Launched only three years ago, SeatsPro.com is a relative newcomer to the online ticketing world, but owner Matthew Golden is working hard to position his company to make its mark.
“[As] SeatsPro’s only employee, I was able to bring in over $250,000 in sales revenue the first year and doubled that the second year. [The company] will hit $1 million in total sales revenue since its inception this month,” he said.
Golden credits taking advantage of free Internet marketing opportunities, and working long hours, for SeatsPro’s current success, but he recalls a desire to run his own company and a love for the business as his primary motivators at the start.
Working in customer service for years, Golden, a Boston-area native, took a job at an unnamed local ticket broker’s internet department in 2007, and he was immediately drawn to the work. “[I] had no idea that I would take to the world of event tickets like a fish to water. I immediately fell in love with every aspect of buying and selling tickets, trying to learn everything I could about the ins and outs of the industry, the various networks and the politics.”
Golden had always entertained ideas about starting his own company, but without capital to invest, his options were limited. In late 2007, he was offered an opportunity to take on a ticketing Web site with no up-front cost, and he moved on it.
However, this was a ground-up operation, with Golden’s ability to market and sell his own tickets solely determining his success in this new business. Golden’s initial advertising plan was to secure free advertising resources to spread the word about his business. To start, he made use of sites such as Craigslist and Backpage for their free classifieds. Next, he worked in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to increase customer draw from search engines. As he had hoped, this plan helped get the word out about his business and began to build his reputation as an online seller.
Throughout, his focus remained on keeping ticket prices significantly lower than those of his competitors, sometimes working 18-hour days to meet customers’ needs. Within two months, Golden’s part-time venture proved so lucrative that he began working full time with SeatsPro.
Golden has no illusions about the ticketing business or of any broker’s chances in a difficult market, particularly in the current economy. He recalls that, from his early years as a ticketing employee, “I was keenly aware of the cutthroat nature of the business and the lengths that people will go to get sales. The market is extremely saturated…so you really have to scratch and claw to bring in customers, satisfy their needs, and keep them coming back. The amount of sites out there selling seats from the same network is astronomical, so it takes creativity and excellent service to stand out among the masses.”
For Golden, the perks of owning and operating a ticket broker business still outweigh the inherent difficulties. “My business is just myself and my computer. I can work from anywhere and keep control over my own schedule.”
Currently, Golden is tweaking the SeatsPro site in ways that he expects will please customers and benefit his business. The site was just redesigned by TicketPlatform in order to make it more user-friendly, and soon, interactive seating charts will be added to make it easier for buyers to visualize seat location. Projects in process include a customer loyalty program and work with charities. And of course, with success comes the move into paid advertising and Pay-per-Click (PPC).
And Golden has his sights set on the company’s next financial milestone: “My goal is to hit the $2 million Sales Revenue mark much faster than I hit $1 million!”
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