Tag Archives: building relationships

Laziness will not build an audience

This week has made many of us grumpy.  There have been so many shutdowns and mismanagement highlights in the news.  During a conversation with an arts colleague, I posed the question, why do these management mishaps happen?  Is it laziness?

We talked about how many of us keep on keeping on, but perhaps without thought to why we are keeping on if what we are doing is not working.  Is this due to laziness?

I know ego could be an answer as well, but let’s not go there and assume it is laziness.  We have become too lazy to do what we need to do to get out of our ruts, and most of us are in a rut.  It takes time and effort to get out of this rut.  We need to be willing to put this sweat equity in or we are not going to be as successful as we hope to be.

Here is a list of reasons why we have become lazy in managing our arts businesses:

  • We don’t evaluate what we are doing enough – I went to a workshop about evaluation.  Evaluation should happen before, during and after an event or program.  We need to know what is working and what is not.  We also need to ask ourselves if what we are doing is necessary and if it fits with our missions. Otherwise, we are wasting a lot of time, effort, money and other resources on something that may not be producing results.  When’s the last time you evaluated what you are doing?
  • We don’t prioritize – After evaluation and getting rid of what doesn’t work, it is good to prioritize what is left on our plates. What really matters?  What needs to get done first?  This takes some thought, time and effort, but it is worth it to know that your energy is going to what is going to matter the most for you and your audiences.
  • We don’t slow down to get it right the first time – Yes, I need to work on this one.  We are all rushing around trying to get millions of things done in a short amount of time.  Many of us wear a multitude of hats.  Evaluating and prioritizing can help, but we also need to slow down to make sure we are working effectively.  My friend said she forgot to sign a thank you letter, and this letter went to someone she knew.  Did her friend call her on it?  Big YES!  It made her friend feel badly that not only was the letter not signed, but there wasn’t even a quick note to say hello.  Admit it, how many times have you sent an email out with a mistake you could have caught if you slowed down by a few seconds.  This is happening more and more these days due to all the hectic, hyper communication we are doing.  Think about slowing down.  It will help with your sanity too.  ;O)
  • We don’t follow through – From signing our full names at the end of emails to providing links and other helpful information where it counts, we are not following through to give our audiences the necessary information to take the next step.  There have been many times I have received emails that did not have proper contact information.  I couldn’t call them even if I wanted to, which in some cases, I did want to call.  When we send out social media without the extra links, it becomes a wasted effort.  Your audiences can’t buy tickets or get more information without these links.  Let’s start following through!
  • We don’t follow up and build relationships – So many times I see programs initiated, but after it is all said and done, we don’t follow up with these audiences.  We are not building relationships with people.  Instead, we stick with sending out more mass marketing messages and doing programming and business practices we feel is best, because that’s the rut we are in.
  • We keep thinking in terms of, this is the way it is has always been – Is it working?  Have you filled the house and sold your art shows out?  Time to rethink and put energy toward new ways of doing business.
  • We don’t have the time to deal with something new – Go back to evaluation and prioritizing and you will find the time and resources you need.
  • We don’t know how to change – This one is interesting since there are consultants, workshops, seminars, webinars, etc. that are attempting to teach us how to make thoughtful changes.  People are not showing up even when they declare they need this type of education.  ?!

For someone that has been advocating for audience development, which is a new way of managing an arts business, all of the mentioned above does make me and my fellow colleagues a little grumpy.  We are sad to see so many shutdowns.  The “laziness” will lead to more shutdowns.

Is it laziness?  Or is it an unwillingness to change? 

Let me know your thoughts. 

PS Yesterday, I did a shout out for Thomas Cott and his You’ve Cott Mail for my Giving Program month. Sign up with him for themed arts news.  I am still thinking about today’s gift.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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10 point plan on how to build relationships to build your support

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,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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How to make “free” work now and use the “it” factor later

It

There were two articles that have me thinking more this morning.  The first one, Hidden costs of free tickets by Deborah Stone.

Giving away freebies may not be the best way to grow your audiences but how do you set the right discount?

UK Arts economist Tim Baker told arts marketing professionals at the Australia Council Marketing Summit that they needed to be strategic about the incentives they offered.

Baker, who is Director of leading UK-based arts consultancy, Baker Richards, and Vice-President of its US sister company, The Pricing Institute, was speaking about pricing strategies for arts marketing.

He said free entry was often less valuable than strategic discounting because people took the freebies but didn’t come back. If they paid something –even very low – they were more likely to see the service as something worth paying for and would return and pay more.

Discounts and freebies do have to be handled carefully.  There is a chance that the audience will get too used to discounted prices and take your art for granted.  The fact that free does not guarantee that people will come back is also a consideration.  I recommend reading the entire article since it highlights some of the best ways to promote discounts.

My thoughts after reading this was the simple thought I have had before, free could work if you have a follow up program in place.  Free should not be just about getting people to come and sample, but also for you to build a relationship with them.  Make them feel important by following up and offering them a way to stay connected to you and your art.  I do not see the majority of artists and arts organizations using follow up programs to convert these free (or discounted) audience members into future loyal members.

