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How to create a successful club - thoughts?


Eleseren Brianna
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Hi everyone, I hope this is the right forum for this thread (apologies in advance if it isnt).  I wanted to ask people their thoughts on how to make a successful club/hangout.  Its not just traffic, its about creating a place people want to come hang out - dance, talk, build a community feel - and keep coming back.  Any thoughts on marketing, investment, costs, any other advice?  Its open ended, any thoughts or experience would be welcome to hear. 

TY :)

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If you want a club for your own enjoyment, then by all means have one, but don't expect to make any money on one.  Far from it, clubs are money pits.  You need something else there to generate income to offset the expenses.  You will never get enough tips and donations to cover that.  That's why you see so many mini malls at clubs.  The difficult part of that though, is that with the economy the way it is, there are far fewer people that want to rent.  Many big name designers have cut back to a main store only. 

Also, clubs take a LOT of work to run right.  Finding reliable staff and overseeing them will take a lot of time.  Good managers are gold, but, no matter how good your managers are there are always things only the owner can handle.  You will need to work hard to keep interest up and keeping people coming back no matter how successful it is to start , or people will move on to the next big thing.  I've owned two successful clubs in SL, one a rock club, the other a big name ballroom, and both were almost a 24/7 job for me to keep in the top five, even though I had full staffs and business partners to help.

You can't rely on contests to build traffic.  My experience with contests is that they do attract people, but over half are people that come for your cash and don't tip, don't put anything in club donation jar and don't shop.  Live music can be a big draw, but can also be expensive if you have it regularly.

Learn all you can about what causes lag and control the things that you can control as tightly as you can.  No matter how nice the club is, people will leave if its too laggy.  Unless you are getting a sim for it (the best way) keep in mind that no matter how well you run your parcel what your neighbors do will have an effect on yours.

I don't want to discourage you from your dream, but think carefully about it before diving in.  There are tons of empty clubs around SL.  A good business plan is essential. Figure out your target audience and make sure the build and surrounds will appeal to them  Don't try to be all things to all people either in the theme or in the type of music you play there.  Decide on a music format and make your DJ's stick to it.   The more thought and research that you put into it before you spend a linden, the better off you'll be.

 

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The secret to a successful club is insight, atmosphere, patience and deep pockets.  You need to have something that will appeal to your targeted audience (I, personally don't think it's possible to create a club that appeals to a universal audience....you need to cater to a smaller demographic and design the club using any insight into that group's wants or needs).  Having an creative atmosphere that matches your clients' needs is extremely important (you can't have a 50's style club that will appeal to the techno crowd).  Successful clubs don't happen overnight......weeks without any visitors is common and months on end with very little traffic can be expected (even with advertising).  And the deep pockets comes from having to invest both time and money into the club with little or no return......only the persistant, creative and patient survive the club scene in SL.  If you work it right, you'll eventually get known and become successful. 

 

I hope you don't define success in monetary terms...........you're headed for disappointment if you do.  Very few clubs even break even in SL.

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The area should not be laggy. Try to use as many Library Textures as possible in the development of the area. Keep about 10-20% of the available prims in reserve. In many cases, 0 prims on the land = 100% of the available performance, as you add prims/objects/scripts, performance drops.   Regions rated Moderate may allow for a greater variety of Residents to visit than would a Region rated General.

Recruit some individuals who demonstrate a gift for gab, make them Land Officers in a Group. I would guess that socializing is SL's most popular Resident activity. I visited a line-dancing club and most of the Residents were talking whilst dancing; from an observer's perspective I would say that the dancing animation was most to allow for individuals to "feel" busy while they chatted. I take part of that back, the music was a huge draw for many of the Residents. You can add finding a DJ for your club/hangout.

Allowing Group members to set their Home position to the Group's land is a desireable benefit. I feel sorry for Residents who have to use a Public Home location like Dore, maximum lag logins.

Many Help groups have a group policy for "who" is allowed to answer visiting Resident's questions. You may want to consider creating an appropriate policy that will help maintain a welcoming atmosphere at your club. 

I'm a little confused as to what your goal is. I can be your friend and sell you something at a small profit, but if that is all I want to do; then we're not friends, it's called business.

Marketing can be free, open the Inworld Map, look for green dots, teleport to those locations. Wear your Group's tag, have the Group's land showing in your Profile Picks, participate in the events/themes and with the Residents in that Region in a friendly and sincere manner and you may attract like individuals.

