Going to a Conference? 4 Tips to Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Conference Networking RoomIn a digital age, it’s very easy to hide behind our screens. It’s much easier to be bold over e-mail than face-to-face. But direct, real life communication is still incredibly important, and as long as there are options for you to be present and involved in-person, there will be networking opportunities that you wouldn’t find otherwise. A writer for Adelphi University put it best when they said, “Though these events might not immediately score you the position of your dreams, they will certainly establish inroads with [other professionals].”

Let’s talk about the importance of putting your best foot forward when you attend events, and how to use this digital age — e-mails, social media, and the like — to enhance your in-person networking experience. Using all of the applicable tools at your disposal is of the utmost importance and undoubtedly helps your career and your personal brand.

1. If You’ve Met Someone Online, Go Talk To Them In Person

In the social media age, we’ve all experienced seeing someone we’re “friends” with or that we “follow” on a certain platform, and not knowing how to approach them in real life. This is perfectly normal and meeting people after these interactions is daunting for many. Nonetheless, you need to put yourself out there.

If we’ve had even the most minor interactions with them online — a few e-mails, comments back and forth, or any other kind of conversing — go up and introduce yourself. Chances are they’ll respect you being assertive enough to say hi, and it’ll not only put a face to your name and brand, but a memory with you in it.

2. If You Meet Someone In Person, Go Talk To Them Online

By nature of going to a networking event or conference, you have to meet new people. In fact, you would have to go out of your way to not meet anyone new. So that being said, when you make new connections, try to get the person’s contact information. It’s probably possible to find it online if you forget, but there’s no harm in sending an email or message saying “Hey, it was great to meet you the other day and I hope we can work together in the future.”

This follow up is very important. It reminds them you exist and gives you an advantage over everyone else they met at the conference who didn’t follow up with them. You are instantly more memorable than other people, and maybe more important. It also shows your own personal interest in what they do and who they are, which goes a long way when they need something you can offer.

3. Be a Person, Not a Sales Pitch

Networking is not a chance for you to put on your best door-to-door salesman outfit and look for people that can give you money. People who treat it that way are perceived as tools and don’t usually get very far. Rather, you should be personal and understand that the people you’re meeting are in the same business as you and are therefore your peers.

Of course, there is a hope with anyone you meet that you’ll benefit from each other, but take the time to get to know each other on a deeper level. It’s not a waste of time, it’s what networking is all about. Hopefully you guys are able to link up in the future and this relationship proves to be productive.

4. Yes… Dress to Impress While Networking

All of this said, you are still representing a brand or business. The term “dress to impress” can be taken literally and metaphorically. Don’t dress like a slob; show that you care and are passionate about what you do. You are there to represent yourself and your brand, so go out with the intention of learning how you may improve, and share your own ideas with others. Be on your A game.

Be an accessible peer and come across like you know what you’re doing. Being personable does not mean being overtly casual. So watch what you say and do and of course, make sure all of your clothes fit you well.

Thoughts? Concerns? Disagreements? Agreements? Insights? Etc.? Send them all to me on Twitter @Robolitious.

P.S. Comment below with your own networking tricks and tips. Or find your next conference or networking event and put these new skills to use.

Event Tips >

How to Write Email Newsletters that Actually Get Opened

EmailNewsletterInvites-Hands-CoffeeEveryone who puts on events shares a terrible fear: what if no one shows up? If you do nothing to promote your event, it’s a real possibility. Email newsletters are a viable promotion channel, especially for those who have fan clubs and mailing lists. Yes, they take a little bit longer to create than the average social media post and (if you have a large mailing list) can be costly.

But a well-designed and well-written newsletter is worth the effort. Increase your open rates and get those RSVPs pouring in. Here’s how:

Grow Your Email List

  • To have a newsletter in the first place, you need a list of email addresses. Check legal requirements in your state for what constitutes spam and follow those rules.
  • At events and trade shows, have a sign-up sheet for your newsletter or a fishbowl for attendees to drop business cards.
  • Place the newsletter sign-up box in the footer of your website’s homepage and if possible, on your Facebook page. Tell potential subscribers what to expect from the list and how often you will email.
  • Include sharing buttons in your invites. That way, your subscribers can easily forward it to friends, which they are more likely to do if there are incentives, such as ticket discounts.
  • If you’re a musician or show producer, give your email subscribers the VIP treatment. Send exclusive access to new music and/or special pricing. DIY Musician recommends that you trade newsletters with another artist or band to grow your list.

