"I believe it can even help people who aren't comfortable dancing since it provides a structure. All you have to do is know how to follow instructions!"
Terra and her fellow organizers did such an effective job of marketing the event to newcomers that, as Terra mentioned,
"I actually had to do lessons on three separate times [in addition to the planned lesson before the dance] because we had so many new dancers."
- Who is it, exactly, that are you trying to reach? The more specific you can be, the better. "The general public" is really hard to reach and a large percentage of them will ignore you anyway. "People in X age range who hang out in clubs but don't like it/people in X age range who like to dance/people in X age range who like music but not the club scene" are more manageable.
- What does your target audience need to know? This can be your event information.
- When might they be receptive to your message? When they're checking Facebook for the billionth time, when they're waiting for a bus, when they're in line at the grocery store, when they're at the campus bar with their friends....
- Where do they get their info? Where do they hang out? This is actually the second-hardest part, I find. People get information many ways, from word-of-mouth to posters to listservs.
- Why should they care? What can you do for them? The more concrete you can be, the better. Unfortunately, "because it's awesome" doesn't really cut it with people who aren't already in the contra scene. (And besides, you probably had them at "there's going to be a contra dance.")
- How can you put your message into that venue? This can be the hardest part. If you want to attract, for instance, people 18-26 who who are uncomfortable in your average 21st century dance club setting, the ideal might be to go to the club and advertise there...but that might be impolitic. ("Hey you, you're miserable here, come to this other thing instead!" tends to be, at best, tacky. However, if you have your event at the same venue, or are using the same DJ, these could very much be avenues to the targeted audience. "If you like my DJing, come to something different next week!" works just fine.) However, the folks that are turned off by the club scene might be on your local college campus, or at the local coffee shop, or at the library, or....