• Chase Ellsworth

5 simple hacks to draw a crowd to your show

Updated: Jul 14

Key Takeaways:

  1. Create a free show poster on Canva. It’s super easy! Make sure to include an active shot of you performing for your audience, the date/time of your performance, and the venue’s address. You can reuse the poster each week just by changing the date!

  2. Submit your Event to your city’s events page If you do only one thing, post your show for free to your city’s Events page! This will attract tourists that are visiting your city and searching for fun things to do with their family and friends.

  3. Post your show poster on your social channels and make sure to tag the venue! You can also tag your city’s local news and events outlets on social media. You might get a repost to thousands of followers or make it on a “things to do” list.

  4. Encourage Word-Of-Mouth Whenever it's showtime, don’t just perform. Engage with your audience! Thank them for showing up. Let them know you look forward to seeing them again and ask them to bring their friends. Word-of-mouth will be your most powerful tool.

  5. Ask people how they found out about you! Yes, you can actually do that. This all might seem like a lot of work to do for every show. That is why you need to ask people how they found you, so you can see what works and what does not. Double on what works and drop the rest.

Last week’s blog was all about how to get started booking shows!

This week is on how to actually get people to show up at your show! If you stay consistent in your efforts, you will always have work. At the end of the day, venues are investing in you. If you can attract patrons to their businesses, you will drastically increase your value and your rates!

A few weeks after I went full time, I had landed 3 weekly residency shows and I could not afford to lose them. My goal was to make myself indispensable.

I found creative ways to get the word out about my performances. After just a few months of performing I was able to sustainably increase the nightly revenue of the bars and restaurants I performed at by 30%!

Here is how I did it along with some pointers so you can do this for yourself!

Make a Show Poster. You’ll want a catchy image to post your show on the local events page and to share on your social media. I like to use candid shots of me performing for an audience. Get creative! Make it pop. Make sure to include all of the relevant details about your show.

You can create a free show poster using tools on Canva by clicking here!

Post on Your City’s Public Events Page. If you do only one thing, do this. Posting on local event pages has proven time and time again to have the best ROI on time spent and is the most overlooked way to get people to your show. Your city has a marketing team that spends a lot of money trying to attract people to your city. Leverage their marketing dollars for yourself!

One of the first things tourists do when planning a trip or when they get to a new city, is to find fun things to do with their friends and family. A common Google search is “Things to do in [your city]”. Make your show one of the fun things that shows up!

When you Google your City’s Events tab, the first thing to pop up might be a page like this:

Every city has a similar Events page where you can post your show as an Event often for FREE. If you don’t do anything else, do this and you should have people coming from all over.

Post on social media. Now that you have a show poster, you can start making stories and posts on your social media account with it. Be sure to tag the venue each time!

Your clients will notice your posts and the work involved and generally tend to appreciate your professional efforts. By posting about your show, you are marketing the venue that hired you and your clients will love you for it! It is very likely that they will share your posts on their own social media accounts, thereby increasing your reach.

You may be surprised at the number of events pages your city has online. You can check the websites of local social media channels, local broadcast news websites, and facebook groups. You can even post your show on Eventbrite for free, if the show itself is public and free to attend.

Hot Tip: Follow and tag any social media channels that share local news and events. There’s a good chance that your show post will be reposted or you might even find yourself on a list of fun things to do on their website!

Encourage Word-Of-Mouth. Every person that walks into your show is an incredible opportunity that you don’t want to miss. Build connections and relationships with people, smile warmly and be sure to thank everyone for coming. Tell them you hope to see them again and to bring a friend. Don’t shy away from engaging with your community. This will go a long way in growing your fanbase. The bigger the crowd that you draw, the more you can reasonably charge for your work.

Ask people how they found out about you. Reposting your shows constantly can feel tedious and redundant and that’s why it is crucial to ask how someone heard about you. Big Companies do this often because it is a great question to narrow down what marketing avenues work and which do not. Consider this research! And you may even find that some of your most time consuming efforts have the smallest reach or vice versa.

Once you find a few things that work, double down. You may even consider contacting your city's tourism and marketing team to do a paid partnership.

The more people you attract, the more in demand you will become, and the higher rate you can charge. Never stop experimenting!

Conclusion: You’ll be amazed at how many scrappy and free resources there are to get people to your show! Do not underestimate leveraging your city’s tourism and marketing efforts. Create your free show poster and paste it on your socials, eventbrite, local news stations, and local social media news channels. Ask your audience how they found out about you so you can find out what works, and what doesn't.

It can be a lot of work in the beginning to draw a crowd, but once you build some momentum you’ll find it gets a lot easier! Especially, when people start talking about their experience with their friends.

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