Factor the finances for the amount of land you want for the Group (club) for 1 year. The race is long, you have to be in it to win it.

The Cost will be your's for the duration of development.

I have some additional thoughts, but I have to go for now.

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Eleseren Brianna wrote:

Hi everyone, I hope this is the right forum for this thread (apologies in advance if it isnt).  I wanted to ask people their thoughts on how to make a successful club/hangout.  Its not just traffic, its about creating a place people want to come hang out - dance, talk, build a community feel - and keep coming back.  Any thoughts on marketing, investment, costs, any other advice?  Its open ended, any thoughts or experience would be welcome to hear. 

TY
:)

Hi, I don't own anything in SL, but I might like a club or a hangout one day.  It will depend on the economy, but even if I broke even, it still would be fun.

I visit a lot of clubs as that is what I mostly do in SL, clubs and shopping mostly, as I have a rl bf and one bf is enough!

Anyhow, I thought I'd give you some feedback on what I don't like about clubs and what keeps me from NOT going back.

1.  Too small to where our avatars lose part of their textures such as hair or skirts; meaning parts of the hair or clothing sort of ghost and go transparent.  People spend a lot of money on their avatars, so keep that in mind.

2.  The Floor:  Make sure feet do not go through the floor when the avatars are dancing.  Also, with the floor make it a good color as often clubs with snow indoors or sand is far too bright for my monitor screen even if I turn to sunrise, sunset or midnight.  Make the floor a good color so people can see their shoes they spent money on, etc.

3.  Have a theme and decorate it well.  There are clubs popping up without any decorations, just a wooden floor in the middle of the ocean, and no theme or decorations makes me not want to go back as it looks very blah.

4.  Have a general music genre such as is this club rock, heavy metal, blues, etc?  Let people know the basic style of music.

5.  Contests turn me off as people just befriend people so they can vote for each other, so it's pretty fake and not fun.  Contests are a waste of time, imo. 

6.  Don't hire a hostess because if people don't have to tip a hostess, they will most likely tip the club/venue if and when they have some extra lindens (it's a very bad economy right now).  Your Dj's can take care of the griefers. 

7.  Don't buy a lot of annoying bright blinging things that can make the eyes feel tired and sore after a while.  IOW, don't make a disco and go all out with flashing and blinging dance floors, walls, ceilings, etc; it hurts my eyes, so I don't go back to those kind of clubs.

8.  Make sure your Dj's keep updating their playlists weekly, or have your Dj's put together a creative and unusual set.  Don't just play the same old commerialized music we can hear on the radio over and over.  Do something fresh and different, too!

That's all I can think of for now, but good luck.  I guess what I like in a club would be the opposite of the don't likes.   

For a DO, get a sponsor or two for certain events. 

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Depending on where in the world you live you will need a public-performance licence and permissions from all artists' whose music/videos you are playing.  These need to be compliant with both your local laws and US/Californian ones (because they're what govern LL and therefore SL).  Similarly you will need to make a royalty payment to the artists for each time use of their material (eg; via the Performing Rights Society in the UK),

Many people don't comply with these of course, but they are legal requirements.  Compare their RL US$ cost with any expected SL L$ income before expecting to make a profit.

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Yeah, this is the path to destruction in SL.

Consider the revenue models for a club in RL:

- cover charge

- drinks

- prostitutes and juicy girls (girls the guys buy colored-water for at high prices to earn flirting time).

- sell t-shirts

 

2 of those can't be done in SL in any viable model. Cover - people just TP elsewhere. Drinks - not until you can make a USB plugin 'get me drunk over the internet' device (which by the way, -DOES- exist in SL for XXX content and another form of 'stimulation').

The prostitutes and juicy girls though, that's pretty popular. Escorts and dancers - tip jars or by the clock-in meter...

- But they will expect YOU to PAY them, AND expect to be able to KEEP all the money they make off of digital Johns.

So... no money for the club there.

 

All you've got is the t-shirts. This is the 'put a mall outside my club' model. But guess what? You club goers ignore the mall, and your mall goers ignore the club. Or worse, they complain about each other... "Those clubers/mall vendors are too laggy, I'm leaving."

- Its a bad marriage, but also the most common one.

One last trick: put your hat on the floor by the door and beg... but guess what... your prostitutes and juicy girls will complain that you're cutting into their tips...

 

Ok... so maybe try the 'Open Mic' / 'Live Music' trick...

