One of the most common frustrations we see Chattanooga musicians expressing is low audience turnout at shows. Everybody wants to play to a sold-out crowd. So, what are you supposed to do get people out?
Take Ownership of Your Promotion. You can control how much effort goes into promoting your show and how early you start planning. Venues and promoters in town will do their part in providing promotion packages based on your budget; Track 29 uses everything from print media and radio to their street team, the Dispatchers. However, they will expect you to reach out to your fans via social media, your website, newsletters, etc.
Barrett Taylor of Gig City Productions said that he finds Nick Lutsko to be not only a fantastic musician, but stellar promoter as well because, “he is everywhere during the weeks before his shows - TV, radio, print, social media, etc. - and he promotes in highly creative ways.”
Plan in Advance. While weekday concerts can have solid attendance numbers, fans are less likely to come out on a weeknight. Booking weekends usually requires advance planning (3–4 months) and coordination with the venue. Instead of booking your shows at any available opportunity, think ahead and land a much better show date. Playing weekends brings more money through the door, bigger crowds, and more on-stage confidence.
If you also plan on trying to play with bigger bands in the area, reach out to them early. Bands that have gathered traction in town have probably been booking gigs months in advance so if you want to contact them about being a potential opener, then you have to ask early enough to be considered an option.
Also reach out to local TV, newspaper and radio media 6–8 weeks before your show. Journalists and reporters tend to be swamped with press releases daily. Contacting them a few weeks in advance will give you time to follow up with your request, and for them to consider your story and contact you if they’re interested in it. Offering exclusive content, whether it be a new song or ticket giveaway, is a huge incentive for them to feature you on their TV or radio shows.
Have Accurate Event Information. You need to have accurate information for promotion materials so your fans know when and where to go. These materials should include the names of performing acts, dates, time, cost, location, and a link to the venue or ticketing site if online ticket sales are available.
Use Social Media. When promoting your event online through social media outlets like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter, remember to post updates as your show date gets closer. Post info about the other bands performing, links to blog posts, links to any press you’ve received, post photos from rehearsals, or anything to engage your fans and make them feel involved.
Promotion doesn’t have to be expensive; there are many free social media outlets available that you can use to share show information. However, the key is to understand how valuable your product (aka your live show) is. If you think it is worth the time, money, and effort to promote, then do that. When you invest all of those, and make sure to plan these details in advance, then all you have to do the night of the show is to showcase what you do best.