It’s been a while, and I apologize for this, since I have given out some advice. Audience development is all about building relationships in order to get more people to support you and your art form. So how can we do this in a day and age that is less connected in live time?
Here is a little road map to get you started…
1. Take notice of the connections you have online. Are you having conversations with them? Start getting to know people by talking (tweeting) with them. Get to a point where you start feeling a relationship blooming. If you feel you can work together or want to get to know them better, take steps to personalize your online connection. For example, the people on Twitter I want to get to know better, I will invite them to my more personal accounts.
2. At meetings, be sure to trade business cards after having a good conversation. Let them know you would be interested in having coffee/lunch sometime.
3. Follow up on your online/live conversations and follow through by emailing, direct contacting them, or pick up the phone to ask for a time to meet. This means you are taking these new contacts to the next level. If for some reason some contacts do not respond back, don’t worry. It may just mean it is not the right time yet for that contact.
4. The ones that do respond, meet them for coffee/tea/lunch or a Skype/Hangout call if you are not in the same area. Get to know each other further, and eventually talk about how you can support one another.
5. Follow up to thank them for the meeting and let them know you have been thinking about your conversation. Are there collaborations or partnerships that can be discussed further? This is the time to attempt a more concrete meeting. Keep getting to know them personally and continue with step one until it naturally cycles around again.
6. Make plans to work together, do something together, etc. This is where the relationship is at another new level.
7. Keep the cycle going to deepen the relationship. Be sure to have thank you stops along the way to show your appreciation. Also, continue to help each other with advice and by being helpful when and where you can.
8. Think about the support you need.
9. Start asking once you feel you are at a good point in your relationships. You will know when it is the right time.
10. See the support add up! Continue to thank and be thankful.
You can have your board members and ambassador volunteers work on building relationships in this fashion with potential audience members, donors and sponsors, and watch what happens! In fact, anyone that is a part of your arts business can help in this fashion.
Building relationships makes it easier to get the support you need since you will now be asking a friend, or at least a very friendly colleague. The stronger the relationship, the easier the ask, and the more likely you will get the support you need.
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Audience Development Specialists
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work. Donate here!