33 Gig Promotion Strategies (And Which Ones Actually Work!) - Part 2
In case you missed part 1, you can read about Offline Gig Promotion Strategies HERE.
"Online Gig Promotion Strategies
18. Submit your event to every event site you can find that serves your area.
Plan: ArtistData, BandsInTown, and Songkick do a great job of pushing your dates out to tons of event sites. But they don’t hit all of them. In particular, they often miss specialized sites that offer local flavor or ticket discounts.
For instance, San Francisco has sites like Do415.com and FunCheap.com that cater directly to the San Francisco community. Do a Google search for "<your city> events" and submit your event to every one you can get on.
Also, search for event sites in whatever the nearest major city is if you’re outside of it. For instance, both of those San Francisco sites I referenced to above also list events in San Jose even though we’re about 45 minutes south. By the way, this is something you can easily engage a virtual assistant from ODesk to take care of for you for a couple bucks.
Results: All of the San Jose events sites picked up my info and a few also put out the press release we were using. A few of the San Francisco based sites published my show, but you’re always looking at a little less response from sites based that far away. Still good to be listed if you can though.
I honestly don’t know exactly how many people these site listings brought in. A couple maybe. I know two guys came directly from my Eventbrite listing and they drove 2 hours to get there.
Why: This is sort of a baseline thing to do for your gigs. As I said, ArtistData and the others will hit a lot of sites for you, especially newspaper calendars and such. Hiring a VA on Odesk can take care of the others quickly. You may pick up a few people here and there. Unfortunately, a lot of artists do this step and then they’re done. This step is the barest minimum and definitely won’t fill your room. But it does put your name out there where people can see it.
Verdict: Use it. (But don’t stop there.)
19. Do a promo video (or Series) and post it to all your social networks.
Plan: Put together a short 2-3 minute video talking up the show, play a bit of your stuff, include the other acts if you can. Shoot that out to your networks and email list.
I took this idea a little farther. Since this is a bigger project than just a show, I did a video diary that takes my fans with me through the writing, production, and promotion process of the putting the show on. It’s the first time I’ve done it and there’s a lot I can improve. But people really seemed to like them and many told me they had no idea how much goes into putting on a show.
I threw them together pretty quickly. Talk for a few minutes into the camera on my phone. Edit it together with the stock opener and closer graphics I use on all my videos. And at the end of each one I included a short clip of a live performance where I’m working on material that will go into the special.
Why: Some comics right now are going, “Ah! Why would you put the material out in an unfinished form before the show?!” I did it for a few reasons. First, it’s collectively about 10 minutes of material out of the hour plus I’d be filming. Second, it gives them a behind the scenes look at how comedy material develops over time. Third, they were all crappy back of the room flip cam videos which will make the final product look that much better.
Having multiple videos means I can regularly send new stuff out to my networks to keep them engaged. They go to Twitter, my Facebook page, my Facebook event page, Google+, and Pinterest.
As an extra, those episodes will go on the DVD as bonuses too.
Here’s a playlist of the video diary episodes if you’d like to see how I did it.
Results: While I don’t think I can pinpoint ticket sales coming exactly from these videos, I definitely know that it kept people engaged in the process, and allowed me to both regularly remind them of the event with something new, plus entertain them a bit for their patience with some new jokes.
Verdict: Use it. Obviously you might not be able to do something this extensive for every gig. I do 10-15 shows a month. That would be ridiculous. But if you’re doing a big event or you’re the type of band that only gigs once a month, definitely use this.
20. Create printable and digital posters, flyers, and coupons.
Plan: This is another baseline thing to do for your shows. Flyers and posters and old-school as old-school gets. Frankly, I kind of miss the days of cut and paste flyers printed at Kinkos. :)
If you don’t have graphic ability, someone else in your band probably does. If you’re a comic, I know for sure one of the other comics around you will have some Photoshop skills you can tap. Use your network.
Start with the largest print format you’ll need. Then it’s easy to resize down from there for other uses without having to re-do too much of your work. Create them in this order:
– Full size print poster at 300 dpi
– Handout/Club Card size at 300 dpi
– Online flyer at 72 dpi
– Any other sizes you might need for events sites or the venue’s own site
Here’s the online version of mine.