Increase Newsletter Open Rates

Confession: my personal email inbox has 2,000 emails and most of those are promotional newsletters. ‘Inbox Zero’ is a losing battle. To get a newsletter invite opened in an inbox as stuffed as mine, you need to use clever copywriting.

  • Include the words, ‘You’re Invited’ in the subject line. It’s clear, simple, direct, and intriguing.
  • Personalize your newsletter invites. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
  • Write something clever, irresistible, the kind of subject line that begs you to open the email.

Not Like This:

GET TICKETS NOW!!!!
Hurry! Discounted Tickets Inside
Don’t Miss This Event This Saturday at 9:00 PM in Everett

Avoid all-caps, exclamation points, and writing that fails to describe what’s inside. Don’t use words that trigger spam filters, such as “free,” “clearance,” and “guarantee.”

More Like This:

Pssst… Your Friends Are Going to This
RSVP for Our Best Show This Year
We Don’t Have Jetpacks. We Do Have This…

Take Us to the Shiny Details

Jim Nelson once said, “Never open a book with weather.”

The equivalent for event promoters and copywriters: “Never open your newsletter with a big block of text that has nothing to do with your event.”

Opening lines matter. It’s 2017, age of the flea-size attention span. Make the most important details stand out. Get right to the time, location, cost, and other key details such as parking and transportation. Include a prominent call-to-action button that takes the potential attendee right to the page to buy tickets.

Share your advice. Comment below with your email invite tips and techniques.

Event Tips >

7 Seriously Cool Winter Festivals to Attend

Movement Arts Festival Sure, summer has a well-earned reputation as “festival season,” but winter is an excellent time to gear up and go out. Tickets tend to be cheaper, crowds aren’t as sweaty, and nothing chases away post-holiday winter doldrums like live events. Plus, cocoa.

1. San Francisco Movement Arts Festival

It’s back, it’s bigger and features new work and an additional venue. This year, the Movement Arts Festival takes place at the Cathedral St. Mary of the Assumption on January 13 and at the Grace Cathedral on January 20. Stations will feature movement choirs, spoken word, chanting and of course, dance.

Why we picked it: Instead of a traditional arts festival where all attendees watch the same performance, SMAF is farmer’s-market style. Visitors walk around at their leisure to catch the various performances. The festival’s unique format lends the opportunity for audience members to connect to (and be moved by) movement arts. How often, in this rapid-paced world, do we get to experience dance and theater in our own way, at our own pace? Get tickets for both events or one.

2. Winterfest Theater Competition

Get out of your sit-at-home Netflix snooze fest and see live theater. Held at the Hudson Guild Theater, Winterfest in New York caters to nascent playwrights, actors, and producers and offers a buffet of indie theater, along with a dose of friendly competition. Buy tickets for one or all of the performances.

Why we picked it: Part festival, part theater competition, Winterfest gives away prize money to best play, best actor/actress, best musical score, and so on. Plus, there’s certain magic to catching independent New York productions while snow swirls outside.

3. Stately City Psychic Fair

It will be cold, it will be very cold (ahem…. Buffalo, NY in Feb). But who cares? The $5 fair includes a chance to get up-close with well-recognized psychic mediums and talk to vendors. (Private readings are available at an additional cost.)

Why we picked it: It’s a psychic fest, early in 2017, ideal timing for those who want a look into the year ahead.

4.Chandler International Film Festival

The Chandler International Film Festival offers a year-round award competition and an annual festival featuring over 100 “unique, creative, and diverse” international films. The goal of CIFF is to “support creative, emerging filmmakers from all over the world and their projects.”

Why we picked it: Arizona isn’t exactly winter wonderland, but January is the ideal time to get a healthy dose of sunshine and see as many movies as you can stuff into a weekend.

5. Fort Bragg Whale Festival

Chow down on chowder, sip wines and microbrews, watch waves roll in on the California coast. During the whale festival, chefs will have “a chowder off” where the crowd gets to vote on best chowder.

