6 Easy Ways To Promote Your Show

Hosting a show is a lot of work. For many, promoting the show and getting folks through the door is one of the most challenging aspects of hosting.

The most important part of promotion is persistence - the more shows you host, the more your reputation will grow and your audience will learn to trust the quality of your events.

But how do you get started with promoting your show? We’ve got 6 tips to get you started.


1 - Timeline

The sooner you start promotion, the better!

You should announce at least 3 months before the show. People will have time to clear their calendar, invite their friends, and make plans to attend.

Announcing includes all crucial details about the show (artist information, time, place, etc.) and a link to buy tickets (which is created automatically if you book your show with Side Door!).


2 - Word of Mouth

Nothing beats word of mouth for promoting a show. It’s difficult to master but easy to get started!

A first step is to directly invite family, friends, and anyone who’s come to a show you’ve hosted (or played) before (more on that in step 3).

word of mouth

A personalized, direct message or even a phone call will always work better than a Facebook invite, email newsletter, or any kind of mass communication.

Next, you’ll want to get out into the music scene and get to know artists and their fans. Building a network through local outreach will be your strongest promotional tool!


3 - Local Outreach 

Local outreach means posters, mailing lists, flyers, local radio, local event listings, and good old-fashioned legwork - getting out to other shows in your area!

It’s important to keep in mind that your show’s artist(s) will be hard at work promoting to their core fan-base in your area - your goal is to reach out to people in your area who may not yet be fans of the artist, buy may be interested in coming to the show.


Mailing Lists

Mailing lists allow you to stay in touch with people who came to your shows in the past.

You can create a sign-up form for the door at your next show, then send a message to those folks when you are ready to announce your next show!


Posters should be informative, eye catching, and easy to print.


Post notices on community boards, local poster boards, and anywhere else that you’ve seen other notices for shows.

Make sure you include all the important details!


Local Listings

Whether it’s a zine, online forum, or any other kind of event listings, it may be worth considering notifying them about your show.

You can even contact local community or college/university radio stations and see if they’ll boost your event on the air.


4 - Facebook Events 

Facebook events are a great way to get all of the information about your show into one place.

Create a Facebook event that includes:

  • Show details

  • A link to where you can buy tickets (Easy to do if you’ve used Side Door)

  • A photo of the artist and a link to samples of their work

If your venue has a Facebook page, include that, along with the artist’s page, as co-hosts. Together you can all spread the word!

Share the event at least 3 times leading up to the show. You can post in the event page links to samples of the artist’s work, notes about snacks, updates on ticket sales, etc.


5 - Paid Promotions

The best place to start is with Facebook advertisements.


Facebook’s Ad Manager platform is easy to use and allows you to set up a custom advertisement targeting people in the area around your venue. You can also target people based on their interests. Start big by targeting people in your area who like the genre of your show’s artist(s) as well as well known artists who may be similar.

If you’re not sure how to create a Facebook ad, Facebook’s social media advertising help centre gives you everything you need to get started.

Don’t forget about the old-fashioned tools of promotion!

Don’t forget about the old-fashioned tools of promotion!

There are many other online platforms that you can create paid ads on - for example, Kiiji, Craigslist, Reddit, and Spotify are all affordable and easy to use.

Of course, there are also traditional forms of paid promotion like paid radio or newspaper ads. These can be effective, but it depends on the publication and how popular it is in your area.


6 - Community

Finally, a great way to ensure that people come to your shows would be to go to other people’s shows!

Photo by Scott Mun (@photomunn)

Photo by Scott Mun (@photomunn)

It makes all the difference in the success of your venue to participate in the overall hustle and bustle of your community - arts or otherwise.

This can mean going to the farmer’s market on weekends, buying tickets to a local music festival, or even a neighbourhood pancake breakfast.

As a member of the local arts community, it helps to be seen getting involved in other people’s passions!

That’s it!

Those are the basics! Enough to get you started promoting your own shows, on your own terms.

Did we miss something? Definitely! There are countless great ways to promote a show, and what works for one venue may not work for another. Have any tips? Let us know on social media!

Have a great space? Host a show!

Do you have a great space to share? Want to get closer with your local arts community, meet new people, and support artists at the same time? Host a show!

Side Door gives you everything you need - custom matching with great artists and online ticketing, booking, and reporting tools. Sign up for free!