Booking Horror Stories…Muahhhahaha

We’ve all been there at some point…

A pipe bursts, flows all night undiscovered, and caves in the ceiling. The sound engineer never shows up.  Your key person quits the week before a huge production. And the all too common: after agreeing to a larger than normal guarantee, only a few tickets are sold. The variety and range of Venue horror stories is vast…

It doesn’t need to be Halloween to get a spine-tingle from these nightmares… we wanted to share some of the best booking horror stories we’ve heard around booking live music (and how AmptUp can help…well, we don’t do plumbing). (Have a booking horror story? Tell us about it, on Facebook or by contacting us, to win a $30 Amazon Card.)

Here are a few that give me nightmares (on both sides)…

  • A well-known Venue has a line around the block for a ticketed event, but no Musician. The Musician has played there before, and it’s in his hometown, no less. The Venue finally reaches the Musician only to find that they are currently setting up for another gig…in another city!
  • A Venue signed a lease and built out their space with the express purpose (as discussed with the broker) of having coffee and live music and had been, in fact, operating live music for years. Finally, the landlord put the kabosh on live music, and all booked shows had to be moved to other Venues until the coffee-shop-sans-music can find another location.
  • A group of young men played at a Venue and then followed the owner to their back office to handle the payment settlement. Then, as if straight out of “Dallas,” the owner opened a drawer, pulled out a gun, and laid it heavily on the table, saying, “Boys, I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough money to pay you tonight. I hope you understand.” They understood and got the hell out! Everyone always asks me where this happened…it makes a little more sense if to know it happened in Texas in the 90’s – but it was too good not to include!
  • A well-known band that regularly sold out 250 cap rooms in town was booked with a sizable guarantee, and two nights before show time? 2 tickets sold. The show had to be cancelled, but the open question was: what happens to the guarantee? The Musician hadn’t even posted it to their website.
  • The owner of a Venue walks into their Venue only to find it flooded, with a show scheduled for that night. They quickly found a Venue just across the street that very fortunately didn’t have a show that night, and they were able to move fans and bands safely to their new location.

(Have a booking horror story? Tell us about it, on Facebook or by contacting us, to win a $30 Amazon Card.)

Go where you’re needed

So, if you’ve notched a few booking horror stories on your belt, you’re in good company.  

The common thread here is that bookers, owners, and GMs have a thousand other things to deal with, and many are things ONLY they can handle.  Realistically, you need to go where you’re needed, and spend your time on higher value issues than repeatedly answering questions about how close the plugs are to the stage, or downloading headshots.  Let AmptUp handle that.

After hundreds of hours of deep listening to independent Venues,  AmptUp was specifically designed to get the monotonous, repetitive, error-prone tasks off of your to-do list, so you CAN get to the rest of your list.

Here’s how things currently work at *most* venues:

  • 90% use Google Cal, spreadsheets, and email 
  • Tons of back and forth, answering the same questions over and over
  • Average booking takes 3 weeks PER band (+ average of 15 messages)
  • Critical booking details get buried in email threads or leave with a booker (contact info, negotiations, even dates)
  • If one detail changes, everyone needs to be notified
  • Musicians report high uncertainty with payment terms (which change at every location and are often handled at 2am).
  • Double bookings are not an if, but a when, meaning the Venue may not have an act, or the Musician may not have an income.

Here’s how we’re changing things:

At its core, AmptUp is based on transparency, simplicity, and equity. 

We worked hard, spending hundreds of hours just listening, to take a complex process and simplify it so everyone has what they need – so that it feels a little like putting wheels on luggage. It’s simple, intuitive, and easy for everyone.

We hear most often that AmptUp is a “No-Brainer” and they “can’t believe this didn’t exist before.”


With AmptUp bookers can: 

  • Confirm bookings faster: reducing the average booking time to 3 minutes.
  • Create a single source of truth: unifying the Venue’s team (Sound engineers, marketing, production staff), AND the Musician’s (managers, agents, bandmates, labels). 
  • Spend time on more important things:  instead of copy/pasting and answering repetitive questions.
  • Get everything they need (including marketing assets) from the beginning…and SO DO Musicians. Answering most questions in the first conversation.
  • Support Musicians and give them more control over their career with more info upfront.

How we do that:

  • Smart automation flows booking & Venue details into an offer
  • Musicians are required to submit their marketing assets in order to approve the booking offer.
  • A single calendar provides ALL booking details
  • User permissions ensure that the owner always has control and can add/remove staff while still retaining data.

On AmptUp, Venues create a profile… 
>> that information flows into a booking, they customize the variables needed
>> that booking lives on the cloud, accessible by a link from the Musician
>> ALL details flow into the Venue’s shared team calendar.


Do you have a booking horror story?

 Tell us about it to win a $30 Amazon Card if it gets used for our next booking horror stories article.

Send your story and all the awful details to [email protected] – be sure to include your address and phone number where we can get more details for the feature.

4 Most Creative & Effective Customer Loyalty Programs – Part 2

McMenamins Passport

If you missed our first article with examples and great ideas from East coast to West, check it out here. If you’ve already read part 1, you can skip down to the examples from Hawaii & the Pacific NW on how Independent Venues get more customers in their door, make them happy, keep them coming back for more, and increase word-of-mouth marketing.

RECAP: How much does it cost to get a new customer vs. keep an existing customer?

  • It costs FIVE TIMES more to get a new customer than keep a current customer, but most of us (40%) focus on getting new customers instead of focusing on retention (18%).
  • You can increase your profits by 25-95% with just a 5% increase in customer retention
  • Loyal customers are 5x more likely to repurchase, 5x more likely to forgive, 4x more likely to refer, and 7x (!!) more likely to try a new offer.

But, do those customer loyalty card programs or point systems actually work? And, if those little scanner/punch cards don’t work, WHY don’t they work?

RECAP: Why does a customer loyalty program matter?

Local restaurants and bars have (at least) 3 things in their favor over goliath corporations:

  1. Proximity to customer’s homes/work
  2. Face to face encounters with real people
  3. Customers might bump into their friends.

Key Points:

  • It matters to do something creative, unique, and if possible, tangible: this gives your customer a sense of ownership. If they can touch it, bring it home, or put their name on it, it’s like taking a little slice of their favorite place home with them.
  • Customer loyalty programs don’t have to be FREE…Remember, you value what you pay for. Unlike punch cards and grocery point systems, the most effective loyalty programs for restaurants and bars are those where people actually pay for the privilege to: be first, make a reservation, or have their name etched in glass on a wall.

4 Impressive Customer Loyalty Programs: 
Creative, Effective Customer Loyalty programs to improve customer retention.

Since you go through great lengths to be unique, from your craft cocktail menu to your Drag Queen Bingo Brunch…we found some of the most ‘crafted-with-love’ loyalty programs from east coast to well beyond the west coast.  Keep reading to see how they do it.

Kona, HI (The Big Island): home of free-flowing lava, host to the Ironman World Championship, where the aloha spirit is alive and well.

Ola Brewing Co – MUG CLUB

 “If you move to the island I suggest you purchase their mug club card for $100 a year. You flash this card & it doubles the size of your beverage without an additional charge.” – Colleen, happy customer on yelp.

This happy customer summed it up with their 5 star review, making it sound like a no-brainer for locals. With card-carrying members, Ola Brewing Co has created a community of regulars that benefit the more they come.  But more than that, they have created a sense of ownership and identity with a card that they carry with them where’er they go. 

This is priceless.  But of course, they are also getting a steady stream of upfront income, and a guarantee of repeat purchases.

There is no way to steer wrong with this idea.  There are no straight freebies…just a little extra love in a glass.  And we all know that you can’t drink a frosty beverage without a salty side….and preferably a friend.

Medford, OR

Copper Plank – MUG CLUB

We also talked to Copper Plank, an AmptUp VIP Venue, who hosts an elegant version of the Mug Club with glass mugs locally etched with the member’s name and the year they joined. This becomes a symbol of pride for regulars as the years wear on.

 “The culture it creates is pretty powerful,” says co-owner Amy Maukonen.  “If a new regular starts to come in…they’re pretty welcoming, but you’ll hear the other regulars say ‘Hey, why don’t you have a mug with your name on it?’  It becomes an investment, like: ‘We believe in you and we’re part of this community.’  It’s a sign of loyalty to us, while also bringing a sense of ownership of the shared community space,” she continued.