Why we picked it: Winter at the beach is woefully underrated.

6. Frostival

When cold weather strikes, rather than shutting inside; bundle up and get out there. That’s what Fargo, ND decided to do with the Frostival, a two-day festival with all kinds of winter activities, including sleigh rides, a snowman toss, snowga and competitive, cold-weather tournaments, such as snow volleyball.

Why we picked it: We admire the spirit of this whole thing. If you can’t beat frosty weather, play in it.

7. Belgian Fest

Rain, rain won’t go away, for another two months in Seattle. How to deal with the gray days? Beer is best and those who prefer Belgian brews should head to this fest, which highlights over 100 beers crafted by Washington breweries. There will be Tripels, Dubbels, Saisons, Wits, Abbeys and Lambics; all beers brewed with Belgian yeast.

Why we picked it: Beer.

Photo credit. Dancer: Ms. Lucy Chen
Video/photo: 2nd20 Productions

Arts >

9 Valentine’s Day Events You’ll Love

BPT_Social_Grpahic_Feb-01Te amo. Je t’aime. Aloha wau ia ‘oe. I love you. However you say it and whomever you say it to, get out and paint the town red. From sassy shows to romantic dinners and raucous Mardi Gras parties, there’s a lot going on this month. And still plenty of time for Valentine’s Day procrastinators to get tickets.

Here are nine events you’ll love.

1. Bloody Valentine, Colorado Springs, CO. Forget candles, lingerie, conversation hearts. Nothing screams Valentine’s Day like a vampire-filled haunted house. Hold hands as you run through this heart-pounding labyrinth.

2. BollySutra Dance Party, Seattle, WA. Get closer to your date at this BollySutra dance party or go in search of a mate. Snuggle in and watch the cricket match that will be streamed in or hit the dance floor.

3. Baroque N Hearts, Seattle, WA. If you’re looking for something mellow with a melody, head to Naked City Brewery for Baroque N Hearts, music performed by a baroque soprano, flutist, cellist and harpsichordist.

4. Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Federal Way, WA. Don’t feel like dancing the night away? Watch performers from all kinds of dance move in a love-themed performance that will make your heart sing.

5. Whole Lotta Love, Sebastopol, CA. Rock Valentines with a burlesque tribute to Led Zeppelin. Show up early and share tappas with your date or stay late for the dance party after the show. A saucy date night or ideal group outing for friends celebrating singledom.

6. Valentine’s Day Cuddle Party, Los Angeles, CA.What would Valentine’s Day be without a good cuddle? Dress in theme, cuddle and then carouse with new friends at the after-party.

7. Brew of Hearts, Chicago, IL. Love beer? Embark on an Alice-esque tasting adventure with the brew of hearts. Craft beer is only one shining facet of this Chicago event. DJs, a photobooth and other surprises await.

Mardi Gras

8. Cirque Du Gras, New Orleans, LA. Maybe Mardi Gras is more your holiday. An alternative to mainstream cirque culture, Cirque Du Gras has all the clowns, fire-breathing and acrobatics with raw humor and off-beat topics thrown into the ring.

9. RAWdi Gras, New York, NY. Comedic entertainment, signature cocktails, plus a silent auction and raffle with amazing prizes.

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Explore all of our events.

Arts >

10 Event Trends to Watch in 2015

BPT_NewYear_GraphicWhether it rocked or rolled, 2014 is about to be history. Time to look to the year ahead. A deep gaze into a crystal ball and discussions with Brown Paper Tickets‘ event specialists indicate that 2015 is going to be a pivotal year for events.

We narrowed it down to just 10 trends.

1. Alternative Venues

2015 will be the year to go wild with venues. Seattle Living Room Shows is a stellar example. In a matter of a few hours, the Watt sisters transform a room into a concert space with lights, mics and musicians. Sold-out crowds adore it because quaint quarters allow them to get up close and personal with their favorite bands.

Film festivals are using alternative venues too. Couch Fest brings strangers together to watch short films in living rooms, community centers—even boats. Where there’s a couch, there’s a gathering.

