I currently run sound for a young, successful monthly club in San Francisco, which is growing in popularity mainly because the team behind it works hard on making sure everyone has a good time.
If you’re a DJ wanting to promote your own night, it very much pays to understand where you should put your efforts, in the same way this team do. So today I offer you five tips to help you grow your fledgling event – tips I picked up both by watching others and from when I promoted club nights myself.
The black art of promoting…
This article isn’t about promoting, but bear in mind that while you can throw the best party in the world, none of that matters if people don’t come.
To get people to actually show up is a black art, and one I think should be seriously explored, analysed in every situation, researched, deconstructed and meticulously reconstructed piece by piece. Does this express how important getting people into the club is? Of all the things I did as a promoter, I’d say networking to get your venue full is the hardest. Luckily, if you’d like to learn more about promoting your own club night, you can do so at our club promotion series.
From there, though, the only way to build a name for yourself and your night is by growing your clientele, and to do that it’s imperative you appeal to what your supporters want. Here are some time-proven truths that should help you to tread the right path:
Five simple secrets of success…
- Start small – Start small, like a house party or small bar, and do not move to a larger space until your patrons demand that you do so. Around 100 people in a little bar seems like an epic event; 100 people in a dance club seems like everyone had somewhere else to go (this is the psychology of perspective)
- Don’t trust promises – Even if you get 1,000 people to say they are “hand-to-God coming”, you might see 50. It’s nothing personal, it’s just how people are nowadays… party people are flaky people and you have to offer the best option to these party people just to get that small number to show up
- Stay calm! – If you want to survive, nip any drama in the bud. Solve it as diplomatically and nicely as you can, but resolve any issue about your club firmly and fairly, or expect it to die. Having good doormen and a club manager who understands what you’re doing and is on your side can be invaluable in this
- Make every punter your friend – Make sure you get to know everyone who comes to your club for as long as you can, and treat these people the way you treat your friends (good). Make sure everyone has a good time, and in return they will help grow and support your club by recommending it to their friends. You cannot do any better for endorsement than a friend vouching to their friends
- Improve your night every time – Once you get the party started and people regularly come, show notable improvements; get really good speakers, make the visuals better, and so on. The important thing is to show perpetual improvement everywhere. People respond positively to a growing club and they feel special because they are part of it
Just one final word: make sure the DJs playing can read and respond to the crowd. They don’t have to be big name DJs (not that you could afford them anyway), and of course if you’re DJing yourself then you’re definitely not a big name (yet!). No, the more important thing is that your DJs are able to go with what the crowd you’ve so painstakingly got to the venue wants to hear.
Get that right, and follow the tips above, and there’s no reason why your club night can’t grow into a success.
Have you promoted your own events? What tricks did you learn? What mistakes did you make you can advise other DJs about? Please share your thoughts in the comments.