Want to know how to promote your music on a budget? Well you’re in luck, as today we’re going to give you a load of ideas on doing just that! This is a beginner level guide, so if you read through it and know most of the tips, please also check out our slightly more advanced guide after. For now though, read on below.
When you as a musician become more well known and have more money flowing in, it’s wise to invest in marketing teams and promotional personnel. When you’re still establishing your career however, much of your marketing efforts will fall onto your own shoulders.
Luckily though, there are a lot of things you can do to spread the word about your music. One of the biggest advantages current musicians have is the amount of free and low priced marketing resources available to them.
Today we’re going to look at what some of these free and low priced marketing resources are. So if you’re ready to promote your music but don’t know where to start, read on to the end for a load of ideas.
Note: This guide was written by Christine Infanger of Thirty Roses, a music industry blog full of industry news.
Get Your Own Website
Ok, quick music marketing tip for you. The most fundamental of all marketing tools is going to be your web site. You absolutely must have a proper web site. This does not mean a social media page of some sort, this means very specifically www.yourbandname.com. If you cannot get a url with your music name or your name is a generic term with a well established meaning, change your name. It may seem drastic, but it’s rather fundamental. This is going to be the central location people around the world will go to find out about you. If you call your band ‘boiled eggs’ and someone searches for you online, do you think they’ll find you? No, they wont.
You want your web address to be easy to remember so people can find it with little trouble. If it takes too much effort, people will give up on you, no matter how much they liked the song they heard you play.
After you’ve secured a logical web address, content is key; make it count. Keep your web site easy to navigate and make pertinent information such as tour dates and album release information easy for people to see. The whole point of your web site is for people to get information about what you’re up to; make it easy for them to find that information.
If you haven’t already got your own site up and running, you can learn how to make your own professional music website within the hour.
Social Networking Marketing For Musicians
Social networking sites are invaluable to artists when it comes to marketing and promotion. When combined with other marketing tools, they can do wonders at increasing fan retention and brand loyalty.
While there are a lot of social network sites musicians can use, here are some of the best and most effective. As always, give them a try and use those that are best for you.
Promote Your Music On Facebook
Facebook Pages offers free, global access to millions of people. Set up a page for your band and link it to your web site so that each time you post a big update, it automatically gets posted to your Facebook page. This cuts down on time you have to spend hopping from web site to web site posting the same information.
The great thing about Facebook Pages is that your fans can share your updates with their friends. If you’re making good music, people will want to share it and spread the word about you. There’s no telling how many potential new fans you could gain if you post regular updates, interact with fans who respond to you, and maybe throw in some incentives to ‘like’ the Facebook Page. The ultimate goal is going to be to get fans on your web site and subscribing to your mailing list, but put exclusive videos and songs on your Facebook Page to make it worth their while to follow that, too.
Twitter Music Promotion
Twitter is another great (and free) tool that is a necessity for artists! Use it to interact with fans, send info on tours, album release information, post photos of recording sessions and behind the scenes band happenings, and any other information you’re comfortable sharing. Have an account with the band’s name, or as close to it as you can possibly get. It’s also a good idea to have some band members on Twitter with individual accounts.
People love to interact with the musicians the listen to; it makes them feel part of something and it makes the music more real, somehow. If fans think you’re approachable, charming, and involved, they’re going to be far more enthusiastic about supporting you. The great thing about Twitter is that you can call the shots and choose how much or how little information you post.
Relevant band info is a must, but each artist can determine how much or how little of their personal life they’d care to divulge the public. You can promote your band, interact with your fans, and maintain a private life as well.
Take advantage of the people you have access to on Twitter. Interact with radio stations, DJs, managers, and other industry professionals who work with artists similar to you.
Follow music marketing and promotion firms and pay attention to the content they post. Many of the top professionals in the business are very active on Twitter and post articles and videos daily offering tips that artists can use in marketing, promotion, and every other aspect of their careers.
If you want to know more, check out this guide on how to promote your music on Twitter.
SoundCloud offers simple ways for you to put up new songs to share with your audience. Do you want to get an idea of what your fan base thinks of your new demos? Have you recorded acoustic versions of your latest EP? SoundCloud is a fast, easy, and free way to put up MP3 files and share them with your audience. You can post files on your web site, Facebook Page, and also send Tweets about what your SoundCloud activity. A well known and easy to use music player.
How To Promote Your Music Offline – Flyering And Posters
As important as social media is, it’s also important to work hard at promoting your songs offline. A really simple way to do this is with flyers and posters. This can be as simple as printing black and white flyers on your printer at home to getting as elaborate as you choose to with colors and design.
Take in to account how many flyers and posters you’ll be needing, how much printer ink and paper it will take to print those materials, and if it’s in the band budget to complete the task as you envision.
Be sure to include necessary information on your flyers; make your music name and logo stand out and be sure that the date and time of the show you’re promoting are easy to read. It’s also always a good idea to include your web address so people can find information on you.
If you’re passing out flyers to promote and album release, make sure the release date stands out. Printing and passing out 200 flyers about your new record is futile if no one can decipher what the name of your band is or when the album is coming out.
If you have a bit more money to spend, you can certainly look around at local printers to see how much it would cost to get materials professionally printed.