2. Restaurants Pop Up in Strange Places
Tacos from a train car. Hot dogs from a hot air balloon. Seafood from a submarine. Pop-up restaurants, underground suppers and food trucks aren’t a new phenomenon, but expect to see more mixed-use spaces and unusual eateries in 2015. There’s also a continued interest in tasting menus, where chefs curate a unique dining experience.

3. Butcher. Baker. Candlestick Maker.
Home-brewing, bee-keeping and canning classes were all the rage with the rise of DIY the past few years. In 2015, classes will feature a more … sanguinary aspect of agriculture: chicken processing and hog butchering. People not only want to know where their food comes from, they want to learn how to process it.

Bakers are now offering classes with a diet spin, like this gluten-free pie making class.

4. Pickled, Brothing + Beet Yogurt… Oh My!
Prepare for more pickled, fermented, cured. Our Food and Drink Specialist, Patrick Nelson reports, “Chefs are getting back to their roots by making vinegars and other mouth-puckering goodies.”

Brothing is a food fad coming to a mug near you. That’s right—instead of coffee, you might see passersby sipping, slurping and savoring morning broth. New York-based Brodo serves broth by the cup and it’s catching on.

More and more, health-conscious consumers realize the importance of veggies. Ugly root vegetables will be en vogue in 2015. And according to this 2015 food trend report, vegetable yogurt is on the table next year. Carrot. Beet. Butternut Squash. Mmmm … ? Events, caterers, chefs, even festivals will serve up surprising concoctions while guests mingle and feast.

5. Wearable Technologies Geekify Events
James Bond or Jetsons. Whatever visions dance in your head when you think of tiny devices surreptitiously strapped to a body, the future is now. Google Glass gleeks have multiplied while privacy issues seem to fade. Wrist-hugging fitness trackers will tell more event goers how many steps or calories they scored since walking in a door or ending an evening (“I burned 500 calories at this event. Sweet.”) Apple plans to release a stylish smart watch in spring. 2015—the year of the body gadget.

6. Marijuana, the New Merlot
We said it before and we will say it again: marijuana is the new merlot. More cannabis event organizers will sprout up to take advantage of recently passed state laws in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. Getting high will go high class, as pot sheds its stoner mystic. We might not be too far off from smoke-up tents at the symphony.

Oh wait—that’s already happened.

7. Live Pic is the New Live Tweet
dancer-ss
“Pictures or it didn’t happen” is so 2012. In 2015, we’ll see more pictures as it happens. In 2014, Instagram surpassed Twitter’s active users with 300 million compared to Twitter’s 284 million. Live photo sharing from events is a creative, visually enticing way to engage.

This dancer used social media to promote her event and gave a little love to #brownpapertickets. You are following us, aren’t you? Ahem.

Expect to see super sleek photo booth: OnomonoMEDIA popping up at events. It allows photo sharing right from the booth and is hugely popular at corporate events.

8. Events with Social Impact
As the Not-Just-For-Profit Ticketing Company, we’re thrilled to report that giving back is going strong into 2015. Perhaps taking a cue from TOMS Shoes, restaurants are offering the option to buy a meal and donate a meal to the hungry. Event organizers are setting up “giving” tables to collect goods while people enter the event. Couples are making charity a part of their wedding celebrations.

Resolve to give more in 2015? Our fee-free donation tool can help maximize the money you raise for good causes.

9. The End of Waiting
Imagine ordering a banana split and eating it in split seconds. Will 2015 bring the end of waiting in line? New customer-facing apps are coming out rapidly to meet the demands of mobile-wielding millennials. Club-goers want to customize their cocktails from where they’re standing, strut to the bar and have them ready. Love or loathe it, more apps for the increasingly impatient are coming out in 2015.

10. Planes, Trains, Uber-Mobiles
Ride services like Uber and Lyft passed the initial “early adopter” phase and will be more mainstream in the coming year. Definitely expect the cab line to get shorter as more and more will get to and from events using these slick services.

Wishing you the best in 2015. What do you think the next big thing is? Ring in below and help us ring in the New Year.

Event Tips >

Revolutionary Fee-Free Donation Tool Gives More to Good Causes

donationtoolgraphicGot a big heart? You’ll love this. Ready, set, raise more money. With our fee-free online donation tool, you can maximize money for good causes, projects and organizations with no service fee taken from Brown Paper Tickets. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No contract. No deadlines. No limitations. No charge from us.