- Guess who expects to get paid by whom? Yeah... don't expect your live music star to pay -you- for the privilege of using your spot to play his stuff... :)

- There is a saving grace here. Live musicians are a -LOT- smarter and nicer folks than the SL-prostitutes and juicy girls (escorts and dancers). They -WILL- work the room to get tips for you, not just themselves. Go hang out in some live music places to see this. Being smarter and nicer they actually realize its a partnership, and you're not just 'auto-rich' by being the one who rezzed a prim.

Escorts and dancers on the other hand often include a -LOT- of newbies that don't realize owning a club earns no money on its own, and will get downright nasty when you suggest you need a revenue stream.

 

 

Final tactic: The who cares model. Get some land, rezz some stuff, and call it your entertainment budget. You just happen to rez a club whereas other people rez sexbeds and meeroos (the next person in SL who gets RL-rich is the one who makes a breedables sexbed that's also cute...).

 

- This can actually work. Its why the smart money is on a small club with tight knit theme that gets just enough people for you to have fun with them.

 

All you have to do now, is actually enjoy being in the spotlight and hosting people everytime you log in... because your visitors will not expect to find you hanging out in some other club... :)

 

 

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Mayalily wrote:


Eleseren Brianna wrote:

Hi everyone, I hope this is the right forum for this thread (apologies in advance if it isnt).  I wanted to ask people their thoughts on how to make a successful club/hangout.  Its not just traffic, its about creating a place people want to come hang out - dance, talk, build a community feel - and keep coming back.  Any thoughts on marketing, investment, costs, any other advice?  Its open ended, any thoughts or experience would be welcome to hear. 

TY
:)

Hi, I don't own anything in SL, but I might like a club or a hangout one day.  It will depend on the economy, but even if I broke even, it still would be fun.

I visit a lot of clubs as that is what I mostly do in SL, clubs and shopping mostly, as I have a rl bf and one bf is enough!

Anyhow, I thought I'd give you some feedback on what I don't like about clubs and what keeps me from NOT going back.

1.  Too small to where our avatars lose part of their textures such as hair or skirts; meaning parts of the hair or clothing sort of ghost and go transparent.  People spend a lot of money on their avatars, so keep that in mind.

2.  The Floor:  Make sure feet do not go through the floor when the avatars are dancing.  Also, with the floor make it a good color as often clubs with snow indoors or sand is far too bright for my monitor screen even if I turn to sunrise, sunset or midnight.  Make the floor a good color so people can see their shoes they spent money on, etc.

The venue can't control the feet thing. Only the AOs of the avatars can - unless you mean the dances. On that I'll agree with you. Choose your dances carefully - go on a short and a tall avatar to the shop and make sure you look good on both. Motion capture is the most likely to achieve this. If you can't get perfect - people will notice, as Mayalily notes, sinking into the floor a lot faster than floating slightly above it.

ps: make sure your dance balls have a random option, and that you have separate male and female ones... I've left many a place for breaking either of these two. I want to see variety on my avatar, and I don't want to see myself moving like a man. And its only funny sometimes when the guys start belly dancing... :)

Chat range in SL is I think, still 20m, unless they've changed it - so a small venue is actually better. And small shouldn't cause rezzing problems. Its large crowds and objects with hi-rez textures that would cause that.

 

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1)  Decide what sucessful  means to you.  Profit? Fun? Large attendance? And aim for that.

2)  Start off with a small club and go to a bigger on as your clubmembers go.  Keep in mind that larger clubs will cost you more in land rental.  A 20 x 20 meter club is fine for a start.  

3)  The look of your club is important and should match the type of music that is going to be played

4) Learn to dj yourself. (The shoutcast.com has all the programs you need to do it.    

5) It is possible to run a club with out using your rl money to do.  But it is a lot of hours to make the rent payment  (I did this with my classic diner and always made enough to cover at least my tier)

6) As stated above you cant please everyone so you pick what you like  and you will attract others that share your interest

7)  If you have a regular source of lindens coming in (not counting your club) then hire djs you will pay.   The best way to do it is the top the tips method.   If the DJ  doesnt  earn x amount of tips then you top it up.  A good number is 1000 for 2 hours.  Otherwise hire djs that will work for tips only.  They are harder to find but they are out there.   Don't be shy about using newbie dj's.  I have had great success with them.

8) Hire dj's that will voice over the mic and skip the hostess. The dj can do it or you can.

9) Don't fill your club with table and chairs.   No one will sit on them or use them.  Dance floor, dj booth, are all you need.  Contest board and poles if you are having them.