Also, free could be a fabulous way (I agree with the 2-for-1 strategies) to get your current audience involved in bringing new audience members.  This works on so many levels since your audience becomes more involved (deepening their experience with you) and you end up broadening and potentially diversifying your audience as well (similar and different people will attend).

So, I agree that free can be undervaluing your worth, but if used in the right way, it could bring exactly what you were hoping it would.

The second article that caught my eye this morning was Jade Simmons: Elvis, Meryl & Michael at the Cliburn: The Intangibles of “It”.

The audience didn’t even know this kid, but they loved him, from his stride to his stringendos, even with only one prelim recital under his belt and a long grueling road ahead in the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. So how come he made them swoon so? Because he had “it,” that thing that makes you like music you once ignored, that makes you cheer when that’s not usually your way of behaving.

She goes on to compare three different performers of the Cliburn Competition, their special qualities, to Elvis’, Meryl Streep’s and Michael Jordan’s “it” factors.

There are a couple reasons why her thoughts have sparked a few of my own.  First, I applaud her ability to connect the dots from pop culture to classical music.  We need more of this mentality to create the relevancy that is missing today.  Secondly, it made me consider the “it” factor further.  It’s not just about individuals with this special quality.  Organizations can also have an “it” factor that makes them hook you.  These organizations stand out from the crowd and apply their “it” to everything that they do.  You feel fantastic working with them!

Perhaps we need to consider what our “it” factor is or how to reveal the hidden “it” factors we possess, bring them out, and make them shine.

Once we are using our “it,” we might not need to discount or give tickets away any longer since we will attract the right people that love our “it.”   Free can open the door for them, and the “it” will have them coming back for more!

Feel “free” to comment about your “it” to share…

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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Excuses for arts audience development?

Excuses, excuses. We may want to accomplish something, however, as humans, we also tend to make excuses.  We want to grow as individuals and artists, to better our art and organizations, yet we ourselves build road blocks to our success.  Silly humans!  So, I wanted to talk about two of the biggest excuses for why people do not start audience development planning and programs.  For my email subscribers, you will need to click on the web link to take you to the page to listen.

Any comments and feedback are appreciated.  Happy Monday to you too!

PS We are getting very close to announcing all of the 2013 offerings – stay tuned!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Focus is key for arts audience development

I have been thinking a great deal about focus.  In a conversation, I mentioned that what you focus on is what will come to life.  I also expressed how many non-profit executives are scattered when it comes to what is on their plate.

In my humble opinion, I feel that a majority of organizations and some artists have too much on their plates.  They feel everything is important, but what tends to happen with this mentality of spreading yourself thin?  You tend to do everything half-assed (excuse my crudeness).  Certain tasks end up falling through the cracks, and you can end up damaging important relationships, in addition to not seeing very good results overall.  Furthermore, if you have capacity issues, this will only add to the burden and staggering weight on the people involved and burn everyone to a crisp.

This spreading yourself thin can apply to the overall strategic planning for the year, how your staff and board functions, your programming in attempts to please everyone, etc., etc.  Spreading yourself thin is only going to deliver “thin” results.  Don’t you want fat, gargantuan, successful outcomes?

In order to get away from this mentality, some very difficult decisions need to happen.  You need to evaluate and prioritize and ultimately let some things go.  If you keep attempting to focus on everything, nothing big will really happen.  If you allow yourself to go through this, albeit difficult process, you will reap the benefits.

Here is a point by point example of what you will want to do:

  • Start with your mission – remind yourself who you are
  • Take a look at all that you have on your plate and get rid of the programs/projects that are not in alignment
  • Think about what you want to ultimately achieve – dream big – and pick one or two objectives for the year
  • Choose your audience development goals using this big picture
  • Plan out your audience development programs, in alignment with your mission and audiences, and implement over the year
  • Track and evaluate throughout the year and decide to change, carry over to next year, or replace with a different program if necessary

If you really want to develop a quality audience, figure out what is important to you, make sure it is aligned with your mission, who you are, and who your audiences are, and plan on focusing on a little at a time to get bigger results.  I am seeing that when artists and organizations use this laser like focus, amazing results are happening!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, Audience Development

Night pondering of the many personalities of Twitter for audience development

I was looking at the profiles of some new followers, and I realize there are some concrete personalities I am seeing.  Here are a few to get you thinking:

