Concerts are one of the primary ways you’re going to make money as a musician, so while it can be exhausting to promote all of your shows over and over, it’s what you have to do to stay in business. In fact, you’ll probably end up spending more time promoting concerts and pushing tickets than actually playing onstage!
After initially releasing dates and announcing a tour, how do you make sure you sell as many tickets as possible? Social media will quickly become your best friend, so here are six helpful tactics that can help you sell, sell, sell!
1. Announce your on-sale date
This is obvious, but each show deserves of at least a separate post or two from your accounts on its on-sale date. Don’t just tell your fans about when you’ll be in what cities and expect them to find out when tickets are available. Never assume that your fans will look twice or go the extra mile to uncover the info they need.
Sure, the most dedicated of the bunch will do what it takes to grab those passes, but every other consumer will probably forget and move on. Post the day they go on sale, and continue to update from there.
2. Post a reminder
Sometimes, there's a lag between when you’re ready to announce tour dates and when the tickets actually go on sale. This isn’t always the case, but depending on the promoter, the other bands, the city, and the venue, sometimes fans won’t be able to secure a pass until a later date.
Even if that's only the case for one or two performances, post a reminder the moment tickets become available, and if possible, personally nudge those fans who may have asked when they’d be purchasable.
3. Count down to show day
It bears repeating: don’t just post a list of dates and assume everyone has seen the news and marked it on their calendars. Whenever you have a concert, whether it be a standalone show, a festival appearance, or even a lengthy tour, you should be promoting every date and every performance as if it were your biggest.
As the event nears, remind your fans that it's fast approaching. Feel free to post on your socials when the concert is a month out, two weeks out, a week away, and then when there are only a matter of days before you take the stage. These posts will serve as both reminders and ways to get people excited about your show.
4. Have a sale
You might not want to do this with every concert, but it's certainly worth a try if you still have some tickets to sell. Work with the venue, the ticket seller, or perhaps on your own to offer tickets to an upcoming concert at a discounted price.
You don’t necessarily need to cut the cost by a huge amount of money (unless you were overcharging to begin with), but even a small discount can catch people’s attention and possibly sway those who were on the fence about attending before.
5. Create scarcity
This tactic is a bit of a trick, but again, it’s worth trying out at least once or twice. As your band’s performance approaches, start hinting that there aren’t many tickets left, and that those who have been thinking of snapping up a pass need to do so quickly. Don’t feel bad if this isn’t exactly the truth; it’s an oft-used marketing ploy, and one that doesn’t take advantage of anybody, but which does give some a kick in the pants they may need.
If you’re lucky and things are going well, you won’t need to grease the truth and you can just tell it like it is... though that’s not always how things work out.
6. Be open and honest
Sometimes the best thing to do with your fanbase is be completely open and honest, even if it doesn’t make you look like the most successful musician on the planet. There's nothing wrong with admitting that you need a bit of help selling tickets, whether it's because of a minimum you need to reach or perhaps even for monetary reasons. Your fans and their friends will understand, as many people know how difficult it is being an independent musician.
Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog Pop! Bang! Boom! which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.