Unfortunately successful advertising is not always that easy and straightforward and many different avenues should be tried. Ask if anybody within your organisation has had any promotional/marketing experience during their working life, perhaps they can give some useful and realistic advice.
Before setting off in a vague "all-comers welcome" direction determine just who the target audience is. Of course this is easier said than done because the natural target audience (the traditional organ/keyboard fans) are disappearing fast. There's little point, for example, trying to entice 'younger' people if the sounds and music they enjoy is different from that enjoyed by the club's current audience. They'll simply try it once and that'll be it. Or, worse still, the club will change the musical style and alienate its current members in the process. We should concentrate on finding people who like the kind of music that prevails in the organ/keyboard world - but who are not aware that reasonably priced concerts are held regularly. Maybe to focus on the type of music rather than the instrument? After all, there are lots of people who enjoy older instrumental music. One day last week my neighbours were playing music in their garden - a CD of West End / Broadway musical hits. We don't have a club in this immediate area but I could imagine them enjoying their kind of music played on a keyboard/organ.
Organise a 'special concert', maybe to celebrate a certain milestone in the club's history or just a 'Seasonal Special', try a sightly different venue and/or invite a local dignitary to attend. Donate the proceeds of the raffle to a local charity and invite a representative along to be presented with a cheque. Inform the local press beforehand and they may send along a photographer. If not, take your own photos and send them to the newspaper along with some information about your club.
People are willing to travel further than you may think so cast your advertising net wide.
The concert audience catchment is very similar to that of sequence and ballroom dances. The music (live or recorded) is usually organ, keyboard or instrumental music, so if any of your attendees are dancers there is an opportunity to cross promote concerts at dances and offer promotion at concerts in return. You could also consider organising a social dance, promote it in the various dances around the area then when you've got the dancers there it is a good opportunity to promote the concerts.
If residual funds allow, consider paying for some particularly eye-catching advertising - after all, that particular sum of money would still be in the bank if the club closes because of lack of either bums on seats or willing committee members. Do it before audience numbers dwindle too far.
What information would be effective on a poster? With today's computers and technology it really isn't difficult to create some good publicity material. Take the time to produce an eye-catching informative poster - one with just the words 'organ club', date of a concert and a photo of the player tells a newcomer nothing about what to really expect for their admission price. Do some research into how other musical events are being publicised and look at the wording on their posters for a more modern approach. Try to find somebody (committee or club member, or even a knowledgeable family member) who is interested in designing and could produce some publicity material for you.
Think about it carefully and take the opportunity to inform the public of the wide range of music styles and sounds that will be heard - not forgetting the excellent quality of musicianship on show. Read the artiste's biography on organfax to give you inspiration of wording you could use.
Try to include the instrument the artiste will be playing, with words like 'latest technology', 'top of the range', 'amazing sounds', 'ever popular'. If somebody has the same or similar model they play at home it could induce them to come along.
Include your website address, facebook page or OrganFax page address.
Make sure the address and postcode of the venue is included, plus a contact telephone number or email address. Don't forget the time the doors open, start of the concert and short details of refreshments.
'Visitors are always receive a warm welcome' sounds like they would find a friendly atmosphere when they arrive.
If possible make some small clear 'pockets' you can pin up with your poster, in which you can place some smaller leaflets for people to be able to take away with them. Also perhaps a couple of complimentary tickets or a contact phone number they could ring to request one or two.
Consider producing posters with the next three dates on so if people see a poster but can't attend they may be able to make the next one.
Places to put posters
Local Music Shop Windows
Community Centre Notice Boards
Try local music venues and theatres, some will be happy to help
Doctors' and Dentists' Waiting Areas
Libraries - especially in the sheet music section. If they don't display posters most libraries will have a folder with what's on
Supermarkets (I was told at one supermarket that they can't display any posters which have an admission price - which seems a bit silly as people always want to know how much things cost!! Probably best to take a poster with no price displayed)
Staff Notice Boards
Local Fish and Chip Shops and Cafes
Charity shops - especially if there is a sheet music section
Tourist Information Centre will display posters and have a 'what's on' folder
Your existing audience are your best resource - always have a ready supply of various size posters and ask your audience to distribute them wherever they can.
