Creating A Buzz With Your Band
Expanding Your Band's Fan Base
There you are! You're standing at the microphone, guitar in hand. You look to your right: Your keyboard player gives you a nod. To your left, the bass player looks back at the drummer. The drummer starts clicking off the first song. You turn around to face the crowd that has come just to see you!
There they are, just waiting to hear your unique stylings and rhythmic interpretations of life.
Yep..... All four of them. Your girlfriend, your drummer's wife, your bassist's dad and that other guy that shows up faithfully! Well and the 20 or 30 crickets...
What's going on? Our music rocks. Our image works. Our market audience is huge! Where are all the people?
You best fan courtesy xandert
Building a buzz is all about creating your fan base.
Without the proper moves toward creating your fans well, ideally, you won't be in a band very long. Run your band like a business and you'll start to see that your fans are your customers.
Collaborations and swapping members is okay, and changing your name or having several bands is okay. Just don't let it interfere with your goals for the one band. All of these other things may seem to be like you customers, or even that you should be having more fun. When music stops being fun you should quit. I've said that before myself, and I still mean it.
For the most part.
Now, every business has a main goal. Making money. The way a business makes money is to sell a product or service.
What is your product or service? Your music.
How do you sell it?
One service that you sell is your live performance. People pay a fee (cover charge or ticket) to hear you play. You would get a percentage of sales from the venue you are playing at (or whatever other agreement you have made).
People will also pay for your product, whether it be an album, t-shirt, stickers, etc. Now, you've established what you're selling, what's next.
Businesses strive to drive traffic to their store (or website, phone, etc.) Bands strive to get people to their gigs! This is where Marketing comes in. One of the simplest ways to get people to come is to build a list and utilize that list. some people just have no concept of what I'm talking about.
All of those emails that you get, that are from people that you don't know... Those come to your inbox because you singed up for something somewhere at some point, and now your name is on a list. That list, whether you realize it or not, is someone's bread and butter. Selling your email address is like money in the bank to them.
Now in many circles that is unethical and bad business. But your list is still important. And whether you know it or not, you have been keeping a list, at least in your head, every time you learn one of your fan's names. Now all you need to do is ask them for their email and shoot them an occasional email with band information in it.
Many businesses will offer free gifts for filling out surveys. They'll even ask if you'd like to receive free coupons in the mail and get their lists that way. Bands can do the same.
"That's great, but where do I find the people to sign up on this list if I'm starting from scratch?"
First of all, I don't believe that any band starts from scratch! The reason that you got the band together is because someone liked your music! From there, it's word of mouth. Let everyone know about your next gig, where it will be, what time, the cost (if any), etc. You will get people there. At the gig, have a friend hold a signup sheet for your mailing list. Get their first name, last name, and email address. There's you first email list.
The next day (or that night), make sure you send out an email to them, thanking them for coming out to the gig and thanking them for signing up on your mailing list. Also mention any upcoming gigs that you are going to have.
There is the key. Always keep your fans informed on where you're playing in the future. And always give them enough time to plan ahead. If you have a gig on a weekend (Fri. or Sat.), I would suggest sending them an email on Monday or Tuesday. That way, they have time to plan for the upcoming weekend and it's not to early for them to forget.
You may think about upgrading to an online mailing list. Fans can submit their info to a form online and they're automatically signed up. All you have to do is send your message out and everyone on the list will get it.
After awhile, you'll have more and more people on your list. As your list grows, your shows will grow, and you will produce more sales. Your business will grow.
Other things that happen along with a bigger list? Sites like Sell-a-band only allow people to sign up that have "X" number of people on their list. Want your fans to put you in the studio for the next album? Get more fans!
Step By Step
Actually building a fan base as an artist or band is simple in theory. The main objective for an artist is to create BUZZ.
"Buzz" means people at all levels are hearing about your artist including fans, club owners, A&R people, radio program and music directors, editors at music publications and zines, etc. The ultimate goal is that one or two radio stations or more will take notice and start playing your song. One station leads to the next and before you know it, your artist is getting airplay. Airplay changes an artist's career.
Airplay creates BDS, which leads to sales and SoundScans. All this gets the attention of major labels or major money to enable the maximum promotion of an artist. The artist who has the money behind him gets the budget to pay for radio promotion and for publicity, and thus compete at the highest level.
Without a real plan to build a fan base and create a serious buzz, it's almost impossible to succeed.
First, an artist needs a song and identity to introduce to the market. An album is great but a few strong songs about who an artist really is will be the message an artist sends to his fans. As an artist, your style and quality have to be who you are or you are wasting everyone's time.