  • Mugs with names/dates are prominently displayed on a shelf as their permanent home, until renewal.
  • Members get an extra 4oz when ordering (and paying for) a pint with their mug.
  • Mug Club renewal happens the month of Jan – so it helps bring in revenue during a typically slow month.
  • Non-renewals get to take their mug home with them.
  • ~50% of mugs get used on a weekly basis
  • Currently at about 50 ppl, they want to grow and cap it at 100 (which may give it an air of exclusivity, a true ‘club.’)

Things to consider?:

There are some tricky logistics that can be “a pain in the rear,” according to Maukonen – ie:

  • the storage of the mugs
  • because it’s a specialty item, what do you do if/when it breaks and it needs to be replaced
  • the renewal can be really messy if there’s not a reliable way to track this
  • Figuring out the marketing for the program and staff expectations for renewals and non renewals.
Copper Plank Mug Club glass mugs chilling on the shelf
Copper Plank Mug Club glass mugs chilling on the shelf with your ‘call sign’ and the year you joined.

Oregon & Washington: Home to all things W.I.E.R.D. (Wild, innovative, eclectic, revolutionary, disruptive)


This passport brings out the hidden gamer in all of us.  Tapping into a gamification strategy isn’t new, but it’s well done at McMenamins. 

For a little background, McMenamins is an entertainment, dining, and drinking staple in the Pac NW. Virtually every man, woman, and child who has lived here has visited more than one McMenamins.  These renovated historic buildings, their creative entertainment, unique art, and ambiance wraps you in (a distillery? A wine barrel aging room with live music in an old work house? A Roman-style soaking pool in an old elementary school? A cigar lounge in the engine room?).

To have created this concept in the first place is a beautiful feat. To turn this into an almost 60 Venue regional chain, with each location as beloved by its community, as the next? Unbelievable.

Because they have so many incredible locations, they created a clever way to help their fans get the fullest experience. The Details:

  1. Participants pay $35 for a physical passport booklet,
  2. They visit locations between Oregon & Washington to collect their stamps.
  3. They can collect stamps by making a purchase or by completing a clue/task for that location, earning a prize when all stamps for the region have been collected…and a title to boot.

Because you don’t value what you don’t pay for, The $35 paid for these “just-for-fun, I-was-there-and-I-can-prove-it stamps,”  elicits commitment and excitement – getting their feet through the doors at as many locations as possible.

McMenamins Passport with stamps
McMenamins Passport with stamps for all of their 60+ OR & WA locations

Here are some hallmarks of this effective program.

First, they have a dedicated page for the program:

It often happens that Venues don’t update their sites, let alone mention their loyalty program. (If you’re not updating your website because it’s confusing, someone else controls it, or you don’t even know where to start – it’s time to get a new website. With sites like squarespace and Wix, you can have a gorgeous, easily managed site up in about 30 minutes, for less than $20/mo.)

Something Tangible:

As with any good game that goes down in history…there is something tangible, a little piece of the experience that people can take home with them and own. The passport and stamps act as physical game board, if you will (move over Monopoly).


Oh yes…of course, there has to be SOMETHING! (free tots, burgers, appetizers, goodies, exclusive Passport pint glasses, T-shirts, a growler and other merch.)


McMenamins goes beyond the simple satisfaction of a full book of stamps and prizes, full passport owners get ‘crowned’ as an official “Cosmic Tripster.”

Proper Rules:

Any good game needs rules…in writing! In an official location (the website). If you’re going to do it, do it right, am-I-right? See McMenamins rules here.

The Unique Sauce:

  • Adventure and travel (real not just imagined!).
  • Competition to get all of the stamps – self-motivated or with a friend.

Make it your own

So, few of us have 60 locations.  But, a sense of competition, a tangible piece of the experience, or being ranked or celebrated…are things you can incorporate that would keep customers coming back.

Create a passport with various tasks to complete, games to be won, or drinks to be tried.  Make the stamps unique (you can even get custom stamps on Amazon!) or even make it ceremonious with a dripped wax seal stamp (find options here or at Portland’s coolest print shop Oblation).  And don’t forget to either charge for it, or make ‘em work a little…that’s what makes it worth it! That’s what forms the CLUB.

Read Part 1 with Other Examples

Curious to see what the first 2 examples were? Check out part 1 of our Membership and Loyalty Programs Inspiration series.

  • Read about Multnomah Whiskey Library’s $800 yearly membership club, and how it sold out in the first year with a 3 year waiting list.
  • Read about the Fernet Members Club and it’s wall of liquor.

What is AmptUp?

AmptUp is the online booking tool that supports independent music Venues and helps them streamline booking, saving literal hours every week. Whether Musicians contact you, or you find them, with AmptUp you can:

  • Send and finalize booking offers FAST – 3 min. instead of 3 weeks.
  • Reduce the email overwhelm
  • Give Musicians everything they need automatically
  • Create a single source of truth for your team and the Musicians’
  • Get Musician assets WHEN the show is booked
Book fast and clear with AmptUp, so you can focus on promoting the show or running the business.


4 Most Creative & Effective Customer Loyalty Programs

Fernet Branca Italian liqueur bottles on a shelf

How much does it cost to get a new customer vs. keep the old ones?

It costs FIVE TIMES more to get a new customer than keep a current customer, but most of us (40%) focus on getting new customers instead of focusing on retention (18%).

Here are a few other facts that could be critical to your business:

  • You can increase your profits by 25-95% with just a 5% increase in customer retention
  • Loyal customers are 5x more likely to repurchase, 5x more likely to forgive, 4x more likely to refer, and 7x (!!) more likely to try a new offer.

But, do those customer loyalty card programs or point systems actually work? Do they get people to come back? I usually lose any cards before they make it to my key chain.

Since you go through great lengths to be unique, from your craft cocktail menu to your Drag Queen Bingo Brunch…we found some of the most ‘crafted-with-love’ loyalty programs from east coast to well beyond the west coast.  Keep reading to see how they do it.

Why does a customer loyalty program matter?

I like getting my fuel points and flight miles as much as the next person, but do local restaurants really get a boost from loyalty programs? Local restaurants and bars can benefit from customer loyalty programs MORE than goliath corporations because they have (at least) 3 things in their favor:

  • Proximity to customer’s homes/work
  • Face to face encounters with real people
  • Customers might bump into their friends

And here’s why it matters to do something creative, unique, and if possible, tangible: this gives your customer a sense of ownership.  If they can touch it, bring it home, or put their name on it, it’s like taking a little slice of their favorite place home with them.

Customer loyalty programs don’t have to be FREE…Remember, you value what you pay for. The most effective loyalty programs are often those where people actually pay for the privilege to: be first, make a reservation, or have their name hand-written in ink on a wall.

4 Impressive Customer Loyalty Programs:

Newport, RI: Tourist Hotspot, Quaint Town, Playground of the Rich & Famous (from the Gilded Age to present)


From the Rockefellers to Taylor Swift, Newport has hosted the rich and famous, as well as everyday workers.  While most VIP programs give exclusivity that is meant to be private, Stoneacre Brasserie created a loyalty program that was meant to be shared and seen. Their highly visible Fernet Club created an instant “What is that?” “I want one!” customer loyalty program.  I spoke with Chris Bender (a former New York restauranteur and owner of 4 Newport restaurants), to learn more.

Fernet Branca (fur-nette) is an Italian brand liqueur that has “become a bartenders’/hipsters’ drink of choice” with an aggressive, unique flavor, sporting notes of Anise, bitter citrus, and a subtly sweet finish. Stoneacre’s Fernet Club allows customers to buy a bottle at a significant cost savings, put their name on it and place it on the wall.  When they’re ready to drink, they just pull it right off the wall, and enjoy.  Some members even call in to offer a shot from their bottle for friends who are visiting.

“It actually started by accident 4-5 years ago, but then we sold 50 bottles in the first 2 weeks. It gives people a sense of ownership and a way to love you even more than they already do,” says Bender. 

