If your venue is already drawing all the patrons you want, you might not need this info. But if not, please read on.
A quality live-music program can be a clear benefit -- a real differentiator -- to any venue. To be most effective and helpful to your bottom line, though, venues can take some easy steps to build and sustain their live-music program and really make it a true asset to all involved.
SOCIAL MEDIA More than anything, take advantage -- consistently, regularly and professionally -- of the very easy and essentially free social-media methods for promoting your live-music events. Mainly via your website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Put some effort into a brief, well-crafted message -- and yes, spelling & grammar always count. When you do this consistently and regularly, people begin to remember and rely on you more and more as an appealing, go-to, live-music venue.
Always use a photo of the band/musician in your promo (they should all be providing good photos to you!). It’s a lot like the food dishes and drinks you offer -- you don’t just say “we have hamburgers and wine,” right? Briefly describe the musician and their music (maybe include their website URL) and include a call to action like “come on out this Friday for a great evening!” Short and sweet messaging is most effective.
Weekly messages should not only feature who’s playing this weekend, but also who’s coming up over the next 2-3 weeks. Repetition and consistency ARE very effective.
VISUALS: POSTERS/FLYERS Prominently and consistently post flyers, posters and/or table toppers that say -- and show, with a photo -- at least who’s performing this week, and ideally in the next few weeks as well. At the very least, put this info on both sides of your entrance -- coming and going -- as well as at the reception desk, in or near restrooms and again with little table toppers (cards, two-sided A-folds, etc.) Get these materials up more than a week in advance, so that this coming weekend's patrons will see who's coming the following week. (Also, when you're provided in advance with printed materials, please use them. I can't tell you how many times I've delivered flyers to venues well in advance of my gig date, only to find that they never put them up. I don't take it personally, but it does say something about how they value their live-music program.)
AND YES, MUSICIANS CAN (AND SHOULD) HELP, TOO. Any gigging musician should have an awareness of the importance of promotion -- and should be an active partner in bringing patrons into your venue. > Musicians should be promoting upcoming dates in monthly emails to fans. > They should also be promoting their dates -- for both this week and upcoming weeks -- on social media, and prominently mentioning, of course, your venue. > They should also be providing venues with well-done posters/flyers for posting in your venue. > They should also be providing downloadablepromotional text and photos (maybe printable posters/flyers too) to you for your use in social media.
( Click here to see my own examples of some of these.)
When venues and musicians work together to promote live music, we build, together, step-by-step, a following of patrons and fans. That's good for everyone.