Sunday, March 10, 2013

How to sell more tickets for your next concert: use your choir members

You’ve put all that hard work into rehearsals, so now you need to sell some tickets to actually get a decent audience.

concert tickets
photo by planetschwa

You might think that promotion comes first (more on this in a future post), but your best resource for selling tickets is right on your doorstep: your own choir members.

Much of the time your audience is made up of family and friends. Although you shouldn’t accept that this is our only audience, you need to accept that this is often the reality (see also Is your audience just friends and family?). In which case, the best way of reaching them is through your choir members.

Here are some ideas for enlisting choir members to sell tickets:

  • print real tickets – it always helps when trying to sell to a friend or family member if you have a physical ticket in your hand to sell them. They can part with the cash there and then rather than leaving you with a vague promise of “Yes, I’ll definitely pop along – if I can” and then forget the date.
  • sale or return – trust your choir members. This will make your life much easier. Hand out as many tickets as each choir member thinks they need, and ask them to bring the money (and any unsold tickets) back as soon as possible. Keep a note of how many unsold tickets are still out there and remind choir members regularly to bring the money in.
  • offer incentives – for example, if a choir member sells six tickets, they get one free; sell tickets to choir members in blocks of ten at slightly less than face value and let them pocket the difference;
  • use social media – this is not directly about selling tickets, but you can also harness the power of choir members by getting them to publicise the concert to their own fans, friends and followers on any only social media that they use: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. Make sure you create events on as many platforms as possible and send links to choir members to forward. Also send press releases, posters, etc. by email and ask them to forward to everyone in their address book.
  • motivate them – choir members will get really excited for their first concert, but over the years, motivation will drop off (and a certain fatigue will set in from family and friends!). You need to constantly find ways to motivate them, especially if your concerts are raising funds for your choir. Simple ideas are: offer a prize to the person who sells the most tickets (e.g. bottle of wine, choice of song for next season, chance of a solo; proceeds go to their chosen charity); instigate a points system (like frequent flier miles) and give points for every five (or ten) tickets sold – choir members can redeem their points at a later date.
  • have an open rehearsal – this works well with new choir members. Allow them to invite friends and family along one evening to hear the choir rehearsing. This will give them a taster of what you do so you can then sell them tickets to your next concert.
  • tap into their ‘important’ contacts – you might be surprised how many (locally) ‘important’ movers and shakers individual choir members might know. Get them to leverage their contacts.
  • show your progress – rather like those thermometers that show how much money has been raised towards the new church roof, put a visual aid on the wall that shows each week how near selling out the concert is.
  • use a crowdsourcing model – a lot of crowdsourced funding is only released if the desired target is reached. Anything less and no funding is given at all. Raise the risk levels by saying that if less than 75% of the tickets are sold, there will be no concert!

I’m sure you have lots of other brilliant ideas or tried-and-tested schemes. Do leave a comment and share your ideas. We could all do with learning how to sell more tickets!

Next week I’ll be writing more generally about more ways to sell tickets (without relying on choir members), and the week after that I’ll finally get around to ways of promoting your concert.

Stay tuned! Or even sign up in the FOLLOW BY EMAIL box (top right of the home page) and get each week’s post automatically sent to your email inbox.

Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


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