A couple of things to notice on the poster:
– The angle for the show (special filming) is prominent
– Some social proof in the form of network logos. You’ll notice that a couple of those aren’t that difficult to be on, like Funny or Die. Heck, if you’re on Spotify, throw the logo on there. It acts as social proof that you’re part of the entertainment business ecosystem and also tips people off to where they can listen to your stuff before the show. And yes, I am on Spotify, but ran out of room for their logo.
– Show info presented in a clear and coherent way.
– My picture at the bottom is both looking at and pointing to the show info which forces the viewers eyes in that direction if they aren’t already there.
The only thing I don’t like about this poster is that my eyes are closed in the main shot. Eye contact, even in a photo, will draw people in. But I thought the picture was interesting enough to make people look and make people wonder what I’m screaming about. If you’re wondering, it’s the introduction I do to this song.
On the printed versions of both the poster and club cards, I included both a QR code and a $1 discount code for advance tickets. QRJumps.com is a good place to do a QR code easily.
The venue printed the posters for me in two sizes for free. A great deal that you won’t normally find elsewhere. I also got club card sized ones printed through GotPrint.com. Good prices and a quick turnaround.
I don’t do posters for every single show I do. If I’m booked on another comic’s show, they usually do at least an online flyer that I can use to promote. And if I’m playing a comedy club, they often have promo materials I can use. If you’re a music act, don’t expect the club to do a damn thing. You’ll be lucky if they get around to listing your show on their website.
Results: Again, this is a basic thing you need to do for your shows. As I mentioned earlier, the printed posters didn’t have a huge impact that I can see. The club cards had a great impact when distributed by people who knew each other. And honestly, I have a lot of leftovers that weren’t used.
The QR code on the posters and flyers was only scanned once according to my stats.
The online flyers definitely help because people online like pictures. Sticking a poster image into your regular promotional status updates will help them stick out better. Reuse that poster regularly. You want it seared into their brain.
The $1 off code was used 6 times and that was only available on the flyers. A couple of them were 4-pack tickets, so that brought in 12 people.
Why: Presenting a visual image to go with your show is like putting a face to someone you’ve only spoken with on the phone. It makes it more real and gives it a more official air. Remember, the goal of any show is to create long term fans. They have to know what you look like and what you’re about.
Verdict: Use it.
21. Use meme images.
Plan: In addition to your regular online flyer, create meme images with your photo, a joke or lyric, and info on your event.
You can use Photoshop or Gimp to create these or any one of the million meme generator websites that come up on a Google search. You’ll have a little more control over the final look if you do it on your own though.
If you’re a comic, post a joke. If you’re a musician, post a lyric from one of your songs. If you’re a dancer, post an inspirational dance quote of some sort. People love this stuff online and will repost and favorite them like crazy.
Here’s one I used for this event:
That particular picture is one from a short film in which I played a pirate. And I posted in on Halloween when everyone was looking at costumes. All of the others had live performance shots of me with the joke.
A lot of my material doesn’t work in short forms like this. You had to have heard the first 4 jokes for the 5th one to make sense. But I went through my first two hour specials and made a list of all the jokes I thought would work on a meme. I didn’t use any of the new stuff from the special I was filming. Saving that stuff for promoting the DVD when it comes out.
Results: As far as social media posts, these were some of the most popular things I’ve done in a long time. Many more shares and likes than usual. Because the images weren’t clickable directly through to a ticketing site, I didn’t really have a way to track if sales came from these. But it was a great way to keep the show info in people’s faces and entertain them at the same time.
Something to remember is that only a tiny fraction of your online audience is seeing any of your posts. Maximum 10-20% of your people will see a post. So don’t be afraid to repeat posts to get it in front of new faces. To insure it, post duplicate material at different times of day.
Why: While your hardcore supporters will repost your digital flyer to their friends, the casual fans won’t. But if you entertain them and give them something they actually want to share, you’re far more likely to get the share. Slip your commercial is as an add-on and it goes right along with it.