$667,047 has been raised to date by more than 1,000 community centers, non-profits and individuals using our fee-free tool for online fundraising. Donor money goes to a heart-felt cause instead of a ticketing company, donation tool or crowd-funding platform.

Prepare for Giving Tuesday. Use our tutorial.

1. Collect Donations without Selling Tickets

Add your own credit card processor. (Due to an agreement with our bank, the Brown Paper Tickets processor cannot accept charitable donations). Create an event and add donation pricing. Then promote the page and watch the goodwill grow.

-Support a friend, family member or community through a hard time
-Raise funds for indie bands, art and theater projects or to save a local venue
-Schools can use it to fund new programs, equipment or uniforms
-Find charity event ideas

$44,000 was the record raised from one single Brown Paper Tickets donation-only event page using the fee-free donation tool to buy clothes, food, blankets and other items for Brooklyn shelters after Hurricane Sandy. A current fundraising page is for Feather Note Music Project, a philanthropic program to prevent suicide in Native American youth by teaching and giving them tools to record music, stories and languages of their culture.

rusted-root-commoncare2. Collect Donations and Sell Tickets

You can also organize a charity event, fundraiser, or benefit and allow event attendees to contribute donations when they purchase tickets.

Ticket buyers will still be charged $0.99 plus 3.5% of the face value, but when you use your own processor Brown Paper Tickets will only take $0.99 + 1%, leaving you with 2.5% to help offset your processing fee. No fee is added to donation levels, only to tickets. Official 501©(3) organizations that qualify for a lower credit card processing rate with PayPal or their credit card merchant find that Brown Paper Tickets’ gift of an additional 2.5 percent of the face value of every ticket often covers 100 percent of their PayPal or credit card merchant fees.

-Host a black-tie fundraising dinner or wine tasting
-Organize golf tournaments, roller derby charity bouts and other sporting events
-Ask your favorite local band to play a benefit show
-Find fundraiser event ideas

A benefit music concert featuring band Rusted Root worked well for Heather Rangel, San Francisco Bay Area event organizer of a $100,000 fundraiser benefiting CancerCommons. Supporters bought tickets, donated funds or both in the same transaction. “I couldn’t believe that Brown Paper Tickets would do this for us for no fees; it felt like there must be a catch, but there never was one,” Rangel said.

Rangel’s fundraising event was held in tribute to a friend who lost her battle with cancer in fall 2014. CancerCommons, a nonprofit that educates patients and doctors about cutting-edge treatments and research, received all funds directly. Rangel was so pleased with her event success, she just created a new $1 million fundraising campaign.

Brown Paper Tickets offers a lower fee for ticket buyers than competing ticketing companies offer to 501©(3) nonprofits. Low ticket fees and zero donation fees is a social ROI example of our Not-Just-For-Profit business philosophy. “We are the first to offer free tools and service for anyone to forge a direct connection between donors and the causes they care about without taking a cut,” said Steve Butcher, CEO of Brown Paper Tickets. “Fundraising is a selfless act. We honor fundraisers by putting the financial rewards of their labor directly in their hands, where it belongs.”

Good Causes >

20 Creative Ways to Use Your Restaurant Space

Restaurant High restaurant lease? Don’t fret. There’s more than one way to use your restaurant space. In fact, there are at least 20. Patrick Nelson, our Food and Beverage Specialist has helped thousands of event organizers all across the industry, from kitchens to restaurants, underground restaurants, gardens, small farms, breweries and distillers. Below, he imparts some ideas on attracting new customers and publicity with your restaurant space.

1. Teach Classes
Chop, dice, blend. Just as there are tricks to making the perfect bisque, cassoulet or grilled cheese, there are methods to making your class a rewarding experience for both student and teacher. Have a lesson plan and start small – teach basic dishes with limited ingredients. Create handouts students can take home. Be engaging and encouraging throughout the class.

