Business blog 3: Learn how I built awareness for ArtRoom and generated our first booking.
In the previous blog I detailed how I launched the ArtRoom website in the Netherlands in the summer of 2019. Within a few weeks we had more than 50 artists registered. I soon realized finding artists wasn’t the problem – finding hosts was. I had learned all about big marketing campaigns at Harvard Business School, but how to market ArtRoom without a budget?
I started by identifying three potential target markets for ArtRoom: cultured millennials (like myself) looking for new experiences, upper class innovators wealthy enough to organize upscale events and music lovers willing to experience music in new settings.
I then talked to some “industry experts”, all of which told me I should forget about trying to generate PR or social media awareness on my own – “you need to hire a professional to do that for you”. So I had to be creative…
I started with chasing the target group most easily identifiable: music lovers. These are easy enough to find – for three months I tried to attend as many concerts and classical music festivals as I could. I always considered myself an extreme extrovert, but even for me walking up to strangers to pitch my business was no easy game! Luckily the responses were overwhelmingly positive. And by talking to my potential customers one on one, I learned a great deal about them and how to cater them through ArtRoom.
I figured if I could find these people in real life, I should also be able to find them online. I launched the ArtRoom Instagram account and started following everyone who followed the concert halls and music festivals I had visited. Within a month ArtRoom had more than 600 followers, without spending a single dime!
Throughout the summer, I organized 8 trial concerts myself. These were helpful for me to learn all about organizing ArtRoom concerts – information that I can then pass on to my customers. But they also generated significant word of mouth promotion from the audience and they gave me fantastic social media material, showing first-hand what an ArtRoom concert can be like.
After my success with Instagram I thought: Why not give PR a try myself too? What do I have to lose? I emailed every single journalist I could find online that had previously written about low wages for freelance musicians, positioning ArtRoom as a potential solution to this problem. And guess what? A day later I received a call from a journalist who wanted to interview me and later that month a different journalist and photographer attended a concert in my apartment. My biggest take away from this all: you don’t have to follow all advice given to you.
In early August, just two months after launching www.artroom.live, the marketing activities started to pay off and the first booking was made on the platform that didn’t come from my network. I am confident more will follow soon – exciting times ahead!
Read next how I organized my trial concerts in the first “How it works” blog.
Visit us at www.artroom.live