Thursday, February 6, 2014
Sell out your next show in 10 easy steps
There’s no point in playing a show if no one shows up. Just listing a show on your Facebook Page will not bring people. Bands sometimes think that all they need to do is go on tour and get their shows listed on the venue’s website and people will magically show up because they are a ‘touring band’ far away from home. You must understand that venues do not promote their shows. They can’t. They have just too many. It is the reason Venues work with Promoters or expect bands to bring 100% of the crowd.
1. Spread Out Your Shows
Even if your favorite band played in your city every week you wouldn’t go see them. What makes you think your friends/passive fans will want to come see you every other weekend at various bars around town? They’ll just think “eh I’ll hit the next one. They play all the damn time!” So don’t play all the damn time. I recommend setting up a big show every 6-12 weeks locally and 4-6 months nationally.
2. Get A Street Team
The more people who work on the show the more people will be invested in its overall success. I used to get a street team of 10-20 people for all my big local shows to hit the town at night, in teams, with staple guns, tape, black winter caps and secret code words. I called my team “The Street Stand” (play off of Herstand) and I sometimes provided pizza or took them out to hot chocolate after a cold Minnesota postering evening, but they always got into the show for free and of course invited to the after party. In addition to the postering evenings, I gave them flyers to hand out at their work, on campus, at the bars, and some nights we had Facebooking parties where we all promoted the show video and Event on all our friends’ walls.
3. Make a Show Video
Create a 1:00-2:00 video specifically for that show. Include clips of music videos of the other bands (you can add annotations in YouTube to the actual music videos) and impressive (high quality) live clips. If bands don’t have high quality video, then at the very least run a photo stream with each bands’ music. Make sure you showcase all the bands on the bill and work with each band to promote the video. Making a show specific video legitimizes this specific show and turns it into an event.
4. Title Your Show
Make each show unique. Why people will come out to this show versus a random 4 band bill Wednesday night show is because this is an EVENT. Giving the show a title automatically turns it into a talked about Event. “Are you going to the Unknown Order show?” Versus “Pink Shoes are playing Chop Suey on Thursday again. Want to go?”
5. Create A Show Poster
Get a graphic design artist to create a special poster for this one show (with the Show Title of course). Depending on your budget, you can screen print a limited number and get all the bands to sign them. Then either sell them or get ticket holders to win them. This show poster should be used everywhere: Facebook Event, Instagram, Posters, Flyers, T-Shirts, Facebook Ads, etc. The more people who see the poster image, the more they will talk about it and the more likely they will get out to the show.
6. Sell Tickets In Advance
Always try to sell tickets in advance whenever possible. Getting people to purchase tickets in advance insures they will actually come! It also gets them to encourage their friends to buy tickets so they can all go together. Having advance tickets also legitimizes the shown and makes people feel more comfortable coming out.
7. Run Contests
Run various contests for promo efforts and advance ticket purchases. For one show, I gave out to advance ticket holders goodie bags containing a poster, stickers and other random fun nick-nacks from each band. It might be good to give the bags out after the show, though, as people are leaving – biggest complaint was that they had to hold onto the bag the entire night. Also, run contests on Facebook or Twitter to encourage people to share the Show Video and Show Poster. On the Facebook Event you can explain the contest like “Share this Event (or Video) on your Timeline, invite all your friends to this Event and then write MISSION ACCOMPLISHED on this Event’s wall. Everyone who does this will be thrown into a drawing to win a Tshirt and Poster at the show.” Then on stage at the show announce the winner.