House parties can be an exceptional tool to expand and deepen your Christian bands ministry. But booking house parties is not the same as booking any other type of show.
Generally, house parties are put on by homeowners who have never promoted any kind of show. It becomes the bands job to make the process as easy as possible for the hosts, which means taking on many of the responsibilities normally relegated to venues. Additionally, getting the word out to potential hosts is much different than calling church secretaries to book a show at a church. Many potential hosts do not know what house parties are or that your band is available to do them. So, your Christian band must take on the tasks of recruiting and educating hosts.
Once your band has a booking system set up,
booking home parties is very easy.
There is no cold calling, no selling your band to a venue, and no mailing out press kits. The potential hosts contact you and have usually already decided to book a show. The band simply needs to give them the right tools and information to make their party successful.
The key to booking house parties is your band’s website.
Place an ad prominently on your homepage (above the fold if at all possible) saying that your band wants to do house parties. Include a very brief description of what a house party is and what you have to offer.
Link that add to an entire page that provides many of the details of what a house party with your band is like. Think of this page as a large poster to advertise your parties. Include information about everything the fans will receive and samples of all the tools they will be able to use to put on their party. In a smaller font you will need to state your pricing program as well. This is the core of your bands advertising for house parties.
Link the page to a contact form. This form should be sent to whoever is in charge of booking your ands home parties. It should ask the potential host for their name, address, phone number, cell phone, e-mail, dates and times they want to host the show (you may want to add first, second and third choices), and leave a comment area for the potential host to tell you the purpose of the party )i.e. someone birthday) or any other information they want to convey.
Set up an auto responder the host will receive as soon as they send the contact form to the band. It should be very short but say that you have received their request and are checking with the band members to make sure their date is available. Promise a set amount of time in which you will respond… for example “We’ll let your know for sure within the next three days. Look for our e-mail in your in box”.
Then, of course, keep your promise. Call or e-mail the host within the amount of time your auto responder stated. The importance of this cannot be understated. Fans do not know that shows often take months to set up. They are not aware of any kind of negations with promoters. What fans do know is that they want to have a party with you and they are excited to start talking about it with their friends. If you do not respond right away, you are going to get negative word of mouth very quickly. Don’t be afraid to say “no” and explain why. Fans love to hear about what you are doing both as a band and personally. If you have to say “No” be sure to suggest other dates that the band will be in their area and available.
Be aware that the band will often receive requests on very short notice. Again, fans are not aware of how long it often takes to book a show at a venue. So, they don’t see a problem asking you to come to their party this weekend. Don’t get snippy or launch into a long explanation about planning ahead. Simply tell them that the band is already booked or has other plans at that time and offer them the next date you have available in their area.
In the e-mail confirming your date for the house party the band will need to include links to promotional materials. These materials make up a host package. This is not the same as your press kit. Press kits are designed for industry professionals and so have a somewhat rigid format. House party materials are designed to connect directly with your fans. There are no rules except be as interesting and fun as possible. This is the place to fully express your creativity! If you know someone who is involved with selling at house parties such as Pampered Chef, Tupperware or Mary Kay you might want to check out their hostess kits to get an idea of what the “professional” marketers are doing.
Some promotional items you might want to include in your hosts package:
• An e-mail invitation the host can use to invite guests
• A PDF file of that same invitation the host can print for physical invitations (post card size works very well)
• A page of candid photos (collage style) of the band at other house parties (you can start with photos of other events until you have house party photos)
• A poster the host can print with blank spaces for date, place and time
• FREE music downloads of songs that are not available on your website
• Links to the band logo, photos and music they can share in their social media
• Remember there are no rules – if you can think it up, try it. Anything that keeps your host and fans excited about coming to the house party is good.
In this e-mail or phone call you will want to clarify all technical details. This is the time to ask questions like: Is this an outdoor show? Are you planning to feed the band? How much and what kind of power is available? How long should the band play? What time should the band show up to set up? Try to get a feel for the level of ministry and entertainment the host expects. A few minutes of communication can save you from experiencing problems later. Be sure to restate any policies or strong feelings the band has about house parties (i.e. whether or not you will play at events serving alcohol).
Of course, you will have added the hosts e-mail to your bands e-mail list. So, they should be receiving general updates from the band as part of that list. But if the house party has been booked months in advance, make the extra effort to send the host a personal short e-mail about what the band is doing and how you are looking forward to playing their party. You may want to ask for prayer for specific things the band is concerned about at the moment. It is important to keep in touch so the host will stay excited and motivated about the party.
Call the host a week or two before the party. Confirm the details and answer any of their questions. This can seem like a chore to you but receiving a phone call from ‘the band’ will be the highlight of the hosts’ week. You can be assured that they will tell all their friends about it.
That’s it! Show up and play the party.
Booking house parties is easy because the hosts come to you.
Now the band simply has to advertise the information on the website in your social media and at gigs. If you are planning a tour and have available dates, temporarily change the ad on your homepage to advertise for those specific dates and post it in your social media. Be sure to link everything back to your bands house party page. You may want to create a stand up poster for your merchandise table advertising your house parties. Is your band having a contest? Maybe a free house party could be the prize. House parties can be done before larger shows or after a radio interview.
Remember… there are no rules for house parties. Be creative and interesting so you can expand the breadth and depth of your Christian bands music ministry.
to read Part One of this series:
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