“Put a cat picture on ANYTHING and it will sell!”

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in News | No Comments

You found the perfect artist, booked your space and have everyone’s jobs assigned for the day of the show. However, the battle of a successful event still isn’t won until you get students to the event. How to get students out to the show can be a tricky thing, but having the right marketing plan is the key to getting students to fill your venue.


Location, Location, Location:

Location doesn’t just pertain to where you’re having your event, but also relates to the location of where you’re placing your advertisements. Hanging posters around campus is a good starting point, but most likely this isn’t going to attract enough students to fill the show. In the past, I’ve actually seen successful events that don’t even use posters; instead students have opted to use handbills (a standard piece of printer paper cut into four smaller flyers). This works for a multitude of reasons. The two biggest being: students get something that they can take with them as a reminder of when the event is and it’s one-to-one marketing. This strategy works because programming members get to express their excitement directly to the students. Students in return can ask questions about the event and see how friendly the programming members are. This makes students feel more comfortable and welcomed at the event when they see a familiar face. Be smart; cover the campus with both posters and students passing out handbills. Another helpful place to promote an upcoming show is to set up a table in a high traffic area on campus and play videos of the artist you are bringing to campus. This way students get to see what they are missing out on if they don’t come to your fantastic event!


Get Others Involved:

Being on a programming board helps the students build their leadership and teamwork skills while gaining unforgettable experiences. Letting others outside of your programming board get involved in the promoting of the show, not only helps them build their skills, but it can really get the word out around campus about your upcoming show. Are you bringing Ronnie Jordan, Adam Grabowski or another hilarious comedian to campus? Reach out to see if there is an improv group on campus. I’m sure they would love to come see the show. You can even see if the act you are bringing to campus would be willing to do a workshop or a Q&A session. Surely young comedians on your campus would think it was great to get career advice from a pro. Maybe you’re bringing a talented musical act like The Ballroom Thieves, XY Unlimited, or Preston Pugmire to campus, college radio stations are a great outlet for marketing these types of events. See if the artists would be willing to do an interview with the local college radio station. Additionally, get the radio station to put one of the artist’s songs on rotation and every time the song is played have them give details about the show. Interview experience for the DJs, more exposure for the artist, and promotion for the show; it’s a huge win for everyone involved! It doesn’t even have to be students that are getting involved, professors are a great resource too. Find classes that are relevant to the talent you are bringing in. For example, reach out to a poetry class for a spoken word artist like Lauren Zuniga or Theo Wilson, an environmental class for “A Crude Awakening” lecture series, or a class learning about cultural diversity for Zohra Sarwari. See if the professor of the class would be willing to turn your event into an assignment, or even better extra credit.


Social Media is Where It’s At:

Building up a solid social media following is an incredible way to brand your programming team, but it also is a great built-in audience to advertise to. Create an event page on Facebook so all of your team members can invite their friends to the show. Get a hashtag trending on Twitter. Create banners and profile pictures that members can use to show their excitement about the show. Use QR codes on posters and handbills to direct traffic to your site. Don’t know how to make a QR code? It’s super easy all you have to do is go to this website, and it will generate one for you: http://www.the-qrcode-generator.com. Contests are also an excellent way for followers to get involved in the promoting of the show. Offer a prize for sharing a post about the event, in my experience I don’t think I’ve ever met a student that didn’t like getting an item for free.


Have fun at your next show that is overflowing with students. Just don’t break too many fire codes. We love all of the programming boards out there and want you to be safe. Remember: If all else fails a great man once told me “Put a cat picture on ANYTHING and it will sell.” I mean the title of this blog did grab your attention didn’t it? Adorable animals will always grab the attention of everyone. Be creative, think outside of the box, and you’ll have a great show.


Happy Marketing,

-Amanda Matthews