Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Finding an audience 4: 20 ways to increase your concert audience

Over the last three weeks I’ve been looking at the traditional way of getting audiences to come to your concerts: identify what your choir does, describe that accurately, then get the word out.

empty seats

Piper auditorium by brettstil

This week I’m going to show you 20 other ideas to increase your concert audiences.

  1. use a smaller venue – of course you won’t fit a bigger audience in, but the audience you do get will seem bigger and give the choir confidence, you might sell out (leave them wanting more!), and you will create a buzz.

  2. tailor songs to suit the circumstances – make sure you choose the most appropriate songs from your repertoire for the venue or festival or event.

  3. do a joint concert – with a local school or other (different kind of) choir. They will bring their own audience and both choirs will benefit.

  4. set up time-limited project – and involve other singers who aren’t in your choir. Time-limiting the project gives it focus and requires less commitment from the participants. You never know, they might end up joining the choir afterwards!

  5. be a support act/ guest slot – offer your services to other choirs, orchestras, bands, singers, etc. Make sure you complement what they have to offer.

  6. special deals on tickets – half price special, discount for certain groups, competition prize, etc.

  7. create a ‘friends’ scheme for the choir – charge a nominal fee to cover costs of a regular newsletter and other ‘goodies’ like advanced notice of concerts, priority booking, cheaper tickets, etc.

  8. get someone else to find the audience – offer your services to another organisation or festival who might want to raise money for charity in exchange for them doing all the marketing. Charge a percentage of the box office.

  9. pay a PR person – employ an expert to market your concert or,if you can’t afford one, send a choir member on a course.

  10. offer food and drink – it doesn’t have to be free (how many concerts do you go to just because they offer a free glass of wine?), but could be unusual fare that fits in with your programme of songs. Your concert will have “Added value”.

  11. link concert to another event – don’t just do joint concerts with other choirs, it could be a non-musical event like a summer fair, lecture, guided tour, food tasting, etc.

  12. have a “pay what you can” gig – no charge in advance, but leave a big bucket by the entrance for people to pay what they think the concert was worth.

  13. create an afterlife – that you can then use to promote your next concert. Video, sound recording, photo display, etc.

  14. get feedback – from your audience which you can use as copy for your next press release or website. Even better, get a review from your local music critic and get it published.

  15. vary the concert – make it a more interesting evening by adding variety: repertoire, small groups, solos, instruments.

  16. take it to the audience – don’t just expect them to come to you. Find other events or venues where lots of people gather and take your singing to them. Even if it’s a taster rather than a full concert, you will interest a few people.

  17. make sure there are no other events on the same day – easily done! Make sure you’re entered in any local ‘clash diaries’. Plan well in advance.

  18. steal someone else’s audience – choose music-makers that you admire and busk outside their concert.

  19. try different kinds of venue – if you find that you’re almost always performing in churches, try your local sports centre. If you’re always in the local concert hall, try a church instead. Go further afield.

  20. recruit more choir members – if each choir member brings friends and family, then increasing the size of your choir will automatically increase the size of your audience!

... and more?

I’m sure there are plenty of other good ideas out there for increasing the size or composition of your audience. If you’re not afraid of other people stealing your best idea, do leave a comment and let us know your good ideas. The more the merrier!

In case you’ve missed any of the other three posts in this series on finding an audience, here they are:

  1. identifying what your choir does
  2. describing what we do
  3. letting people know

Next week, I’ll be considering choirs that choose not to perform at all.


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