Attracting more people to your event is high up on the wishlist for any small organisation, yet it can often feel an unobtainable goal. But, with the right tools and a great deal of commitment, organisations can turn around dwindling audience figures.
1. Good quality work
Cash-strapped audiences have for a number of years now become increasingly picky over what they are willing to spend their money on. Not everyone has the luxury of a ‘big name’ to pack out a venue, but audiences will still buy tickets if they trust you. By that I mean they want to be assured that they are not going to waste their money – they are going to enjoy the event. So, it may seem like stating the obvious, but start out with good quality work and accept nothing less.
2. Good preparation and planning
Even with the best gig you could have imagined, if you haven’t prepared well for it you are setting yourself up for a disaster. Poor planning can lead to missed opportunities, and worse, mistakes. A minimum six-week run-in to an event gives you the space you need to make the most out of every opportunity. Plan a week-by-week schedule. Plot out everything you need to do and when. Decide who will be responsible for each task.
3. A strong image
Once you’ve got your plan together and are ready to promote your great event, you’ll need a strong image that will sell the tickets. Yes, one strong image. It is one of the things to be most frequently overlooked by event organisers yet it is fundamentally one of the most important aspects of your marketing campaign. I’ve worked on so many events where the organisers have supplied a terrible image or, even worse, none at all. Banish grainy, amateur-looking images. You don’t need scores of mediocre images when one killer photo will hook the punters in.
4. Social media campaigns
Now that you’ve got a great image to promote, getting the word out is going to take more than traditional home-spun posters put up in the windows of local shops and the library (which has probably been shut down anyway). If you are serious about attracting new audiences you have to let them know you exist by reaching out to them. Social media, especially Facebook, provides no better way of reaching people in an environment where they are already relaxed and thinking socially. Building and regularly crafting a busy profile will help to raise awareness of your organisation. Investing in a little advertising, using platforms such as Facebook Ads, can help you to target people you might not have otherwise reached. If you hit the right note, the money you spend you pay for itself several times over.
5. Online ticketing
I don’t know about you but I find myself somewhat reluctant to buy a ticket for an event by phone these days. I don’t know whether it is the modern condition where nobody uses their smartphones to make calls anymore or whether it is the fear of being stuck on the line for an age, but you need an alternative to the traditional Box Office hotline. Many small organisations rely on an organiser’s home phone number. The potential audience member is expected to call this strange number and leave a message to reserve a seat. Will they actually turn up on the night though? There are no guarantees! I’ve even worked with organisations that still rely on people sending a cheque in the post to buy a ticket. I don’t even have a cheque book these days. And neither does 90% of your potential new audience. Being able to click from a Facebook ad through to your website’s online booking system might sound impossible or difficult for your organisation, but it isn’t as tricky as it sounds once you have a helping hand. And help is at hand from us at RA. Some people have bemoaned the technology, but one of our clients, relatively new to the idea, has doubled their audience for an event which has gone from quiet to buzzing in a flash. It can be done.