You may be struggling to get a DJ set at a local venue with no luck. There’s another method to bypass networking and rejection, and that is running your own event.
There are many aspects to running an event and promotion is one area to pay attention to. Promoting your own event is key to have a full or empty dance floor and a happy venue owner too, due to the drinks sales.
Here are top 20 tips to inspire you to push ahead with your DJ event and get the promotion to a successful standard.
Pre-Event – Tips to help you prepare for your DJ event and promotional activities.
Not too many guest DJs
It’s important to remember that when running an event there are lots of variables to manage, so be careful when adding extra variables to your event.
By this I mean for example adding a shed load of guest DJs to your event list to make it look like a banging line up.
DJs have needs, they’re emotional, they’re only human it’s not a bad thing, but for you as an event promoter this can be a negative. A lot of DJs on your event line up means extra organisation time and time that takes you away from other important tasks.
This might sound strange as you’re reading this article for advice but hear me out.
In life there’s potential to get mentorship within any field whether it be in sports, business or creativeness, in this case DJing and promoting events.
Think how many DJing events have gone on in the world in the last 20 to 50 years. Do some research to find mentors and draw upon experience that’s already out there.
Danny Savage is a DJ that has turned himself into education for the music industry and you can learn a lot from him even just listening to his DJ podcasts. See his website here and this his podcasts here on Spotify. Also on Soundcloud and Apple too.
The ultimate goal of gaining access to a mentor is to help shed light and experience on the music industry. Potentially reduce the amount of pitfalls that you hit and prop you up to gain success quicker. The benefit is for yourself and the people that are attending your events too, they want a good time too right!
Hang out with like minded people
Meeting up with like minded people that are DJs and even producers of music too.
Rolling with people in similar circles can really make a difference as it’s highly likely that they will be able to give you advice. Even if they are not giving you advice directly, just having conversations around the topics of DJing, music, events and (most importantly) promotions are most likely. That way you’ll learn a lot.
In light of rolling with like minded people, those guys are probably going to have your back and probably come to your DJ events. The same goes for their events that they are putting on too. You can leverage their networks to help boost footfall at your DJing events.
Networking with people online and face to face is key to building up lasting relationships that can help you achieve a string of events in the future, let alone just one event.
Going to venues once you have an idea of the style of music that you are playing at your event is a good place to start. Get to know the people who own the venue, run the venue and anyone that is involved with the events specifically.
Make good friends with those people and hopefully the event that you’re putting will more likely to be packed out with dancing, smiling people, therefore leading to future events.
Online networking is also another avenue too. Building up a network on LinkedIn and Facebook can really pay dividends in the long run. LinkedIn and Facebook are really great as you can see related people in network of people you’ve already connected with. Striking up conversations can lead to some great things for your event and get more people aware of your events.
Pick a popular night of the week
It’s fairly common to see Friday and Saturday nights packed out with people dancing, drinking and having fun in clubs and bars.
Picking the best night of the week for a particular venue is going to help your promotion be a lot easier. Why choose a dud night of the week where it’s going to be really hard to try and get people to attend. The likelihood is that you’re going to have a whole lot of negative cashflow if that’s the case.
That’s not suggest that another day, non-Friday or non-Saturday couldn’t work. University students tend to frequent venues different nights compared to 9 to 5 workers living for the weekend. Just remember you target audience when picking a specific night to promote.
What’s important to consider before you start promoting a DJ event is to pick one of the best days that suit the audience and what they expect on certain nights. All venues are different, they attract a variety of different people across various nights of the week according to social interaction.
Low expectations on making money (in the beginning)
In the beginning you may find that you’re not making that much money.
Learning how to run events can be harsh at times and a steep learning curve. Being prepared to not make much money or at least break even. Aim to not be out of pocket everytime otherwise running and promoting events is going to be pointless.
You can always split the responsibility of the event between two or more of you so that you have more money. Even then that still doesn’t mean you won’t be out of pocket.
Having a low expectation at the beginning of how much money you’re going to make is key. Over time you will learn how to promote events better and more them more profitable, you just need to stick it out long enough.
