How to Get People to Come to Your Shows

I have a friend. We’ll just call him Bill.

Bill is having a really hard time getting folks to come to his shows.

Here are some of the steps he’s taken to spread the word:

  • Made public announcements at his local church congregation
  • Made announcements in his church bulletin
  • Printed up flyers and handed them out to folks
  • Blasted everyone of his hundreds of friends on facebook
  • Created a facebook event page and invited all his friends
  • Tweeted to all his friends
  • Called his closest friends
  • Sent follow up tweets and facebook reminders
  • Advertised the show on his web page and other musician sites
  • Mentioned that there’s free parking
  • Mentioned that the show is FREE!

Despite the colossal effort that he’s put in, he’s always disappointed by the sparse turn out. He doesn’t understand why so few people come when he’s made it as easy as possible for folks to know about and come to his shows. He’s beginning to wonder if maybe he needs to start using a different deodorant!

Well, Bill, fear not. There’s still hope. It’s going to take some work, but I’ve got suggestions and insights for how to get people to come to your shows.

Find the show-goers

Stop advertising to folks that don’t go out. Don’t take it personally when people don’t show. Just because someone is your friend, or a church or family member, or one of your facebook friends, doesn’t mean they like to go out and listen to live music. Find and connect with people that like to listen to live music in your area. Go to some open mic nights or other live shows. The people you meet there are people that like to go to live shows. Meet as many as you can. Give them a card that they can take to your website for a free download to get to know your music.

Fill in the gaps

Once you find a crew that likes to go see live shows, communicate with them between shows. Build a relationship with them. I’m sure you’ve heard of the relationship bank account metaphor. That’s when you make positive deposits to a relationship bank account by giving to it. When you open a real bank account, what’s the first thing you do? You make a deposit. You can’t take anything out if you don’t make a deposit first.

If you only initiate with people when you have a show coming up, you have nothing to draw upon. It’s like asking the bank for a loan.

The best way to do this, of course, is by giving them something to join your email list. Then, keep up the communication.

Offer a Twofer

Nobody likes to go to shows alone, do they? If you’re charging for your shows, offer your fans to bring a friend for free. Even if you have to jack up the ticket price a tiny bit to justify it, it’s worth it. People find deals like that too good to pass up. They think it a shame to not take advantage of it. By the way, this is a great incentive for people that have a paid membership to your website.

Good luck, and we’ll see you at the show!