2. Pop-Up or Underground Restaurants
It’s the latest thing. Chefs from all over the world are popping up shop in all sorts of places, from tiny dining rooms in Brooklyn to warehouses in Los Angeles. Eager foodies flock to these exclusive supper clubs to converse with interesting people and nosh on off-the-menu items. Many are private events and therefore, immune to the rules and regulations that normally apply to regular restaurants. Plus, they can be held anywhere with space for tables and chairs.

3. Pairings
Wine + cheese. Beer + bacon. Tequila + tacos. Whatever pairing party you choose, it’s a great way to partner and cross promote with local distilleries, breweries and wineries. 

4. Mix and Mingle
Fill your restaurant with professionals by throwing a networking event. Stimulate sales with free or discounted snacks and drink specials. You may also benefit: for example, if you had a distillers’ mixer, you might meet the right folks to partner with on other events.

Tip: Talk to people you know are well-connected to help organize the event. Professional event organizers could also help. If you already have a large mailing list, start with that. After a few events, the followers will start trickling in.

5. Trivia Night
Bring out the beer-drinking brainiacs. Host a trivia night and find out who among your customers are “Cliff Claven” types. If you lined up a trivia MC, you’re in good shape. The next step is building your customer base. Consistency is the key to developing return business, so have the event at the same time every week.

6. Beer or Beverage Release Party
Spread the word about your new brew. Whether you are a budding new brewery or have been successfully crafting for a decade, throwing a release party can foster excitement, awareness and some well-deserved attention. Get the scoop on how to throw a rockin’ beer release party.

7. Cook Offs
Top Chef,” “Iron Chef,” “Chopped” and others have made competitive cooking part of the main stream television diet. Bring the competition to your restaurant. Invite local aspiring cooks to try their hand and test their skill. Pack the house. Gain exposure in the food community. Create a one-of-a-kind trophy and title for the victor. The competition will get fierce and food might just fly, but keep things light and fun.

Tip: Turn the cookoff into a fundraiser and show your love to a local charity. Giving is not only personally rewarding, there are lots of wonderful causes that need help. And as a bonus, your good deed may result in added exposure.

City Growers Farm to Table Benefit8. Tastings
Go local. Put together special tasting menus that features local products, anything from wine to craft soda pop or cider. Or host your own whenever you update your menu or wine list. Mix it up – have your patrons vote on new dishes. Use the built-in market research to keep your menu current.

9. Private Events
You might already host weddings, birthday parties, but why not make it part of your business. Boost your value to customers by offering a catering menu and event registration support.

10. Tournaments
Pool, darts, bocce ball…when it comes to bar or restaurant tournaments, the opportunities are endless. Even beer pong is in play. Register your leagues and use Brown Paper Tickets to collect the dues.

11. Internal Training
Show newbies the ropes. Hold training sessions on food safety, etiquette, procedure and anything else your employees need to know in your space. This is also a great way to update their menu knowledge.

12. Holiday Parties
Dazzle your customers with your own soiree or arrange parties for customers. Offer event registration to make organizing the night a breeze.

13. Poetry Nights/Open Mic Nights
Host an open mic night and find the best minds of your generation. (If you get that reference, you’re well on your way.) Everyone wants to be heard, so open the floor to the community. If your space is small, you might not even need the mic.

14. Community Meetings
Offer to let community groups host meetings and functions in your establishment. Hold an appreciation event for one or more of these groups, offer food and drink specials or even a catering menu tailored to their event.

15. Customer Appreciation Night
Reward your regulars. Create a preferred customer program and show your appreciation for return business with discounts and the occasional appetizer on the house. Feature entertaining activities (trivia, bingo, raffles) and free snacks.

16. Industry Shindig
Get familiar with fellow associates in the food and drink industry by holding special functions for restaurant industry workers. Provide free snacks and drink deals with a valid food handler’s card or liquor license.

17. Singles Mingles
Fan the flames of love. Register attendees for your single’s night. Give out name tags and have plenty of pens and paper available for phone number exchanges. Create aphrodisiac-themed food and drink specials (Cupid Cocktail, anyone?) or line up tables and chairs to turn the evening into a speed dating event.

18. Game Nights
Drinking and gaming go together like beer and pretzels. Pictionary, Outburst, Apples to Apples, Jenga are all perfect choices for group games over drinks or snacks. Organize a large tournament and register players ahead of time.

