Performers in the music industry have long relied on live concerts to build and sustain a following. Live events are the ultimate way to engage, impress, and surprise fans, not to mention the best way to drive revenue.
Though in-person events are back, you’re able to reach a wider audience by developing a hybrid event strategy. So, how do you replicate the success of a live show with a virtual one?
To answer that, we can look into the recent past when everyone had to go online. During that time, musicians and performers had to figure out how to generate revenue via livestream. Those tenacious, resistant folks learned how to make a virtual, ticketed event engaging and create income. Eventgroove customer The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra did just that.
Lucky for all of us, these guys are sharing their secrets not only how to drive higher engagement from virtual attendees, but how to monetize concerts beyond what they thought possible! Check out what they did and how you can apply the same strategy to your livestream concert.
Who is The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra?
They’ve hacked the system to market and monetize their new weekly livestream concerts.
The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra (the FEO) is the creation of two lifelong best friends, Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson. Originally from Louisiana, the duo recently relocated to Savannah, Georgia with their 17-piece band, and they haven’t stopped making music. They’ve played everything from private parties and weddings to sold-out theaters across the US.
The FEO was already longtime users of Eventgroove for their live shows. When COVID-19 hit, they got creative and came up with a way to transition all their live performances into virtual events using our integrated platform.
Their Approach to Virtual Events
Part 1: Marketing Streaming Events
Marketing for a livestream concert is not “business as usual.” If this is a new channel for you, you’ll need to get the word out to your existing fans and beyond and create excitement for your upcoming shows. There are endless ways to market online events, but the FEO has identified the three marketing components crucial to success.
1. Social Media
Together with standard marketing techniques, it’s also important to employ a strong “walk-up” marketing effort. Push hard on social media the day of and even up to two hours before you’re set to go live. Typical livestream guests might decide or remember to tune in just before they sit down to dinner—you have to remind virtual attendees that there is a show coming up! Even though shows like yours are typically marked on people’s social calendars, they can get lost in the clutter of social media notifications and busy schedules.
TLDR: Last-minute marketing via social media is important to make sure people actually log on at the right time.
Ask the local and regional news to tell your story. What makes your group special? What do you have to offer and why should people care? Ask area theaters to offer your show as a free musical gift to their patrons and supporters, and reach out to small businesses who are likely to support events happening in their communities. Implore your neighbors to spread the word. Not only is this a chance to market your event, but it’s also an opportunity to network and build relationships with important figures in your community.
TLDR: Get out in your community and make yourself and your event known—you never know what connections a simple introduction could create.
3. Email Marketing
Email can be a super cost-effective way to connect with your followers. Make sure to email all your past ticket purchasers, fans, and any email lists you have to let them know about your upcoming livestream event. Tell them about the show, what they can expect, and why it’s a must-see! Ask them to tune in and share it with their friends. Perhaps offer some band swag to the five fans that share your event the most.
Part 2: Virtual Ticketing and Monetizing
Turn your all-access livestream concert into a money maker. Too many times we’ve seen shoddy attempts at driving Venmo or Paypal tips with a sad piece of lined paper displaying a username handle written in black marker. The fact is, if you ask for tips, you will get tips. Is that really what you’re after? Probably not. Five dollars here and there won’t pay the bills. Think bigger.
1. Sell Tickets
Sell virtual tickets and make them easy to purchase. Use a straightforward live, hybrid, and virtual event platform like Eventgroove.com—using a platform like ours, you can create a gated virtual event on a branded event page and embed whatever livestream service you choose for ticket holders. Alternately, you can leave it open to all, as the FEO did during the most restricted days of the pandemic. Even then, they were still able to successfully generate an income.
In the case of an open virtual event, guests can tune in completely free. However, virtual tickets give your viewers the opportunity to support you. With Eventgroove, there is no limit to the types of tickets you can offer. Try offering tickets with tiered costs. Sell tickets for $20, $50, $100, $750, $1000, $3500 (see example above). Do NOT sell tickets for $5 or $10. Let the folks who can’t afford these prices enjoy and be blessed by your show.
2. Remind Them
Remind viewers throughout the show that they have an opportunity to purchase virtual tickets.
If you’re using Facebook Live, pin your event page link to the top of the livestream comments so viewers can easily locate the link and go directly to your event page to purchase a ticket. Post the link in the comments every 20 minutes—this is why it’s good to have a moderator!
When you use the Eventgroove event platform, your moderator can prompt virtual viewers in real time, answer questions, and more.
TLDR: People are now motivated to purchase tickets for a different, bigger reason. They love you. They love your product. They know artists and theaters have suffered and will continue to sufffer. They want to support you. They want to bless you. Let them.
3. Maximize Potential
Keep the ticket-sales window open for several days after your livestream concert. Patrons will watch and purchase tickets several days after your live event.
Part 3: Livestream Event Production
Bottom line: the equipment you use to produce your livestream concert or performance will directly affect the quality and caliber of your event. A pixelated show with spotty connection and poor sound and lighting won’t garner the viewership most musicians are looking for. You put an extreme amount of time, effort, and love into your music. Put the same level of care into delivering that music to your fans.
Livestream, virtual, and hybrid event production best practices:
- If you’re just starting out, keep it simple. You can start with an iPhone and tripod setup.
- Ensure the lighting and sound are flattering.
- Make your virtual stage visually appealing.
- Unless you can hold an audience longer, keep the show to under an hour.
- Pick your streaming software (The FEO uses OBS).
- Make sure your internet signal is strong by running a speed test on the day of the show.
P.S. Evaluating streaming service? Review our article, Host Knockout Virtual Events: Our 4 Favorite Streaming Services.
1. Test Your Broadcast
Just like for an in-person event, doing a dry run of your guest’s virtual attendee experience is a must. Test your live video broadcast on a private Facebook page that only you can see, then go back and watch it. Make adjustments to the lighting, sound, and cameras as needed.
2. During Your Show
Start your livestream concert 10 minutes early. This will allow time for viewers to tune in so you won’t be singing into a cyber void. As they log on, acknowledge and thank guests. Just like with in-person guests, connecting with your virtual guests is a big part of delivering a great virtual attendee experience! Let them know they have an opportunity to support you by purchasing a virtual ticket in real time via announcement or chat (using the Eventgroove platform to livestream, you can do both!). You can also share the stream to personal pages during this “pregame” time in order to spread your reach as far as possible.
After the first few songs, step closer to the camera and address your audience. Read the comments that have been filtering in as you’ve been playing. Thank viewers for watching and remind them of the opportunity to purchase a ticket.
Jeremy and Clay have taken Eventgroove’s technology and made it work for them. Listen to what they have to say about their experience with our events platform for the last 10+ years here.
Like everything else, things may not be perfect on your first go, but don’t give up! Go back and watch your livestream after the fact. Read the comments and take note of any feedback you receive. Create something genuine to connect with your audience. And, of course, call on us anytime for help or advice!
While the FEO’s experience with virtual events took place during a time of grave necessity, what they learned created a blueprint for event professionals putting on hybrid events. In the thick of the pandemic, these performers successfully turned in-person events into virtual experiences.
Dive In and Plan Your Next Event
Check out our How To Create a Hybrid Event video tutorial, and start creating your hybrid event! If you’re planning a livestream benefit concert, we can help with that, too—check out our article on How to Plan a Great Benefit Concert in 6 Steps.