PROMOTING A NEW BAND
The hardest thing for a band to do is to build enough momentum to consistently bring a turnout of 100 or more at all your shows. And to pull that 100 fans in person, you may need to build a fan base of a thousand interested local fans.
Here are some suggestions that can help you build a better turnout for your next show…
1 RADIO – Always find a way to have a radio tie in, even if its just a pod cast. Pick out which radio station is most likely to play your music and go for it! Don’t forget college radio stations and internet radio station like Moonson Radio which plays local band music every week.
2 WEB – It’s important to have both a Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation and a website. Even a simple web site that forwards hits directly to Facebook is a good idea if you don’t want the headache of maintaining both a web site and a Facebook. Make sure you contact all your Facebook friends often once you have a confirmed gig. Weekly reminders starting 6 weeks out followed by 2-3 reminders the week of the show is normal. Facebook Invites and Messages are a bit more work, but do much better at pulling turnout than bulletins or postings (which should be done too!). Please make sure that both your web site and your Facebook have updated information at all times!
3 PRESS – Start a list of local press contacts that write about music. You’d be amazed at how many times you can get a story placed just by emailing or calling the right person and pitching the story. Sometimes a simple press release is enough, other times you want to find a hook to make the story more interesting. Aim for both stories before the event and press attendance at the event. Building personal relationships with members of the local press is very good career strategy!
4 FAN BASE – The more personal your relationship with your fans, the more likely they are to come out to your shows. The ideal fan is someone who likes your music and likes your music. Treat your fans great and they will reward you by coming out to a lot of shows.
5 FLYER MARKETING – We believe that flyers or tickets personally handed during a face to face conversation with someone who likes your genre of music is the highest and best use of flyers and/or tickets. Dropping off the flyers at the local stores has to be done, but has the lowest return rate. Be creative about finding people who like your type of music. If you are a Jam Band, be meeting and greeting everyone you can at the next Dave Matthews concert. If you are an Alt Rock band, hit the Alt Rock show circuit and talk to everyone you can at those shows.
Remember that some venues do not allow flyering in the venue or in the parking lot. Some cities, such as Scottsdale, have anti-littering laws that you must follow when flyering. Follow the rules!
6 LIST MARKETING – Every show you hold, make sure to collect cell phone numbers and email addresses. You should be building a list of people every time you play out of fans who want to know when your next show is and want a text message, want an email with your upcoming show information. Building a database of known fans is one of the single most important things a band can do.
It’s also helpful to keep a projected attendance list based on RSVPs. Aim to convert possible attendees to confirmed attendees who have bought advance tickets. (Get early commitments like advance ticket sales) as often as possible, and don’t stop until you have doubled the capacity of the room. You should be able to name every single one of the persons that make up a capacity of the room if you’ve done your job. And the reason why we recommend that you aim for a confirmed attendance list of double the capacity is that about 50-70% of your list may not show, still leaving you with a full or near full room. And if they all show up, you’ll have a line out the door and really impress the venue owners and promoters!
It’s hard tedious work…growing your fan base and turning out your fan base show after show. But, there does come a point where you have built up enough fans (one at a time, with great music and hard marketing work) that your fan base reaches “critical mass” and suddenly your fan base can start exploding. Then you’re on your way to being another band that gets called an “overnight success” when you know damn well that it was a ton of hard work that built up that starter fan base that suddenly started growing like wildfire…