promoting live music requires merging offline and online marketing techniques. here are some tips for what you should be focusing on when trying to get fans to your shows.
1. email marketing is still king
pound for pound email is still the best online marketing platform for promoting bands and their shows. a good mailing list is crucial for building a fan-base who will buy concert tickets, merchandise, patronize venues and buy beer (when age-appropriate). a list of fans cultivated for your band newsletter is more dependable than fans, follows, and likes on other platforms like facebook, tumblr or twitter. one method for getting people to sign up to your email list is via a sweepstakes. you can give away tickets to future shows, merchandise, or downloads of music or videos.
2. don’t be afraid of mobile marketing
while you are building your email list, do the same with your sms/txt list and use it! don’t be as aggressive as with email marketing though – perhaps send out a text a week before your event and then the day before. be sure you segment your sms/txt list by area codes and use appropriately so you aren’t spamming fans in kansas about your next gig in kentucky.
3. know the local market
in some large metro areas there are shows all over the city on any given night. don’t price yourself out of the market. during the sxsw conference in austin, tx, live nation labs revealed that they have commissioned studies which concluded that ticket price (and associated fees and taxes) is the number one reason why fans decide on attending live shows or not. you are building an audience and many folks in attendance are taking a risk on a band they’ve never heard before. make it worth their while. you might have to take a hit early on while you build your brand, but if they like you they may purchase your cd’s or other merchandise after the show.
4. sell premium tickets in advance (and add a little sugar)
plenty of your fans will say they’re coming to your show but those who have pre-purchased a ticket definitely will. and even if they don’t, you’ve already earned the revenue from the unused ticket! look for ways to encourage fans to buy tickets sooner if you are needing to drive sales in a more predictable manner. one technique may be to offer the first 50 ticket buyers a chance to go to venue early on the day of the show and meet the band for autographs during soundcheck. don’t reveal who the first 50 are until you’ve sold the first 150/250/500 tickets or on a particular date and time. another technique – bundle the tickets with free downloads of your latest release but only award the free downloads to the first 500 ticket buyers. you get the point. just get creative. check with lawyer types with the contests though. you can get yourself into trouble fast with the ftc and not even know it.
5. where are your manners? introduce yourself!
assume the people you are promoting to have never heard of your band. when writing the description about your gig, be accurate and current – better yet – send them a link to a video, photos, reviews, or an epk with tracks they can sample.
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