A raving, loyal fan base, premium high priced gigs and worldwide recognition. Isn't that what all bands and musicians hope and pray for? Of course it is. If they're honest … But these are just some of the surface rewards of what an effective band promotions campaign can do for you. The deeper satisfaction of knowing you can be a full time musician without having to slave away at a 9-5 is where the REAL satisfaction comes from.
And knowing how to promote a band is without a doubt THE most important aspect of succeeding in the new music business. Of course great music, showmanship and well written songs are a given, but effective band promotion tops it all.
The reality is that even if your music sucks … you can still market the crap out of it and make a go at a very successful career in the music industry. We see it almost every day. Actually, we hear it every day. Turn on your radio for five minutes. Tell me you don't hear songs blaring out vocals that have been modified so dramatically it hurts your very soul.
I have, and knowing this crap exists makes me realize there's hope for anyone in this new music business we currently find ourselves entrenched in. Maybe the public at large will "get it" one day but until they do … why not use this to your advantage.
Don't get me wrong, I occasionally love a bubbly pop song as much as the next door "teeny-bopper" but when it comes right down to it, give me some good well written live music. Am I right?
Cool. Now that we understand that practically anyone can make this music career thing happen in today's new music business, let's talk about how YOU can use some of these music business promotion ideas I'll be discussing for your own music marketing efforts.
7 Low-Cost How To Promote a Band Techniques That Work
Now I'm about to lay down 7 low-cost attention getting techniques that are sure to help elevate your music marketing game in some big ways. These techniques work … and they work very well. So get a piece of paper, turn off your television set and get focused. You're about to learn some of the most basic elements on how to promote a band effectively but before I dig in, I want you to understand that this band promotion thing doesn't have to be complicated. You don't have to spend a ton of money on band advertising, or super fancy websites or anything crazy.
What you DO need is the ability to think beyond slapping up a band website, pinning up a bunch of fliers in your home town and letting your friends and family know that you're in a band. And I want you to realize that this band promotion thing goes well beyond simply heading out on a promotional rampage whenever something big is about to happen in your music career.
Music promotion campaigns should happen on a regular basis and are ultimately the key to your success. Once you understand and accept this … you just might make the music world your oyster.
Band Promotion Idea # 1 – Target Your Music Marketing Campaigns
So you're an indie band on a small budget. Spreading your marketing efforts on a national scale too soon will cost too much. If you don't have the budget for a plan this large, you'll kill your campaigning efforts much too fast.
It'll be much more effective if you reign in your expectations to start and market your band on a smaller regional scale until you've built a solid foundation.
Stretch your touring region one city at a time and only move to a new city once you've built a following of at least 100 fans in each town you tackle. This approach allows you to focus on serving fans effectively in one area before moving on to newer pastures.
It's not necessary to book live shows across the country, coast to coast to promote your band effectively. Start by establishing an area of 4 to 5 towns and cities and set up a show in each town every other month. With this approach you'll avoid wearing out your welcome and fans will actually look forward to your next visit through town. In fact they'll be drooling with anticipation.
Every time you pass through town you'll be able to build each local fan base more and more and you'll end up creating a much more powerful regional buzz. Attempting to do this on a national scale is not only difficult … but way too expensive for the average indie band.
Band Promotion Idea # 2 – Give It Away Today. Yes Give It Away.
Trying to lock your band name into the mind of everyone who sees you perform is considered the holy grail of band promotion. If you get them talking about you after they've seen you perform … consider this task accomplished. No easy feat, right?
So how do you go about making this happen more often?
By giving stuff away free. Yes! Give it away. If you've got an older EP that you've put together and maybe, like most bands I know, you haven't been able to sell all of them … why not give them away at the door to the first 100 fans who show up before 11PM. Modify these numbers to whatever amount is appropriate for your situation, but believe me it WILL work.
Maybe you don't give away an EP. Maybe you've got a bunch of posters lying around. And if you don't have either at this point (shame on you), heck why not dish out a $ 100 and buy yourself a bunch of poster giveaways and use them to start building your list. Doing this stuff helps keep you memorable with fans. We both know fans love free stuff.
Which takes us to the next low-cost idea that is guaranteed to pay for itself for a long time deep into your music career …
Band Promotion Idea # 3 – Publish an E-mail Newsletter
Love it or hate it … this is hands down THE BEST way to, not only communicate with fans, but to help you take your music marketing to the next level.