If you're not sure where to advertise why not produce a questionnaire of some kind for your audience (maybe with a prize draw as an incentive to complete and return them - perhaps free ticket/s?). Ask what newspapers, local magazines etc they receive or pickup so you can target your publicity efforts? What other clubs, entertainment they attend? It also gives you the opportunity to gauge satisfaction and get any suggestions.
(more ideas please?)
Top tip - always carry posters with you then if you see a shop etc with posters in the window you can take one in. Also have your poster in A4, A5 (half A4) and A6 (quarter A4) so you can get a poster up no matter how limited the display space.
A6 is also a good size for leaflets and flyers, if there is opportunity it is a good idea to pin a few leaflets up with your poster for people to take the information away if they wish.
LEAFLETS/ BROCHURES which could be distributed to other types of groups, clubs etc. - ideas on these please?
(do any clubs have any poster or leaflet templates they would share, which we could include on a 'downloads' page, please?)
Provide an A5 size (as most advertising racks are for A5 paper not A4) advertising leaflet. This should be designed by a professional designer (or maybe run a competition for designs - even amongst schools/art colleges). It must look great and should basically say: "Have you thought about joining an electronic keyboard society?" - and then provide a mechanism for contacting your local club.
Has anybody investigated the cost of using the post office or leaflet distributors to put flyers in every door locally, perhaps with the post?
(We've received one opinion that flyers through doors is a waste of time)
This can be achieved by links on club websites (not only by the clubs who are represented on OrganFax) and by an exchange of literature, especially flyers. At every concert we have a large table laden with flyers relating to local charity events, non-profit organisations and entertainments, the majority of which are reciprocated. Furthermore, we donate complimentary tickets (to be used as raffle prizes) to nearby village fetes during the summer months and they display our literature in return.
Establish a relationship with other local entertainment groups or groups with a similar age range and agree reciprocal advertising of posters, leaflets, brochures etc.
Ask if you could exchange publicity material with your local theatre.
Links with organisations such as Age UK and Age Concern would be useful with regard reciprocal advertising.
Download one of the many free calendar templates that are available on the internet these days and customise it for your club. Highlight the dates of your concerts etc. and include photos of the artistes appearing during the year, the address of the venue and other appropriate information including website links.
Printed landscape on good paper you could combine it with information about your club, fold it and use it as an advertising brochure.
Printed on card there are various ways you could use it; sell it to members to raise money for the club or (if funds allow) for a local charity in exchange for some advertising, notice boards in music shops and other places you would display a poster.
Printed portrait it becomes a poster.
Share it from your facebook page with other local information pages for your area. (no cost!)
Contact the local newspaper(s) to ask what they can do for your club. They may also have suggestions of other places to advertise. Paying for advertising can be expensive but local newspapers can have ways around this. Here are a few suggestions
1- It is free to get an event in the newspaper's 'What's on' weekly listing.
2 - Write a preview editorial and email or send to the entertainment editorial or general news section. Take a look at some of your local paper's similar articles in the entertainment section for ideas on how these should be written.
3 - After a concert write a review, this can promote interest in what your club is doing. Make sure the article includes something along the lines of 'club next meets on the _____ at ______ and the featured artist is ________. You could also include a couple of lines about the artist.
4 - This involves an outlay but can often get good results, write a editorial, as in 2, but ask if the newspaper will run a competition for 2 free tickets. Yes, there is a possibility that these could be won by an existing member but its still good publicity and papers like competitions. Plus there's also the possibility that if you get the entries you can still contact and make the non winners a consolation offer or send them information about future concerts.
5 - If you can get an editorial in a local publication these are also often included in The Blind Society's talking newspaper - paid adverts are not.
6 - If you do want to pay for advertising some newspapers have a reduced rate for clubs, societies and charities so it's worth asking.