Where To Distribute Your Flyers And Posters
Important Note: In some countries, there will be some places you couldn’t legally put up your posters or distribute your flyers without getting permission from the relevant authorities. Please check the ‘rules’ in your country before you start putting posters up.
Come up with a plan on where you’re going to pass out or post these flyers and posters. Consider you’re target audience and think of places in the area where you might find like-minded people. Is a popular national act playing at a popular venue in town? Grab your bandmates and a few friends and hand out flyers to people leaving the gig. Let them know you have a similar vibe and you’d love it if they came to check out your band.
If you think college students would like your sound, hang up some posters around local campuses. Walk around the campus and hand out some flyers, tell the students you speak with about your band and ask them to check you out. Also, be sure to tell them to bring a friend, or several; college students tend to travel in packs, which means a bigger audience for you!
Take advantage of public places around you. Shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hotels, book stores, and, of course, record stores, are all great places to find potential fans. If you know you have a show or a release coming up, why not carry a few flyers with you the way others carry business cards?
Shaun looks a lot more at offline music marketing methods in his course.
Get Radio Play For Addition Promotion
I couldn’t talk about how to promote your music without talking about radio. At some point, you should start working to get your music on radio. This could be in the form of getting played, or getting your music reviewed. This can be tricky in large cities where the major stations tend to have milked playlists dictated by their corporate bosses, but it’s still a good idea to make yourself known to the DJs and other personnel of the stations in your area. While the girl you befriend at a radio promo event may only be a station intern at the time, she may go on to do A & R for a label or work for a sought after booking agency…
The thing to remember about the music industry is this; you never know who someone is, who they’ll become, or who they know, so always be friendly and make as many contacts as you can.
Even if the major station DJs can’t play you on the air, maybe they can put info about your shows in their web site’s ‘upcoming concerts’ or talk you up to their Twitter or Facebook audience.
Find out if local colleges and universities have a radio station. When I was a street team coordinator for an indie label, I couldn’t get much done with the big stations where I live, but the college stations were eager to talk to me.
They loved getting the edge on up and coming artists and getting merch and promo materials for listener giveaways.
It’s also worth considering the myriad of pirate and internet radio stations currently in existence. Some internet searching and talking to friends and colleagues about any stations they may know of will get you started in the right direction.
Acquaint yourself with people from the stations you think may be a good fit, send an email with a link to your web site and a SoundCloud clip of one or two of your strongest tracks.
Make A Music Video
Another great way to promote your band is by using videos. While it’s preferable to use professionals when making music videos, modern technology gives artists simple software options when their budget doesn’t let them hire video directors and editors.
With a decent camera and a MacBook Pro, you can make a videos to promote your first single or create a video teaser for your upcoming album release.
It’s also nice to share more candid videos with your fans. Clips of you on tour, in the studio, or just silly behind the scenes band footage would not only be a great way to endear you to your audience, they also prove good additions to a YouTube channel for your band.
You can get more information about making a music video here.
Do Live Performances And Gigs
One thing musicians are always doing without realizing it’s marketing is performing! Every time you take the stage for a show or sign up for an open mic night, you’re marketing yourself!
Be conscience of the image you wish to portray to the public and be professional. Use your time on stage to make the audience aware of your latest release or current single. Be sure to have some items for sale and go to the merch store and meet and greet some people. Pose for photos, sign CDs, talk about the weather; as banal as it may seem in theory, it makes a world of difference.
Get Fans And A Street Team Involved In Your Promotion
Chicago band Local H have had a career spanning over two decades with multiple radio hits and national tours every year. Even still, after every single gig, the two men in the band, Scott Lucas and Brian St. Clair interact with fans and make it very apparent that they are every bit the ‘real people’ that those paying to hear them play are.
While you’re certainly allowed to feel every bit the rock star if that’s your desire, keep your ego in check and always show appreciation to those making your career possible.
Fans are an amazing marketing resource. Once you’ve developed a bit of a following, assembling a street team is a great idea.
Street teams are groups of fans who complete basic marketing and promotional tasks on your behalf.
As your career gains momentum and you’re busier doing interviews and the networking required of up and coming artists, let your street team help out with some of your marketing.
Street teams are perfect for passing out flyers, spreading the word about band news, phoning / emailing radio stations requesting your music, talking up your band on music mailing lists, and passing out any promotional materials you may have on offer.
The key to a successful street team is organization, so be sure that the person designated to oversee the street team activities is reliable and equal to the task.
Each person has different strengths and comfort levels, so capitalize on that when delegating street team members tasks.
The ultimate goal of a street team is to maximize on word of mouth marketing, while giving the street team members incentives along the way.
You don’t pay street team members, as a rule, you give them rewards by way of rare merchandise, guest list spots, VIP passes to gigs, first dibs on new releases; pretty much anything you can think of to offer in thanks of what they’re doing for you.
There are some basic things listed here to get you started on your marketing adventure, but don’t limit yourself. Be creative and be willing to try new things, always remembering that as much fun as it may be when you’re on stage performing, there is a very real business element that must be tended to in order to keep you on stage.
The promotion and marketing of your music is essential to your career, its establishment, and its longevity. The more you put into it, the more success you’ll have.