[This is an excerpt from Bob Baker’s new book, The Five-Minute Music Marketer: 151 Easy Music Promotion Activities That Take 5 Minutes or Less.]
As much as I love the Internet and all the potential it holds to connect with fans, nothing beats a live show. When it comes to making lasting connections with fans, performing in the flesh is the most powerful thing you can do. Hands down.
Here’s another truth: throughout the entire process of preparing for and delivering a great live show, there are countless opportunities to do a little extra marketing. And many of these activities can literally be done in five minutes or less.
Here are nine simple action steps you can take to promote your music before and during your live shows:
1. Create a checklist of what you need to bring to shows.
How many times have you arrived at a gig and realized you forgot something important? Your CDs, business cards, stage banner, picks, guitar strap… maybe even your guitar? (Yes, I’m guilty of that last one.)
The solution is to create a simple checklist of everything you need to bring. Refer to it before every gig. Update the list as needed. Don’t leave important stuff behind!
2. Post a quick social media update the afternoon of the show.
I’m sure you spend a lot of time and energy promoting each show in the weeks prior. But don’t overlook some last-minute updates on the day of. Take a minute to let people know one last time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more. Be sure to include the show’s starting time, venue address, and admission fee.
3. Snap a picture of your name on the marquee.
Has the venue where you’re playing posted your name in lights, or on an outdoor sign, or on an indoor chalkboard, or scribbled in Crayon on a ripped piece of cardboard? If so, take a photo of it. You might be able to use it later.
4. Post a quick photo and update before your first set.
Just before you hit the stage, take a picture of the venue or some of the early crowd. Post it to Facebook and your other favorite social sites.
The reason you do this isn’t only to get people to come to the show at the last minute. The bigger reason is to remind people, no matter where they are, that you are an active musician. That you are engaged in performing and making things happen.
5. A few times throughout the performance, mention what you have for sale.
This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times musicians forget to do this. Now your job is to remember. Let people know what they can buy and take home with them. And do it a few times. This is something you can do in less than a minute.
6. Remind people how owning your stuff will make them FEEL.
When pitching your music and merch from the stage, don’t just recite the dry facts: the name of the album, how many songs are on it, how much it costs. Also let people know how owning it will truly benefit them on a deeper level.
Example: “If you want to take this party home with you, these songs are only $15 for a whole album’s worth. You’ll experience instant ecstasy at the push of a button.” Have some fun with these pitches.
7. Tell people what they get when they sign up for your mailing list.
Hopefully, you realize the power of having a fan email list (and sending updates to the good people on it at least once or twice a month). And hopefully you use your live shows to build your list.
You’ll get a much better response if you go beyond just asking folks in attendance to sign up. You’ll need to create an incentive. Determine what the incentive is ahead of time. Is it three free song downloads? Access to a how-to video showing how you play a certain song?
Whatever your mailing list signup incentive is, mention it multiple times during your live shows. Remind people more than once to join the club and get their free gifts!
8. Pass around a mailing list signup sheet on a clipboard.
If the venue is set up for it, this can be one of your best ways to grow your fan email list. A high percentage of your audience will write down their names and email addresses if they don’t even have to leave their seats to sign up. This works especially well in smaller and more intimate venues. And it only takes a minute to announce it from the stage and hand the clipboard to someone in the front row.
9. Have a marketing point person in the audience.
If appropriate, point out a friend or associate in the audience who will be walking around with your CDs and mailing list signup sheet. This can be very effective for generating sales and building your list. It helps if the appointed person is attractive and/or charismatic. Remember, they are representing you and your personal brand. Make sure it’s an appropriate person.
These are just some of the small, bite-size actions you can take to promote your music. Don’t use a lack of time as an excuse not to promote your music. There are many mini steps you can take on a daily basis that add up and can make a big impact over time.
To learn more about the The Five-Minute Music Marketer, click HERE.