Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Top 10 Ways to Market Your Belly Dance Event

After successfully organising and hosting the sell-out NADA/Baladi Blues event in Edinburgh last year, I had some nice comments about my positive approach to the marketing of the event.  I'd never done anything quite like this before – an afternoon of workshops, followed by evening concert and party with musicians – but I had the advantage of drawing on some related experience from the non-dancing part of my world. 

Daughters of Isis by James Campbell
At the time, NADA's convenor asked me to pass on some marketing advice to their members, so I wrote them an article for their magazine. 

Here are my 'Top 10 Tips' for marketing your dance event, first published by NADA:
  1. Find the people that matter.  Word of mouth can mean a lot in our world and personal approaches count.  Your fellow teachers, friends and students can make a huge difference and an event that brings the dance community together is one which people will want to support.
  2. Identify all the reasons why people might be interested in coming to your event, they are your unique selling points.  For example, what’s different about your event?  Is there something special about the teacher that students will learn from?  Is there something that isn’t on offer elsewhere? 
  3. Use a range of tools that are at your disposal.  There are lots of ways to tell people about your event.  Take advantage of the internet, Facebook, classes, posters, flyers and anything else that captures your imagination.  These tools are usually cheap and often free – although you do need to invest your time to make them work for you. 
  4. Create a timeline or countdown to the event.  Along with all the other stuff that needs to get done like organising the venue, programme and selling tickets, think about when you need to advertise your event.  Time your mail outs and other updates to fit with your plan.  Too few messages and people might miss the event entirely or just not get round to booking.  Too many and people get annoyed, unsubscribe or simply hit the delete button. 
  5. Don’t sound like a stuck record.  If you are updating people about an event, do it in an interesting way so that your potential audience don’t lose interest.  Think about what you are saying and pick out different themes and messages to make it engaging.   
  6. Put in a bit of personality into your campaign.  This one’s harder to convey, but what matters here is a friendly approach that makes others want to join you.  It’s about showing it’s real people that are behind the organisation of the event.   
  7. Be honest about participation levels and ticket sales, and when it’s really time to book.  This helps people to plan when to book and pay for each part of the event.  And helps the organisers respond quickly if the numbers don’t pick up when they should. 
  8. If there is one part of the event that isn’t selling so well, target some extra effort.  We had only had a few early registrations for our free beginners’ belly dance workshop.  In response, we targeted some Facebook activity at this part of the day, specifically to engage with non-dancers. 
  9. Make it easy for people to participate.  A few extra touches can help someone decide to commit to the event.  The first question is often “where is the event, and how do I get there?”  Provide helpful information like maps and transport information and use a dedicated webpage if you can.   
  10. Finally, create something that people want to be part of.  No matter how much muscle or self belief you put behind your campaign, it’s never going to work unless people are interested in what you are doing.  Our creation was an easy sell thanks to NADA – an amazing opportunity to learn with, listen to and dance to authentic live Egyptian music.  Or in the words of the Baladi Blues Ensemble band leader Guy Schalom, “spread the Baladi love!”
What do you think about this advice? 

I'd love to know, how do you spread the word about your belly dance events?


  1. Thank you for sharing this great advice! The whole dance community benefits when events are well-promoted and well-attended.

  2. I like this very much and I'm going to take it personally! ;) Great post, well said.

  3. Very helpful, Habiba, thanks for sharing!


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