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10 Tips to Get Real Fans (Not Friends) to Shows

10 Tips to Get Real Fans (Not Friends) to Shows

Guest post by Madalyn Sklar (music biz coach. blogger. social media maven. fearless GoGirls leader.)

I was recently contacted by Tracy Petrucci of, a blog for the San Diego music community. She asked me to write about a simple yet commonly asked question, “How do I get real fans to come to local shows and not just my friends?”

Here is what I came up with…

How do I get real fans to come to local shows and not just my friends?

I get asked this question all the time. The answer is simply get out and hustle. Just because you’re playing a show, it doesn’t mean the venue will pack itself. There are many things you can do both online and offline to attract fans.

Here are 10 tips that will help:

1. Update your website calendar. There is nothing worse than a bunch of outdated gigs listed on your site. It’s a turn off and will give the impression that you are not out playing shows. As soon as you book a show, go update your website.

2. Shoot an email blast to your mailing list. You have a mailing list, right? Use it! This is your most valuable tool in your arsenal, yet I find so many bands are under-utilizing it. You can easily manage your list and send out messages through ReverbNation or Fanbridge. Be sure to collect email addresses at your shows and from all your websites.

3. Set up a Facebook Event. Invite your local fans and friends. Don’t waste your time inviting people from all over the world. They aren’t coming! Make a friends list – log into Facebook >> Account >> Edit Friends >> Create a List. Go through your friends and add the local peeps to a list and call it Local Fans. Every time you make a new friend/fan in your local area, add them to this list and watch it grow! You’ll set this up once, add people to it as you become friends, then every time you create a FB Event you’ll invite people from this list.

4. Tweet your show information. Be sure to post a link for more details. Put in Please RT! at the beginning of the tweet. This will encourage people to share it.

Use ReverbNation. They offer great tools such as the popular Facebook Band Profile application, FanReach to manage your mailing list, Event Calendar to manage your shows and so many other valuable tools. And I love how it all ties into your Facebook.

6. Get out to the venue 10-14 days ahead of time and poster it up. Talk to the door person, the bartenders, sound guy. Get to know the people who work there. Buy them a drink, hang out, give them a CD. Be likeable and they’ll tell everyone about you and your cool band.

7. Make your shows memorable. The best way to get people to your show is give them a great show. Get people talking about you. Word-of-mouth is very powerful.

8. Be realistic. Don’t place high expectations that you’ll get instant results. It can take time. But be consistent with it.

9. Make it a habit after you show to talk to your fans. Walk around with your mailing list in one hand and your CDs in the other. Talk to people and encourage them to join your list and buy a CD. You’ll be surprised at the results if you just ask.

10. Get invited back to the venue. Do this by thanking the venue and its staff on stage throughout the set. Thank them after your show. Send a Thank You card within a week of your show. That will get you noticed. It makes you memorable. You’ll stand out from most of the bands because it’s rarely done.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Getting more than just your friends out to a show takes some time, work, dedication and consistency. Follow my tips and you should see real results. Feel free to get in touch and tell me about it. I can be reached at or

About the Author

Madalyn Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social media maven and fearless leader at She has spent over 15 years working with a wide range of independent musicians as well as music industry professionals all over the world. She’s helped countless businesses of all shapes and sizes, music and non-music, with her Internet marketing expertise. Her goal is to help people achieve greater success utilizing social media by working smarter not harder. Madalyn has spoken on music panels all over the country and moderates many of them as well. She’s been heard at 2NMC, 8×10 Music Conference, Dewey Beach, Dfest, DIY Convention, Folk Alliance, Hyperactive Music Festival, Invasion of the GoGirls, Millennium Music Conference, MTEC, NARIP, NEMO, PLAY:stl, Rockrgrl, and South Park Music Festival. She has been named one of 10 Powerful Women in Music by Curve magazine and one of the 15 People You Should Know In the Biz by She serves on the NARIP (National Association of Record Industry Professionals) Board and was voted #2 in NARIP’s Best in the Biz for Best New Media/Social Media Executive. Madalyn founded, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians. Her mission is to promote, support and empower female musicians. She started the organization in 1996 with a vision of bringing together independent women musicians from around the world. 15 years later, has become a welcome destination for women in music through networking and events. She also runs Social Networks for Musicians and Social Networks for Biz where she helps musicians and all business types effectively create + manage their social networks. Check out!

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