What do I need to know about club flyers?
March 4, 2009 9:47 AM   Subscribe

From the point of view of a newby promoter, what do I need to know about night club flyers?

I'm a newby club promoter and DJ, based in London. Along with a couple of other guys, we've done a few nights here and there, but just local things. Now though we're looking to up our game a bit, so we've booked a respectable small-ish venue for a friday evening in a couple of months, and we're looking to book a lower mid-card techno DJ or two as our guest DJs. The venue can expect to get a certain amount of regular customers and passing trade, but we need to fill the rest using promotion. We've got a website, a Facebook group and a mailing list with a couple of hundred people, and we should get our listing in Timeout etc.

So the question is, can someone tell me what I should know about club flyers? What do I need to know about design and printing them (we've got a proper designer on board to do the graphic design part of it). How many do we need to print to see decent returns? What's the best way to distribute them? How do flyer packs (like Don't Panic) work? In the web age, is worth printing up flyers at all?

Cheers in advance, being rather new to this all, any advice here would be greatly appreciated.
posted by iivix to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As a former club/rave kid... flyers are (mostly) useless. You'll print up 5000, and maybe 50-100 of those will actually stay in someone's possession long enough to be read and have them go "Oh, I should go to that."

One way to help your flyers be more effective is to offer a quid or two (or whatever) off your cover charge if they bring the flyer with them (one per person, obviously). And have your flyerbitches say that when they're handing them out.

(All that being said, I still have a collection of flyers from my rave days, mostly for the memories.)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:27 AM on March 4, 2009

A former promoter I know once said "flyering is like trying to paint a room by throwing handfuls of paint at the walls."

Another small-business-owner's type book I read included the passage "Every business owner knows that half of their advertising budget is being completely wasted. The problem is that they don't know which half."

From what I remember when I had to do this once, googling for "how to design a gig flyer" (or poster) brings up a fair number of hits with informative links.

If you're distributing them yourself (or if the people you're paying to do it don't do this), get some into nearby backpackers' hostels.
posted by K.P. at 11:10 AM on March 4, 2009

Best answer: 10 cool looking unique posters that display by innovative design and branding what your night is all about, put up in the right spots about town where they stay up for about 3 weeks before the party, do more for your visibility that a million little handouts.

That said, make a bunch of flyers (postcard sized) so you can give them out to hot chicks you see in stores, malls, coffee shops and on the street. This doesn't increase your draw by much, but you do get to meet a lot of hot chicks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:05 PM on March 4, 2009

Don't forget about MySpace. As annoying as it can be, people are genuinely using it for planning their outings and prioritising their partying. If there's an LJ community for the area, venue, performers, or genre, make sure to leverage those, too.

I concur with those recommending posters to be budgeted before handouts, and with those saying to make sure your handouts are only given to those you think will be genuinely interested as well as having some kind of tangible benefit upon arrival at the door - lower cover, expedited entry, cheap drink - if the venue at all allows it.

Make your flyers and posters as graphically appealing as can be, increasing the collectible factor. If the person who takes it doesn't attend, they may still put it up elsewhere and catch someone else's attention or at least remind themselves of a promoter worth checking out. Be certain to include the URL to a current calendar of events and contact info.
posted by batmonkey at 2:46 PM on March 4, 2009

Best answer: Make the posters visually appealing but clearly spell out the info. I see a lot of posters that look great but are really hard to read, especially when walking past them quickly.

- Put up posters around the venue, on campuses, and cafes. Don't put up posters in establishments where the group you're targeting wouldn't ever enter. This is a club night, not a computer repair business, someone's mom isn't going to see your poster at a fabric store and refer them.

- Have cute girls put up and hand out the posters. It gets attention and honestly, it's better seeing that than some dishevelled guy with giant headphones and a backpack.

- Make your audience feel special. Have a note on the poster saying: Email: ______ or text: _______ to be put on the guest list. (Depends on the venue).

- Promote the event the day of! A lot of people spend weeks prepping for shows, launches, etc. They pass out posters, send notices, everything, but they forget to remind people. People forget, I sure do. Set up a table, a stand, or just have some girls pass out posters, cards, whatever, yelling out "show tonight...$5".

- See if there are any local events/activity sites in your area. Some radio stations post concert/shows on their site. I'm on Facebook but I regularly find out about shows on these smaller sites.

- Chalk. Chalk up campuses. It washes away, authorities don't care (unless you write something obscene), and it's a fun distraction when you're walking to class.

Good luck!
posted by 913 at 4:50 PM on March 4, 2009

Ha, I'm in the same place as you; I've got a lot of DJ friends and I just booked my first club night. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm in the weird place of not being a musician or a real club promotor, but all of a sudden things like setting the date, making the flyer, etc, are up to me.

Well, here's the super basics of club flyers:

WHAT: The name of your shindig (like Neon Nights at Hampton's on King, 234 King Ave, Columbus Ohio, April 4th at 10 PM, cough) You can call it pretty much anything you want, as long as it attracts the crowd you're going for. With me, Neon Nights was a call for the candy kids who are down to dance. My favorite club night name ever is London's DURRR; legend has it that it's taken from a drunken kid singing Justice's Waters of Nazareth at the DJ. "What's that song you always play? DURRR, DURRR DURRR....." Also, if you think about it, every Justice song ever boils down to DURRRs.

WHERE: The club/bar, address

WHO: Who's playing? If they're low-pro, include a short genre description; when I read the word "eighties" or "top 40" on a flyer I know to skip it, when I read "electro, jungle, breakbeat, or dance" I pull out my day calender. Obviously, everyone's taste varies, but how will they know if they're going to like it if they've never heard of the person spinning?

WHEN: Obvious, but don't put a time any earlier than the club opens their doors. I HATE people manufacturing lines outside like that. LOOK, WE'RE THE HOTTEST CLUB ON THE BLOCK! THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN STANDING HERE FOR AN HOUR, AND NOW THEY'RE SO PISSED THEY HAVE TO DRINK!

THE DRINK SPECIAL: The only not obvious component. Ask the bar/club, and if they give you a choice try to promote something your target audience would like. My friend Terry's night have $2 PBRs because it's his favorite beer, my flyer promotes the $4 Giant Coronas (huge!) because my friends are cheap and drink a lot.

THE ART: Once you start designing flyers, you start noticing what everyone else has on theirs a lot more. Just keep an eye out. Common themes are hot girls and rappers. Think about what would catch your eye and make you actually want to come. Think about what turns you off. For example, I never go to club nights with half-naked girls on the flyer; I figure it's going to be a chachi horn dog sausage fest slavering over some bored girls dancing on tables that might as well just go whole hog and start stripping, and I don't want to be avoiding spiked drinks all night. Bright colors catch my eye. Hand drawn stuff usually denotes an underground gig.

Dafont.com has a lot of free fonts; try the Techno (GET IT) and Script/Handwritten section.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:58 AM on March 5, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, some great advice, much appreciated. We were definitely considering doing posters, so it looks posters are the way to go. I'm still not sure how well flyers actually work, but I guess the thing is it can't hurt to have some (especially with the fringe benefit of meeting cute girls).
posted by iivix at 1:32 AM on March 6, 2009

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