There are many compelling reasons for starting a club and party promotions business. For starters, club promoters enjoy some of the best lifestyles. They skip the queue, they get free drinks, the hangout in the VIP area, and so forth. And as a promoter, you will always be at the forefront of trends and fashion. But the most important reason is that, if done right, a club promotions business can make a lot of money. The key lies in two key fundamentals;
Your Business Approach and,
The Business strategy
The club environment is immensely social and informal. Now, that presents a challenge. It can be difficult to maintain a business perspective in such socially charged settings. Everyone wants to greet, take selfies, and share a drink with you. That’s because you are the main man putting the night together.
Think of the common saying, “mixing business with pleasure” in its most literal sense and you have a club promoter.
But those who succeed in this business understand the difference, business, and pleasure. Your approach has to be focussed on making money. For you, that is all there is to it.
That’s not to say you aren`t allowed to enjoy yourself. But it`s about maintaining business perspective even when having fun. Your definition of fun must always end with an increased bank balance.
You give yourself the best chance to succeed when you develop a good cleared strategy. You must know with precision, what you will do, and how. A club promotions business can be brutal and if you have no strategy you will crash and burn.
What happens when you run without an effective business strategy
Most of you will have heard about the disaster that occurred in the planning and execution of this event. Fyre festival is the subject of two documentaries that appeared on Netflix.
Billy McFarland and his team put together one of the worst organised events of this decade. They sold thousands of tickets for an event they was promoted as an exclusive party for wealthy Instagram influencers. But what they delivered was nothing but chaos and a thoroughly miserable experience for the people who had paid to enjoy themselves.
Consequently, a lot of people have dismissed the event as a deliberate scum but I don’t think that is not accurate. There was a credible intention to deliver a heart-stopping event. They even had a vision to make it annual event.
So what went wrong?
The Fyre festival organisers just failed to organise the event properly due to lack of proper strategy.
Here is a list of the things they did wrong which could have been avoided with a good strategy.
They knew the kind of event they wanted to stage, but did not fully understand just how much work it would take to successfully pull it off.
They promoted and sold tickets for the event stating that it would be at Norman’s Cay Island. But that was before agreeing with the venue. However the venue turned them down and they had to scramble to find a new suitable location. Meanwhile time was extra-tight. Fyre organisers only had 6 weeks to put together an event that requires a year`s planning.
Then there was no logistics layout of the event. For an event that big, there had to be a clear template of how everything that was going to happen- from before, during and after the event.
But their biggest mistake was to devote all energy and resources to promoting the event, and while very little effort went towards organizing the event. As the results proved, their marketing and promotion strategies were quite effective, and the event was sold out in record time. And the chaos and disaster that occurred is also evidence of poor planning and organization, and a lack of clear strategy.
Let us discuss briefly consider some key elements of a good operation strategy.
Vision & Mission
You need to define the vision and mission of your business. Remember we discussed the importance of having the right approach. So having a clear vision for the business will determine how you then approach the business. Mission and vision are critical to business because they guide everything that you do. They provide a good starting point when developing your structure for the business.
Understand Your Role
Your primary role as a club promoter is to bring people through the door. You will be responsible for running promotions, and doing everything to ensure that the event or party is sold out. Therefore this brings us to the next important fundamental, the Value Proposition.
This is the concept of the event or party. This is the value that you sell to the customers. Why should they attend the event or party? Why should they not go next door? Clubs and parties are all about the experience. Therefore you need to define clearly the sort of experience that you want people to have when they attend. That means you will need to pay special attention to your target audience and their needs. And then decide how you will create a club and party experience that will bring satisfaction to the people who come.
A lot of people fail in this business because they do not take the time to consider the customer`s experience. A sound system, a DJ, and some lights are, NOT enough create an experience. That’s too basic and the club next door probably offers more of an experience to their customers. So how then do you convince them to attend your event instead?
To succeed in this business you must think outside the box and always focus on customer needs. Think about the clubs that you like to attend frequently. What makes you go there? Understanding the “WHY” will give you some ideas on how your customers make decisions to attend parties and events.
Don’t Just Promote
Your primary role may be to promote the club night or party and bring people. But that should not be the sum total of your involvement. You need to get involved in designing and creating the value proposition. There is need to participate in the creation of the event or party`s theme, the layout of the venue, the props, the sound systems, the DJ, the music selection, entry charge, the lighting and so forth. Everything must be in sync.
Remember, customers, are following you. They attend because YOU convince them that it will be a great experience for them.
For instance, a DJ who plays rubbish and bores the audience, bores YOUR customers.
So in a sense, what happens on the night is a reflection of you as a club promoter. And it will affect your ability to promote future events to those same customers.
