Tag Archives: Thank you patrons

B.D.A. and audience development

I’m starting a new series called Monday Minute.  These will be short entries based on quick thoughts.

Today I want to talk to  you about B.D.A. What is B.D.A.?  I go into more detail in my new eBook, but basically it is the complete experience you give to your audiences Before, During, and After your event/offering.

You want the entire experience to be memorable in a good way.  If the B is lacking due to terrible marketing or customer service, if the D is is flat and people have a hard time connecting with the art due to lack of creativity, quality or care, if  the A is non-existent and you do not follow up after to thank your audiences and/or offer them a thank you “gift,” you will not be giving your audiences your best.

So, are you offering B.D.A.?

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.

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Participatory Classical Music Webinar – Recording

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Audience Development

Audience development – Give Thanks!

Today I recorded a message for you:

http://cinch.fm/audiencedevspec/auddevtotd/317117

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and thank you
for reading my blog!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

PS – Sign up for ADS E-News today!  We are promoting a special for our e-Newsletter subscribers tomorrow.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience Development and service with care…

I have been thinking about good customer service lately.   Good customer service is one way to establish yourself among our clamoring markets.  It is also a good way to show you care about your audience.  Good customer service, service with care, is good audience development.  The following is a quick list of suggestions to add to your daily life:
1. Spell people’s names correctly – You can view the complete blog on this one here: Audience Development and the name game
2. Go the extra mile and provide all the important information needed up front (as much as you can).   If you have people asking you:
a. What is the link?
b. When is it?
c. Where is it?
d. What’s the program?
etc.
either they did not read carefully enough or you did not provide the important what, when, who, how for them in a up front, easy to use manner.  For example, I was invited to meet at someone’s office and they sent me the details on the date, yet they forgot to give me the address.  They probably assumed I would look it up online, but why not provide that information up front in the email?  If it is a patron, it is more work on the patron, and some will say “forget it!” if you don’t supply the information needed.
3. Listen to your patrons and be helpful.  I don’t know how many times I have been on the phone with a customer service agent and they give me the panned answer “sorry I can’t help you with that” only to find out by calling back later, another agent was able to help me with the same request.   The second agent listened to me and was helpful by seeking out more answers when she didn’t know how she could help, and then she was able to help.   We no longer can afford to be the “nay sayers” when it comes to servicing our patrons.  We need to listen to them and be helpful to their needs and requests.
4. Follow up.  If you helped a patron with a problem, you have the opportunity to follow up to make sure you actually did help them.  For example, I switched seats for a person that called in since they broke their leg in a car accident.  I worked on finding the best seat to make them as comfortable as possible.  Then, I called them after the concert to see if the seat worked for them.  There was only one change like this, so why not take a moment to call?  If you say you are too busy, then you are too busy to have happy and loyal patrons.
Follow up can also mean finding out how they enjoyed a concert.  Try this, select a couple of patrons each concert to personally follow up with.  In fact, everyone on your “team” can do this.  A courtesy service call can go a long way in showing you care about their thoughts and feelings regarding your events and programs.
5.  Treat,  everyone with the care they are desiring.  This means that there are some folks out there that rather not get our mailings, but rather get an email.  Or, there might be some people that never want you to call them.  If that last example had “do not call” on their profile, I would have attempted to follow up in a different manner.  Find out how they prefer to be contacted.  You will then be catering their individual wants and needs and how they would like to be cared for.
6. Set a “get back” policy and stick to it.  People are falling through the cracks because sometimes we forget to get back to them in a timely fashion. Some businesses state they will return a call within 24 hours.  Some are less or more in their choice of window.  The point is to let your patrons know what you are capable of doing for them and then do it for them.  I have heard complaints from the general public that they have called or emailed, but no one responded back.  If you think you don’t have the capacity for this, you are setting yourself up for more decreases rather than increases.  People need to feel they are being taken care of.   It’s best to adjust so you can treat them well.
7. Be sure to thank them and be grateful for your patrons.  It’s time to stop being crabby when patrons call.  I have seen some arts orgs that actually feel put out when a patron calls.  Maybe sometimes it isn’t convenient for you when they call.  The best thing you can do is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are there doing what you are doing because they make it possible.  Being grateful to them, thanking them, and being there for them is what service with care is all about.

