- Never leave promotion to the other guy.
Depending on your point of view don't count on the label,
band or publicist to do their jobs. Do it yourself or it
may not get done.
- Know your niche market(s) or hire/befriend
someone who does.
- Always think of the fans first when making
- Start early. Pre-promote. It allows time
for viral buzz (aka free promotion) to build and ensures
you’ll get you a larger share of a discretionary spending.
- Take the time and spend the money to get
a great publicist to get free media.
- Produce great promotional material and
send it out early and often. Don’t wait until they
- Email lists must be your new religion.
Make sign up simple and easy to find. Put it visibly on
the top half of the front page and watch it grow.
- Segment your email lists (genre, location)
to fight email burnout.
- Produce and send great e-cards. The best
ones get forwarded to others Make your web site a destination
by keeping it updated and including news, giveaways, polls
and things to make it worth visiting.
- Put your promo online in downloadable form
for easy access by the media and your fans.
- Enable and encourage others to do your
promo for you. Ask fans to put up flyers and send out emails.
Put a poster online as a free downloadable PDF for fans
- Create, utilize and reward a street team.
Here’s a short article on the subject.
- Talk to people and take informal polls.
Have they seen your ads? Where? Did they grab them and provide
useful information? Survey your audience via email, on the
web and at shows.
- Add a free poll to your web site or blog
- Get every free listing everywhere you
can no matter how obscure or far away. Maintain an extensive
“listings” email list and use it.
- Enhance the value of press releases by
always attaching a photo or graphic file or a link to one.
- Aggressively seek sponsorships. Big sponsorships
are great, but no sponsorship is too small to consider even
if its just cross promotion in ads or free give aways.
- Always think yourself as a brand that
needs to be defined, marketed, and protected.
Try local cable TV. Some local spots on Fuse or other targeted
channels go for as little as $7 each. Check out Spotrunner,
dMarc or your local cable company.
- Try local internet advertising via Google
Adsense, Facebook or local web sites. MySpace is adding
targeted advertising early 2008.
- Advertise on internet radio and blogs
that serve your market.
- Create consistency by creating ad mats
and radio spots beds.
- Sponsor non-commercial radio and get mentions.
NPR is great, but don’t forget college radio.
- Think out of the box with radio tie-ins.
Rry talk radio for a classic rock or jazz radio for a fusion.
Radio stations want to expand their audience too.
- Co-brand. Celtic Music with an Irish bar
or specialty shop or metal with a tattoo parlor. Worry less
about money and think more about exposure.
Sponsor somebody else’s event. Consider trading sponsorships.
- Create your own affordable net radio station
on Live 365.
- Add a blog to your website to keep content
fresh. Blogger.com has free tools.
Go viral and post on related list-servers and discussion
- Can't find the right discussion group?
Start your own discussion group for free at Yahoo or Google
- Get on both MySpace and Facebook and stay
active. Don’t just set it up and forget it. Update
it and promote it.
- Take it worth visiting. iLike and others
are creating services to help you keep track and update
more than one site at a time.
- Make everything you do an event. What
holiday is near? Is it a band member birthday? An anniversary
Consider the internet your new best friend. Study it, learn
from it, explore it and use it
- Run contests for best poster design or
homemade video. Share all the entries on the web.
- Produce monthly or even weekly podcasts.
Consider having it produced cheaply or in trade for tickets,
etc, by a local college DJ.
- Do anything you can think of to enhance
the consumer experience.
- Give stuff away – backstage passes,
seat upgrades, seats on stage, tix to the sound check, mp3’s
of live songs.
- In the entertainment business perception
can be reality. Is your show the biggest, best, loudest,
“most talked about”? Then be sure to tell the
world that it is.
- Enhance and monetize the hard core fan
experience with a Platinum level fan club that offers exclusive
downloads, pre-orders, insider news, preferred seating at
- Go old school and cut through email overload
by also faxing calendars and press releases. Use a free
computer based fax broadcast service.
- Don't just send announcements to the main
stream press but include bloggers, internet radio, record
stores, colleges and even large offices.Make your faxes
look like mini-posters worth hanging up.
Fly a plane with a banner over someone else’s event.
- Park a van or truck with a banner on a
main street or across from a show by a similar act.
Buy a billboard for an event or series of shows. Place it
strategically near a competitor or across from a college
- Use one of the cheap automated phone answering
services advertised in the classifieds to set up a special
phone line for your schedule.
- Pass a clipboard(s) around before a show
to capture emails or do a survey.
- Meet your fans face to face and ask them
for feedback but how you can serve them better.
Try the good old fashioned US mail occasionally. It actually
gets peoples attention.
- Promote “After Parties” that
are cheap or free with a concert ticket. This allows you
to extend your brand or even tag onto someone else's at
- Hand out flyers on the way out of the
- Capture info from any one who make a purchase
particularly ticket buyers.
- Ask your web visitors questions. Polls
are free and easy to set up with sites like PollDaddy.
- Sell merchandise at affordable prices.
It’s branding that someone else pays for.
- Get creative with your merchandise –
don’t just sell shirts. Try flip books, for example
- You can add variety to your merchandise
with no upfront costs using CafePress or Zazzle.