19. Fundraisers
Pancake breakfast. Spaghetti dinner. Lobster lunch. Throw a charity dinner to raise funds for a good cause. Chat with your purveyors and ask if they will donate some of the food so you can maximize the funds raised.

20. Farm to Table

Go Green Acres. Invite local farms to show off their lovingly grown products with a special menu featuring their ingredients.

Whew. Got more creative uses for your restaurant space? Or have a question about food industry events? Comment below.

Photo credit, 1st photo: Martin Abegglen

Food & Drink >

Burlesque Ticketing 101

BPT_Burly_Ticketing_Front-01Brown Paper Tickets supports event organizers, producers and performers with free advice, services and ticketing tools. We ticket thousands of burlesque events every year. In fact, more burlesque events than any other ticketing platform. We’re crazy about burlesque.

As Burlesque Representative, I assist performers and producers in setting up and promoting their shows. Here are seven pieces of advice I commonly give when I talk about burlesque ticketing:

1. Use Your Own Credit Card Processor

Budgeting for your show can be a challenge. Often, burlesque producers operate on a shoestring budget and desperately need the money from ticket sales to pay out-of-town performers, venue fees, promotional costs, etc. If having cash in hand the night of your show is an issue, I stress that with Brown Paper Tickets, you can use a third-party processor, like PayPal (probably the most popular) and we’ll give you 2.5% of our 3.5% processing fee paid by the ticket buyer back to you, the producer. This means you get the full face value of your tickets as they’re sold. Plus, you get a little bit extra to help offset the fees your third-party processor charges.

2. Use Brown Paper Tickets’ Promotion Help

With all you’ve got going on around show time, promotions is one of those things that might slip. Don’t let it. We take a close look at your promotional plan and suggest ways you can improve it. We’ll help you build curated media lists for your area. We’ll send out tweets for you. We’ll edit and refine your press releases so that they are more effective in getting media placements, even coach you on TV or radio appearances. It all depends on your needs. And we won’t insult you by offering placement in mass e-mails, which most people delete immediately. With us, you’ll have a dedicated team of event specialists to get the most out of your promotional campaign. I suggest that you contact us at least six to eight weeks prior to your event to get the best results from your campaign.

3.  Offer Limited-Time Price Reductions

Many producers don’t like offering discounted tickets as they feel it will cut into their total take. But I’ve found that limited-time price reductions create a sense of urgency and you’ll pull in folks who may not have considered attending otherwise. It’s the whole “It’s on sale! I HAVE to buy it.” philosophy. The best times to offer discounts are either right when you announce ticket sales (early bird discounts) or on a significant day. For example: “It’s Gypsy Rose Lee’s birthday and we’re offering a special discount to all burlesque fans in honor of her memory.” Something along those lines. Trust me, you’ll see a spike in sales.

4. Offer Special Discounts to Your Mailing List

Show your devotees a little extra love by offering the first opportunity to purchase tickets to your shows. While you’re at it, give them a special perk like a glass of champagne, discounted VIP seating, maybe some merch. Whatever you can do to show your fans how much you appreciate their support will only endear you to them more and ensure their loyalty over time. Loyal fans are the best advertisement a burlesque performer could have, so throw a little money their way. Trust me, next time they’ll bring their friends.

5. Bundle Tickets with Merchandise

Speaking of bundling merchandise, it’s easy to offer a special price that includes some form of merchandise with their tickets. This will help you move merch and expand exposure to your brand while also saving you from having to sling merch after the show. Some merch ideas: branded drink tokens, signed posters, branded panties, t-shirts or even flasks. Merch is a great way to get your brand out in the world and if done well, can become an extra revenue stream. Just inform your door person that ticket buyers will receive something extra at the door, based on price points.

6. Offer Group Packages

Over the years, burlesque events have become increasingly popular with bachelorette parties. Consider the bachelorette angle when marketing your event. One way to encourage bachelorettes or other groups to come to your shows is to offer a group package. Think birthdays, tourist groups or bachelorette parties. Even better, develop a relationship with local wedding planners or concierges. Consider offering a percentage of the packages they sell so that they have incentive to encourage their clients to attend your events. These relationships can become super valuable and get you high-paying gigs outside the burlesque circuit, like corporate events or private parties.