There are many more ways you can service your patrons with care.  If you think of any creative ones, please do reply with a comment. 
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

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience Development and Open Studios

In my area, it is Open Studios time. These are events where artists open up their home studios to invite visitors to get to know them and to see their art that is for sale.   I go to this event almost every year to visit some of my favorite artists in the area.  I am a consumer of art and have several of my found treasures hanging in my hallways.  The good news is that I received several emails to remind me of the event from a few of the artists that I signed in with.  The bad news, these artists are not emailing me in an audience development way.

I am receiving a group email format, and most of these artists are sending them not in a blind copy email, so I see everyone’s email on the list.  So, this email is not really personal, and it is an invasion of privacy.  I rather not have my email be seen by everyone.

To my visual artist friends out there, this is your challenge.  You have an opportunity with these open studios to build relationships with everyone that comes into your door.  People seek you out because something about your art or description of your art has attracted their attention.  If you want them to become your special patrons, you need to start treating each and every one of these people as special.

What do you need to do to treat them special?  Start sending out personal emails.  One artist had 12 people on their list.  Only 12 people.  You can send out a nice message to each of these people.  For the artists that have more than 12, why not send out messages a little at a time starting two weeks in advance?  I am receiving an email on Thursday, the Thursday before the beginning weekend.  What if I already had plans for the weekend?  The email is a little late and shows the lack of real interest to connect with me as a person.  It shows you are too busy to take the time to email me directly, especially since you are sending the email so late.

I have not received emails from the artists I actually purchased from.  Interesting!  Aren’t you interested in building a relationship with me so I would want to buy more of your art?  I already proved I love what you do.

Visual artists, you have such an amazing opportunity with your open studios events.  The personal touch is needed.  You need to start having individual invitations and conversations with your patrons.  If you want me to buy your art, to continue buying your art, to tell others about your art, you need to start addressing me as an individual person and spend some time with me after I arrive, and then send a thank you follow up after I purchase (or even if I don’t).  People take the time out of their busy lives to visit you.  In this economy, when they purchase, you should make a fuss over them to thank them and get to know them as people.  It’s the least you can do for them.

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.”

8 Comments

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience Development Specialists – an open letter

Lately I have been reading Seth Godin’s blog which is mainly about being honest with yourself so you can run your business more openly and directly (and you will reap the benefits).  At least, this is the message that keeps coming to me each time I read one of his posts. He also is a big advocate for being your own leader in life.  I also subscribe to this philosophy.

I think it is time to be open and honest about ADS.  Many of you think that ADS is a company with several employees, and this is not the case.  Instead, ADS is a one person business (me)  that collaborates with other consultants to bring you a complete audience development services package.   If you need help with audience development, I and my team of consultants can educate and support you to building a better audience.

Instead of a research firm, ADS is a hands on, get in the trenches with you firm.  We will help you to discover what you need to build a better audience and teach you about the audience development techniques and philosophy to build that better audience.  We are there to help implement as well if needed.

ADS is a small start-up business.  This is my 4th year of spreading the word about audience development, and the direction of ADS is still being discovered.  I frequently attempt new ways to connect with more people.  Some of these ideas work, such as the twitter chat you witnessed in my last blog post, but some of these ideas have not worked, such as my plans for an Audience Development Symposium and my Ideas Contest which could use a ton more votes.  I will continue to put myself out there regardless of success or failure.

Some people do think I was a little crazy to start a new business during this economy.  I’m certainly feeling the weight of the timing.  I do feel though that it was time for someone to start bringing more awareness to audience development since I think the arts are in need of this change, and I thought, why not me.  I can at least say, no matter what, that I was a part of the audience development revolution.

