You’ve heard the term “If you build it, they will come”.
With music events, this is not the case. Especially if you don’t have huge names on the bill. Once you’ve booked the venue and performers, it’s time to get promoting. This process should start as early as possible. In this post, we’re sharing our top tips on how to promote a music event.
Whether you are planning to make a career out of music events or are looking to take the DIY approach with your band, there is a lot of organisational work involved. Sometimes, promotion gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, to the detriment of your concert.
Following the tips below will help you spend time wisely when promoting your event.
1. Don’t neglect physical advertising
46% of all advertising is expected to be online by 2021. We spend a lot of time on the Internet and looking through phones. Yet sometimes, traditional methods are still the best, and reaching a local audience is one of the key benefits. It doesn’t get more traditional for a music event than physical advertising.
A concert poster is essential. It is an opportunity to grab people’s attention. And you can usually put it up for free in tons of relevant places. Gig posters have become an art form with some excellent examples out there.
People tend to block out most forms of advertising, allowing them to only creep in via the subconscious. This isn’t true with music posters. There are plenty of people at music stores, clubs, venues, pubs, and bars who are happy to pay attention to what bands are playing. Give them something to look at!
Physical advertising may only cost you the price of printing. Placed (with permission) in the right location, it is still very effective, creating a “memory peg” for a more lasting impression.
2. Involve your performers
You need to be careful to do this in a way that doesn’t annoy or isolate the performers you booked. Some gig promoters will only allow bands to play if they promise to sell a certain amount of tickets to fans. This isn’t a good way to keep on the good side of your performers.
When you book your bands or artists, speak to them about ways they can help you to promote the event. They want to play in front of as many people as possible, so it is in their interest to try and get their fans to come along.
It doesn’t take much effort to share a gig on social media or to an email marketing list. The better you carry out the other steps of promotion such as creating great artwork, the easier it will be to convince people to share the gig.
Tip: For tips on activating your performers, check out this on working with artists to promote the event.
3. Make it easy to book tickets
Have you ever been redirected to a ticketing site that looked unprofessional? Perhaps even planned to book tickets before realising there was no way to buy them online?
There is no excuse to not have a system in place for people to buy tickets for your event. A site like Billetto lets you sell tickets with minimal setup time and no cost. It couldn’t be easier for the seller or the potential attendee.
Once you’ve done the hard work of making your event sound appealing, don’t give customers a reason to click away. An untrustworthy site, poor choice of payment methods, or a confusing checkout process can all lead to cart abandonment.
4. Consider paid ads
Profit margins can be tight when it comes to putting on any kind of event. So it is easy to see why promoters can be reluctant to spend.
Fortunately, you can tailor paid advertising so specifically, that even a small outlay can result in bodies through the door if you do it right.
Platforms such as Google ads and Facebook ads let you target people based on location, the bands they like, their age, and much more. This will let you maximise the chances that the right people are seeing your ads.
Tip: This guide is an excellent introduction to using Facebook as a musician and provides useful tips for promoters, too.
5. Be on social media
Making the most of social media is a real no-brainer. It is free, and there are plenty of ways to share your event. It doesn’t have to become a full-time job, but even simply using an event page with and inviting people via social media can be powerful. Around 41% of Facebook users interact with event pages each month.
Instead of just saying “Please come to my concert”, share something a bit more persuasive. Videos of your performers or previous gigs are a great way to get people’s attention on social media.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the three main social media platforms for most, but consider your target demographic.
Tip: This guide to promoting your gig on social media discusses which audiences are on which platforms. (For example, Snapchat is very good for engaging young people.)
6. Use the press and free listings
On a more local scale, a search for “gig listings + [the town your event is in]” will show you any local listing options. Work out how to get in touch with these and share your own event.
Provide photos, artwork, and as much information as you can (without writing an essay) on the gig.
The press in the area can also be a powerful tool. This is a little more of a “hit and miss” activity, but it is worth approaching local newspapers and radio stations. A lot of local press is just glad to have something to share and will be happy with a basic press release. However, it’s more effective if you can share your gig’s unique selling point and convince the press that it’s worthy of note.
Tip: An event press kit can be a useful way of grabbing local press and media attention.
7. Get your artwork right
Most of the methods used to promote a music event involve something visual. Your advert, your listing on an event website, and your poster all need to look professional. Visuals are a huge part of your brand. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.
If people see an unprofessional gig poster or advert, it is natural to draw the conclusion that the event will be unprofessional.
Artwork doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Performers should even be able to recommend artists they’ve worked with before. Given credit, some art or graphics students will even be willing to create event artwork and promotional material for a discounted rate.
Tip: A great way to get multiple design options is to run a contest on 99designs.com which opens up a brief to thousands of designers.
Time to get promoting
There are many ways to successfully promote your music event. You’ll probably find that you favour one social media platform or one type of advertising. This is fine, as long as you are reaching out and covering multiple marketing bases.
Taking action is the most important step for promoting your gig. Be relentless and contact as many people as you can trying to build buzz for your event!