokers’ ads are packed with them, but abbreviations don’t make it easy for people to understand. Also, even if the same area code is used throughout your state, include it in the phone number because out-of-state people can pull up the ad online.
On the morning of the Open House, line your main cross-streets with at least 40 signs leading people to the prize home. Yes, I really meant forty signs—the Open House sign is your most valuable tool. The reason for 40 signs is that this is a unique event; it’s not an ordinary open house where someone is selling a house. As people see sign after sign, they’ll know that something special is going on, and they should probably check it out. Remember the signs are covering the area in all directions to the prize home, so one person may see only 8 to 10 signs—not all 40. Put as little information on the sign as possible, but enough to give people a reason to come so you can explain to them what you’re doing. The whole story cannot be told on a sign that people are trying to read from a moving vehicle.
Set up a staging area in front of the home outside the front door. If there is a front porch, this is perfect. If not, a canvas-covered canopy will work. What you want to do is introduce the raffle and sell the tickets at this staging spot. If it’s too cold or windy to be outside, then set up inside the home near the front entrance.
Invite visitors to view the home. For example, “XXX best charity is raffling off this house to raise funds for XXXX, why don’t you take a tour of the house and let me know what you think.” No hard pressure sales here. Don’t elaborate on the raffle details—they’re not ready to hear rules and regulations yet. Just let them wander through the house at their own pace. And don’t follow people through the house—stay in the staging area. If they hesitate to enter, then point out a feature about the home.
Most people walk into the home skeptical, but walk out of the home amazed. The home is beautiful, and it’s a wonderful prize for only the cost of the ticket. People like the work of the charity and will now want to know more about the raffle details before they buy. When you’re handed a credit card remember to ask, “How many tickets would you like?” Don’t assume the buyer wants only one. At our raffle, one young lady purchased 10!
If you follow these tips your Open House will have a better chance of success. And there will be many residuals from your work from people who saw the signs, or heard or read your advertisements, resulting in their coming the next time you stage another Open House. You’ll also find people who took fliers will pass the word to others, or buy later. Expect to see your online ticket sales climb after an Open House.