This is one of the most important things to think about when deciding to run a club night. Who will you target for the night?
You have to think about Interests
The themes of the club-night have to be aligned with the interests of your target market. The feel and layout of the club must be consistent with these interests.
Events and themes that you promote to twenty-somethings are different from the one for forty-somethings.
An event for reggae lovers will be themed and presented differently to that for rock n roll lovers.
You need to know the places that your guests frequent. If you don’t know where they hang out or are found, you can`t promote the event to them.
Income variations must be taken into consideration when promoting events. Different target audiences have different incomes and therefore you need to price your events accordingly.
Events for young adults will be priced differently to those of mature adults. An event in a low-income location will be priced different to the one staged in an affluent area. Similarly, an event for students is priced differently from that of a working audience.
Therefore do your research and get a good understanding of your audience and their attributes.
Of course when you do all that wok and fill the dance floor, you will expect to be paid.
Therefore there are alternative methods that you can get paid as a promoter. One method is to agree to a fixed fee for the night. This is similar to a wage paid for each club night. The amount can also be variable fluctuating with each event. And in some cases, it`s not uncommon for promoters to be formally employed by the club.
The second method is where the promoter and the club owner agree to a split of bar sales for the night.
Another method is where the promoter takes the gate and the club owner takes the bar.
And the fourth model is where there promoter and club owner agree on a combination of any two methods.
Now, the sort of deal that you end up agreeing will depend on various factors. If you are new and have no track record, you may struggle to get a great deal. But that soon changes as you develop your promotion skills and build a customer base.
A good understanding of current trends within your market is pretty important for a promoter. The promotions business is all about what`s hot at the moment. Most night clubs that collapse fail because they fail to keep up with trend swings and fall behind. As an entertainment promoter you must always be on top of your trends game. What`s new in the market? How about the hottest music at the moment? Who is the current chart-topping artist? What events are drawing most crowds? Which TV shows are your target audience watching these days? And you must be up to date with fashion trends too. Entertainment and fashion go together. For you to be able to give the best experience to your customers, you need to be aware of what they are interested in at any given time.
The promotions game is highly competitive. Half the time you will be fighting for the same audience with a number of other promoters. Therefore you must scan the market to identify who your competitors are.
Competition strategy boils down to your value proposition and how you treat your customers.
If you constantly come up with fun nights that are filled with unique experiences, customers will follow you. You can quickly develop a loyal fan-base that is always eager to know when your next event is taking place.
They key to success is to offer something different, unique, and specifically targeted.
Your whole package has to be on point. From the theme, the audience targeting, the pricing fo.0r the event, to your promotion strategies (which we will touch on soon). Everything has to be in sync with your customers` needs. Once you build a reputation for throwing the best parties in town, you will build a loyal following and your competition will fall apart.
And it will not hurt you to spy on your competition. Attend their events and see how they are doing it. Use some of their ideas to come up with your own unique concepts. Do not copy what they are doing, but get ideas. There is no differentiation is copying.
You need to put together a team of promoters that will work under you. This is especially important for when you want to throw bigger events. Partner with university students and others that can make positive contributions to the business.
Also, you can leverage your event staff into your marketing team. Encourage the bar staff and waitresses to sell tickets for a commission. Contract DJs that have a following of people who are likely to attend if he/she is playing. The idea is to utilize all the resources and manpower that you have to publicize your event.
Work With Multiple Clubs
For a club promotions business to be successful, you must be open to working with different clubs. You need to approach many clubs and where possible, promote different events for each night. You may even promote in different towns.
Therefore you need to create a weekly calendar for events and clubs that you promote. You will make more money if you work on more nights and with more clubs.
And having a promotions team will become strategically useful when you run promotions for multiple clubs per week.
|Thursday||Liquid||RnB Night – DJ Splash||$300|
|Friday||Club Zink||Reggae Night||$550|
|Saturday||Club Bella vista||Halloween Party||$600 +|
|Sunday||IKON||DateNight With DJ Smooth||$480|
|Monday||Club Lavanhu||Student Night||$80|
|Tuesday||Boomerang||Nelly Concert After Party||$50|
As you can see from the table above, you can easily multiply your income by working with different clubs.
Negotiating With Club Owners
The first thing that you will need to do is to find clubs that will work with you. This is not that difficult. You will find that there are a lot of clubs that need promoters. The main thing to remember here is to approach the negotiations from a point of value. Why is it in the best interest of the club owner to work with you? In what way is your potential partnership mutually beneficial to both parties? So you need to draft a business package that clearly outlines the value that you will add to the club.
