Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Artists and Facebook: Send an Effective Invitation

Reality Check
Here is a break down of how a typical local event of mine is usually filled. This is based on a target audience of 100:

Type of Marketing
# of Audience Members
Posters around town
= 1
Craigslist or other on-line calendars
= 1
Advertisement in Local Paper
= 2
Calendar Listing in Local Paper(s)
= 4
My Space Invites
= 5
Article in Local Paper
= 7
Facebook Invites
= 10
Handing someone a postcard  invites
= 10
Teaser contacts
= 20
E-mails to fans
= 40
  Reality Check Marketing Chart

You’ll notice that some of my marketing efforts bring in more audience members than others. Each though, is equally important in the larger picture of your career, so never choose one over the other. The way venues are filled really hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time. It’s still done person to person. People you’ve won over will come to your event and people they’ve recommended will come as well. It’s the rare audience member who is usually adventurous enough to try something new after seeing one ad in the paper. A tourist might have this mindset, but a typical local audience member won’t. 

You'll notice that my Facebook Invites are in the top 4 of the ways I bring people into my events. It used to be extremely easy. I could send a Facebook invite and at least 10% of my invitations would show up. Now, though the Facebook invite is another beast altogether. You have to work for it because 1) Facebook is now like a website on steroids and each page is filled with more and more information.  2) In the past 6 months the Facebook invitation has changed immensely. 

If you want to bump your invites up a level, here's what you have to do. Anyone that sends you a maybe. You'll need to follow up with them. A personal message in their in-box is best. Make it personal. Tell them why you think they'd like it, make a basic emotional appeal and be honest. I know what you're thinking. Your thinking "OMG, if I have to go through all that work to get people to my event it isn't worth it!" 

If an event is important to you, you should do whatever you need to do. This is basic Sales 101. I get tired of seeing lumpy artists lumping around at their poorly attended events because they didn't take the time to do the things I suggest. "But I sent out a press release," they say. "And I sent out facebook invites," they say. 

When event attendance is important to me I'll not only send out personal invitations to my entire e-database of 6,000, but I'll also make phone calls. If I fill a 200 seat venue with $15 ticket buyers who will most likely purchase additional items such as CDs, DVDs and T-shirts at my shows and more than likely come to future shows, is it worth it to spend 8 hours doing this kind of work? You betcha'.

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