10) Avoid clutter.  Adboards, selling boards, make your place look junky.  and they use up prim and create lag .

11)   Avoid a lot of rules.  My clubs have one rule:  Don't do anything that will annoy others..  No other rule is needed.

12)   Book your events for your own time zone for the first little while so you can be there to over see. 

13)   Dont over use the group announcemt.   Do one main one with the schedule attached. and then use group IM to announce starting starting and half way points.

14)   Contests  -  Have a 3 panel judge of your staff to choose the winner.  This avoids all the pitfalls and people will trust your contests

15)  a club is not a square box.  You club should have a shape  inside and out.  Dont have 4 flat walls.  

16)  Lighting should be kept to miniminm for prim and lag reasons.  

17)   Buy an intan system  1300 L  and then buy some good dances for them 350each.  Many people dont know that you can move your avatar up or done on them with cursor keys (no shoes in the floor.  Don't put the dance balls themselves out on dance floor.  It looks cluttered.   As for single dances,  I never went with one for each gender.  And I only put in about 10 dances.  The reason is a lot of people have chims. 

18)  Most of all   do what YOU want.  All the advice give worked for the specfic club owners.   But we all run our clubs differently.  Same with your members.  Don't change anything unless you have have gotten a lot of complaints or requests.  Club member will spend your money like crazy as they dont know what goes in to running a club . 

 

Hope this helps

 Roche

 

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OMG where do I start.. It's not rocket science I've owned or set up three very busy 'hang outs' ( still going ..

But do you want this . really ?..

Consider a few things ..

A, it won't make you any money for the time you put in compated to setting up a business which will actually get you fans and so you'll never be short of friendly likeminded people to talk to.

B,Owning a busy club will bring you more tears than smiles. Like all big club owners you can expect a contuinual torrent of abuse from the people you have to ban and living as a target is'nt perhaps what you want.

C, forget having friends. You'll find yourself ignoring them to sort issues with people who demand you sort out their issues.

D, If you get a great idea and work very hard to make it work expect the name and idea copied and rival owners to come and steal your hard won traffic

Basicly start a club and spend your time with people who hate you or a business and have friends and loving fans.

I know most of the top sim owners and they'll all tell you the same .. Clubs look great from the outsde .. but behind it is some poor fool taking the blame for it.  I know a few happy ones but they sold them lol

This for me is the real tradgedy of SL .. the very thing that should be supported by LL to bring in new people is basicly thrown to the wolves. Even a beautiful sim like Apollo was just not worth saving ..*sigh*

 

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  • 5 months later...


Fabien DeSantis wrote:

 

B,Owning a busy club will bring you more tears than smiles. Like all big club owners you can expect a contuinual torrent of abuse from the people you have to ban and living as a target is'nt perhaps what you want.

This for me is the real tradgedy of SL .. the very thing that should be supported by LL to bring in new people is basicly thrown to the wolves. Even a beautiful sim like Apollo was just not worth saving ..*sigh*

 

I agree with the tears.....many a day i have sat and wondered what i need to do to get my club like the rest....busy.....but unfortunetly, it doesn't work like that,.......you can either give up or you can plug on.....and as for friends......you really find out who your real friends are...they are the ones that let you cry on thier shoulders and offer advice not simple platitudes.

the secret to a great club......there really isn't one believe it or not. Everyone says they do have the secret but truth be told......what works for them may not work for you. I found that for me what works is plugging along and with the help of true friends like a certain Wolf G i know, you get through day by day.

Get a good staff, an experienced staff.. and yes they are really hard to find...and even when you do you find yourself putting in a lot of long hours........cause real life is real life and you can't get away from it no matter how you try.

Contests don;t work...they do sometimes....you might get one vip out of 20.....but for the most part they don't work...it is a waste of money.

lag is always an issue...it's sl after all.....lag is LL's answer to gas. It comes and goes. Deal with it best you can.

More support from LL would be nice,,,,,but we all know that is never gonna happen.

most of all....and one thing i have learned......don't be afraid to ask questions. Pick the other owner's brains. Get thier input...they have been where you are now.

And now for the best advice i can give you....whatever you do....do go changing your clubs look every few months.....cause you have to close it and people loose interest.

In closing.....a successful club in Sl is possible......but it takes time....it doesn't happen over night....i outta know....my club has been around for over a year......and it still sits empry sometimes......it has it moments...but was it worth it...yup....found out who my real friends are!

 

 

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