One of the ways of building a strong live music presence is having successful ticket sales. While many artists start out playing in cafes or restaurants that already have an “in-house audience” presence, when we start playing in concert venues this is not the case. Concert venues typically do not have their own crowds who come to check out concerts. Rather, they make money by selling tickets to the crowd which the band brings. Consequently, the success of a show and the ticket sales almost entirely depend on how well the band or the artist promotes the concert. So, in this blog post I will provide some strategies to increase ticket sales based on my experiences as an independent artist.
1) Create the visuals
Visuals are the first thing people pay attention to, and it is one of the most important aspects of your promotion. Having great visuals for your concert is crucial for a successful event. You can work with a graphic designer or create your own fliers. Aside from the artist picture, the flier should clearly indicate the band or artist name, venue, date, artist website, venue website and contact information, venue address, and ticket information.
2) Find past performance videos that reflect your music
When you’re promoting a concert, the second step to getting people to come to a show is to include footage of past performances and music videos. The videos will give people a sense of what your concert is going to be like: is it going to be acoustic chill, a rock show, a salsa dance performance, or is it going to be an electronic music event?
Audio recordings are fine as well, but not as nearly as effective as videos, because people like to put a face to the music they listen to!
3) Create Facebook event and create ads
Facebook is by far the most effective event listing platform in the world. It serves as an event calendar and discovery tool for many people. Moreover, it works in coordination with Instagram, which means that not only you can let your friends/fans know about the event on Facebook, but you can also create targeted ads to reach out to people in the area of the venue with specific music tastes and age groups.
4) Create event listings online
In addition to Facebook, many cities have different event calendars and websites. I would highly recommend creating an event on these websites, and also, adding a link to your ticket page.
5) Reach out to local newspapers and radio stations
Local newspapers, online or in print edition, have tremendous power when it comes to directing people to events. Reaching out to the local newspaper can get you a long way with reaching out to audiences that normally you might not have access to. Find out who writes the entertainment page/event listings on any given newspaper and send them a short email with all the event information and perhaps 1-2 video links. If they are interested, they will write about it.
The same goes with radio stations. Many daily shows are constantly looking for new content to talk about, so I would recommend reaching out to local radio stations and college radios to tell them about your event. You might even get invited for an interview and a performance, which would be an even better way to promote your upcoming show.
6) Use your email list
Send your concert fliers and information to your email list. After all, the people who give their email address to sign up to your mailing list tend to be your superfans, and they are the ones who are most likely to come to your gigs. Make sure to group your email list by location as well, so you can reach out based on where your upcoming concert is at.
7) Reach out to friends/connections personally
Instead of sending a mass message to people, reach out to your closest friends and connections and personally invite them over. Having friends in concerts not only makes you more comfortable, but also they can spread the word and might start a snowball effect of word-of-mouth marketing for you.
8) Invite your friends to play
One of the perks of having a nice musician network is having access to great musicians, and having one or two friends to come play with you on a gig can draw more people to your show as well. Moreover, having guest musicians also makes your show more engaging and interesting for the audience.
9) Ask other players to invite their friends
If you have a large band, and if every player invites a few people to the concert, you can end up with a nice crowd for your gig. This, of course, is a reciprocative relationship, where musicians should go to their friends’ gigs as much as they can. This concept of going to your friends’ gigs not only builds a community, but also keeps everyone’s concerts alive and well.
10) Sell merchandise at gigs
One of the best ways to increase your revenue at concerts is to sell merchandise. Sometimes, you might have less people show up to a gig, but they might buy a considerable amount of merchandise, which could bring your revenue up to your expectations.
These are ten ways to sell more tickets for your upcoming show. Different strategies might work differently for everyone, so I would suggest trying them and see which one works best for you. With location, culture, venue and season, the strategies might have to be tweaked, but these ideas should get you a nice foundation to start with for selling more tickets and maximizing revenue from your live performances.