4 Offline Marketing Ideas For Venues, Festivals

1While the often discussed digital marketing certainly has its place, there remains much to be said for real world, 'in the flesh' marketing. Here we look at four of the most effective ways you can reach fans in your city offline.


Guest post by Bill Leigh of Eventbrite

These days, there’s a lot of talk about digital marketing — and for good reason. Web and social media ads have become a highly precise, measurable tool for reaching your target audience of music fans right where they are online.

But what about real life? Are you reaching your fans where they are in your city? 

To keep your shows and your brand top of mind for your fans, span the entire spectrum of marketing. That means complementing your online efforts with offline marketing programs.

There are still potent ways of connecting with local and regional fans in the real world. Here are four great ways to start.

Offline marketing idea #1: Find the right partners

Where can your fans be found in the real world? To find out, hit the streets.

Are there bars and breweries in your town with punk-rock themes or metal fans as clientele? Are there lifestyle or clothing stores that cater to a hip-hop audience? Are there skate shops or tattoo parlors that play music by your headliners? Are there record stores in your town?

Do the footwork, and you’ll find partners whose customers reflect your target audience — and vice versa. You won’t just be marketing to their customers, they’ll also be reaching yours. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Offline marketing idea #2: Make amazing posters and flyers — and get them in the right places

Posters and flyers have always been important to music festivals and concert promotion, and they still are. A great music poster can set the tone of the show, inform and motivate ticket buyers, and eventually become a part of your venue or festival’s history.

The two major considerations with posters and flyers are design and distribution.

  • Design: What kind of feelings does the music evoke? Trippy? Heavy? Rootsy? Ecstatic?  Make sure your poster or flyer artwork reflects that emotional vibe. Use that same design in your online advertising to keep your branding consistent.
  • Distribution: Posting flyers on telephone poles isn’t enough. That’s where your partner relationships come in. 

    Ask your partners to post flyers or posters in their places of business. Call up your street team and use their knowledge of the shops, bars, and areas where fans hang out. Have them ask to place posters and fliers at those places. 

    Don’t have a street team? Put up flyers in the venue asking people to join your street team, or ask on social media. If you’ve got fans who love the types of shows you put on and would talk them up anyway, then you’ve got good street team candidates.

Offline marketing idea #3: Hold artist meet-and-greets

2At your venue, artist meet-and-greets are often the domain of VIP experiences. In advance of your show, they can be an effective way to reach an artist’s audience and generate excitement for your shows.

Once you’ve found great partners, consider holding these events in their businesses. You could even pitch the artiston doing a two- to three-song in-store acoustic set while you sell tickets onsite.

Offline marketing idea #4: Offer contests and ticket giveaways

Nothing gets the buzz going like the potential for freebies. Contests are a great way not just to promote your shows but also to engage with fans and collect emails. Here a few cool contest ideas:

  • The partner play. Let your partners reap the benefits of buzz by doing ticket giveaways that require showing up at their places of business. Or, have a combo prize that includes show tickets from you and a gift card or other prize from the partner.
  • Radio. Offer tickets to radio stations for giveaways. Unlike most partners, a radio station may charge for the promotional privilege. However, if a particular genre-focused station is the single best way to reach a specific audience in your town, paying up could be worth it.
  • Mix it up. Combine your online and offline promotions by holding a social media contest in which, to be eligible for a ticket drawing, fans post a photo of your poster in the wild.

Looking for more ideas to sell out your shows? Check out the 10 Best Ways to Sell Out Your Event.

Bill Leigh is a writer at Eventbrite, where he focuses on helping create successful live music events. He is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Bass Player magazine. When he’s not working, he splits his time between “dad mode” and “rocker mode.”

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