Making EACH Show Special for your Fans!
Have you ever noticed that some fans will come to every one of your shows for a while, but then start to only come out once every 3-6 months? This is because they are seeing essentially the “same old show” each time they come out. Maybe there are minor differences each time, but eventually they have seen what you do enough times to be happy only coming out every 3-6 months--rather than coming out to every show. The problem is most local artists do not make EACH SHOW SPECIAL. There has to be something about each show that is special, or different enough to keep your existing fans wanting to come out as often as possible!
Be creative. Just switching your song order isn't exciting enough. You need to convince the fans who have seen you 5-10 times already to yet again leave their house, drive to the venue, pay money to see you play, and spend their evening at the show. Hype up the “Special thing” about each show on your Audio Fliers, when talking with your existing fans, on your website, in your E-Newsletter to your Mailing List, etc. Making each show special will also make it easier to get new fans out as well.
Announce that you have a brand new song. If you don't have new songs--then announce some special merch deal such as buy a T-shirt and get one free, or buy 2 CD's and the band will sign them and buy the purchaser a beer. Again, the better the deal you can offer, the more enticing it will be--just be sure that the deal still allows you to be profitable. You don't have to use merch deals or new songs. You can make a certain show a “theme show” where everyone dresses up a certain way--or a show where its “ladies night.” Pitch “ladies night” where all the ladies get a FREE sticker and a FREE CD with an exclusive acoustic version of one of your songs--this will bring in the guys! Have a “guys night” where guys have a reason to come out--this will bring in the ladies! You could have a show that's a “date night” or have a show that is especially for “singles” to meet new people. BE CREATIVE and see what works.
You could have a show where every fan who comes out is specially invited to an after party somewhere, either someone's house, on the beach, or at a bar. Have a show where afterwards all fans who come out are invited to a cool restaurant to hang out with the band and hang out with each other (of course everyone pays for themselves). Anything to make the show unique--once you have your fans talking about how cool each show is and how there's something cool happening at each show it can create a buzz that will make them even more likely to bring their friends!
Whatever you do, make sure that EACH show has something that is unique about it so that your existing fans won't get tired of coming out to the “same old show.” There are so many things you can do to spice up your events without having to give away free merch. See what works best for you and your fans, be creative and experiment! You can even hold a contest where fans give you ideas of how to make your shows more special. The contest itself will help get people out and interested, and you may get some great ideas as well. You'll find that making each show special won't just make your fans happier, but they'll make the shows more fun for your band as well!