Fernet Branca bottles of Italian liqueur on a shelf at Stoneacre Brasserie in Newport RIFernet Branca Italian liqueur bottles on a shelf 

Portland, OR: Hipster Haven, Nature’s Playground, the “Silicon Forest,” home to the World’s Largest Naked Bike Ride.


ONE year after opening in 2013, the wait list for a membership was over 700 people, but now the waitlist is over 3 years long.  To be clear, this wait list was not for a reservation, no, their innovation was much more clever and effective: their wait list was for the ability to HAVE a reservation. Multnomah Whiskey Library completely reinvented the concept of membership, previously known to the stuffier private clubs that have never soared in popularity in Portland.  A membership lets you skip the line where waits for a bar could be up to 3 hours.

With around 1,500 labels, about 900 of which are whiskeys, the Multnomah Whiskey Library has become one of the most prized locations to drink and talk shop about, you guessed it, whiskey.  So dedicated to the spirit are they, that a series of art was commissioned to portray the major historical influencers of whiskey production: from tuxedo-clad Phylloxera beetle to some of the greats.  

And now?: “The waits are still long, the bartenders are still dashing, and memberships are still as hard to come by as a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle.” (pdx eater)

Current cost:

The current fee for MWL’s annual individual membership is $800, plus a one-time $199 setup fee for new members.  Add a Member’s spouse/partner to for an additional annual fee of $175. Corporate memberships begin at $2,900.

How to craft the perfect Membership Program

So what does a membership get you?  Of course, paying hundreds of dollars per year in Portland MUST come with something more than the ability to create a reservation, and so it does.  However, these items don’t need to cost Venue owners a hefty price. Get some ideas from MWL.

At Multnomah Whiskey Library, members are entitled to:

  • make reservations (in the bar, or private event spaces)
  • access the private Member Lounge,
  • get exclusive access to Single Barrel offerings, tastings and other events
  • Valet park for free
  • Priority access to rent a Spirit Locker
  • Access reciprocal clubs around the world
  • Nominate friends and family for membership, shortening their wait
  • Join members-only events, classes, pairing dinners, as well as networking and volunteer opportunities
  • Access exclusive member trips exploring iconic distilleries, towns, and local excursions.
  • Two Member Hall Passes per year, so friends and family can make a reservation
  • A complimentary drink of your choosing on your birthday ($20 value).
  • Member discounts including discounted room fees for private events.
A twist on traditional membership:

However, if you feel like the vibe of VIP-members-access doesn’t fit your Venue, take another look at their, once again, unique approach.  In admirable Portland style, their memberships aren’t just for the hoity toity men of means…they openly value diversity and community service and even bump people higher on the wait list for embracing those values.

Priority access can be granted for the following reasons. If you:

  • “demonstrate a commitment to your community through donation, volunteering, advocacy.”
  • “reflect our community and embody diversity of thought as well as a wide range of human experiences, values and perspectives.”
  • know a member who can nominate you.

And yes…they have been known to RECEIVE, but not take, subtle bribe offers to scoot past the membership wait list.


Multnomah whiskey Library wall of whiskey in Portland, OR
Multnomah whiskey Library wall of whiskey in Portland, OR, famous for their Whiskey and their 3 year member’s club waiting list.


We hate to leave you hanging, but an exciting part deux will be coming next, to bring you the other two most creative customer loyalty programs for customer retention.

But good things come to those who wait, just like… (say it with me:  Beetlejuice part 2!! Coming 2024.).


What is AmptUp?

AmptUp is the online booking tool that supports independent music Venues and helps them streamline booking, saving literal hours every week. Whether Musicians contact you, or you find them, with AmptUp you can:

  • Send and finalize booking offers FAST – 3 min. instead of 3 weeks.
  • Reduce the email overwhelm
  • Give Musicians everything they need automatically
  • Create a single source of truth for your team and the Musicians’
  • Get Musician assets WHEN the show is booked
Book fast and clear with AmptUp, so you can focus on promoting the show or running the business.


Why COVID Outdoor Seating Structures May Be Killing Your Visibility

Covid outdoor seating structures are common in the US

Since COVID is over… can we say that?

Fingers Crossed.  Deep Breath. 

With COVID largely behind us…we need to start reevaluating the “desperate times call for desperate measures” efforts that Venues everywhere made to stay alive.  

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, seating outside wasn’t just an option, but a necessity… to earn at least some profit while adhering to safety guidelines.  We want to take a look at the ‘Street Seats’ Structures that provided vital outdoor seating and see how they can IMPROVE Venue business, instead of block it.  

Everyone Likes Outdoor Seating, What’s the Problem?

“Street Seats” parking structures provide important additional seats for revenue, but in many cases that we witness, also often completely block the businesses that they serve – not only the front door, but generally the windows and even the business name signage…and even more importantly, the view of customers inside eating and drinking – which serves as critical social proof – the invitation to come in and do the same.

And unfortunately, many of these structures also block the view of patrons enjoying their food and beverage inside the structure (due to opaque plastic or wood), or they sit empty during winter months.

The big question is are those COVID outdoor seating structures helping or hurting your business? (Note:  we are not talking about parking structure seating that sits on a side street and do not block a corner restaurant’s view.) 

Covid outdoor seating structures are common in the US

Europe vs. America on Outdoor Seating

In Europe, outdoor seating is practically a must-have for all Venues. Wide sidewalks downtown and no-traffic zones mean that every morning they roll out their chairs and tables on pathways that are 20-40′ wide (or 6-10 M) – compared to 8’ (less than 3M)  in America (We enjoyed wide sidewalks once too! Be sure to catch the video of the Victorian Era lady having a Marilyn Monroe moment at min 1:20). 

Unfortunately in America, cramming diners up against the noisy, splashing traffic, leaving narrow sidewalks for pedestrians to squeeze past is a 100% US experience; but it doesn’t have to be that way.  The “parklets,” as some call them, give us a big opportunity.

European style outdoor seating structures
European style outdoor seating where wide sidewalks and plazas abound

How to Get the Parking Patio of Your Dreams

Since many in the business community have fought hard to get the right for these parklets, and if we’re taking inspiration from Europe, let’s look at how to make it better in the here and now.

Chop off the top…that’s right, just chop it off 

The main problem with these parking structures is that it blocks your business, AND the “social proof” benefit that passersby get when seeing other people inside. (And outdoor diners are often not visible due to opaque walls and plastic) You can protect diners from traffic splashes and exhaust with a lower-level wall or planters, while still making it inviting.  

Try to keep walls or planters to no more than chest high for the seated diner, to preserve visibility of your business and happy outdoor diners.

Consider renovating

Does your parking seating structure match your brand? If not, consider a few improvements to make outdoor diners feel as special as the ones enjoying your carefully crafted ambiance inside.  (Unfortunately, these spaces are hard to protect when business is closed, so keep tagging, theft, breakage in mind in terms of replacement cost.) Here are a few ideas that won’t break the bank:

  • Try adding some fun tile to the walls or floor
  • Remove the walls and replace them with lower level planters 
  • Add your business name & messaging to the OUTSIDE (street side) of the planters or walls
  • Start with a coat of paint, which can go a long way (keep extra on hand in case you get tagged)
  • Remove the roof and replace with a few poles to string lights across to your entrance (check city regs) to draw attention at night.

Here’s Some Inspiration…

In Portland: 

Cafe Nell literally rolled out the red carpet, and put extra thought into their Outdoor seating structures, creating a street parking patio and sacrificing their entire parking lot, but also increasing capacity by 3 or 4 times. 

Not only are there red carpets, but also adorable cafe style tables and chairs, hanging plants, a fountain (to drown out road noise), chandeliers, and even a beautiful big bar in their lockable parking lot conversion.

Rolling out the red carpets in Portland, OR at Cafe Nell.
Rolling out the red carpets in Portland, OR at Cafe Nell.

In Boston:

Take a look at this Boston Venue (Lolita Back Bay – we salute you!) with gorgeous outdoor seating that seems to slow down traffic, and take advantage of the trees on a hot summer day.  It looks more like a beautiful home patio than a box to prevent people from disease.

