How to Avoid Panic Promotion

Occasionally I get emails from house concert presenters who have an upcoming show with a shortage of RSVPs. They are looking for help or advice for a last minute promotional push to get their numbers up for a healthy turnout.

Note that these following suggestions are even MORE helpful if you don’t wait until a few days out.

Let’s make sure your emails are persuasive.

What makes this artist special? What do you love most? Have you communicated that in an email to your list?

A lot of hosts fall into the habit of “just the facts” when announcing their shows. I find it makes a difference to give them a sentence or two about why this show might be special.

Example: “Aaron’s CD has been the most played music in my car for the past six months. I think you’ll really appreciate the lyrical depth and musical groovy-ness of his music. It reminds me of Peter Gabriel.”

THEN give them the details and how to RSVP.

Brainstorm to get a few more names and emails on your list.

Not everyone picks up the habit of collecting email addresses and interest from people they meet. Is your dentist on your list? Who else have you met lately?

If you don’t have the habit of adding to your list each time you meet new folks, then schedule a regular brainstorm session every month or so. OR, wait til just before you get into panic mode on your concert with light RSVPs. 8^)

Personal calls and emails to key folks.

Remember that some of the people on your list are actual friends that you care (or used to care!) about. Maybe pick up the phone? “Hey I was about to invite you to this special concert I’m hosting, but I figured I’d give you a call and catch up first. How are you?” Re-kindle the friendship, THEN offer to send the invite email. You might even confirm the email address if they’ve been unresponsive in the past. “Is this your best email?”

Ask for help!

Your existing RSVPs can be nudged to invite some friends.

Don’t beg and plead (yet)… people actually like to be helpful. And NEVER be a downer about your numbers. You want to inspire people to attend, and you want them to look forward to future emails. If you establish a pattern of panic and sadness, people will start to tune you out.

So include a special note in your reminder email “we have a few open seats left for this show… is there someone you know that might enjoy joining you for this special concert?”

At Listening Room Network, we help venues and house concerts promote their events to each other, as well as our private community of fans. You can join us and list your events at www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com

What is some advice you’d give to a host who wants to add some last minute RSVPs? Send them to support@listeningroomnetwork.com and we’ll update this post.

And remember, don’t just announce… persuade!

“This concert is a special one because…”

 

Your Cultural Legacy as a Music Fan

Did you just go to shows, or did it mean something? — Fran Snyder

You can be in the music business.
Best of all, you don’t have to pretend it’s your job.

What do I mean?

Until you make it to the top of the corporate music business ladder, you’re poor. You’re overworked. It’s a rough lifestyle.

The best way to be in the music business is as a hobby. It’s easy as

  1. Volunteer
  2. Play a limited role that you enjoy.
  3. Watch the impact that you make on the lives of your friends, and the careers of independent artists you admire.

You can make a difference as a fan, organizer, promoter, or house concert host. Stay at it long enough, and you create your own cultural legacy.

Let us show you how.

Join Us.

franrussfa2014
Russ (right) and his wife Julie have hosted 200+ shows in their home over the past 15 years. What a legacy!

Do House Concert Hosts get a Free CD?

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Photo by Jess Phillips. Listening Room Festival 2019.

A gratitude mindset has served me well over the years. One of the things that I’ve always found odd is that some artists get hung up about giving their house concert host a free CD.

Yes. An artist’s work has value and they shouldn’t be compelled by someone else to give it away for free. But the act of volunteering a gift to someone can often have a lovely effect.

Who should be grateful? The host who gets a personalized performance from a national touring artist in their home? Or the artist who’s been given a captive audience and a warm reception?

Of course, the answer is both.

Sometimes the host will take the lead and offer to buy a CD. Sometimes the artist can take the lead and offer a free keepsake or memento.

Here’s a scenario that’s played out for me (as an artist) many times after a house concert.

ME: (Presenting a signed CD.) I’d like you to have this. Thanks for putting this event together.

HOST: Oh. I want to pay for it.

ME: I’d like to give it to you.

HOST: No. I insist on paying for it. I always buy a CD from the artists. You need the money.

ME: Thank you. That’s very kind. (Taking the money, and presenting something else – another CD, a shirt, or something.) OK. Now you have to accept this gift from me.  8^)

Host then offers – come back and stay with us anytime you’re in this region… here’s some food for the road… marry my daughter… etc.

Lesson: If it’s a point of pride for the host to purchase something… let them. And THEN give them something else as a thank you. [hint: you should have more than one thing for sale.]

Gratitude. It’s so inexpensive in the long run.

 

 

RSVP automation for LRN hosts and venues!

new features at LRN

Have you ever lost an attendee or two, because

  • you didn’t reply to their RSVP soon enough or at all?
  • you forgot to send them a reminder email, and they forgot about their commitment to you?

Or maybe you get it done every time, but would enjoy a little automation?

We’ve made substantial improvements for hosts and venues in our network, to solve these problems for you.

Our new RSVP system now has the following:

  1. Auto-confirmations – RSVPs can receive an automatic reply saying “confirmed!” with instructions, directions, etc.
  2. Customized confirmation/reminder messages – use the prepared template, and/or add anything you wish.
  3. Auto-reminders – 2 days before your show, confirmed RSVPs get a reminder message.
  4. FULL – setting if you’d like to stop getting RSVPs for a particular event.

