A lot of musicians just starting out rely on word of mouth to get their name out there among the crowds. While this is an important facet of drawing new followers, building a real fan base requires additional effort. This doesn’t mean promoting your band has to take up all your personal time. There are highly effective ways to market yourself, many of which take 5 minutes or less.
Start by creating an email list. At shows, where you have a promotional table set up, include a sign-up sheet. Use the information collected to keep your current fans abreast of what’s to come in the future. This also helps so those who just happened to be at the venue without knowing you were playing also have a chance to get involved. Use the email list to send out promotional materials, announcements, newsletters, and other information. Include a link back to your website. It only takes a few seconds to print up a page to fill out.
This comes back to having a website, or at least a Facebook and Twitter account, for the band. A website with a blog is highly beneficial, as you can make use of the internet and blast your promotional information to the world. However, with the amount of people following Twitter accounts and ‘liking’ pages on Facebook, you can also expect a good following here. This is especially true if you are diligent about posting and tweeting to keep your fans in the loop. A post doesn’t take more than five minutes. You can do this anytime, day or night.
Print stickers and flyers. While it may take a little time and elbow grease to create the material, the promotion takes only a minute. Simply walk into a music store or other venue and ask if you can leave them in a visible location for potential listeners to grab for free.
Release podcasts that can be downloaded for free from multiple sources. If you’re already playing a show, or rehearsing, it doesn’t take much additional time or effort to set up recording equipment so you have something to share with listeners. Upload it to all the major online distributors, a process that, again, takes very little time. It can be done while you’re working on a blog post about it, doubling your productivity in a small amount of time.
Have you thought about showing up to an open mic night with business cards or posters? Spend ten minutes giving the audience a glimpse of what you have to offer. Reel them in, then let them know they can see you at other venues or find you on social media. Hand out your materials for their future reference. Chances are, at least a few of them will become fans.
That comes back around to seeking out and accepting opportunities. When you’re offered a gig, don’t turn it down because it’s a small venue or a little out of the way. Playing in and of itself is a great way to promote the band. Go through every open doorway to make sure you’re visible, because this will come back to word of mouth and more followers.
Really, you could spend all your time working on promotional ideas and resources, especially as an independent artist. However, when you want to focus more on the music while still getting your name out there, keep in mind some quick, easy tips for promoting your band.
I had to start off reading this post, disagreeing with you… which I generally do just because I like playing devils advocate (not keanu reeves)…
The first sentence…
“A lot of musicians just starting out rely on word of mouth to get their name out there among the crowds.”
This is in fact, not true… they start out solely relying on Facebook and Twitter and spamming the heck out of people they know…
Could this be classed as word of mouth to the social extreme? I doubt it.
Nice article, Matt x
This is a good article, and I have had to deal with the hassle of promoting my old band. I wanted to make it easier for others, so I just put together a free website to help bands promote.
This doesn’t replace word of mouth, or playing shows, but it may help you get some extra fans who are looking for new bands. I invite you all to check it out.
It is a new site, so if there are any features missing/broken etc. feel free to let me know. Thanks.