Boston Venue Lolita Back Bay Mexican Restaurant has a beautiful street seat parking patio.
Boston Venue Lolita Back Bay Mexican Restaurant has a beautiful street seat parking patio.
Boston Venue (Lolita Back Bay - we salute you!) beautiful plantings make a perfect parking patio.
Boston Venue (Lolita Back Bay – we salute you!) beautiful plantings make a perfect parking patio.
Parking meters encased in wood in the parking patio
(just in case you weren’t sure if this was a real patio, there are historical markers)
white wall parking seating structure in front of Saltie Girl Boston
Here’s a different parking seating structure at Saltie Girl in Boston – all they need is their name across that white wall!


REFERENCE: What are the Costs for Venue Outdoor Seating

During COVID the added revenue from patrons who would not have come, if not for the outdoor seating, made the “street seats” parking structure a no-brainer.  

Here are some ongoing costs to consider: 

    • Weatherproofing and maintaining for winter dining, with heating (fuel) and protection from rain.

Also, if you use your outdoor space for live music events. Cities like San Francisco require you to get a permanent or temporary entertainment permit for the outdoor space.


Busywork isn’t progress: How unseen admin can hold you back

Let’s talk about busywork…

The “hustle” has become a status symbol. In the US, it has become part of our culture to wear our busyness like a badge of honor. If you’re the most important person in your business, it often feels like there’s so much that only you can do.

Not only do we have a long list of tasks to check off the list each day, we also have to contend with other people piling even more tasks on us too.

But here’s the thing:

Busyness is often holding us back.

Menial tasks and minor details stack up without us realising we’re not making time for the big, important things that we could be doing. Our to-do lists have hundreds of items on them, and it feels good to cross a few things off. Because we like to stay on top of things, we answer emails and messages and texts immediately – that’s what a good leader does. right?

This busywork is stopping us from spending time in our genius zone.

“When you learn the difference between busywork and your life’s work, that’s the first step on the path of purpose.”

Brendon Burchard, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way

Why do we have busywork anyway?

Nowadays, our attention is always being split amongst a myriad of different things; context-switching between tasks, apps, tabs, calls and meetings.

But is the busywork we’re doing actually driving any progress?

Could some of the repetitive tasks we’re spending a significant proportion of our time working on actually be reduced and automated? Does the admin, the copy & paste work we do everyday actually move us forward?

One major source of busywork is the need for approval from your team.

The reason they pile tasks on you for approval is because of their fear that you won’t approve of their output. If you’re keen to cut some of this down, take a moment to carefully decide where you’re willing to give and where you won’t compromise.

You may need to prepare your team for some of these changes, to give them an element of autonomy over completing these tasks on your behalf.

An empty to do list can easily be filled with busywork items

Your special sauce

Another way to look at this is to think about where we as individuals feel like we really truly have the most impact.

Thinking about your venue and the role you play in keeping it running, there are probably a handful of things that only you can do. There are a lot of things that you have already delegated to your team. With the right training, you could probably hand even more over to your team.

But what can you – and only you – do in your business in order to drive it forwards?

What is your special sauce?

The things you are passionate about are probably the things that brought you to where you are today.

  • Your unique taste & style
  • You have an ear for that perfect sound
  • You know exactly what kind of band and music will fit your venue
  • You have an instinct for what will please your crowd
  • You have a feel for your audience & your community
  • You have the ability to create a vibe that makes people feel comfortable

All of these things are unique to you. When you get them right, your audience keeps coming back.

Less busywork and more magic

Focus your energy on these things. The things that really matter to you, that really make a difference in the long run. These are the things that should be at the top of your to-do list.

If your busywork is keeping you away from the tasks that really matter, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how you’re spending your time. Are you really making progress, or are you just ticking boxes?

Do less, but do it better.

Looking into the future, what would the impact be if you could ditch some of the busy work and spend more time working your magic?

Your customers would benefit from it. They’d likely be back more frequently if they saw the impact of your added time curating music and bringing in the perfect musicians to perform.

Your business would see a positive impact in no time at all, and you’d almost certainly get a kick from it too.

More time for you

AmptUp is here to help eliminate some of that busywork for you.

When it comes to booking live music for your venue, there are a ton of manual and administrative tasks that realistically do amount to busywork.

That’s what we are here to take away.

We don’t fix the leaky roof. We don’t do your books. We don’t order your stock.

But we do cut the admin in half when it comes to your live music program:

  • Searching, vetting and booking musicians
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Exchanging promotional materials
  • Calculating the final payouts and getting the band paid
  • Doing your w9s too (nobody enjoys that)

Our online marketplace streamlines communications, contracts, and rescheduling with Musicians, and is completely FREE.

We’re here to help you eliminate the time wasting back-and-forth, so you can focus on what you love – your special sauce – finding the best music and building relationships.

Jump on board! Book a slot with our community building team, and we’ll have you up and running in no time.

Optimize Your Google Business Profile to Sell More Tickets

Google business profile

Google Business Profile (GBP) is your free ad, local listing, and new online sales point.

Today, when users want to see what is happening over the weekend – they either look to Google or Facebook. In a way, Google Business Profile is your Yellow Pages listing on steroids.

For Venue owners in the US, GMB is free to sell tickets for your events, either from the search results or Google Maps. The earlier article focused on setting up your Yelp Business Page. Think of it like getting your feet wet before jumping into the internet ocean that Google is today. 

Creating a Google Business Profile is much like introducing your Venue to Google. Google then uses Business Profile information to update Google Maps and provide relevant local search results. Not a surprise move, given that the newly published report reveals that  46% of all Google searches are seeking local information.

Don’t Miss out on the Millions of People Searching for You

If Google follows specific trends, you know it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.

Your Google Business Page is like a local listing in the most used directory – Google search. It signals that you’re a credible local business with verified contact information, services, and other business info. If you allow customers to leave reviews, you are doing what customers want. Ipsos research revealed that 2 out of 3 customers say that reviews are essential when choosing businesses.

GBP allows for simplified mobile access, which is super important. 60% of smartphone users have used the “click to call” feature on GMB to connect with local companies. 

And last but not least, your GBP is a reference point to all your related websites, including Eventbrite pages and social media. In today’s day and age, consumers expect all businesses to have a website – so you’re definitely on the right track!

How do you ensure your Google Business Profile is optimized to present you as a reputable Venue and sell more tickets? That’s why we’re here to guide you through the process. So, let’s start.

#1 The Basics

You know that feeling when you meet someone new, and they ask you what you do?

You don’t want to hand them your business card and wait because they’ll know what you do, and there’s little room for conversation. Your Google Business Profile allows you to list your business information, such as your services and hours of operation. You can keep the conversation going with consistent updates, respond to customer feedback, and showcase your events. 

Now, enough talking – it’s time to do the work.

Add your Phone Number & Address to Get a Verification Code

All you need to sign up for a free Google Business Profile and manage how your business appears on Google is to follow this link: But before you click the link, take a moment to read where you need to pay extra attention so you don’t have to edit later.

You can log in with any Google account (already created using Gmail, Google Drive, or GDocs). Once you log in, you’ll be asked for a way to verify your business (via an SMS, call, or a postcard from Google.) Once your profile is verified, it’s time to dedicate some time to filling in all the details that will make you stand out in the search results.

Choose a Correct Category for Your Business

The first thing to do after you verify your business is to choose a category for your Venue.  Just like picking out what to wear on a first date, you want to ensure you’re sending the right message with your category choice. 

As a general rule of thumb, if you own a live music Venue, you’ll want to choose “bar,” “festival,” or “nightclub” as your category. 

Suppose you run a restaurant or cafe that occasionally hosts music events. In that case, “restaurant” would likely best describe your business. 

It doesn’t hurt to snoop on your competitors’ chosen category, too. You can learn a lot about them by seeing what category they decided on (and how dedicated they are to maintaining their GBP).

Use Keyword-Rich Descriptions & Set Special Hours

The golden rule of keyword placement is: would a real person searching for your business actually use the word or phrase you’re thinking of adding? 

If the answer is no, or if you have to twist yourself into a pretzel to make it fit, it’s probably not worth your time. Consider what your customers might be searching for, and include those keywords in your descriptions. Finally, don’t overdo keywords – write for your customers.

When it comes to your business hours, go into details! The IPSOS consumer research shows that people are 96% more likely to visit a business with its hours listed online. So put your business hours on your profile, and make them unique by setting “special hours” for days when you’re open late or for events.

