Updated: Aug 3, 2020
How do you know if people are really going to buy into your story, come see your shows, and want to follow you? The pitch is not only what can I give to my audience, but what are they looking for. This is where research comes into play. You don’t want to go out and put on a show that just focuses on you. You want to connect to a story that’s already being told. You’re part of a greater journey that started long before you got here. Your style, themes, the moments you create, and story are all part of a bigger picture.
As you monitor trends, moods, climate, and the atmosphere around you, you can produce content that generates great results. This is planning. Once again doing your homework will help you not only spot trends, but also get ahead of what’s happening to create great performances.
These next steps will help you not only identify an audience, but also help you sell more tickets and get more fans.
Where is the Demand?
Whether it is imagining a show for your next tour or creating excitement for your virtual audience, you need to determine the likelihood what you have to showcase is going to grab their attention.
Ask these questions:
What is the age range and demographics of your likely viewers?
What are the musical themes, humor, presentation styles, and atmosphere that will attract these listeners and viewers?
What is the mood, climate, or feeling I can connect to when designing a show that will help grab and focus their attention?
Remember to keep the end in mind first when designing any experience and walk backwards to deliver key elements that will engage and connect you to your audience.
I remember when I was designing an experience for a hotel casino lobby. There was a lot of traffic that passed through this event space and the hotel director wanted a live musical act to compliment the crowds experience before, during, and after dinner. We looked at existing credit card sales and overall demographics to determine show design. Mostly white middle class ages 35 - 65 from the south east with a small latin and mixed urban heritage demographic under 18%.
The initial desire was to focus on the larger demographic and provide a southern-rock/country style show. What we didn’t take into account is that this crowd had a lot of black middle aged Americans who wanted a pre-game atmosphere. Fortunately the act we put in the lobby had a soul singer in the band. He quickly changed the style of his show to a soul show. This one night was a highlight for not only pre-gamers, but the larger demographic who enjoyed the authenticity of this now soul show.
This is a good example of testing a market before committing too much into a direction for a product.
Where is the traffic?
Working in television, for production companies, and in casinos I learned to also imagine pivot points when planning for a show or experience. A pivot point is a place before or after an event or experience that drives traffic. Entertainment companies invest a lot of money into programming in and around pivot points to maximize and focus exposure on the right experience driving revenue. It is extremely important to know what is going on around you; so that, your show won’t be lost to other traffic.
Ask these questions:
Plan to catch an audience at the right time of day, date, and location. Don’t launch a live or virtual concert at the same time as a big sports event or other feature your demographic may otherwise be absorbed in.
Plan to deliver content that is appropriate for timing around events and even use bigger events as fuel for creativity in designing your performances. For example:
Plan a show around a St. Patricks day event and include elements of this holiday into your live performance.
Another idea would be to tie a live virtual performance to the finale of a favorite television show your audience is into. Focus your performance around elements from that show including talking points, performances of favorite featured songs, and even a question and answer session with your fans.
Plan to distribute on multiple platforms. Even if you're hosting a coffee shop event, plan extra time to promote and showcase on other platforms. Small venues provide great atmosphere for virtual events and can help boost live and online attendance.
What is the price point?
Remember this is also about making money and your fans want to help you grow. There are amazing tools out there to get you going with little to no upfront investment like Patreon. Memberships cost $4.99 to join and fans can pay for additional perks. As you grow, you can compare price points for venues and other online virtual concert spaces to set ticket prices. The key is to offer options. Some people want to pay for a premium experience. With others tipping can go a long way.
Plan to sell during and after your show or event. For live shows, you might wear what you’re going to sell as merchandise and use this as a talking point. For an online event, auction something you might be wearing, an instrument, or even a private post show event for additional bucks!
Plan to partner with someone else for partnership or collaboration. There is no better boost to your credibility or easier way to reach more fans than working with other talent or businesses that can boost your event. Sell for them! Other emerging artists, small businesses and charities need sales plugs. Remember start local and grow global!
When researching your audience, you’ll want to look at developing your performances with a calendar. As we look at the next steps to building engaging performances, you’ll want to work backwards from your planned date to ensure you aren’t skipping steps in creating the ultimate performance.