We have a lot more planned as well, including a “wait list” setting and guest list printout.

In the next few months we’ll also be promoting our new fan memberships, to help boost attendance at your shows.

So take a minute to list your upcoming shows, try out the new stuff, and maybe connect with some new people!

Notice the RSVPs (30) and the (auto) confirmation setting in the image below!

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House Concert Legal – City of Herndon and Crib Concerts

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Once in a while, we get a report that a house concert has had trouble with zoning violations. Zoning laws can cite various reasons why a house concert could be in violation – parking, noise, and commercial activity are the most common.

In the case of Crib Concerts, the complaint is about “Indoor Entertainment,” and specifically because it has been deemed a commercial activity by the local zoning Community Inspector. Unfortunately for Chris Devine, he lives and operates his concerts in a redevelopment district of Herndon that has even more restrictions than the city on property use.

The host is appealing to the city, and we have to give serious kudos to him for honoring the next 5 booked concerts. Since the issue will take months to resolve, Chris created a GoFundMe to cover the cost of the fines. That’s a fine example of commitment to artists, and engaging your community to rally for your cause.

One has to wonder how the complaint originated, but my money is always on someone like this guy.

screen shot 2019-01-18 at 12.21.40 pm

I’m guessing Mr. Morningwood has never been to a house concert. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

LRNetwork offers privacy and promotion for private events (house concerts.)

House concerts need to be privately promoted. LRN provides exactly that.

Although we offer public listings for public venues, LRN has been rebuilt to enable better privacy for house concerts. Since house concerts typically take place in residences, it is important (for legal, safety, zoning, and insurance reasons) that they be private.

Previously, as we also did at ConcertsInYourHome, we offered the public the opportunity to “introduce themselves” to our hosts via our event calendars. This was to encourage conversation and connection instead of automatic, impersonal confirmations. We found that busy hosts found it tempting to just say “yes, please join us, here’s my address!”

Despite very few bad experiences, we know that casually inviting a lot of strangers into your home isn’t safe practice. We also know that getting to know your audience can provide great new friendships and opportunities.

You might think that our increased privacy would be detrimental to the promotion of house concerts, but here’s a surprising opportunity. Now that our network is truly private, we can promote more effectively to the people who care. In order to do this, at long last, we created FAN memberships!

Fan memberships are designed to increase engagement and attendance. People who attend a few house concerts per year will be able to attend a few house concerts per month. They’ll be able to spread the word more effectively by promoting our whole network to their friends and families.

And house concert hosts will be able to see the track record of these fans. Do they show up after they RSVP? Are they spreading the word in ways that should be rewarded? This is information that can be vital to growing a house concert audience.

Book your Season – How to easily handle artist inquiries!

An idea for House Concert Hosts and Listening Rooms

One of the challenges of booking talent is staying on top of artist inquiries. If you are open to inquiries all year long, it can create periods of frustration when you feel you don’t have time to give artists a good listen. On the other hand, closing off your booking channel (red booking light) can make you feel like you might miss out on a great opportunity.

One great solution is to book a season at a time. That can be once, twice, or up to 4 times per year, depending on how many shows you do. Here’s an example to illustrate.

Booking Quarterly Seasons – Once per quarter, we listen to all our inquiries and choose the next 2-3 shows, 6 months out or more.

  • In January, we book July, August, and September shows.
  • In April, we book October, November and December shows.
  • etc.

Of course, you can adapt this to your preferences. Maybe you prefer to book 8+ months out. Maybe you prefer to book 4 months at a time, like this:

Booking Three Times per Year

  • In January, we book September, October, November, (December optional)
  • In May, we book January, February, March, April of next year.
  • In September, we book May, June, July (August optional!)

Some hosts and venues like to book their entire year in one shot.

What are the benefits?

  1. You can let artists know AHEAD of time that you won’t be responding until your next booking window, so you don’t have the constant pressure to answer inquiries as they come in.
  2. You can compare and listen to a full menu of options, and feel great about choosing your best options for the season ahead. You can get a real sense of which artists you want to keep in touch with, say, if dates don’t line up this time.
  3. You have flexibility. If your dream act reaches out for a show outside of your current booking window… book her! If there’s so much talent that you want to book an extra show, do it! List the show, and artists will see the dates/months that are no longer available.
  4. Promotion becomes easier and more effective when you can promote a whole season as well as individual shows.  LRN webflyers contain links to your next 6 upcoming concerts.

Will this work for all hosts and venues? Of course not. But if a booking schedule or season appeals to you… try it!

How to adjust your profile at LRN for seasonal booking.

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  • Put up a yellow booking light.
  • At the top of your booking info, describe your basic process in as few words as possible. “We book seasonally! In January, we will decide on our bookings for July, August and September.
  • Choose the first month (July) of your booking window as your Target Month.
  • Then follow your plan!

Booking seasonally? If you’d like to suspend the weekly reminders for pending inquiries, just let us know.

If enough of our hosts/venues adopt this type of plan, we can update the site to make it even easier. Thank you!

Visit http://www.ListeningRoomNetwork.com to join as a house concert host or listening room venue.