Second, an artist needs a video and great pictures to help market himself to people who don't yet know him. The song, a video and pictures will also be crucial to industry people and others. The good news is that there is a way to do it cost effectively. It's called an electronic press kit, something an artist can use so that anyone can go to his site or MySpace page and download all of this information, including the artist's bio.
MySpace is a #1 priority followed by the artist's Web site. Next, be sure to include samples of the artist's music and allow free downloads to get his music to fans until artist is getting airplay. At that point, you can charge.
Also very important on the artist's MySpace page and Web site: live video performances. Have a video of artist singing his songs and encourage people to place that video and artist's song on their MySpace pages. Build the network.
Set up a radio station tour to meet program directors. As an artist, if you don't have the hook-ups then you need to find a manger who can help do this. Or find a known artist/producer to produce artist's song whom PDs know. It's very competitive out there! Offer radio stations artist's time and talent at no charge to open any of their events or shows or any on-air promotions. Use song hooks for ringtones as well.
Have a calendar on artist's MySpace page and Web site so fans will know what artist is doing and how to meet up with him.
VERY IMPORTANT: Answer all MySpace email and add them to your artist's friend list. Artist should make personal contact with fans. Could take 2 - 3 hours a day, but it's worth it.
Making as many public appearances as possible is important. Performing for high schools is another great way to get your music out there. Talk to local fair or festival bookers and try to get an opening spot at the state fairs, this can translate into lots of exposure.
Be aggressive: use E-mail blasts and text-messaging to tell people what you are doing and make announcements. Try to find a spot in different cities where artist can perform once a month and sell music to make some income.
Just a start here. Good common sense helps!
As mentioned in the last article MySpace can help grow your band. FaceBook and Twitter can be used much the same way, but you should have a different member of the band take a different site apiece, so one person isn't killing themselves online, and getting burned out while the others are getting left in the dark.
MySpace helps aspiring artists and musicians grow their fan base through the use of Email Marketing. Adding a free sign up box to your MySpace page allows your fans to become part of your email list and receive updates on gigs, CD releases or any other events that pertain to your art form.
MySpace and email marketing make a powerful combo, revolutionizing the way artists receive attention. MySpace has become one of the best ways to network with fellow artists and friends, and to inform them about up-coming events and other news. With a free sign-up box made available through an email marketing service, you can take that step ahead of all the other artists in your industry by directly contacting your fans and those interested in your artistic endeavors.
This will help you grow the amount of people who come to your shows and expand your fan base. The more exposure that you get and the more people that are present at your shows, the higher the likelihood of getting "noticed" and, of course, the more cash you will make per gig.
By enhancing your MySpace page with an email marketing software sign-up box, you are also a step ahead of many other artists on MySpace. Although MySpace is a great networking tool and keeps you in contact with your friends, every artist is sending a message to all their friends about upcoming gigs. This saturates their MySpace inbox with every kind of gig, and therefore your gig has a harder time getting noticed. The market that is still underused for artists is email. Using email is the key to expanding your fan base and the people showing up to your gigs.
The way to start getting noticed is by adding a sign-up box to your MySpace page, and to sign yourself up for an email marketing service. Most email marketing programs will allow you a free trial in order to test their service. This is a great option for aspiring artists. When you test out the service, you will be able to see the direct results of your email marketing campaigns.
The more interested people you send invitations to, the higher the number of people that will show up for your shows. The sign up box and free trial are a winning combination, allowing you to expand your current mailing list, and therefore the amount of people you are inviting to your gigs.
Also, your gig is a perfect opportunity to direct people to your MySpace page. You have the audience you want, focused on you. Isn't this a perfect time to let them know about your MySpace page and your sign up box? Use this as a tool to expand your emailing lists, your fan base and ultimately the amount of people you are reaching per gig.
Using email marketing in conjunction with MySpace increases the likelihood of you getting noticed and can increase your per-gig monetary performance. By adding a sign-up box to your MySpace page that is linked to an email marketing service, you are going to reach a wider audience than other artists, get more people at your shows, and increase your fan base.
This is all part of making it big.
Slowly getting the buzz out around you and your projects is what makes "it" happen. Get an email marketing program sign up box, and begin making your artistic dreams become a reality!
Robert Burko is the President of Elite Email, the complete MySpace email marketing solution package used by artists around the world. You can deploy comprehensive email marketing for your band, comedy troupe, and much more with a no risk free trial. Start harnessing the power of email marketing today!
One Email system that is in use today and has a low overhead so that you can get more features for less money, is SendFree They have an excellent free program that uses an ad network "adware" signup box, or for the free one month then $9.95 per month premium package adds more great features that you can later add to take care of other types of fans.