  • The Chatty Cathy or the Rampant Reply Robert: This Twitter personality is all about the conversation only.  You look at their stream and you see a sea of tweets starting with the @symbol.  There is no posting single thoughts or information.  Their profiles are more like chat rooms than anything else.
  • The Schizophrenic Sampler or the Nowhere Man: If you see an account that has tweets posted by many different people, meaning they hit the retweet button more than they post their own thought, you have come across the schizophrenic sampler.  I understand that these people are enthusiastic about sharing what they see, however, I often wonder if they have their own personality and opinions to share.
  • The Marketing Fool on the Hill: If all you see are post about them and what they are doing and selling, then you have come across this type of personality on Twitter.  Like the Fool on the Hill, they don’t realize that people don’t like them since they don’t like to be sold to 100% of the time.  This profile usually includes all the “I posted a photo on Facebook” or “I liked a YouTube” in which the YouTube is their latest and greatest.  They always are posting about their upcoming show, the music they are selling, etc, etc.  There’s a place for marketing on Twitter, but it should be a rare part of your tweeting experience.
  • The Quite the Quoter: These accounts are still hanging in there, but not as popular as they used to be.  This profile has tweets of inspirational quotes from famous people aimed to lift your day and thoughts.  The occasional lift is helpful, however the constant quotes gets a little boring.
  • The Social Media “Master”: These are the people that are pretending to be the masters of social media and are “proving” it by the number of people that they are following and who are following them.  When you take a closer look, they are more the Marketing Fool on the Hill personality and their following doesn’t represent meaningful relationships.  I follow a few real Social Media Masters and many of them converse with their followers instead of simply spouting their “wisdom” and puffing up their numbers with empty accounts.
  • The Negative Nellies: A very easy personality to spot and easy to stay away from, unless they are sarcastically funny and make you laugh, then by all means, follow them!
  • The Informative Informer: This is all that you see on these accounts.  Tweet after tweet of an article with a link.  There is no personality behind the tweets, no interaction.  Maybe they are bots in disguise?  What is funny is the fact people will follow these accounts for the information, and that generally gives them high numbers. The people behind these profiels are losing out on the full experience of Twitter which is the opportunity to build relationships with others.And my favorite personality, the one I always recommend:
  • The All Around Star: This profile will show a good mix of conversation, information, retweets, quotes, with a little bit of marketing.  In other words, they are showing their full personalities, helping others, and sharing good information for their followers.

There may be more personalities to define.  What personalities do you see on Twitter?  Which ones give you the pet peeve heebie-jeebies and which ones do you like to tweet with?  Let us know!

-Shoshana
Buildmyaudience.com

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Random thoughts from fiscal cliffs and landfills to donation asks for arts audience development

What do fiscal cliffs and landfills have to do with audience development for the arts?  Quite a lot actually.  Allow me to explain.

The priorities in America and possibly the world are all mixed up these days.  When countries are being run by greed for power and money, what is really important in life is not being funded.  The arts, in my opinion, are important to our lives.  We would be living life in the dark without the arts.  There would be no color in our world, no design,creative sciences or inventiveness, no music, no plays, movies and television shows, no historical reference, no spark to our lives.  How am I certain that the arts are one of the vital ingredients for humanity?  Because of the Landfill Harmonic:

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

A country that has no means, but has the human spirit to create is making instruments out of remnants from the landfill.  The arts are a basic need, a basic desire that has to be filled.  This video showcases that the arts are a priority in our lives.

If the arts were to be a part of the fall off due to the fiscal cliff, we would still find a way to create and perform.  However, think about what we could do if we finally got our priorities in life straight.  What would the world look like if the greed for power and money were gone?  There wouldn’t be a fiscal cliff and there probably would be the means for funding of the arts more fully.  We as a human race tend to take the arts for granted.  It’s only when the arts are gone from our lives that we find that we need to sift through the rubble, the garbage, to find a way to express ourselves again.

This taking the arts for granted can be flipped on its head too.  We as artists tend to take our audiences for granted.  I hope non-profits of all kinds will take a moment to ponder this point too.

We are taking our audiences for granted.  We assume that if we create, the audiences will be there.  You can call this the Field of Dreams Syndrome.  We take it for granted that the right people will show up and start to support us, and then we fall flat with doing the work to build the relationships to create the support that we need.

For example, I receive donation asks from a variety of organizations.  I might have given in the past, I might not have.  The organizations that are targeting me based on who I have given to in the past have not started a relationship with me.  They are asking without knowing who I really am as a person.  I rarely give to these random asks.  The ones I have given to the past are organizations that caught my attention through a variety of avenues, such as tabling at an outreach event.  I have at least spoken to a representative, gone to a show, or volunteered for their cause.  I gave to these organizations since a relation has been established.

I only choose to continue to give if the relationship continues.  Many organizations at this point will take me for granted and continue to ask without any personal contact with me.  The only organizations I continue to give to at this point are the ones that treat me like an individual person and not just a number on their mailing list.  They make sure to thank me and contact me to keep me in the loop before asking for another donation.  They send me updates on how my money is being used.  They may call me to thank me personally.  I did receive a call from a board member on one of these organizations.  I only gave $25 that year too. Wow!

To tie this random post up into a nice gift with a big red bow for the holidays, you can trace back to the initial thought.  We have our priorities mixed up.  Instead of taking the road of hard work and thoughtfulness for others, we are taking the path of laziness and greed for money and power.  People will not see the value of our art and organizations until we start valuing people as individuals.  The world will not see the arts as a priority until they see the arts become more a part of the world in ways that are helpful and supportive to their communities.  Perhaps if we started acting as individuals and support the people in our lives through solid two-way relationships, we can start adding a positive voice to the collective for a better, common sensed, prioritized world.

If you ever wondered why getting the arts funded has been so darn challenging, now you know.

PS  These thoughts are my own humble opinion.  Feel free to challenge, add, and consider your own thoughts and post as a reply!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising