So you and your band just finished you first gig playing to a whooping crowd of your girlfriend, the drummer’s mom, your neighbor, and a couple drunk dudes passed out in the back of the club. Bummer! I’ve been there and it can be tough. You can practice until your fingers bleed, but it won’t bring a single person through the door. It’s difficult to fill venues, but effective marketing can help. But marketing expensive right? Not necessarily, here’s five cost effective ways to get the word out.
Create a Website – Whether it is a simple MySpace page or a flash enabled masterpiece, build a website and update it often with gigs and news. Make sure your website offers visitors the ability to sign up for a mailing list and send out notifications of upcoming shows.
Visit Forums – Web forums are an easy and affordable way to boost traffic to your website. Create a profile and a signature with a hyperlink back to your webpage and become an active member, not just to promote your site. This is an extremely effective way to get your name out there quick. Additionally, web forums are a great virtual networking tool.
Make Stickers – Stickers with your band name are an affordable way to let others do your promotion for you. Print them up and leave them at the coffee shop bulletin board, the counter of the local music or book store, everywhere. But don’t stick them anywhere, let people to take them and stick them where they want to, you’ll get great niche exposure this way to locations you wouldn’t otherwise have access.
Make T-Shirts – You can create a batch of iron on t-shirts for very little. Whenever you go to places where there are going to be a bunch of people, wear the shirt. There are also a plethora of affordable silk screeners on the web and you’ll potentially be able to sell shirts at your shows.
Print Business Cards – Assuming you’ve followed the above advice, print up some business cards with your band’s name, website, and contact info. Social networking is easier than ever via online portals but face to face communication is still king. Go to other another local band’s gig, a blues jam, book signing, restaurant opening, join a club, whatever; just get out of the house and pass out as many cards as you can to people you meet.