Adding Photos and Videos

Next, Google prompts you to add photos. You’re not going to add any old images. Instead, you’re adding high-quality photos depicting your Venue’s exterior and interior. 80% of people will watch pictures or videos before purchasing, but only 20% will read text.

The exterior photos of your Venue make it easier for customers to find you when they are following a map. Interior photos help visitors estimate what experience to expect when they visit your Venue. Choose a video or pictures from your popular events to boost this effect instead of an empty Venue. Including posters and flyers from previous and upcoming events to showcase your offer will give visitors a sense of the fun they can have at your Venue.

#2 Advanced & New Features

Don’t be confused with the dozens of items and options GBP offers. Instead, focus on the ones that will help you reach your goal. Here is a brief overview of what else you can do in your GBP:

  • You can build a website quickly by purchasing a domain & hosting from Google if you don’t have one. (Not recommended unless you don’t have any other choice.)
  • Choose your attributes, i.e., a more specific category or sub-category for your Venue. You can choose all attributes that reflect your Venue offer (bar, live music, snacks…). You can also add your accessibility options, extra amenities, and more in this section.
  • Allow people to ask you questions about the Venue or upcoming events. Enable messaging and phone calls/ reservations (you can install the messaging app on your phone to respond instantly.) 
  • Once everything is set up, unlike with Yelp, you can download a Free Marketing Kit from Google to freely ask for reviews & promote your business.

Managing Your Google Business Profile

As a Venue owner or an authorized manager, you will be needed to verify your Google Business listing. However, you can assign it to another person to regularly update and manage the page. If you can, appoint someone from your staff to the role of a GBP Manager and ensure they periodically post while you do your work.

Earlier, there was a special Business Manager Portal where you could do this. Now it’s possible to manage your page directly from Google Search and Google Maps. With the Google Maps app, you can update your hours of operation, add photos, and announce new events. 

GBP provides stats; for example, you can see how many people have viewed your Google Business Profile. You will also see how they interacted with it (ordered tickets, saw directions, called you…). Anyone searching for, let’s say, “live music near me” will also get directions right from your listing (available on iOS and Android).

Google Business Profile exmaple

Get Some Free Advertising

One thing you should do if you like free ad money, as I do, is to connect your GBP with Bing places (you never know what browser someone might use to find a local event.) 

PRO-TIP:  GBP is free advertising for you from Google. Plus, when you connect your Google Business page with Bing Places, you also get free Bing ads credit. Here is how you do it:

Open and choose “New User.” Next, connect your Google Business Profile. A few minutes later, you’ll get an email with a promo code for free Bing ads funds – no previous purchase necessary.

Bing places for business
How to connect your Google Business Profile with Bing For Business and Bing Places

Here’s How to Promote an Event & Sell Tickets on Your Google Business Profile:

  • Go to Google search and type your Venue name or URL – that should be the first result, and on your right side, you’ll see an editable Google Business Profile.
  • Click or tap “Add an update.”
  • Upload a poster, images, or a video of your event,
  • Add a brief event description with a call-to-action 
  • From the “Add a button” menu, choose “Order online,” “Learn More,” or a similar callout
  • You need to add start and end dates (in your Special Business hours)
How to add an event to your Google Business Profile

Next, Google will take some time to verify your event. Meanwhile, you can see a preview:

A preview of your event on your Google Business Profile

What’s Next: We Dance to what Google Plays

Google Business Profiles GBP started as Google My Business, giving users a free and easy way to create a website and run a Google Ads promo. Google my Business pages had a separate dashboard where you could tweak your details. Then the name changed, and now the preferred way to edit your profile is from the Google Maps app.

As the internet experts at Forefront Web say, there’s probably more to this than we know. They predict that Google Business Profiles will soon include paid features. With a fool-proof website builder hosted by Google, organic search and organic reach may quickly disappear altogether – just like what happened with many Facebook Pages after Facebook’s News Feed update.

PRO-TIP+: To stay independent as much as possible, be it from Eventbrite or Google, look into Schema Data Highlighter for events.

Implement Schema Data Highlighter for Events

If you want your SEOs to be on top of their game, tell them to check out Google Structured Data Highlighter. This sweet tool allows them to mark up data about events so Google can display it as if you’re using a Google Business listing – especially on mobile devices.

Google Business Profile is more than images and posts. It would be best if you considered it a critical asset in your marketing strategy. While it is true that the photos and posts you add to the page will help you sell more tickets, GBP is also a tool to brand your business and increase your local reach in the search results. 

Time to get started!

So, if you still need to get on Google Business, book 30-45 minutes, take this guide and build an optimized Google Business Profile.

If you haven’t already set up a profile for your Venue on the AmptUp platform, then what are you waiting for!?

When you’re ready, book a call with our wonderful Community Builder, Victoria who will walk you through the platform and help you get set up for the easiest transition.

We look forward to seeing you on the platform soon!

How to Rank Higher on Yelp & Stay in the Top 10: Quick and Easy Tips

Outside of word of mouth (which is marketing gold), what is the next best way to get people in your doors? Ranking in the top 10. We’ll cover google later, but the best search directory for experiences (restaurants, bars, museums, etc.) is Yelp. You could also use these tips to rank higher on Tripadvisor, and bring in tourists.

Not convinced Yelp can help you bring in more visitors? Here are four facts that will change your mind:

  • With 184 million reviews worldwide, millions of consumers can see which businesses are available in their area and how real people feel about them
  • Yelp has more than 178 million unique visitors monthly across mobile, desktop, and app platforms
  • Businesses see Up to a 9% increase in revenue for every new star earned on Yelp
  • 45% of customers are likely to check Yelp reviews before visiting a business

So, enough chit-chat. Let’s jump right into positioning your venue on Yelp.

#1 First things first: Composing Your Business Page

In case you haven’t done this already, go and claim your Yelp business page right away by here. Make sure to verify your business (the prompt will follow your registration.) Otherwise, you might lose your profile, making it possible for someone to maliciously claim the page and damage your reputation. If you’ve already done this, let’s see how you can optimize your listing.

  • Add your name, email, address, and phone number.
  • If you don’t have any reviews yet, continue reading, and you’ll find creative ideas on how to motivate your visitors to start leaving positive and effective Yelp reviews.
  • Don’t skip any of the fields: include your photo (even better – multiple photos, the more recent the better), venue description, hours of operation, and ongoing and future events.
  • Choose your category carefully. There are options to be categorized as a music venue (which falls into the higher category “Nightlife”) or as a venue & event space (under “Event Planning & Event Services”). Depending on what you’ve chosen, you’ll get displayed in a different section of the Yelp Events page.

#2 Let’s Optimize

Before we get to optimization let’s go back a bit to the why you should put effort into a Yelp listing. The stats above show you how effective Yelp can be as a sales tool. For events, you have several sales tools at your disposal – from promo codes and discounts, to direct purchases through Yelp listing or the app. If it shows promise as a sales channel, you can even invest in Yelp ads to cement your top 10 listing before an important event.

Keywords are important on Yelp

As for pretty much anything online, you need to focus your description, tags, and photo captions on no more than three select keywords that capture what your offer and the reason why someone should choose you over another venue. Think along the lines of: “live local bands,” “top indie stars” or whatever your USP (unique selling proposition) is.

On Yelp, it’s a waste of space to use keywords with “near you” because Yelp does the filtering. Also, it never hurts to read the current top 10 listings’ descriptions and see how they are formulated. Look for the average length, tone, and don’t copy – your uniqueness is your plus.

Keep improving your specialty section

You can add all of your unique offerings here. List each customer experience and event in this section. List the ones that are the most significant first. This way you can always keep your event list updated, alongside special offers and deals you can tailor for Yelp specifically.

List all the cities you’re present in

Many venue owners are unaware that there are multiple location choices available in your Yelp settings. If you have multiple venues, this is the feature to use. But, you can also include the nearby areas you want to rank for in addition to your primary city, giving yourself a free boost.

Choose your photos wisely

First, you don’t want grainy photos of the bathroom from your reviewers to define you. Get a few gorgeous photos of your place, including some of the smaller details that make you stand out. Far away shots are helpful, but not inviting, so keep them limited. Most importantly, get shots of people having fun. They don’t have to be beautiful, they don’t have to be models, but ensure they are good quality photos of people enjoying your place. Make sure that your Venue is clearly visible in the background, because we don’t want close ups of strangers.