Build up good money pot to fund the event
As mentioned above, if you learnt the hard way and lost out on a lot of money from an event, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.
Figure out how to remove the most expensive costs from the events that you are putting on. You can always get more funding for the events from getting more than just you funding the event.
Sponsorship from local business
Sponsorship from businesses in the local area could be a great way to support your event and get funding for it to work.
Where I live there’s a local brewery, so that’s an example of a potential sponsor and most people who attend events drink beer and other alcohol.
This is another great way to get funding but also leverage to help promote via their marketing activity too, e.g. YouTube, local press releases, website etc.
Does the music fit the venue and audience?
Make sure you do your research at the event to understand whether the music your putting on matches the venue and the clientele that frequent the venue. The image that the venue is trying to show off too, does that music genre that you’re playing match that too?
This way you can put all your promotional activity into action knowing that you’ll be able to get a successful event running, now and in the future.
Expect half the amount of people to come
If you’ve put on an event or house party before then you’ll know that usually half the amount of people that say they’re going to turn up actually don’t.
Now if those people are close to you, then logic tells me that if you promote and event that people say they will come then likely the same thing will happen.
Basically, the trick is to over promote and subscribe your events to the point that you’ll definitely get at least 75% of capacity. This will help you out with getting the party going and find yourself being able to put on future parties too.
Start with small venues
Another trick is to start out filling small venues for your DJ events. Great for starting out and then scaling up after a few more events. This will give you the confidence to build up your DJ vents over time.
It’s simple but effective, not only will the costs be lower to begin with, but the capacity of people is likely going to be a lot lower. Therefore making it easier to fill the venue capacity.
Name and theme your night (with branding)
Make sure you get a name and theme for your DJ events.
You’ll want to have people understand and recognise that your event is called “XYZ” and is represented by a certain theme / design / style on the website and fliers that you’re pushing.
Think of all the big names of the events out there in the world, you and I both know and recognise them with their branding and the style that they are portraying to their audience.
Hospitality, Tomorrowland and Defected are a couple of record labels that put on events which their branding is quite literally branded into my mind.
Get some graphic design skills
To save on some cash, why not learn some design skills to put together some funky and stylish looking fliers.
Designers can cost a fair whack of money too, especially annoying if you’re having to wait for them to provide you back with amendments. It can be frustrating trying to communicate your design ideas, and to be honest from experience it’s worth having a crack at designing yourself sometimes.
Especially if you’re putting on a small DJ event for the first time, design might not be the most important aspect, meaning another reason to crack on.
This can even transfer over to other design aspects of your marketing and promo materials such as website banners, YouTube banners, social media banners and
Places to learn design skills include:
Free design tools include:
Local marketing tactics
Reaching out to local magazines, newspapers, local entertainment based press outlets and putting fliers / posters in shops is great start. Networking with people in the print business and local shops will help you with promotion in the future.
Finding local based websites that push and promote local events is a great shout. For example Timeout website is on a large city level, which covers cities such as London, Singapore, Chicago and Lisbon.
There maybe more smaller scale local magazine and online publications to promote your event. Search online for State/County and city/town level events, festivals and club music nights.
Negotiate a good deal with the venue owner
We’ve talked a lot about getting the costs down to allow for yourself not to be out of pocket in your first few events that you put on and promote.
Brush up on your negotiation skills so that when you’re going to negotiate with a venue to then start promoting your DJ night, you’re feeling confident.
Some areas to consider when negotiating a venue ready for your DJ night and promotion include:
- Flexibility in times and dates for your DJ night to be held.
- Come to agreement on the minimum spend on drinks at the bar.
- Consider coming to a deal where you book in multiple nights to get the overall price down.
- Offer something of benefit to the venue, e.g. free marketing. Something to sweeten the deal is always great. You will get greater leverage.
For more information on negotiation check out tips for negotiation online and also this article here from eventbrite.
Get certified for marketing and promotion
This is an interesting point to make as some people are better at learning by implementing and experiencing things. The point here is to make sure that you have all the foundational marketing and promotion skills to help you improve quicker and faster.
