Reader Nathan writes: I have been putting on house music nights in my city for about a year and a half now. They have all been successful bar two where attendance wasn’t as high as expected. I have recently moved my night to a better venue with better sound quality, production etc.
“For my first night at this venue I really pushed the event (more than normal) on social media with paid Facebook adverts etc and the response was good but on the actual night the attendance numbers just didn’t cut the mustard for me.
“I really don’t know where I have gone wrong. Could it be a one off? Was it a bad choice of dates? Was it the change of venue? I keep asking myself these questions over again. The problem is now, it’s really disheartened me and I’m really anxious about doing another just in case it’s not as busy. I know I should just dust myself off and carry on but just seems so difficult.
“Any advice on how I can get my event to stand out and get people talking about it so they suggest to friends etc? I don’t just want to book a known artist like all the others do for exposure. If I do book an artist I want it to be a treat for my followers.”
Digital DJ Tips says:
Well done Nathan for not following the “book a big name” route – great club nights are based around a vibe, decent residents and a bit of magic, none of which can be bought in. Or to put it another way, if you’re relying on guests to fill venues, you’re promoting one-off events rather than a regular night that people can rely on week in, week out – the basis of any good club.
All kinds of things can affect attendance. A new venue might scare your regulars off. As you say, could just have been a bad date with lots of competition, or at the wrong time in the month for people to have cash left in the bank before pay day.
Just because you paid for advertising on Facebook, doesn’t mean people will actually come out, as you found. People need to hear about something half a dozen times, in all different kinds of ways, before they’re tipped into actually coming. Therefore, all six “touch points” happening on Facebook doesn’t count. Upping your spend there isn’t the solution.
But: If a potential attendee has seen a Facebook ad, been told about the event by a friend, heard you talking about it on local radio, seen a preview in your local listings magazine or ticket website, picked up a flyer, and seen a poster, that’s your six touch points. If you also have their email address and/or mobile number so you can remind them on the day, now you’re getting to the point where you’re turning awareness into attendance.
As somebody who promoted weekly, monthly and one-off events for over 15 years, one thing I can tell you is that all promoters have bad nights, so it’s good you’ve realised you have to get up and do it all again! There really is no choice. The good news is that people don’t remember your failures, only your successes, and consistency comes with time. Do gather email addresses though, because even in these social media-driven days, email still rules when it comes to getting people to take action.