How to Partner With Your Venues and Promote Like a Pro
It's tough. We have to work. And for some of us, gigging is the only or main source of income we've got. So when something is funny with the money (not funny "ha ha", but funny "heck naw"), it could get a little stressful. But, just for a second, since it's #TransformationTuesday and all... What if we thought of our venues more as PARTNERSHIPS vs. PAYDAYS? What if we took some time to focus on some cool things about the club in addition to our expectations of them?
💡IDEA: If the club you're playing was just voted "Best Local Sports Bar", has 50 beers on tap, a huge dancefloor, and is known for their deep dish pizza (I miss you Ale Emporium), you're sitting on a promotional gold mine. If you can't think of anything to say in your posts other than "come to my gig", maybe take a post or two and stop talking about yourself?
Instead of sharing...
- Post 1: "Hey! Come to our gig!" + date/time
- Post 2: "We can’t wait! Come to our gig." + date/time
- Post 3: "The day is almost here! Come to our gig." + date/time
You could easily structure a few posts for your upcoming gig that go something like this...
- POST #1 [2 WEEKS OUT]: "Don't just party, party with the best! "IndieBand Tavern" was voted Best Local Sports Bar, and on date/time we're going to find out why! We'll meet you there. // picture of venue // date, time."
- POST #2 [1 WEEK OUT]: "Have you had a slice of the deep dish @ IndieBand Tavern? Make your dancing + dinner plans for date/time. // picture of band with the pizza"
- POST #3 [3 DAYS OUT]: "3-10-50 are your lucky numbers. In 3 days we'll be at IndieBand Tavern, show starts at 10, and you've got 50 beers on tap to choose from. // share a fun GIF // date, time."
- POST #4 [3 HRS BEFORE SHOW // FB LIVE]: Post a video of you getting ready to head to venue or (better yet) loading in and invite folks to come out // picture of band with the pizza // date, time."
But you get the gist. At no point did you have to say the words "come to our gig" or "this show will be awesome". Obviously, not all clubs will have the same resume, but it doesn't take too much research to find out some cool info.
And better than research, contact the person at the club who booked the show. I guarantee you, they'd love nothing more than to have you promoting their place of business for everyone's benefit. That my friends, is a partnership.
Increase your reach with this exercise
Once you open up your idea of what you're sharing, you can start to think of a lot more options of content to post, and with the use of tagging and adding co-hosts, you're now also broadening your organic reach (i.e. reaching new people without having to pay for ads).
In fact, take 2 minutes to step out of the musician role and put yourselves in the shoes of your favorite club owner. Yeh, yeh. Some of them have attitudes and are a pain to work with, but the same thing can be said about us musicians, right?
So, mental exercise time (close your eyes if you want to really get into it. (Wait, on second thought, you won't be able to read with 'em closed. Nevermind. Please continue...)
Think about one of the places you've played before that you really like. Or better yet, think of a club that you have a hard time getting people to (it'll serve you better for practical reasons).
Ask yourself a few questions
- If it was your club, what would you want to highlight? Is it your drinks, your food, your bartenders?
- What would make customers want to come? Is it the atmosphere, the location, or pricepoint?
- If you were an owner, how would you go about developing those valuable "regulars"?
- What is it about the club that's different than those on the scene?
OK. (*Poof*) Back to musician...
What you're really doing is thinking of some cool things that might be informative and add more incentives for your fans to attend your next show.
And so you don't hurt your brain cells too much, here's a list of 11 venue-focused items you might consider to shine the spotlight on them and provide your fans with even more reasons to come to your show...
- Status: Have famous people played there? Is it iconic or unique in some way? How long has it been around - both "old" and "new" could be intriguing.
- Features: Does it have the world's largest dance floor or boast a build in sound system like no other? Is it the biggest club in the city or maybe known for it's small, intimate setting?
- Specialty Menu: Are they known for their ridiculously delicious deep dish pizza or their selection of 100 beers on tap? Do you have a favorite? Think about inviting fans to dinner so they'll stay for your show.
- Management/Ownership: Is the place run by an awesome manager or team? Have they been great to work with? Don't be afraid to stroke an ego and genuinely say thanks in the process!
- Wait Staff/Service: Same concept and maybe even more important than management. Learn the names of the bartenders and wait staff (ok, or at least some of them). Give them shout outs online, tag them, and recruit them as your promoters. Everyone wins in the this situation!
- Location/Directions: Is there something funky about the parking lot or is the usual route under construction? Take a minute to remove barriers from your fans getting to the gig!
- Other Notable Acts: This should go without saying, but if you're splitting a bill with another band, regardless of who's headlining, got more fans, etc. it should be a team promo effort. But you may need to take the first step!
- Accolades/Ratings/Milestones: Has your event received an award or reached a milestone that's noteworthy? This could directly tie into "Status", but a quick glance through their Facebook page of website could reveal some hidden gems.
- Proximity to other venues or events: We've played at several bars and taverns that were right down the street from huge concert venues. If they haven't highlighted themselves as an "after-show" destination, you surely can; especially if the music is in the same (or similar) genre!
- And Don't Forget Sports: Are there playoff games or college sports your fans would be interested in? If so, maybe it's the number of HD TVs around the club and that you'll be playing immediately after?
- Pics from Previous Performances: If this is a recurring gig, use pictures from your previous shows AT THIS VENUE so people who haven't come can see what they're missing. Of course, any previous show pic will suffice regardless of venue, but don't miss an opportunity to tie it all in.
Editors Note: Pick your pics carefully. Do not post pictures or video of empty clubs or dance floors. Wait until you can capture some energy. Nobody knows your pic was the first song of the night, all they see is nobody dancing and a bunch of empty chairs.
What other items can you think of? List them in the comments below!
Keep in mind, you don't need the whole list of items.
Chances are your venue isn't going to have something that hits ALL of these categories, but I bet if you did a little research you could find at least three. Google "Best clubs in (your city)" or "(your city) A-List", or something along those lines. You might not find the specific venue you're looking for, but if you play at several places, you're likely to find some info that's already been written about one or two of them.
Better yet, you could also send a message or text the club owner (or festival coordinator, client - whoever hired you) to ask them what they would like highlighted.
See where is this going? Even if you have an off night or don't draw as many people as the next band, I bet you're going to be on the top of the list of bands they like to work with again.
Ok, go forth, prosper, and partner with your venues!
Leonard // Indie Band Coach