- In this age of too much info and media,
work to make yourself a trusted gatekeeper for your genre(s)
of music. Use newsletters, blogs, tips, links, internet
radio, and more. Don't just write about yourself. Write
about things people who care about you also care about.
- Carry a video camera everywhere and post
short videos on YouTube.com and elsewhere of live shows,
interviews, backstage, etc.
- Create your own related niche blogs or
web sites (for example MidWestmetal.com or NightlifeDetroit.com
or FansOf____.com). You can make yourself the only (or primary)
advertiser, but keep it real with info and news from others.
- Send thank-you notes. Not emails; written
notes. No one says thank-you anymore. It will be remembered.
Ask for the purchase. Never forget that you are in sales.
- Market to the niches. Market to bartenders
in Irish pubs for a Celtic or motorcycle shops for a heavy
metal. Try tattoo parlors, coffee shops, book stores, niche
- Make your emails and web site useful to
the reader. Add info and links to things your audience might
find interesting or useful that you have nothing to do with.
- Share your best promo ideas and avenues
of promotion with other stakeholders: bands, promoters,
labels, publicists, and sponsors.
- Share media lists with others highlighting
things you think will work best for each project.
Sell a series or combo. This works for recorded music and
Surprise people. Give them something for free that they
did not expect.
- Create and use banners. Don’t have
time or $ for Kinkos? Try Avery Banner Maker.
Trade others occasionally for targeted email lists, but
don’t overuse them.
- Hire or befriend a geek who will help
you keep up on new technologies and internet promo opportunities.
Partner with a charity. Build good will and get more free
media. Maybe you're giving a small % or maybe it’s
auctioning off or selling the seats on stage or tickets
to the sound check.
- Consider unusual places on the internet
like Craigslist, sBay and StubHub as promotional tools…Try
selling tickets and other stuff there.
- Musicians want to be actors and actors
and athletes want to be musicians. Think about how you can
cross promote so everyone wins.
- Always make available a hi-resolution
color photo available for easy download and you’ll
get much better placement in print Sunday editions and calendar
- Some fans travel so try cross–promoting
with another show (by the same band or just a similar band)
in another city 50 or 100 miles away.
- Create a special “Insider”
email list fof a few fans, key media, tastemakers and bloggers
for pre-announcements who love to know things first…and
like to tell others.
- If the there is going to be a meet and
greet after show make sure that it's advertised. Fans always
want a chance to meet the musicians.
- Consider offering a student discount or
List all your tour dates online on Pollstar, CelebrityAccess.
MusicToday, Live Nation and elsewhere. You never know where
people will go looking for a show.
- Work to make it easier and cheaper for
fans to buy tickets online. There are always going to have
to be some fees, but some services like InTicketing charge
much smaller fees than Ticketmaster. Find ways to your regular
- Enhance your gatekeeper status by creating
your own free Pandora or Last.FM “radio station”
and linking to it from your site.
- Create free custom Pandora or Last.FM
for each concert event…”Get in the mood for
the Al Green concert with this classic soul stream…”.
It’s a free way to make the concert an event and keep
them talking about it to others.
- Start a short term blog for every big
show or series. Post when it goes it go on sale, when an
opener is added, when the front rows are sold out, news
about the bands, everything.Link to it from our wen site.
Produce and sponsor a cable access show.
- Utilize free interns. Try to make sure
they are getting college credit so they are motivated to
Use cell text messaging to communicate instantly. Try Nightlifetexting.com
or Google to find other companies.
- Flyer - It’s the cheapest form of
advertising. Clubflyers.com even offers free flyers every
month or a try local printer.
- A good flyer promotes more than one show
and is also worth of being hung as a mini poster.
Flyer someone else’s show in a related genre.
- Make sure all important info is on the
front page of your site: new gigs, news, latest photos/songs/videos,
etc. Make it easy as possible for fans to see the site is
update and to get to stuff quickly.
- Make sure everywhere you are mentioned
(club listings, others bands you are playing with, etc)
links back to your site. If they aren't linking, ask.
- Encourage fans to "tag" you
and your content on other sites like flickr, blogs, etc.
Then aggregate that data on your site.
- Do the same using recommendation sites
like Digg and Stumble. See example links at the bottom of
every Hypebot post.
- As Tip #7 stated, email lists should be
your new religion. A few sites like scriggleit.com offer
free mailing list and text messaging solutions. There's
- Finding the time to keep up with all of
this is hard but essential. Take advantage of new free services
that offer the ability to manage content across platforms:
> Nimbit enables mp3, CD, ticket and merchandise sales
on MySpace, Facebook and elsewhere from a single integrated
widget. > ReverbNation provides email sign-up, street
teams and web promotion tools. A new addition allows multi-artist
tracking. > iLike has made its fan communication and
community building tools instantly compatible on both its
site and Facebook and provides tracking tools and stats.
- If you hear about a good promo idea, go
online and research it RIGHT NOW. Try it before it becomes
over used. You can drop it if it doesn't work.
- Up your promotion Karma. If you try something
and it's a hit, tell others. Then they will be more likely
to share ideas with you.