A key suggestion is to look at the slow nights and then offer to host theme nights on those nights. An owner is likely to be more receptive to a proposal that could potentially increase business on slow nights. They may be more willing to take a chance on an unknown promoter for their quiet Tuesday night.
So if you remember one thing in this section it has to be to offer value.
Now, when I say value I do not mean making verge statements like;” if you give me a chance I will bring you more business”. What does more business even mean? You need to make specific projections in your proposal.
For example here is an approach someone could make;
“My nights will potentially bring in between 200-350 people. This could translate into about $5250 in bar sales. And about $2500 at the door. The estimate the cost of promoting the night will be about $600. With hard work, I am confident I can’t make this work because I have about 1200 local Facebook friends. I also have about 1600 Instagram followers. I am sure if I target those two platforms with high-intensity promotions we can make the night a success. Also, the DJ I will contract for the night is quite popular. He has close to 11,000 followers on Facebook and similar numbers on Instagram. I have attended a number of his events and about 70% of them are usually sold out. Plus I don’t think he will cost a lot given that Tuesday night is his night off anyway”.
As you can see you are making a proposal and then backing it with practical information. This is not a verge declaration. A club owner is likely to listen if you approach them with substance.
Marketing Strategy: Promote, Promote, Promote!
Now, this is a particularly important section. That’s because it represents the core of a club promoter`s job. This is exactly what the business is all about. A promoter promotes. It`s about talking to people and convincing them to attend your events. Promoting is about building a following and a fan-base. A promoter builds relationships, social groups, and much more.
There are many ways that you can market an event. But it depends on two things; you and your target audience. For instance, if you are promoting a Singles night for over 50s, you are unlikely to devote a lot of effort to Instagram. Because there aren`t many over-50s on Instagram. So you must think carefully about the night that you are promoting and decide how you will go about it.
As a club promoter, you must actively participate in social media. It is not only about engaging in social media when you have an event to promote. You have to constantly engage with your audience on social networks even when there is no event. Share jokes and interesting current news. This gives you a chance to learn more about the interests that your audience share. And that crucial intelligence can then feed into decisions about the kind of theme nights to host.
It is incredible how emails have maintained a steady level of relevance in this fast moving world of tech. Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing there is. It is not only effective but costs nothing. An email list is a super-asset to have. So you must create an efficient system for collecting email addresses.
Phone numbers are also an effective way of promoting an event. A simple text message can reach thousands instantly. And most mobile phone networks offer free text packages. That, therefore, means you could reach a lot of your customers for free. Hence you need an effective system that gathers guests phones numbers.
Facebook and Instagram
You could also run Facebook and Instagram ads for the event. Facebook ads can be expensive and can cost even more if you don’t know what you are doing. So stick to free Facebook promotion unless you are sure you have enough skills for running ads.
Do not underestimate the power of free promotion on Facebook. It just needs a lot of hard work to build your page and group. But once you have a large membership, that’s free advertising opportunity for you. And it`s quite effective. Therefore create and build a Facebook page and also start a group for your members. Do not worry. It may take a while to build your page and group. But once you have a few thousand members, it tends to grow exponentially as members like and share posts.
Twitter is another social, media platform that you could use to promote your events. As I said earlier, the method you choose depends entirely on your target audience.
Word Of Mouth
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. It is human nature that if we enjoy something we want to share that experience with our friends and loved ones. Therefore the more you continue to hold exciting and memorable unique club nights, the more the word will spread. And the more your popularity as a top promoter will grow.
Photo & Video Opportunities
At your events, you must have a red carpet photo and video area your guests. Guest will take pictures and share with their friends on social media. And that will give your business a lot of free brand promotion. You will find that it is not that difficult to create a red carpet photo platform. All you need is to set up good lighting in front of a red carpet platform, and branded wall or background. Select an area that is clearly visible from most positions in the club. The DJ can also make regular announcements to encourage people to use the platform for pictures. You may even hire a professional photographer to take good pictures of guests. Some of the pictures can be used in your social media updates.
Invite A Celebrity
Celebrities are crowd magnets. As a club promoter, you must begin building a portfolio of celebrity friends that you can invite to your events. One Instagram post or tweet, from a celebrity stating where they will be partying on the night, could sell all your tickets in minutes. So harness the power of celebrity in promoting your events.
Club promotion is about personality and charisma. So do not be shy to put yourself out there when promoting your events. People don’t just buy tickets, they buy into the brand of the promoter as well. Your goal must not only be about hosting an event and making money. The ultimate goal must be to build a formidable brand name in the entertainment industry. That will be your biggest asset.
There is a lot of money to be made in this industry. And if you do things the right way you can definitely build a sustainable and successful business.
I hope you have found some useful ideas in this post that you could use in your project. If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with your connections.
All the best.