The music industry has been drastically transformed over the last decade, with the days of musicians struggling to get signed to music labels for promotion long gone, thanks to the Internet.
Self-promotion has never been easier, but with so many others also utilizing the marketing tools available, it’s still important to do everything possible to get noticed.
In addition to playing every possible venue you can find (yes, you’ve got to perform to become a well-known performer!) below are 6 top ways to promote your original music and develop a large fan base.
1. Find Your Tribe
Before you start targeting your demographic, you need to figure out to whom your music appeals, and advertise accordingly. Pay attention to the types of people who appreciate your songs and come to your shows.
Don’t waste money and time promoting yourself in the wrong places, or playing shows in venues that don’t generally feature your genre. Instead, figure out your target audience and aim directly at them.
2. A Wonderful Website Works
An interesting, catchy name will help people you meet remember your band—especially those with a few adult beverages in them—so don’t forget to apply the same principle to your band’s website.
Be sure to update your website frequently, with upcoming show/tour dates, music samples and a well-written blog with the latest news.
Fans also love to connect with their favorite musicians, so if you can offer a section below blogs in which you reply to comments, you will win major loyalty points.
3. Utilize Social Media
Oh, what the bands of yore would have done for the golden opportunity to market music that social media now provides, so don’t waste the chance to reach thousands of people via the Internet.
A Facebook musician page is necessary, with frequent enough updates to keep fans interested, but not so many they become annoyed and hide or “unlike” your page.
A Twitter account can allow bands to remind fans of shows and recent news, and a ReverbNation page offers a place to showcase music and connect with other bands.
While no longer the popular place for socializing it once was, MySpace has remained a surprisingly effective site for showcasing musicians.
4. Be People Pleasers
Music fans can be some of the most loyal and dedicated supporters on the planet, but you need to give them the chance to know you before they can love you.
Be sure to have a compelling bio written for the band (or solo musician) with plenty of detail, personality and charm, but keep it concise enough that it reads smoothly.
Musician photos—be they live, studio, or candid shots—will also help fans feel connected to their favorite musicians, so include plenty of pics on all websites and social media.
5. Manage Your Marketing
If you’re playing a tour, or even a single show, don’t count on the promoter or the venue to advertise for your band. Surprisingly, even though they profit from a larger crowd, many bars and clubs don’t have the manpower, knowledge or desire to make sure your upcoming gig is successful.
Make flyers to be put up around every area you’re going to be playing, and get them into the hands of someone who will make sure they’re distributed before your show.
Sometimes you can call the club and mail show flyers ahead to be posted, and some musicians have “street teams” of dedicated fans who get word out for them, which really helps.
6. Give a Little Bit
While it’s important to make sure fans can buy your music online through your website, CD Baby and iTunes, be sure to allow them to hear or even download a few songs for free. If you’ve got the goods, your talent will sell itself.
Giveaways that include free music, T-shirts, stickers, water bottles, lighters and anything else you think fans might use are smart ways to get your name out there, and will brand you to potential new fans.
Consistent promotion can go a long way, so use the tips above to market your music to be seen, heard and appreciated by everyone who will like your songs. Your fans are out there; you just have to find them.
Mood Media creates in-store media, complete with customized music for businesses. Taylor Henderson is a freelance writer specializing in marketing services.