#3 Get a consistent stream of (positive) reviews

Now that you know how to optimize your listing, it’s finally time to get creative and incentivize your guests to leave reviews tailored to Yelp. Just one tiny thing before that…

When it comes to Yelp, it’s not the businesses that have the most positive reviews that get into the top 10. Instead, the businesses that have recent and consistent positive reviews are far more likely to be on the top. So, think of Yelp reviews as an ongoing campaign.

Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews

As a general rule, Yelp doesn’t encourage asking for reviews. However, Everybody does it – and there is scientific backing for doing so. Businesses that don’t ask for reviews from customers are more likely to see their customer satisfaction go down, according to a study from Northwestern. People who are unhappy are usually more motivated to leave negative reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.

Yelp blocks any reviews that look fishy to them, based on their secret algorithms…which often means, good honest reviews may never see the light of day. You can still fish for good reviews by avoiding these Yelp red flags:

  • A sudden influx of reviews – Spread out your requests.
  • Any repeat language, or even a sudden jump from 3 star to 5 star – Don’t tell people what to say, or make a heavy push for reviews at one time (by offering incentives, mass mailing customers, etc.).
  • Suddenly active or new reviewers accounts – this really pertains to fake review farms
  • Overly wordy, or very short reviews (1-2 sentences)

And remember, that people look at your star rating AND the quantity of reviews before deciding to trek out to your location and spend their hard earned money.

Promptly respond to any negative reviews

At the same time, Online Reviews Statistics and Trends: A 2022 Report by ReviewTrackers found that companies don’t react to reviews quickly enough or at all. Customers expect companies to respond to bad reviews in less than a week, as per 53% of respondents. One in three people expects it in three days or less.
Consequently, your positive reputation is closely related to quicker review response times.

So, when you face a negative review, ensure you offer a solution to the customer, and be kind in your response. Even if the review is unfounded, show your positive side.

Ask for service-specific reviews

When talking about reviews or Yelp with your customers or even musicians, ask them to write “What” was done “Where” (this covers your keywords), and by “Whom” (this adds a personalized touch to your venue.) Also, you can nudge the customers who already are having fun to quickly post a review and offer them snacks or a free drink as thanks.

Get human, not robotic reviews

Put a sign at your venue and on tables occasionally, or do a regular campaign where you ask bartenders to prompt people that are having a good experience – especially if they have a good rapport – to give a wink and a smile and include their name in the review. For example, “I’ll get kudos from the boss if you mention my name”. Having the names of staff in a review makes it feel like your venue’s atmosphere is significantly more personal, friendly, and warm.

Include everyone in the “Yelp campaign”

While you can find online offers that guarantee “100% real people reviews” in exchange for your money, it doesn’t pay off to go down this route. If you get anything for your money, it’ll be robotic sounding, poorly written repeat that can blow your reputation in an instant. What you can do instead is, like in the example above, motivate your staff to pay attention to customers and look for opportunities where they can ask for a review.

And, don’t forget to do the easiest thing of them all – place a Yelp badge on your website, and mention it on Twitter and Facebook. Your loyal customers and friends will be a far better source of unique reviews.

Track Your Reviews!

Be sure to track reviews and ratings, and share this with staff at weekly meetings. Be sure to reward anyone that was specifically mentioned. Make it a regular part of your business management, and your ratings will increase seemingly without effort.

5 Free Tools to Triple Your Ticket Sales on Eventbrite

Knowing how to increase ticket sales on Eventbrite is essential for Independent venues.

There are a lot of ticketing tools out there. A LOT. We are ticketing agnostic, but since many of you are using Eventbrite, or contemplating using it, we want to show you how to get the most bang for your buck.

(Looking for ticketing software? We found this insanely long list of options.)

Increase your ticket sales on eventbrite!

I know…I do it too…

I usually sign up for a tool and learn the bare-minimum necessary to make it function and do the one thing I need it to do.

Ie: “Eventbrite, I need you to sell tickets when someone clicks the link. Do that and we’ll be good.”

I treat these Jetsons-style modern technologies like they’re wall-hanging phones and can do only one thing.

But, I’ve learned over the years that tech companies are spending millions of dollars and hours to make this tool incredible and unbeatable for…ME. To make my life easier…if I’d only let it.  So, let’s collectively make the shift to invest our time and energy in a tool and make it work hard for the money! Let’s dive in.   

Knowing WHEN to market is key to increasing ticket sales on Eventbrite

According to Eventbrite data, the sales peaks should be one of the most important determining factors of your event marketing lifecycle. 

Understanding what these are when they occur is a key factor to increasing ticket sales on Eventbrite.

The stages of the ticket sale process: 

(per Eventbrite)
  1. Announcement phase  
  2. On-sale phase  
  3. Maintenance phase  
  4. Closeout phase  

Here is a breakdown of the ticket sales peaks, for the biggest event types.   

Festivals – 15% of tickets are sold during the first week, 1% of tickets are bought during the ticket-release stages in between, and 24% during the last week. Based on that information, you as a venue owner or a festival organizer can distribute your marketing budget more effectively.   

So, for the festivals – especially ones with tiered ticket pricing, the ad spend would be ideally broken down like so: 

  • Announcement – 10%   
  • 1st tier ticket promotion – 30% on-sale   
  • 2nd tier ticket promotion – 10%  
  • 3rd tier ticket group – 10%   

Family-friendly events – Families tend to plan things ahead. For this reason, you should focus your advertising effort on trying to boost your ticket sales in the earliest stages (the event is announced, and the first tickets go on sale.) The remaining ad budget goes equally to the maintenance campaigns and closeout ads.   

Nightlife or weekend events with last-minute fans – Among 2,000 Americans Eventbrite included in their survey, 43% plan their night out up to 3 days in advance, from Wednesday onward. Most of the survey participants, 19% of them, plan their night out on Thursday.   

Comedy shows attract last-minute ticket buyers– On average, they sell only 6% of tickets in the first week. The overwhelming majority of tickets – 75% – are sold during the last week. Even more surprising is that 31% of comedy show tickets are sold on the day of the event!   

Now that you’re familiar with when most tickets are sold, let’s dive into ways to boost your ticket sales during peak periods.

1. Add Eventbrite promotion codes & bundling

People love a good deal.

Finding a good deal or being the recipient of a good deal makes you feel special – like an explorer that found a treasure, lucky (and everyone loves that feeling), knowledgeable, or even loved for your loyalty. So, starting with the easiest tip and tool: create a promotion code directly on Eventbrite to maximize that feel-good feeling.   

This is a key element in figuring out how to increase ticket sales.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, price discounts can increase ticket sales on Eventbrite, and your revenue too. However, think about your goals for having and using promo codes so you don’t run the risk of creating extra work for yourself AND losing revenue. The goal may feel obvious: boost your ticket sales. But it may also be to increase loyalty or reward evangelists.

Strategy: Ways to use a promo code?

Create promo codes as an early bird discount, as a flash sale (perfect around the holiday gifting times), for off-nights, or by creating hidden offers that only VIPs can access
(maybe these are members of a loyalty program, influencers you want to win over).

Perhaps you have a VIP club of fans, and after their 5th show, they get a promo code that opens secret tickets with benefits. Maybe you want to invite key press or influencers and want to treat them to a special VIP experience with FREE drinks – create a unique code just for them – here’s how. 

 How to add Eventbrite Promotion codes to your event

2. Add a retargeting pixel to the Eventbrite ticketing page to track interested window shoppers

Retargeting, especially setting up retargeting audiences from all the platforms you use, might sound scary. BUT. “Retargeted fans are 70% more likely to buy tickets”, Eventbrite research reports!   

Since this is one of THE MOST USEFUL things you can do to push your marketing to the next level, let’s break down why to use it, how, and what you need to start a retargeting campaign for your event.  

Retargeting enables you to show ads to window-shoppers, i.e., the people who saw your ad or landed organically on your website, the Eventbrite event, or Facebook event pages, but didn’t buy a ticket or RSVPed. A little cookie will follow them out of your site and keep the anonymized data on every user and their actions (more on this in a minute.) The best thing is, the Facebook pixel, for example, will track all interactions on your business page, FB event page, or website and all your integrations (from Eventbrite pages to simple registration forms) so all your contact points with a potential customer are covered with one tracking pixel, visible in one activity dashboard

How to create a tracking pixel and what it can do

This process is a bit more involved.  First, you first need to create a pixel if you don’t have one, and then you can create ads on Facebook, Twitter, or Google targeting your window shoppers by connecting the ads to those who have been on pages with your pixel.  

Once you have a tracking pixel installed on all your major marketing points, you’ll also get a wealth of data on people who visit your website and event pages, including how many people added it to their calendar, looked you up on the map, initiated a purchase but didn’t finish, and much much more. This concrete data enables you to build better campaigns in the future, see where your bottlenecks are, and even how people behave on your landing pages.   

The most common, and by far the easiest, way to add a new tracking pixel (if you already don’t have one) is to create a Facebook pixel.  However, you can create tracking pixels for your ads with Google, Facebook/Instagram, Twitter and more. 

We’ve put together a detailed ‘how to’ here.

3. Connect with Fans through Email marketing on Eventbrite

You’d be surprised at how many Venues don’t use their email list as much as they should or at all.

Many are worried about annoying their audience, or just don’t have the time to create the emails, but even if all you do is send out the email flier, date, and time, you’re a step ahead. Remember to think about the sales cycle for your event and send out reminders.  

If you set up an email campaign once, you can automate it and reuse it for future events, so you won’t start from scratch each time.

You’ll need:

  • One email to announce the event
  • One to tell your fans that tickets are on sale and where to buy them
  • A final one to remind them that event is in, say, three days.

For the next event, you can copy this campaign in Eventbrite and only change the details to fit your new event.  

A word about Frequency…

There is a legitimate concern about overloading your fans. So, be cautious. Here are two suggestions.   

  1. The best is to let the fan choose by providing subscription options that are clear (i.e.: genre preferences, frequency, or types of events.)  
  2. Start by sending out an email every 2 weeks with a list of events, instead of sending out emails for each event. You can increase frequency and gauge response.

Read our detailed description on how to set up your email campaign on Eventbrite 

4. Let Fans Buy tickets directly on the Facebook event / Instagram Ad

You want to go beyond awareness and into action when selling tickets.

Meaning, that we want to make it as EASY as possible for people to buy right when they’re thinking about it. And remember that your audience may not be on Facebook all the time or may not be paying attention…so if they see an ad only once, everyone except hard-core fans will forget about it.   

While you should share your Eventbrite event page on all your social media in order to boost your ticket sales, a key step is to ensure they can buy tickets without ever leaving the experience they’re enjoying (endless scrolling of political opinions and friends’ baby photos in bed next to their sleeping partner). Or is that just us?

While you want people to know about your event (the awareness phase) the practical goal is to get them to buy tickets. And, if they see an ad only once, everyone except hard-core fans will forget about it.  Here are several ways you can remind them of your event later:  

How To Let Fans Buy Tickets Directly from the Facebook Event Page:

Boost ticket sales on eventbrite by using the facebook integration
  • Add your event to Facebook using Eventbrite’s integration “Add to Facebook”. You’ll get the ticket sales at once (if you activate “tickets on sale”) and it’s an ideal time to start the RSVP campaign. Any time a fan RSVPs it gets is shared with their friends, spreading your reach.   
  • First, connect your Facebook account and allow Facebook permissions to Eventbrite  

Tip: You need a published or scheduled event page with the description and venue address to continue. Your Facebook page also needs to be published.  

  • Go to “Marketing”, then click “Add to Facebook”  
  • As you can see from the image below, a choice to buy a ticket is instantly visible on the event page.  
  • Also, always share your Eventbrite event page on all social media in order to increase ticket sales.

5. Increase ticket sales while keeping fans on your site by using the Eventbrite widget

Like a cat with a laser, every time a person switches tasks, tabs, or websites, it’s a chance for that person to get DISTRACTED.

(“What – who just texted?” “Oh – the laundry buzzed; I’ll just check it really quick.” You know how it goes.)

And then your ticket sales are dead in the time it takes for the page to load.  

The moment they check out the event is the best time for them to buy tickets and doing that on your site is the best way for you to boost ticket sales.

Use Eventbrite’s embedded checkout widget, where people can view, select, and buy tickets without even leaving your beautiful site.  (the finished product will look like this >>

Easily increase ticket sales on your site by using the eventbrite widget

Here’s how to embed the Eventbrite widget on your site.

Pro move #6: Pay a bit more to streamline the full Eventbrite experience

We added this tool in as a bonus because, while it does cost $50/mo., it simplifies most of the steps covered above and gives you one of the most powerful and fully automated sales weapons to increase your ticket sales on Eventbrite.

  • First, you get the data on how and when to promote your event, based on ticket sales timings from your and other event organizers’ past events (anonymously collected).  
  • Next, Eventbrite Boost recommends a schedule for your ads and promotions based on the stages of ticket sales we mentioned at the beginning.   
  • Third – you have full control over your audience. You can create a remarketing and lookalike audience just by linking with your FB/Instagram pages, MailChimp or Spotify. This feature alone is a huge time saver, and automated advertising based on the sales curve not only makes sense but as case studies show, helps event organizers increase ticket sales.  

Here are a few more convincing stats: 

  • Music promoters increase tickets by 28% after using Boost to advertise their events.
  • This company 3x’d their ROI: “For the Love of Carnival” ads delivered huge results: the campaign generated a 3.4x return on ad spend. For every $1 he spent, he made $3. 
  • TAG tapped into Eventbrite’s audience of engaged ticket buyers looking for something fresh. “For an upcoming concert, 22% of current sales, or 1444 tickets and counting, were driven through Eventbrite, bringing new audiences to the venue.

It also has:

  • Email marketing, on steroids (their claim!)  
  • Automated FB/Instagram scheduling of posts alongside publishing and customizing ads   
  • Sales curve based on your earlier events, and statistics they collected anonymously from all other event organizers

Here’s a detailed description of how to use Eventbrite boost to increase ticket sales.

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7 Ways to Make Your Music Program More Profitable

For Independent Venues: How to Market Your Live Music Event (Part 3 of 4)

So whether you’re a music lover or you’ve recognized the revenue impact early, kudos…all of the data says you’re on the right track.  Finding and booking live music, however is a big process that usually involves owners or talent buyers to juggle multiple systems between text, email, Facebook, and Instagram DMs.  Why do all of that work if your live music program is just barely paying off? 

Here are 7 tried and true tips to increase your Venue’s revenue with your live music program. 

1. Move from booking to promotion faster

Speaking of booking, this can’t’ be said enough…STREAMLINE your booking to start promoting the show ASAP.  You want to move staff time into marketing and any extra dollars into ads as soon as possible.  You may be thinking, “Hey, I’m going as fast as I can here.”  Here’s a quick tip to move you into marketing faster. 

How to:

Once you’ve decided that a band is the right fit let them know that you’ll place them on the calendar as soon as you have their marketing assets (logo + downloadable photos) and W9 (we might as well streamline accounting while we’re at it). 
Don’t hesitate to let them know that you DO have another band interested in that date, and you’ll hold it for them only for 48 hours.  Hold to this boundary, and be willing to replace them if you don’t hear back. 

2. Pay musicians based on bar or ticket sales – and get people in the mood

Giving your Musicians incentives to bring a crowd or create a certain ambiance makes it clear up front what the expectations are and means you’re more likely to reach your goals.  There’s nothing worse on both sides than paying the Musician on flat fee, and being upset because they didn’t draw a crowd when there was no clear incentive to do so.   
If you’re worried about securing talent with such a fluctuating pricing structure, you can always offer a guarantee, also known as a “versus deal.” Essentially, If you’re willing to pay Musicians $300 to play, offer them 30% of bar sales or (versus) the $300 guarantee, whichever is higher.  If they get people in a good mood and hitting the bar more often, then they make more money.   

How to: Encourage the band to do these things on stage… 

  • Talk about being “thirsty”  
  • Ask for a drink while on stage (instead of just quietly providing it) 
  • Proffer a toast (“Alright everyone! Let’s raise a glass to __
  • -or- create a special ready-mixed drink named in honor of the band (ie: their hometown: The Boston Bourbon, The Wild Hair). Offer it to the band, and ask them to talk about it on stage. 