See with an email newsletter in your music marketing toolkit, you can move your fan communication to an active level. Instead of a push campaign using costly tools like advertising, pinning up fliers or passively monitoring traffic to your website, an email marketing campaign puts you in control. You get to determine when and how often you communicate with your list (fans). You're in control of exactly what they hear and when. And when you control the conversation you have the power to direct fans to take action on the things that are most relevant and rewarding to both them, and your bottom line. The newsletter path leads to profits.
I can't stress how important it is for you to capture the email of as many people as you possibly can who visit your website or come out to one of your shows.
If you have to bribe them … then do it.
In idea # 2 I discussed give aways you can use at your shows and how these giveaways can help get people signed on to your list. Don't just read this and tell yourself what a good idea that might be. Take action! Put this technique to work at your next gig and start a newsletter to interact with fans on an ongoing basis. I guarantee that if you ask … fans will take action on almost anything you put out there. Always remember to provide great content for fans far more often than asking for a sale. Quality content is what fuels the reciprocity factor. The more you give … the more you'll get.
Band Promotion Idea # 4 – Work with Nightclubs to Have Your Song Played Under Their Radio Ad Spots
Almost all clubs and venues you perform in actively promote on the radio in town. If they aren't they're probably on their way out of business soon. Some of the good ones are probably advertising on more than one radio station. Get to know the club owner. See if you can entice him / her to use one of your songs as the underlying track on their next radio ad spot. If it helps, offer to help them produce their ad spot. Imagine having your song aired on radio 3 to 5 times a week and on occasion 3-5 times a day. How many of your fans will hear it? How many new fans will want to know more …?
This can be a great way for you to increase your exposure in your local town. Of course you might have to wheel and deal with club owners to make this happen, but I'd imagine that the returns for offering to produce the radio ad spot if you're capable of this, will more than make up for the added airplay and exposure you'll receive in return.
Band Promotion Idea # 5 – Ask Fans to Help Find You Gigs
I know … crazy idea right? Fans helping to get gigs for you? But check it … it's not as strange as it might seem. Who knows the lesser known spots to gig in town than a fan? I'll bet they know where most of the best backyard parties are and with the all the money they make off those kegs of beer they sell to their friends, they'd probably be more than willing to shell out a few hundred bucks or more to have your cool band rock out a set or two for the night. Not only can you get paid to play for the night but imagine the t-shirt and album sales you can score. Not to mention the number of brand new fans you'll add onto your list for the night. Win / win … right?
Now the best way for you to make this happen is to let fans know you're available through your email list. Fire off an email every now and then to let them know you're available for hire at their private parties and functions. If you really want to make this work out for you, offer a 10% finders fee for any gigs they help you lock down.
Don't have an email list yet? What the heck are you waiting for?
Band Promotion Idea # 6 – Ask Fans to Help You Get Radio and Podcast Play
Honestly, your fans can be your greatest asset. They dig your music and most of them love pretty much everything you do, right? Why not ask them to help you out and get them on the phones to request your songs on local radio stations. Have them follow up with an email to the same radio station for even more promotions pressure.
The best way to make this happen is to give them very specific instructions on how to go about doing this for you. Again, use your email newsletter to provide them with a detailed step by step process which includes the phone number, the name of the song and the name of the radio station DJ to ask for when they call in for the request.
The easier you make this for them, the more likely they are to follow through.
Why not throw in websites and email addresses of online podcasters and get fans to request your band's music online as well. You can entice them to take action by offering a free song download for any fan who cc's (carbon copy's) their podcast email request to your newsletter email address as well. Of course this involves a little more work on your part but hey, if you score an online interview out of the deal … it'll be well worth the time involved.
Band Promotion Idea # 7 – Sponsor a Local Cause or Charity
Finally … are there any local charities or even a unique and special person in your community that you'd like to recognize? Maybe you've been touched by an illness and you'd like to help raise more awareness. If so, why not organize an event around this person or organization? Make a party out of it, raise awareness and build your list all at the same time.
You're probably familiar with the fact that most media outlets couldn't care less about your latest album release, but if you find a way to tie it in with a worthy cause you can turn your music event into a human interest story. Make this happen and you're bound to score at least a little media attention out of the deal. Who knows, if you manage to touch the right buttons with a smart campaign … maybe your event goes viral. Stranger things have happened. The bonus with this is that you get to do some good for the community as you build your music marketing reach in the process. Yet another win / win.