During my ADS journey, I have met some wonderfully talented people along the way.  I have found that a percentage of others are receptive to attempting something new in order to be successful.  Despite the headlines of symphony orchestras going bankrupt and other arts organizations closing their doors due to lack of continued government funding, there are other organizations that are attempting audience development, staying afloat or even thriving in this economy. So how can ADS be a catalyst to get more artists and organizations on a good audience development path?

Part of ADS’ mission is to get the conversation about audience development flowing.  I attempt to do this on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn through topic discussions and contests such as the Ideas Contest previously mentioned. One of my Facebook connections asked if this was a conflict of interest since I am selling audience development ideas.  My response is, ADS is not in the business of selling ideas, but rather we are in the business of using the good ideas that surround us to educate you about audience development and to create a plan to build you a better audience.  I perhaps am one of those people that are constantly open to new ideas, so I frequently am blessed with  ideas.   I do not claim to own all the ideas surrounding audience development.  If the idea is not “mine,” I will always attempt to give credit to whom the idea came from.

I am proud to be one of the louder advocates and educators of audience development.  This means that whenever I begin a discussion about audience development, I truly want others to participate.  We as an industry need to be more open and sharing of good ideas so all of us can benefit.  The competitive mentality has been part of the problem that brought us to this place.  Why not try to share the wealth this time around? This is  a big part of what ADS is about, sharing the ideas for audience development so we can all become educated.  I believe that great ideas are floating all around us and open conversations can help us to be receptive.

Where ADS is headed is not certain.  Right now it is a consultant business, a for profit business.  Since I am still a start-up, during a bad economy, it has been less profit and more sweat equity.  I am happy with all that I have done so far and know that my work with the artists and arts organizations I have been able to serve has resulted in successful increases, yet I feel there is so much more to be done.  This means that I too need the resources to continue this journey.  I have been thinking about either transitioning into a resource outlet that would require a membership to keep it running or maybe I do need to go nonprofit.

The reason I am posting this open letter was the aforementioned need to let everyone know what ADS is currently.  The second reason is to declare this blog post a place to consider what it could be for the future.  Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts.  What type of support do you need at this time to build a better audience?  Do you need guidance, a resource house, a consultant team, all of the above?  Your thoughts will certainly help me in making some of these important decisions to better serve.

Thank you for taking the time to read my open letter.  I am thankful for all the support I have received along this journey, and look forward to continuing the audience development conversations with you.

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

2 Comments

Filed under Audience Development

Audience Development and rewarding your valuable patrons

In terms of good audience development, building relationships with your patrons is key.  However, time and time again I see many artists and arts organizations forget to spend time on and with their most valuable patrons.

We seem to be doing business backwards.  We reward our newcomers with discounts and extra attention and the only reward and attention we give our most loyal patrons is perhaps a subscription discount, which some of them rather not be given in order to support you.  We bend over backwards for obtaining a new audience with our marketing budgets, but are we doing anything to bend over backwards for our loyal patrons?

Perhaps some of the benefits for your subscriptions and memberships make these patrons feel a little more comfortable, but I dare say that we have fallen short when it comes to building a better connection with our most loyal patrons and supporters.  We most certainly do not spend enough time coming up with audience development programs for them.

I liken this to what most companies do.  They offer a wonderful offer to their first time customers, and once they have the customer, they practically ignore them.  The only way a loyal customer can get attention is if something goes wrong or if they finally switch companies and then switch back for the new offer. Money wise, this doesn’t make sense (cents) for any business.  We should all know that it costs more to obtain a new customer than to keep a loyal customer.

In the arts world, we may (or may not) be a little better than this.  Sure we contact our patrons when there is an upcoming event or a fundraiser, but aside from marketing to them year round and asking for their support, what are we doing to build relationships with them and making them feel honored?

Today would be a good day to start implementing programs that will finally address your loyal patrons to make them happy and to make them feel cared for.  With any audience development program, make it a point to add time to get to know them as people.

Here are a few suggestions you can bank on:

1. Audience appreciation nights
These are programs that make a fuss over your loyal audience.  It does not have to be a discount, but it should be some form of acknowledgement for your favorite audience members.  Perhaps a special show or party.  Or you could simply do something extra special for them at a regular concert.  Use your creative powers to come up with interesting and fun ways to give them the attention they deserve.