Verdict: Use it.
22. Create discount codes.
Plan: Create discount codes both to entice people into buying and give you a level of tracking where sales are coming from.
If you’re using something like Eventbrite or Brown Paper Tickets for your ticketing, creating discount codes is super easy. I did individual codes for Facebook ($2), different companies and colleges I was promoting to ($2-50% off depending on who), and even a freebie code for a few select locations we’ll talk about later.
If you’re dealing with a venue that does its own ticketing, you may not have this option. I ran my own ticketing for this event even though the venue normally does. So sometimes if you explain that you want to do something outside their system, they might let you handle it and bring in the lists at the show.
If that’s the case, be sure to keep them updated on how the sales are going both so they can staff properly and so they know you’re actually doing the work to fill the room.
If you’re working with a comedy club, they’ll be less likely to let you do your own ticketing as they usually have their own pretty well entrenched. However, they often paper the crap out of their shows. So ask them for discount codes and comps and they’ll probably be able to set you up with something.
Since you’re going to be doing a lot of discounting, set the regular price of your show high enough that you can still turn a profit even if the discounts get used a lot. In the case of my DVD filming, I wasn’t looking to make a profit as much as just cover some of my costs, so I was pretty aggressive with the discounts. And the ticket sales pretty much covered my rental agreement with the venue. In this case, a full house was more important than a profit. But that’s not usually the case.
You’ll also want to make sure that your advance price is high enough to get you on some of the ticket discounter sites we’ll talk about next.
Your door price should be higher than the advance price to encourage people to buy in advance. Our advance price was $10 before discounts. Door price was $15. And I still had a dozen people show up at the door and pay $15 to get in.
Results: As I mentioned earlier, I got 12 people in on the $1 off code. I got another 4 in from the $2 off Facebook code. One person from a $2 off code on Meetup. And 20 off the $5 off code for the Solar City guys. I offered them that discount after they contacted me about bringing a large group. If I were looking to make a profit for this event, I would have given them a smaller discount. But as I mentioned, a full room was more important than a profit for this particular event.
Verdict: Use it.
23. Use discount ticket outlets.
Plan: There are a few sites out there that will list your tickets at a discounted (or free) price. Goldstar is the big one. Depending on where your show is, there are also some seat filler services.
Goldstar: They require a minimum of 40 tickets and a minimum discount of 50%. But it is negotiable. I told them my venue only holds 80 and I couldn’t rightly give them half the room. So they took 30 instead.
I offered them half price on the regular tickets ($5 instead of $10) and less of a discount on the ticket plus DVD package I was offering ($10 instead of $15). They told me they needed at least 50% off that package price too. I told them I was already cutting out most of my profit on the DVD with my original price and told them to just drop that option from their listing. They listed it anyway at the price I specified originally.
If you’re using Goldstar to sell tix right from the beginning of your process, get your account and listing set up at least 7 days before you need them to go on sale. It sometimes takes them a little bit to get it up, especially if you’re negotiating with them.
I was using it to get rid of last minute tickets. So I set mine up about two weeks before the show which got the promotions going out on their end about 7-10 days before.
FillASeat: If you’re in one of the 34 markets serviced by FillASeat.com you can give them some tickets for their members too. The way they work is their members pay an annual fee to get free tickets to events. You don’t make any money on these tickets, but they will fill those last few seats. I gave them 20 tickets a week before the show and dropped that to 10 a couple days before when my sales started to pick up.
Tourist Half Price Ticket Offices: If your gig is in a city that’s remotely touristy, you can often find a half price ticket office of some sort. San Francisco has one. And Vegas is lousy with them. They can be a little harder to find a contact for, but can definitely help you put more butts in seats. I didn’t do that for this show because I was a little too far away for the San Francisco one to be effective and San Jose doesn’t have one.
Results: Goldstar sold a whole 1 ticket to my event. Very disappointing. It had been a few years since I posted an event with them. In the past they were good for 25-50 people per show. And that one guy didn’t even show up. A free $5 for me and I resold the seat to someone at the door.
Goldstar audiences are always not always the most appreciative audience members. They will often give worse reviews of a show than someone who paid full price.
FillASeat booked 3 tickets. And they didn’t show up either. No skin off my back since they were free anyway. And I resold their seats too.
Why: Goldstar always has a few no shows. And since they only moved one ticket, I wasn’t super surprised. The less you spend on a ticket, the more likely you are to blow the event off without too much mental anguish. Which is exactly why Goldstar people give worse reviews too. Someone who paid full price has a vested interest in the showing being good so they feel like they made a good purchase.
Someone who only paid a few bucks to get in doesn’t have that same vested interest and is more in the mindframe of “Ok, make me <laugh, dance, cry, whatever you make people do>.” It’s the same reason an audience at a free show is almost always worse than a paid audience. The more money they put in, the more mental dissonance they’ll feel if the show isn’t good. So everyone wants it to be good and it becomes good.
For FillASeat, most of their audience is in San Francisco for this area. And I think people booked it on a whim and then decided it was too far away. If you’re paying an annual fee, there’s zero friction in booking a ticket for an event you might not attend.
Verdict: Use it. But don’t count on it being either the majority of your sales or that many of the people will show up. They’re only to be used for filling the back of the room.
24. Post a limited number of free tickets with a suggested donation on Craigslist (1 week out from show.)
Plan: A week before the show, post a couple pairs of free tickets to Craiglist. My friend Stroy Moyd suggested this to me. His suggestion was to put it in the “Free” section. However, Craigslist frowns on tickets in that section and I’ve had posts pulled before. Instead, I posted in the Events section with the prominent headline of “Free Comedy Tickets”.
Stroy also mentioned you should make it free with “suggested donation”. I honestly forgot that part until afterward. But it’s a good idea to set up some reciprocation.
You’re obviously dealing with bottom feeder audience members here. Not that they’ll be bad. Sometimes they’re the best audience members. But it’s a crap shoot to see if they even show up.
So I could track them, I sent them to my Eventbrite page with a discount code that would get them 100% off the regular ticket price. My CL ad was for 2 pairs of tickets and I limited the code that much. To avoid angry emails, I made sure to include, “If the code doesn’t work, then the free tickets have already been given away.”
Within 30 minutes one lady had snapped up all four tickets. I left the post up figuring it might entice others over to my event page and they may get tickets even if the code’s already been used.
Results: The four tickets were gone within a a half hour. I knew right then they wouldn’t get used. I emailed the lady back and congratulated her on being so quick on the draw. Got no response. And I was right. None of those tickets got used at the door.
Why: She was just snapping up the freebie “in case”. Like Goldstar and FillASeat, there was no skin in the game and no mental dissonance in not going.
Here’s what I suggest with something like this. You need to put a couple steps in between that person and the free tickets. Having to go to Eventbrite and put in a code is more helpful than just hitting “Reply” and asking me for tickets. But I would probably add another step or two.
People can pay with money or time. Money is still better (since most people don’t respect their own time). But a couple extra steps would set up more of a commitment to actually attend the event. Maybe a survey of some sort or a couple trivia questions. I did at least get her email address added to my email list, but I don’t expect to hear much from her.
Verdict: Fail – In this case. But I think it could be adapted with some other stuff to work. Like the other discounting ideas, this is really just to fill the back of the room. Only a small percentage of free tickets will actually show up.
25. Offer tickets to Meetup groups (2 weeks out from show.)
Plan: Meetup.com is a site that has local meetings of people based around interest groups. you can offer tickets to groups that you think will fit your show. Very much like promoting college groups, this works best if you have a solid angle to your act: ethnic, religious (or anti-), geek, etc.
If your angle really really hits the core theme of the group, they may be happy to add your event to their calendar. If it’s more general, like hitting up a 20-something dating meetup, you’ll definitely need to offer them a discount or freebie on the tickets.
And, of course, if you’re actually an active member of that particular meetup, you’re much more likely to have success with this tactic.
I contacted about a dozen meetups in the area and offered them a $2 discount on advance tickets. The majority never responded. One told me her members don’t like doing comedy shows because they don’t get to talk to each as much. One told me to join his group and I could post the event myself. And two others posted it for me on their calendars.
One group runner told me she actually charges a fee to offer events to her members to help her cover the cost of running a Meetup group. To which I responded, “Oh, hell no.” (in my head.) To her, I replied, “Sorry, I don’t have room in my budget to offer your members a discount and pay your Meetup fees too.”
Results: ONE. One lady bought a ticket and came to the show and enjoyed herself. She was the runner of her particular group.
Why: As you may guess, I’m not an active member of these groups. I may not be a 20-something single engineer looking for love, but I do want those folks at my shows. With being out most nights doing gigs, I don’t often get a chance to hit meetups even for stuff I am interested in.
Plus I know a lot of other show producers that hit Meetup too. So these group runners are probably getting a lot of offers for tickets. In some cases the group isn’t well run. In other cases, the runners just know what will or won’t appeal to their members.
Verdict: Fail. But your town and your situation may be different. If you’re more social than I am, get out to some Meetups and get them interested in what you’re doing. I’ve seen Meetups fill a room and I’ve seen other shows get nothing from it.
26. Offer volunteers a commission through Eventbrite affiliates
Plan: In the spirit of street team stuff, Eventbrite offers an affiliate program. People can sign up and you can offer them a commission on every ticket they sell. I offered a $2 commission.
I posted the offer of commission a couple times on Facebook, a couple times on Twitter. I don’t think it went out to my email list because I was already bombarding them with show plugs. The people that would have seen it in an email but not on social media are probably not that active on social media. Though I would recommend letting your list know about it too. I was just short on time.
Results: I had two people sign up to be affiliates. I also got messages from a couple other people telling me they didn’t want a commission. They’re happy to help me promote without it.
Of the two people that signed up, both posted links a couple times. One guy sent 24 clicks. The other nothing. It really depends on how big and developed their personal networks are too. Neither of them sold any tickets.
I believe I got a few more likes on my Facebook page. And it got some additional eyeballs on my name and image, but it didn’t make any money or bring anyone to the show.
Why: A good affiliate team can do wonders for your business. But it does take a little more time and effort that I put into. They only put up links a couple times and then it went by the wayside. I should have been emailing some rah-rah reminders and offering them bonuses and such.
If you’re doing a series of shows or selling tickets through Eventbrite on a regular basis, you could definitely put more development time into an affiliate team and see some good rewards from it.
27. Run Facebook and Twitter contests to get people to share
Plan: There are a variety of different Facebook and Twitter contests you could run to get people sharing your event info:
On Facebook, have people invite all their friends through your event page and then report back to the original thread with a “Mission Accomplished” comment. Then, at the show, draw a random winner for some sort of prize.
You can do the same type of things with shares on Facebook. Those are even easier to track because FB will tell you who shared the post.
These same things can be done on Twitter with Retweets.
You could also run a contest to get people to change their profile header for picture to your flyer. Picture would be better than header since more people see that. Joe Lowers from the World Series of Comedy uses this tactic, getting comedians accepted to the festival to change their header pics to (funny) banners for the festival.
Results: I didn’t have a chance to try this one out. By the time I got to it on my list tickets were selling well enough that I didn’t need the extra help.
Why: Visibility is everything. BUT, you want to concentrate on people that live in the area you’ll be performing. If you’ve got someone three states over that wants to help, that’s nice, but they probably don’t have a lot of friends in your area. For them, rather than shares and such, have them specifically call or message people they know in your area to tell them about the event. More focused work on a smaller number of people will work better. If you can get people in your local area to do the same, you’ll still find that more effective than the average share.
28. Get a phone/email tree going.
Plan: This is a classic strategy that I was just reminded of while reading Billy Idol’s autobiography. He talked about using a phone tree to build Generation X’s draw until they were packing the major clubs in London even on weeknights.
The plan goes like this. A traditional phone tree is structured around a group of people. You’re responsible for calling two people. That person is responsible for calling two people, etc. They’re traditionally used for things like schools to disseminate information by phone quickly.
For our purposes here in promoting a gig, you would let your immediate fans know about your event. You would also ask them to invite 2 or 3 people they know to the show by email or phone call. By the way, phone works way better than email here if you have that information available. It’s a lot harder to say no when you’re actually talking to someone. And they’re much more likely to follow through if they’ve said yes. Emails are easy to ignore.
For my event, I did this in an extremely unstructured way that could have been implemented better. I sent an email to my list simply asking them to pass the show information on to 3 other people they thing would like to see the show.
Results: I can’t pinpoint exactly how many tickets were sold based on this idea, but I did have about ten people at the show that were brought by people who had seen me before.
Why: Personal recommendations trump everything else in promotion. People may see your ads and posts and flyers and whatever else. But they may not actually take action on buying a ticket until their friend says, “You gotta see this guy. He’s great.”
Now all the other stuff will solidify that idea. If that person has already seen your face everywhere and THEN gets the recommendation from a friend, they’re almost certain to come along.
An added bonus is that you’re creating a community of people who know each other and will use your gigs as a meeting place.
Verdict: Use it. (And do it better than I did.)
29. Do a Facebook event page
Plan: Put together a Facebook event page for your show. Update it regularly with content to keep people engaged with it. Offer a special discount code just for your Facebook friends.
I was hesitant to bother with this on my show. I can’t stand Facebook event pages. How many times have you gotten event invites for stuff 1000 miles away from you? Yep, me too.
And it’s not the event creator’s fault. It’s Facebook’s fault for making it so damn difficult to sort through your friends and only invite people in a particular area. So people get lazy and just click everybody’s checkbox. In the rare cases I set up an event page, I scroll through my 2500 or so friends and try to remember who lives in the area and whether or not they’re a comic. I don’t bother inviting comics to my gigs because they have their own.
And since I don’t have a robot memory, I still got some wrong and got comments like, “Sorry, I’m in the wrong state.”
New posts on the event wall will notify everyone who’s been invited. So make sure to keep that content coming. It’s a good place for your memes, videos, and any advance press previews you might get.
There are a ton of tips and ideas for Facebook events. Instead of me yakking on about them, let me just point you in the direction of two good articles on the subject:
Results: This helped a little bit. I believe I had 3 people use the Facebook discount code that was only available there. And it was another angle to get entertaining information out about the show.
Why: With the Facebook algorithm being so picky about what it puts in the newsfeed, you want to use every angle you can to get your info in front of as many faces as possible. I yearn for the day when Facebook will let you sort friends based on location. You can make groups based on location, but that’s a lot to implement if you don’t already have it set up.
The only thing that takes time here choosing the correct people to invite. The set up and posting is very quick with a little planning. Try not to get lazy and invite everyone. It just dilutes the effectiveness of FB Events in general.
You could actually hire a virtual assistant for a few hours and give them access to your Facebook account to sift through your friends for who lives in the area and then both invite them and add them to a list for later use. It would probably take 4-5 hours and cost $20.
Verdict: Use it.
30. Use Facebook ads
Plan: Here’s what Facebook really wants you to do. Sure, they limit of what gets into the newsfeed “improves the user experience”, but it also pushes people into buying ads to get their stuff seen.
You can do sidebar ads, but boosting a post will put your ad in the newsfeed, which is more effective. Use a video or photo rather than just text. And narrow your targeting down as much as possible.
For instance, you might do a video post targeted at people who already like your page to make sure they’re aware of the event. Then you might do a different video ad targeted at people who don’t know you yet, but are fans of an artist you’re similar to.
In my case, I might do a video saying, “I hear you’re a fan of Stephen Lynch. You might like my stuff to and you can see me do it live at…..” I would target that ad specifically to people who like Stephen Lynch’s page and live in the area of my event.
Video has the advantage of letting put in more information than an image. However, if you’re paying per click, you’ll be paying even if they just watch the video and don’t click through to buy tickets.
With images, you’re only allowed 20% of the image to be text. So something like the gig flyer I posted above wouldn’t fly. However, I did boost one of those meme images like I showed you above. Definitely over the 20% rule, but it got approved and went through the small $5 budget I gave it.
I don’t know if they’ve loosened that rule or if they didn’t count the joke since it has entertainment value. But you can do some experimenting on your own and see what gets approved.
Results: I did very little of this. I didn’t have a need to run ads much. I boosted just the one meme for $5 and targeted it just to people in the area of the show. I don’t think it resulted in any ticket sales directly, but it did get likes and shares.
Why: I don’t think this should be your first go-to. Try the organic stuff first. But if that’s not getting reach or if you’re playing a town where you don’t have any fans yet, some targeted, entertaining advertising might bring you a few more people.
It can eat your budget fast, so make sure your back end is really set up to move people toward buying tickets and getting on your email list. Because of that, I wouldn’t send them to a Facebook event page. Rather, send them directly to the ticket buying page or a page on your site where they can buy tickets.
You want as few steps between them and a purchase as possible.
Verdict: Unknown (for my event) – But I suggest using it sparingly.
31. Use local blogs and forums
Plan: If you can find any blogs or forum sites specific to the area of your show, get active on there and see if you can get people interested in seeing your show.
Do not… DO NOT… Just go on and spam your show info. It won’t work and you’ll waste everyone’s time. Get into conversations and meet people. Comment on the blogs a few times, then maybe email and introduce yourself to the site owner. Use the profile messaging function on forum sites to meet people. Ask about them a lot. Before long, they’ll ask what you do. There’s you’re opening for “Oh me? I’m a musician. Got a show coming up near you if you’d like to see it…”
Results: In doing searches for stuff near me, I came up with a fat zero. No forums. And most of the sites were just tech oriented since I live in the middle of Silicon Valley. Plenty of blogs about the area. But they’re all more interested in with Google’s about to do than my little comedy show.
There is a site called Nextdoor.com that you might want to check out. It connects you with the neighbors in your immediate area for discussion. Unfortunately, during my event, everyone on there was busy arguing about the midterm election propositions happening at the time. And I disagreed with most of them. So I stayed out of the whole darn thing.
Why: These types of sites are another avenue into your local community. And the more you’re involved, the more people will be interested in what you do, even if what you do isn’t totally their thing. They make help out just to be supportive.
Verdict: Unknown for my event. (But if you’ve got it, use it…)
32. Be a guest on local podcasts
Plan: If you know of any podcasts that record in the area of your show, see if you can be a guest. Especially if the topic is something about the town you’re playing in. Most podcasts are fairly small affairs and they’re always looking for guests. Email the producers and tell them why you as a guest would be interesting to their listeners.
If you’re playing outside of where you live, you may be able to call in for a phone interview a few weeks before your gig so it plays right before you get there.
Results: I didn’t do this one for my event either. Mostly due to time constraints.
Why: Even if it’s a small podcast, chances are most of their listeners are local to the area because the hosts tell their friends to listen. For bigger podcasts, you’re trading quality for quantity. Either way, they can be helpful. Or they can be an utter waste of time if the pod you’re on is only listened to my the host’s mom.
Verdict: Unknown (But worth a shot.)
33. Consider unusual places on the internet like Craigslist, eBay and StubHub as promotional tools (2 weeks before show)
Plan: 2 weeks before your show, try putting a pair or two of tickets up on Ebay or StubHub. On Ebay you can do a buy it now or auction type listing. And on StubHub you can either put the tickets up for a discount or heck… charge more for them like everything else on that site.
Results: I posted a pair as a buy it now on Ebay and got no takers. There was a stumbling block with listing on StubHub and I don’t exactly remember what it was now. But there was a point in the process where I felt it was too much work to finish.
Why: Obviously these are going to do better if you’re a bigger name. People are going to those places looking to buy tickets for certain events. And I don’t think many people are randomly surfing through for artists they’ve never heard of. Worth a shot, but don’t count on it for much.
Start trying these on your next gig. As I mentioned earlier, some of those “fails” may work great for you. If you figure out a tweak that turns a loss into a win, be sure to leave a comment because I’d love to hear it and try it too.
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