Promoting your band is a key to success in the music industry. Unfortunately, most local and unsigned bands do not have the budget to advertise in magazines, newspapers, or on the radio. Because most bands are on a shoe-string budget, it is necessary to come up with effective and low-cost methods of band promotion. Here are some examples of how to get the most bang for your buck.
1. Post-It notes. Think of this low-cost office staple as a miniature billboard that can stick to anything with a flat surface. For less than twenty dollars, you can have a rubber stamp created with your band’s name, logo, or website address. Purchase a few dozen pads of Post-It notes and stamp every sheet with the information you would like the rest of the world to know about your band. Once all of the pads are stamped, give a few to each of your bandmates and instruct them to plaster the notes all over town. I’ve had some great results by sticking these notes on the walls of bathroom stalls, above urinals in restaurants, stores, and bars, and even on gas pumps at the gas station.
2. Dollar Bills. Have you ever stopped to think about how many times a dollar bill changes hands in a given day? A dollar bill stamped with your band’s name and website URL can make its way all over the country in the course of a few days. It can also be fun just to see where these marked bills end up. I tried this with my last band and was surpised to recieve e-mails from people thousands of miles away who wrote to me saying that they recieved one of the marked bills as change from a convenience store. This concept allows you to reach people all over the country. To optimize your results, stick to one dollar bills, since they are circulated more freely than larger denominations.
3. Adopt-A-Highway. In Pennsylvania, individuals can sponsor a two-mile stretch of highway. All you have to do is spend a few hours a month cleaning up your stretch of highway, and in return your name (or your band’s name) will appear on a metal sign alongside a well-traveled road. Not only is this like getting a billboard for free, you are also doing your part for the environment by keeping America clean and litter-free.
4. Contests and Promotions. Keep your fans interested in your band by awarding prizes on your website or at gigs. T-shirts, CDs, and stickers all make great prizes. To keep things fun, think of some unusual or crazy contests. A former band I was in used to have a “Body Art Contest”, awarding a free t-shirt to whichever fan wrote our band’s name on the strangest part of their body with a permanent marker. Not only was this a great way to reward the fans, but it was also a great way to see women naked!
5. Mailing List. During every gig, no matter how large or small, at least one band member should be put on mailing list duty. This involves going around the crowd during a set break in order to get people’s email addresses. This mailing list is then used to send out promotional emails about upcoming shows, new merchandise, or a new album. A lot of people are hesitant to give out their email addresses because they hate junk mail, so in order to have a successful email campaign it is important to keep your mass email from looking like junk mail. This can be done by filling your mass email with funny jokes, pictures, and anything else that will be fun to read.
There you have it; five simple and effective band marketing tips that can be achieved with a small amount of effort and an even smaller amount of money.