The ticketing business is about as crowded as it gets. There are hundreds of brokers, secondary ticket markets, and ticket search engines all competing...

The ticketing business is about as crowded as it gets. There are hundreds of brokers, secondary ticket markets, and ticket search engines all competing to get customers. With eight employees, SeatGeek is a tiny company, but we’ve found innovative ways to cut through the clutter and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. If you are a ticket broker reading this right now, the good news is that you can do the same. Here are some tips that worked for us and just might help you out as well.

Use your data to your advantage

Your ticketing knowledge and data is an incredibly valuable tool. When a player gets traded, a team goes on a winning streak, or an artist comes to your town, look at your market to see if anything jumps out. Are ticket prices higher than the last time that artist came to town? Have you noticed ticket prices dropping dramatically because of a player injury? As a broker you know your market better than anyone else and can come up with interesting insights.

Get close to your local newspapers reporters and the sports bloggers who cover the teams in your area. Publishers are always looking for fresh content and you can shed an interesting perspective by tapping into “fan sentiment”. Once you establish yourself as an expert, these sources will start turning to you to get your feedback on the latest trends in ticketing.

Start blogging (now!)

Now that you’ve uncovered some fascinating insights, you need to start creating content. SeatGeek has separate blogs for both sports and both music, and both general company news. Creating content has a powerful SEO benefit. Google will index all the unique content that you put out and users searching for related topics will end up on your blog. The better your content, the more likely you’ll get other sites to link back to you. This further improves your position on Google.

For example, when Alex Rodriguez was going for his 600th home run we put out a blog post forecasting where the home run would land. The article was covered by USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. We had a huge number of visitors come via the links on these news sites, but even more impressively, users arrived at SeatGeek by clicking on over 2,000 unique keywords on Google (it’s amazing how many variations there are on “arod”, “600”, “home run”, etc…). By focusing on generating useful and interesting content, you can start engaging your users before they are even looking to buy tickets.

Get on Twitter

I suggest that you use Twitter to actually connect with your customers. Don’t focus on hawking tickets or broadcasting your inventory. For example, we spend most of our time @SeatGeek chatting with fans about the latest headlines in sports and music. By having a Twitter and Facebook account, you cease to be a faceless enterprise and can really showcase what makes you unique.

We’re not the only ones with a good social media strategy. StubHub (@Stubhub) does an excellent job as well. They respond directly to consumer complaints and provide order updates when fans are unsure whether they will get their tickets in time. StubHub is building a business on extraordinary customer service, and Twitter is the perfect medium to broadcast this to the world.

Have a coherent Search Engine (SEO) strategy

Google and other search engines are fantastic lead generators. Unfortunately, the top search terms are highly competitive and you’ll never be ranked #1 for “Boston Red Sox tickets.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t get search engine traffic. Optimize your site for terms that you can actually win. We use (totally free services) like Google’s Keyword Analysis tool to determine which terms we can compete successfully on and which generate real volume.

I always cringe when a broker tells me that they found a way to “game” Google and other search engines into listing them higher. Google employs an incredibly sophisticated algorithm to determine which sites best answer a search query. Avoid link directories, “black hat” tricks, or even hiring SEO experts. Search Engine Optimization isn’t nearly as hard as experts crack it out to be. Grab a book from your local library, read SEOmoz, and you too can soon call yourself an expert on the topic.

Want help? Reach out to us!

SeatGeek would not be where it is had it not been for the help of brokers like you. I’ve never walked away from a conversation with a broker without being amazed by how well you guys (and gals) know your market. Unfortunately, there’s a tendency to feel overwhelmed and tentative toward new technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and blogging. If you want more information on any of the topics I’ve covered in this article, send an email to russ@seatgeek.com. I’d be glad to help.

Russell D’Souza is the co-founder of SeatGeek, a ticket search engine founded in September 2009. Russell leads SeatGeek’s marketing, business development, and social media efforts and is the head of broker relations at SeatGeek.