2. Rewards programs
Start rewarding your loyal audience members.  Maybe there are DVD’s or recordings you can give away after they have attended their umpteenth show.  Maybe you could start a badge program so they can show off their loyalty.  Whatever you do, make sure it is a reward that your audiences would enjoy.

3. Special drawings only for the loyal
Drawings don’t have to be only reserved for galas and fundraisers.  You can have a drawing for your loyal patrons for various prizes (based on levels of loyalty) such as coffee with the conductor, lunch with a musician, a special sitting with an artist,  a particular piece of art, or perhaps a prize seat for a performance with other bells and whistles added.  Again, you can get creative.

4. Thank you gifts
I can’t say it enough that thanking these loyal patrons as often as you can in a variety of ways is the best thing you can do for your business.  For the cream of the crop, you can make it a point to thank these patrons with a special thank you gift just for them.

There are many more ways you can show appreciation for your most valuable patrons.  The point is to start implementing these programs sooner than later so you can make your loyal patrons feel valued.  You in return will reap the benefits of these valuable relationships.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience development thoughts for the weekend

Sometimes it is good to take time off, step away from the day to day in order to get a fresh perspective.   After a few days away, I have a few thoughts to share about obtaining new audiences.  These are thoughts in no particular order with hopes to open much more conversation.

  • If we would like to have a particular audience we need to cater to that audience.
  • Catering to a particular audience may mean changes need to be made.  If you want your art to stay the same, your audience won’t grow either.
  • However, when is it time to say “enough” when it comes to change? You don’t want to turn your art inside out and upside down in order to appeal to a new audience.  It wouldn’t be your art anymore.
  • A delicate balance needs to be established when considering making changes for a new audience.
  • You can add new elements to your typical fair.
  • You can change your typical fair in ways that will appeal more strongly to a new audience.
  • Through the changes though, it is still good to stay true to the art, the play, the music.  Don’t insult your art to gain favor with a potential audience.
  • On the flip-side, don’t insult your audience and be over controlling about your art.
  • Be open to what the new audience is looking for.  Perhaps a new presentation would benefit your art form as well.
  • Quality and care need to be a part of everything you do.  Take care to give your best to your audience.
  • Invite your audience to become a part of your art in one way or another.  Find comfortable ways for you both to engage in a two way relationship.
  • Try not to step on other people’s toes when promoting your art or contributions.  Be gracious and become partners with  other artists, organizations and your audience members.
  • Form collaborations that are win-win for everyone involved.  No one wants to feel like they received the short end of the stick.
  • Always give credit where credit is due.
  • Connect others to become more connected with others too.
  • Learn how to help others and you usually find that you are helping yourself in the process.
  • Be open to new ideas before you shoot them down.  Be open to attempting something new.
  • Be confident to keep what is working for you now.
  • Become a team with the people surrounding your art.  Try not to point fingers and play the blame game and instead, focus on solutions and being a team.  If you see an “us vs. them” mentality coming into play, you are not on the right track.
  • Invite people to your art party.  Sometimes artists do not have the support they need because they “forget” to invite/ask others to join them.
  • Be mindful of where your art fits into the world.  Be honest about who you are and what your art is.
  • Brand to your individuality.  Find what makes you special and sets you apart instead of copying the same old same old.
  • Reach out to others that would enjoy who you are and what your art is about.
  • If you want an audience to support you, you need to support them.  What do they need?
  • Always follow up and follow through.
  • Relationships are what makes it possible to get the support we need.  The stronger the relationship, the more likely people will want to support you.
  • Be honest about your relationships.  Are they two way streets or do you simply contact them when you need them (or vice versa)?
  • Spell people’s names correctly.
  • If you want a diverse audience, you need a diverse outreach program.  Not everyone speaks the same “language.”
  • If you want a diverse audience, sometimes you need to learn another “language.”
  • Be sure to thank people efficiently, timely, and memorably.
  • The quicker you realize that these points can carry over to your everyday life, the faster audience development will become more natural to you.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising