People have the choice to decline, show interest or say they are attending an event, but from personal experience this number seems pretty arbitrary. We can only do so much to actually know who is going to go to the shows. We most likely will try to invite friends and acquaintances we are not too close with in order to expand the audience for the event and future events. Being a musician, all too often I have seen the same dedicated people coming to the show. I am for one grateful for this. It is more satisfying playing to a smaller passionate audience that is familiar with the music than a room full of people just on their phones or carrying on callous conversations.
Many bands fall into a trap of expanding the audience while disregarding the core group of close friends that come to the show. They choose to set their eyes on bigger goals that focus on bigger crowds with less attachment to who they are personally or what their music actually is intended to mean. All in all,there isn't necessarily anything wrong with this, but can make false expectations and frustrated musicians that lose the passion for the music and only are interested in the popularity.
I have been experimenting with a different approach. An approach that focuses more on personal invites. I will certainly create a Facebook event and post on social media, but this seems secondary to me now. The social media event seems like more of an information booster where people can see who is going, the details of all the bands playing, the cover and any other details that I may leave out in a personal invite. Time is a valuable resource, so I really try to focus on keeping personal invites tied to short emails and texts. Sometimes I will actually call friends to invite them a show, but a lot of times there might be no call back and little reason to interupt their hectic lifestyles.
When sending personal invites through text, I like to address them first with some greeting whether it be an inquisitive question about their day or a positive affirmation about what they are doing with their life. I can admit, I have sent texts personally addressing the person with an event invite without "personally engaging" them in the first place. I have learned from this. The copy and paste scenario isn't bad for the information you need such as the venue name, time starting and who's playing, but when you use a "fill in the blank" method, it tends to look like a texted advertisement. The whole goal is to switch from an impersonal invite to a personal or interpersonal invite.
When we are authentic with our intentions, each invite can be more effective. Maybe there is a friend you haven't seen in a long time and would like to catch up with at the show you are playing. Personally inviting friends to events can show that you have given thought and conscious prioritization to who is important in your life. When you can foster a healthy invite relationship, the invitee will most likely bring a new friend that is not familiar with your music or band. Word of mouth is indeed one of the most effective marketing mechanisms.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that authentic relationships are important in building creative communities. Yes, your band is a creative community. The band is an ecosystem that thrives on connection, community and creativity. People that like your music will organically flock to your shows and grow to build new healthy relationships. Wouldn't it be more of a fulfilling experience when you can openly and authentically connect with who you want to invite or who attends your shows?
Set the intention.
Set the drive to personally connect and invite new and consistent friends out.
The ones you personally invite may not be able to make it to every show, but your time and consideration will leave an impact in their lives. They will most likely attend your next show based upon persistence and personal experience.
Build your tribe.
Surround yourself with people that raise you up.
Feel that energy from the crowd when you get on stage.
It will make the experience better for everyone when the audience and the band are feeling like they are having the same experience. The same journey.
The same presence!
Give and you will receive!