Live music can be an effective way to draw new customers to your restaurant, bar, or nightclub. Booking an artist that’s popular in your area can draw their fans to your establishment, but that's only half the battle. Putting on a show that nobody knows about isn’t good for you or the musician.
The event needs to be promoted correctly to produce any meaningful results. Effective promotion of the event can be difficult, but if executed correctly, it can result in a large number of new customers being exposed to your establishment.
Below are some ways you can promote live events at your restaurant or bar.
1) Make Sure it’s Legal
Many restaurant owners are unaware about the legalities of music in a business setting. To have live music in your restaurant or bar, you need the appropriate licenses, and in some cases, a permit for live entertainment.
2) List the Event in Local Event Calendars
Some local newspapers and community-based websites have event calendars. Many people look at these event calendars to find activities for their weekend. Reach out to the organizations that run these calendars and ask them to add your event.
Many newspapers, news websites, and churches have event calendar, so looking at their websites is a good place to start. Most will eagerly accept your proposal, since more content on their calendars makes them a place to be sought out first.
3) Concert Discovery Apps
I’ve found many concerts on Bandsintown, both from musicians I already know and from new musicians through their recommendation system. In fact, most concerts I go to, aside from large music festivals, I find out about through Bandsintown notifications.
These concert discovery apps can be great ways for you to draw in new customers to your restaurant. For Bandsintown, you can add an event yourself here, but for Songkick, you’ll need to ask the artists to do this through their own account. Be sure to also ask the artist to add the event to their ReverbNation, Bandpage, and other social media accounts, as well as their own website.
4) Promote it on Social Media
Create a nice looking image to promote the event on your social media accounts. You can use Canva for quick, high quality photo creation.
Once you have a nice looking image, share it on your social media profiles, and ask the artist to re-share it with their fans and followers. Do this at least a week before the event so people can plan to go in advance.
5) Create a Facebook Event
Creating an event on Facebook lets you start building awareness for your show simply by inviting your own friends. Work with the artist to promote the event page across Facebook, and when people come across it, they’ll RSVP if they’re interested, and maybe even invite friends. On event day, those who RSVP will get a reminder notification from Facebook, which will prevent them from forgetting about it.
6) Play that Artist's Music
Playing the artists music in your restaurant or bar before the event can help familiarize your existing customers with them, which can result in them returning to see the live music, and inviting friends to come with them. Services that offer music for business can help with this.
7) Set up Table Tents
Another way to bring existing customers back for the event, potentially with their friends, is to set up table tents promoting the event. Place some of these at each table with images or the artists you’ve booked to build awareness among your existing customers.
8) Install a Social Media Display
Twitter is one of the most used social networks among 18-29 year olds. If you expect to attract people of this age range to your event, you can take social media promotion a step further during the event with a social media display.
Here’s how it works.
Before the event, follow the artist you’ve booked on Twitter. Next, generate relevant hashtag and use them in your posts. Finally, during the event, install a social media display that will showcase Tweets and Instagram photos containing your hashtag.
This will encourage people at the event to Tweet about your event using your hashtag, which can build further awareness of your brand among their followers. Do this weekly, and people will start to notice your hashtag. As an added bonus, you can see what accounts used the hashtag during the show so you can target them for future events. It's a great way to get your customers excited (and to have them do some free marketing for you!).
9) Don’t Forget About Email
If you have an email list from an existing loyalty program through your bar POS system, be sure to send out emails about the event to people on the list. Additionally, ask the artists you’ve booked to send the event email out to their mailing list subscribers. Make the most of your existing customer base - maybe if they're not interested in the event, they'll pass it off to a friend who is.
10) Alert the Media!
If you’re doing something interesting for your event that creates a good story, the press might be interested. Reach out to local newspapers and TV news stations about your story, and send them a press release. The more your business is featured in the local press, the more legitimacy it will gain in the eyes of your community. You may not see an uptick during the first show, but keep your eyes peeled for the fifth or sixth show.
Promoting Live Events
Live events can be an exciting time for your restaurant! Not only can you and you patrons have a good time, you could see an upturn in customers that could carry on long after the event is held. However, if you want to make the most of your event, just refer to these promotion ideas so everyone who may have an interest in attending can't say they didn't know it was happening.
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