Congratulations on booking a gig! Now it’s time to make sure you fill up the venue with people. As independent musicians, you may not have a huge budget allocated for gig promotion. We have compiled a list of promotional strategies you could adopt at little cost.
Below are nine ways to promote your gig on a shoestring budget:
1. Play music on the streets
Pick up your instruments and hit the streets. Busking is the most economical way to spread word about your gig. Put up a poster in front of you, that provides information about your gig. You can also urge passersby to attend your gig in-between songs. Busking allows you to give people a taste of your music. Therefore, serenade people with your best songs to keep them coming back for more.
2. Get featured on non-commercial radio
Approach non-commercial radio such as college and community radio stations to feature you on music shows. College radio stations are very responsive to independent bands and artists. Shoot them an email with your music samples and gig poster. Request them to air your music and give a shout out for your upcoming gig. Approach universities and colleges around the gig venue to promote your music.
3. Recruit volunteers to distribute flyers
Hire volunteers to help you distribute flyers. Approach your band’s Facebook or Twitter fans to help with the promotions. In addition, you can also ask students who are a part of music clubs in schools and universities to help you with the project. Offer music internships or free gig tickets to volunteers in return.
Distribute flyers to cafes, restaurants, hotel concierges, colleges and university unions around the gig venue. Exit flyering is another effective way to spread word about your music. Go to venues hosting performances by bands who are similar to yours. Stand at the exit door before the show ends and hand out flyers to people exiting. You could also distribute sample CDs and download cards this way.
4. Pin up attractive posters in public spaces
Posters are eye-catching promotional tools. Posters are an intrinsic part of music promotion and are an economical way to advertise your gigs. Make a poster that best defines your music. The more attractive it is, the more attention it will seek from people. Make the poster interesting enough to stop people in their tracks and take notice.
Pin up posters on public notice boards, outside gig venues, college and university noticeboards, inside telephone booths, in record stores, cafes and restaurants. Additionally, post a digital version of the poster on all social media accounts.
5. Offer discounted tickets to companies
Most companies organize a team activity once in a while. A gig would be a great idea for a team outing. Contact companies around your area and offer them discounted tickets for the gig. You can contact the Human Resource department and co-ordinate with the concerned person. You will be surprised at how many tickets you will able to sell this way.
6. Secure local media coverage
Local media coverage is a great way to increase public awareness about your band. Perform an Internet search to identify key local newspapers and magazines. Find the contact details of print editors or music editors for each publication. Then, send a press release detailing your upcoming gig along with samples of your music.
Often journalists require a hook to write about your gig. Mention in your press release, if you are supporting a cause or raising money for a charity. You could also adopt a unique angle in your press release. For instance, mention if you are thriving on a current musical trend, if your music is addressing a prominent issue, if your music video is controversial or if you are adopting a creative album packaging strategy. You should provide journalists with a good enough reason to feature you.
Local press often feature local talent. Therefore, reach out to local media outlets to get press coverage.
7. Submit your event to events site
Submit event details to all the popular event sites in town. Perform a google search to find event sites in the city you are performing. Supply a press release along with the event details. You can reach a large number of people through event sites.
8. Promote your gig on social media
Social media is a great way to promote your gig for free. Create an event page on Facebook and share it with your network. Additionally, you can produce a DIY promo video and post it to all social media accounts. Create a hashtag for your upcoming gig and use it consistently on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use creative strategies to get people’s attention and persuade them to attend your gig. For instance, you could host Facebook and Twitter contests to get people to share your event info.
Your promotional efforts should not end with social media. Tie it up with several other strategies to get maximum exposure.
9. Send an email to your subscribers
Send an email to announce the upcoming gig to all your email subscribers. If you don’t have a list of subscribers, get together with your band members and compile a contact list. The contact list can include family, friends and fans. Send an email providing all the relevant event details. You can also include a promo video along with images of the band. Further, urge your contacts to forward the email to their networks. You will be able to spread the word to a lot of people by creating an email chain.
The above strategies are a great way to get more people to attend your gig. However, you can improvise the above methods to maximise results. Come up with creative and innovative ways to get people’s attention. Try to have a good time promoting your upcoming gig.
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Manasa Boggaram is a writer and has a strong passion for music, positive news and constructive journalism. When she is not researching story ideas or writing blog posts, she spends her time reading books, discovering new music and eating lots of street food.