7. Customize Your Producer Profiles

If you organize multiple events, let your fans see all your shows on your producer profile. Customize the page to match your branding or even better, have our tech team create a skin for your profile page that matches the look and feel of your website. Then your producer page can basically replace the calendar on your website and folks never have to leave your site to see all your shows and get tickets. If you want more information on how to create a customized producer profile, contact our Client Services department and they can get that started for you.

Any burlesque questions or need help? Please contact me directly at jimmy[at]brownpapertickets.com.

Arts >

6 Tips to Better Farm-to-Table Events

carrots-farm-to-tableChefs are talking about it. Foodies are asking for it. These days, farm to table is on the tips of everyone’s tongues.

High-quality ingredients make a chef’s job easier since they are so naturally delectable.  Any respectable food lover will search for the freshest and most lovingly grown produce.  More and more, restaurant owners are partnering with local farmers to find it. In some cases, they’re cutting out the middle man and farming their own ingredients.

Any way you slice it, farm to table fundamentally changed the way we dine out.

Today’s food lover and farm-to-table dinners

Today’s food lover wants to know where it comes from, how it was grown, and if it will be around next time. Farm-to-table dinners allow food fans to get up close and personal to what they’re eating and hopefully, walk away with a greater appreciation for it. The term “farm to table” has to do with the process of growing, harvesting, preparing and consuming food.  However, many types of food and beverage events fit under this umbrella.  On the farm or in the restaurant, the slow food and farm-to-table movement puts the spotlight on the highest-quality, locally grown ingredients.

No need to overdress for these dining experiences, the focus is on the food. If you are considering hosting your own farm-to-table event, kudos to you. This movement will slowly re-school us on how vital and precious food is to long-term survival. Since farm-to-table events involve a lot of harvesting and preparing ingredients right from the farm, it’s smart to have a checklist for your event planning.

We know your farm-to-table event is going to be great, but the below tips will help make it even better.

6 tips to a better farm-to-table experience

1. If you are hosting an outdoor event, be aware of the experience you are building.  Once you have a realistic inventory of possible issues, you can address them one by one.  Ifcity-growers-urban-farming-benefit you don’t have access to a farm, reach out to some in your area. It’s a great way to build community.

2. Going to be outdoors? Don’t forget about pests. Bees, mosquitoes, ants, or greedy birds could throw a wrench in the works, so have a test dinner prior to the event.  Find methods for detouring/repelling critters without also repelling your guests.  Marigolds and other plants make good natural repellents that don’t overpower the senses.

3. Wind, rain and yes, too much sun can turn a picturesque dinner into a logistic nightmare. No one wants soggy biscuits, so have a second location planned in case it pours.  Follow weather forecasts and adjust accordingly.

4. Keep your dishes and décor simple and elegant. Minimalist décor offers a more authentic experience and frees up time and resources that could be put into the execution of the event. Choose simple recipes that highlight flavor; the best ingredients will taste amazing with little help. Make sure that as many ingredients as possible are locally grown by organic sustainable farms.  If you have a dish in mind and can’t source the ingredients, try a different recipe or variation.  This limitation will bring out your creativity and inspire your visitors to buy locally.

5. Make your guests feel at home on the farm. Ensure a great, homey ambiance by inviting people you know. Friends, family, or farm staff could make wonderful assistant hosts.  Allow plenty of time before, after and in-between courses for guests to take in the surroundings and chat.  If everything goes well, time stands still and memories are made.

6. Above all, relish the event and your company.  Confidence and genuine enjoyment are absolute musts to making your dinner a sweet success.  The impression from a great night will last a lifetime and keep diners coming back.

Calling all food lovers: Comment below with your fresh tips on food. Hungry? Find a farm-to-table feast near you.

(First photo from City Growers Benefit last month in New York)

Food & Drink >

Building community with events

We had the privilege of sitting down with Dave Olson, VP of Community at HootSuite, at SXSW this week. Listen as he talks about building community with events online and through social media.

Want more help and advice on pulling off successful events? Subscribeto our twice-a-month Event Success newsletter!

See more articles here.

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