There are a lots of videos online which can guide you into the right topics of promoting events which is great.
Learning online marketing, email marketing and social media can be a really great place to start. Thankfully Google offer a free course which you can start with here. Otherwise try Udemy for some paid courses.
Get a videographer
To string along your marketing activity, pushing video’s online onto your social media, website and YouTube will massively help you build up an online presence.
Getting hold of a videographer is going to help you record all the brilliant work that the DJs are doing.
Make sure you direct the videographer on where you want them to spend their time shooting. For example, people raving and dancing having a good time with their friends. The DJs smiling and having a good time. Make sure they record the club or venue when it’s at it’s most busiest to show that your event is popular and successful. Mainly that people are having a great time.
Post editing the video with some great effects and audio from the DJ sets is great too. Make sure you record the DJ sets so you can utilise this, but this is not essential as you can use music to overlay onto the videos you’re post editing.
During the Event
For the Event / During the Event – Advice for the best running DJ event from a promotional stand point.
Have confidence in your abilities (fake it until you make it)
If you know deep down that you have rock solid abilities as a DJ then why question them. Don’t put yourself down and get on with it. We only live on this earth once so enjoy it, and DJ to the best of your ability.
The fact that you’re reading this article means that you’re more than likely going to put on a DJ event in the future which is great. That in itself shows that you have the ability, just make sure that you go full force into it with 110% energy and make it a success. Do everything you can in your power to make it success.
Related to the previous point in this article, having too many guests on the line to me shows that you haven’t got the confidence to take center stage. The whole point of putting on an event is to get your name out there and get your DJing career going. So try not to have a heavy DJ line up, less is more, more focus on you as a DJ.
You’re the Boss
Don’t let people walk all over you from a business or social point of view.
There will be punters trying to take advantage of you so make sure you take a stand on your principles. Be assertive!
The other aspect is from a business point of view. If there are suppliers of marketing promo materials trying to take advantage of you with costings and also delays of when you need materials, push back and make sure you’re getting value for money.
The same goes for the venue, make sure they are keeping their end of the bargain, especially important if they’ve signed a contract with you. Use the contract as a way to enforce what you need from them.
Get people’s email addresses
Gaining people’s email address, attendees or not, will help you massively for your current event promotions and future events.
People buying tickets, on social media before the event, on the door and after the event via the website or social media are good places to start.
Building up an email list of people is massively going to help build awareness and buzz for your events. Running some sort of competition or marketing campaign to draw people in to sign up for with their email address is going to pay dividends in the future.
The bigger the list, the more likely you’re going to be successful at promoting your events which are then more likely to sell out.
Have fun! It’s really important. All the effort that it takes to promote and put on an event is really high, but if you don’t enjoy it, then what’s the point!
A lot of DJs that put on events that I’ve spoken to in the past has mentioned that it’s a lot of work and effort but the outcome and fun outweighs the effort.
If you’re enjoying the process and outcome of the event, it’s more likely you will make a success of things.
Post-Event – Advice on how to capitalise on marketing opportunities for fututre events and learn from the most recent events in terms of promotion.
Promote online post event (daisy chain promotion of events)
The whole point to promoting online post-event is to show off your events and promote for the future. I call it daisy chain promotion.
Evidence and proof that your events are popular and fun to attend will help pull new attendees to your events in the future.
With so much competition with events being promoted in your local area and in bigger cities especially this tactic to promote your events will be crucial to success.
That’s why having a videographer to push promotional videos online, on your website and via your email bank of people is going to be great to get people to sign up to your future events.
Make a plan before the event and then you can figure out how you will promote your event afterwards.
Re-evaluate & learn from mistakes
Ever experience in life deserves some sort of reflection on what went well and what didn’t, usually areas of improvement are a great start.
It will be clear to you and others around you that attended or were involved in the promotions of your event of what needs to be improved.
Sometimes there will be clear mistakes that you will need to resolve in future.
Make a list, write it down, and then write down the resolutions of how to not make those mistakes in future. Don’t be put down and put off by mistakes. Crack on and smash the next promotional activities and events that you put on. You can do it!!!!