3. Enlist Musicians to highlight your upcoming events on stage 

Especially if they’ll be there. Whether or not they will be there, you can offer the band two free ticket to an upcoming show to get them talking about it, and even present the tickets on stage before going on break.  

How to:  

Be prepared with fliers as takeaways for upcoming events and be sure to add a QR code that goes directly to the ticket sales link for easy buying.  
Either announce your early-bird incentive or create a special offer (free parking, free drinks, priority entry, priority bar-service line, meet and greet with the current band) for anyone that buys tickets to the next event before leaving.  
Do this during a band break, and be sure to prepare bar staff or someone dedicated to selling tickets for 15 minutes. 

4. Increase revenue and commitment with no & low-cost incentives 

There’s selling tickets, and then there’s selling tickets strategically.  Don’t just put tickets on sale, think about the psychology of what it feels like to spend your hard earned money on something fun, as a ticket buyer.  Here are a few options to offer more choice and value to your buyers: Create a VIP package,  create a yearly/monthly membership package that will ensure consistent cashflow, create an early-bird discount, or create another package deal that bundles services like parking + tickets

How to: Here are a few low/no cost ideas to create your VIP Package, early -bird discount, or membership:  

  • Have parking? Rope off a section, or the whole thing, for VIP members,  
  • Offer priority bar service line 
  • Offer priority table seating/service 
  • Offer a priority VIP entrance/line (think how good it feels to skate past everyone at the airport with priority-check-in. And you still have to take off your shoes!) 
  • Meet & greet with the band,  pre-post drinks/dinner with the band, the band’s album signed, or even a private song with the band (if you have a separate/intimate space that could be used) 
  • 2 ‘free’ drinks 
  • ‘Free’ or exclusive merchandise 
  • Don’t offer reservations, but often have a wait? Allow VIP members the opportunity to reserve year round. 

5. Get sponsors  

Few other businesses outside of sports arenas and major festivals have the opportunity that you do as a host to live music and good times. Company brands are always looking for ways to get in front of their audience when they’re feeling good. Local or global, don’t be afraid to reach out to the big dogs to get a sponsorship (monthly/annually/for just one show). 

How to: 

Use a PowerPoint or Canva template to create a 3-4 slide sponsor ‘deck.’ 

Page 1: Your name, location, contact details and an appealing photo of your venue.

Page 2: Real photos of your space, and people enjoying it (don’t do crowd shots, get close-ups, when possible – phone pics are totally ok).

Page 3: Typical attendance rates, or early-bird sales.

Page 4: The deal – what they get and what they pay.

  • Sponsor benefit ideas: signage, lanyards for passes with their logo/slogan, table signs, mention on stage by performer, swag and merch giveaways.
  • If you’re worried that your single venue isn’t enough, gather a few other owners and approach a sponsor as a group.  This revenue channel is especially likely to succeed if you enacted the early-bird rate from part 2 of the series, because you’ll have a much better idea of attendance early on and you can more effectively pitch the sponsor with real data of committed attendees. 

6. Monetize reservations 

Don’t take tickets? Take reservations but hold them with a card, with a 24 or even 48 hr cancellation policy.  Charge each card half of what you would expect to make with that seat ($50? $100?) if they no-show or cancel. 

How to: 

This is the most simple change.  Just start telling people the policy and writing down card numbers. Here’s one reservation system that makes that possible automatically.

7. Go opposite of VIP, offer a cheaper ticket tier 

Instead of VIP, offer a lower cost ticket that gives reduced options, and open yourself to a whole new revenue stream that doesn’t take the place of current ticket holders.  Often times participants will thank you for offering a discounted rate that fully meets their needs or provides accessibility. 

How to: Lower value discount ticket ideas 

  • Half day/night owl entry 
  • Digital streaming access 
  • Bulk buy discount (5 tickets gets a 10% discount – must buy together) 
  • Opening or closing night only (for festivals) 

UP NEXT: Part 4 of 4

5 Free Tools to TRIPLE Your Ticket Sales on Eventbrite

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Earn More Revenue in 15 min a Day or Less

For Independent Venues: How to Market Your Live Music Event (Part 2 of 4)

Working in this industry is INTENSE, and you need to get results with minimal time in front of screen. After you have the basics in hand, and are regularly doing them every week. Start improving and diving a bit deeper with these tips, in just 15 minutes a day.  Here is your 1 week plan to increasing foot traffic and revenue. Remember to ensure you have covered the basics from Part One

Day 1: Improve word of mouth promotion 

In 15 Minutes:

Search for influencers on social media in your local area – people that have 10,000+ followers on Instagram or Facebook.  Direct message them through their social media and offer them free tickets + 2 free tickets to give away to friends or through their social media account. Find someone with a huge number of followers and they may be blasé to your offer.  Scale down a bit, and your offer will feel like a welcomed gift. Be sure to ask them to post a selfie at your Venue and tag you. 

How do you find them?  

  • Scan your own followers, maybe there’s an influencer among them.  If not, go to the next level.  Click on a few of your followers, click “following” at the top of their profile, scan the list, and hover on each one for fan counts.
  • Do a local hashtag search to find out who’s putting out the most relevant local content.  Searching like this may also pull up some other recommended hashtags

Day 2: Measure your best marketing efforts with unique tracking links 

In 15 minutes:

  • Set up tracking links with this Eventbrite guide, or use Promotix that has robust tools to actually create an entire street team and track things like each poster that is posted, as well as their ticketing tracking links. 
  • Why?: You can’t manage what you don’t measure.  How do you know if the money you spent on posters is working? Or, if the band is actually bringing in the draw they promised? It’s surprisingly easy to create unique tracking links, so you can put a different one on each marketing channel (one for Facebook, one for posters, one for the band, etc.) 

Day 3: Grow your email list 

  • In 15 minutes:  
  • Drop in the Mailchimp embed code for email sign up on your website (here’s a tutorial
  • -or- use the integration from Eventbrite to Mailchimp to download all ticket-buyer’s email information, to automatically add their info to your list.  You can also manually download these lists each time, which we don’t recommend.  
  • -or- have an in-store promotion for a limited time.  Create a give-away or drink discount for anyone that signs up. 
  • Why?: 1,000 Eventbrite creators responded to a survey saying email was the most effective event marketing channel.  And since Facebook and Instagram can change their algorithms without warning, making it harder and harder for you to connect to your audience without paying, we agree that building your email list is the best option.   
  • Free tool: Mailchimp & Eventbrite 

Day 4: Create an incentive to buy 

In 15 minutes:

  • Decide which event will get the special treatment, and don’t do this more than once every week or two. Choose an event, a date, and an offer. You can do this in 2 ways: first you can offer giveaway items, like free t-shirts, free drinks, time with the band, priority line entry, which may not cost you anything, or just a few pennies.  Or second, you can discount your tickets for an early-bird price which may be easier to coordinate, but cost you more money.  
  • Why?: Early ticket sales account for 40-50% of ticket sales according to Eventbrite studies of nightlife events.  Think of how helpful it will be to have cash in hand to plan your event and pay vendors.  Additionally, those people have more time to invite their friends, communicate with you, and will give you a chance to invite sponsors for your event with confirmed tickets.  Once people have bought a ticket they’re much more likely to attend than someone who waits until the last minute to buy, where any number of things could come up. 

Day 5: Treat your customers like VIPS, literally. 

In 15 minutes:

  • Add a VIP ticket tier or add-on to your next big event and instantly increase your profits.  VIP perks could include, a priority entrance, a meet & greet with the band, even a private song with the band (if you have a separate/intimate space that could be used), pre-post drinks/dinner with the band, the band’s album signed, priority drink order line or dedicated server, a 2 ‘free’ drinks, ‘free’ or exclusive merchandise. 
  • Why & How?: VIP perks can cost absolutely nothing, but have a big bang for the VIPs. It can have a double benefit for the band of creating loyal fans (make sure you approve anything with the band first).  A VIP experience is something that can create life-long memories for the guest, as long as the value you offer matches/exceeds the price and you fully deliver on the promise. 

UP NEXT: Part 3 of 4

How to make your music program more profitable

Become a VIP today!