7 - Do you have a long serving club member? Why not make a presentation of some kind, see if the local paper will send a photographer, if not editors are usually happy to accept photos and a small editorial.
8 - Have a charity event - good for the receiving charity plus you can probably get an editorial in the paper promoting it beforehand and a photo of your club presenting a cheque to the charity after the event.
Many areas have a free newspaper you could place an ad in.
Another free source of advertising are local parish or council magazines which are delivered through local letterboxes each month. Write a review of the previous concert and a preview of the next player, include a link to your club's page on OrganFax and send it to the editor (you would probably need to do this by email) and ask if you can have space in the magazine each month. Most publishers would be pleased to help a non-profit organisation whilst including additional information for their readers. This is a most effective way of reaching out to the local community who are looking for affordable entertainment - and it's free!
Advertising on TV/radio (further ideas please?)
Free radio advertising:
1 - Local radio stations have 'what's on' listings on their websites, although they usually say charity events they will put club events on too . BBC local stations are often more helpful, being serviced based rather than commercial.
2 - It is worth also sending local radio stations information to see if you can get your event on the broadcast whats on listings.
3 - Why not try your local station to see if they would run a phone in competition for two free tickets.
4 - Local radio often have song request features, have a listen to your local broadcaster to see if there is an opportunity to get a song request on, you won't necessarily get organ music played as they are not usually on the play lists but there's plenty of ways to sneak things in if you're creative. Even if it's only a mention of the club's name on air.
5 - Why not try getting on a radio phone-in quiz, there are lots of opportunities on Radio 2, even if you're rubbish at quizzes and the prize may only be a pencil they always ask what your hobbies are 'I like going to monthly music concerts at - - - - - - keyboard club'. Yes it's only fleeting but how else can you get your clubs name on national radio for free.
(Also on radio 2 there are several opportunities for requests, why not say they are for or chosen by members of the club. Again they probably won't be organ as they aren't on the play list but be creative. Whiter Shade of Pale, Axel F etc. See the show pages on the radio website for how to request.
Radio 2 Zoe Ball Breakfast Show pick your own play list 3 tracks on Monday to Friday
Radio 2 Steve Wright choose the oldies on Monday to Friday
Radio 2 Steve Wright Sunday love songs
Radio 2 Jo Whiley all request Friday)
Raising the public profile of your club
How about getting a handful of your best players together and seeing if you can get somewhere to play
(for example, our local Tesco has a big entrance foyer where they have had various entertainment - especially around Easter and Christmas).
You could have leaflets ready and give them out to anyone who stops to listen and possibly offer to have collection buckets for the stores chosen charity.
Hire a good professional player - and take him/her into a shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon.
Note: The music must be modern, well played and engage the audience.
I guess one of the biggest – if not the biggest – issue is getting the wider public aware of the capabilities of modern instruments and artistes.
TV doesn’t really want to take anything on board as evidenced by the X-Factor debacle (Jean Martyn excepted) and, as has been widely mentioned, the perception of ‘organ’ being associated with a church scenario. So how can we spread the word and dispel the myth to a wide audience in a practical manner??
Q. Where is there a large concentration of continually changing people of all ages on a regular basis??
A. Shopping Centres or Malls. Especially on weekends or heading towards Christmas.
Today I attended a superb concert by DirkJan Ranzijn, someone with whom most of the organ & keyboard world are familiar with. His lively entertaining style - and the many players who play in a similar fashion - would doubtless attract the attention of many shoppers willing to pause for a few moments attracted by the range of music performed and hopefully generate a degree of interest. Posters and flyers for local clubs at strategic points would hopefully entice a few new attendees to concerts – the vital foot in the door.
Such events would of course require considerable support from artistes, clubs, shopping centres, local music shops and possibly council/city arts departments to get things off the ground but with the right promotion and possibly local media attention something good may come of all the effort involved.
After all it worked for Tiffany back in the late 80s!!!
Food for thought I hope.