What’s Your Number? - By Tom Leu
The basics of band promotion and marketing are not rocket science. But it is surprising how many little, but important promotion techniques get overlooked. Whether you’re selling a band, Band-Aids, or Q-Tips, the basic concepts are the same. It seems obvious, but so often we forget how to properly market and sell our product. There are three basic points to remember: 1. Tell people (exactly) what you have to sell. 2. Tell them what is (really) different or unique about your product. And most importantly, 3. Where to get it and how to get in contact with you.
What is (really) different our unique about your product/music? “What can you do for me” is the question that all consumers are asking before buying any product. Approach the description of your music and your band from that angle. The average listener wants to know why they should come see your band or buy your CD versus another group playing down the street. Sell the benefits, not the features. Use colorful and creative language to describe yourself and your music. You need to be able to pass the “elevator test.” This is when you have one or two sentences instantly ready when you get that inevitable question of “what kind of music do you play?” Peak their interest and get them to want to find out more about you.
Where can someone buy your product? And, how do people get in contact with you? Believe it or not, these two areas are sometimes left out. We get so busy writing and recording our music, playing gigs, and promoting ourselves, we sometimes forget to tell our potential audience where they can purchase our music and how to get a hold of us. Occasionally I’ll get music sent to me for review that has no contact information listed anywhere. It’s easy to miss a few things at times, especially when you are playing often, but don’t make it difficult for people to find you. Here’s a quick list of things to remember:
-Get your music into the main retail stores in your area. Keep them stocked.
-Get a listing for your band in the local entertainment newspapers and magazines that provide free band directories.
-Include your website address on everything that your band name is on.
-Submit your music to the most trafficked independent music websites.
-Make sure your CDs, website, and promo materials have (all of) the band’s current contact information displayed and easily found.
-Keep your website current. List upcoming shows with dates, times, locations, directions, phone numbers, and special guest bands. We have to make it as easy and attractive as possible for people to come out and see us.
-Keep flyers up at strategic locations announcing upcoming shows and events.
-Give out “audio flyers” (samples of your music) to all who will listen.
-Keep your email and mailing lists updated and be consistent letting people know when and where you’re playing next.
-Make it difficult for people to ignore you!
Some of these things may seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised how often, and easily these things get forgotten. Most bands start out with great intentions, covering all of the bases. But eventually things begin to gradually fall off and slip through the cracks. Keep up with this stuff. It truly separates the good from the great so to speak.
The Bottom Line: Your band and your music require the same ongoing attention as any other product that you use or buy. We often assume our current and potential audience knows the “what” and “where” about our product as well as we do. They don’t. Review the details of your band’s promotion efforts to ensure you’re doing all you can to affect your music’s progress and prosperity.