SendFree's premium package has multiple list generation of up to five accounts. This means you can track who signed up from the box on MySpace or the box on FaceBook. Also leaving you an autoresponder to send material to band mates, and another account for sign ups to the Street Team.
And one left for the folks who might want to be called professionals. These are the record execs, radio DJs, program directors, station managers, record store buyers, podcasters, recording studios, magazine editors, photo journalists, lifestyles newspaper reporters, club promoters, event coordinators, high school dance organizers, state fair entertainment groups, music unions, bloggers, and any one else I might have forgotten about.
Street Team Marketing
Have you tried raising the numbers in your fan base or at your gigs, but it seemed impossible?
What can you do to resolve this problem?
The majority of recording companies and Mainstream bands use a system as an integral part of their marketing strategy, which is extremely efficient in making a mega fan base.
This system is used by bands like Linkin Park, Slipknot, Amazing Device and many other signed and independent bands and also by recording companies like Warner Brothers Records.
This system is called using a Street Team.
The marketing of your band could be one of the most expensive tasks you will do, if done in the wrong way.
The most common way that street teams are used within the music industry is for artist promotions and publicity. Everything from going online and telling friends, helping with Myspace/You Tube Exposure, talking about you in forums, chats, and comment sections to hanging posters, passing out flyers and other swag is done by your street team members.
As stated above, many street teams (especially indie) are free to enter and don't involve any type of compensation. There usually should be some level of screening however to protect you from the potentially lazy, deceitful, and image damaging individuals that may attempt to join your team.
Simply because if those you have out representing you are also behaving badly or in any sort of negative manner, at least while they are out promoting on your behalf, it makes you as an artist come off looking bad. Important relationships with venues and other key people and places to your career can be permanently damaged, leaving you with less and less contacts to turn to.
You should always choose team leaders to lead each offline task you perform. Make sure this individual is trustworthy and an effective team member themselves. Once this is accomplished give them weekly or monthly tasks and agendas and ask them to delegate how the tasks are to be achieved. The main key with a street team is to reduce the actual amount of marketing and promotions time you as the artist are forced to maintain. You'll still have to continue marketing yourself, but this way you'll have more time and a much deeper reach than on your own.
Online you can simply place the most tech savvy individual on your team to go about delegating the tasks you have chosen for either a specific week or an entire month. This can be things like having them to ask people to join your Myspace, visit your site, place banner ads on their various sites and calling radio stations in their area requesting your songs, but always give a specific amount or goal so that members have something to strive toward.
Ever had to blanket a city with flyers. Your Street Team can do it for you. They are also great just spreading the word about how wonderful your music is.
One thing you need to do when starting a Street Team is to set the rules. What will you give them and what do they need to do. Unfortunately, having a Street Team is like having employees. You will have to fire some. You need to make it clear from the beginning what their tasks will be. You don't want to make a devoted fan into an enemy.
1. Choose your collaboration tool.
You will need a collaborative communication tool to organize and manage your street team. Tools such as Yahoo Group, Google Group, or Ning are free but lack tracking and measuring capabilities unique to managing Street Teams (so they may require additional work to manage). Other options are services that specialize in street team and fan management such as ReverbNation.
2. Organize the team.
Reach out to your fan mailing list and ask who wants to be part of your street team. You may want to give them something in return for joining.
3. Give the team a mission.
Establish a mission and define a time frame in which to acheive it. Missions can be anything from spreading your music, enlisting new fans, promoting a show, etc. Tools like ReverbNation will help you set deadlines and define goals for your team automatically.
4. Provide the team with the tools to carry out the mission.
Give them what they need to complete the mission. If you want them to poster the neighborhood, give them posters. If you want them to sign up fans on your mailing list, send them a link to the sign up page at your website. Tools such as Reverbnation provide additional widgets for online campaigns (i.e. they provide the music players for your street team to post at their sites or other social networks).
5. Give the team a reward.
Be creative with your awards. Some ideas include giving them an autographed CD, sending them merchandise, or putting their names in the liner notes of your next album.
6. Measure everyone's progress.
You will need to define a way to figure out who accomplished the mission and deserves a reward. Tools like Reverbnation, handle this by creating unique widgets that track an individual's progress.
7. Reward those that accomplished the mission.
Using street teams makes sense for getting new fans. Think about it. Which might pique your interest more? - an advertisement for an act you don't know or fans enthusiastically telling you why they love an artist.
Enthusiasm is contagious.
Fans are happy to help you when they're asked to. They will go to many lengths if you show appreciation for their efforts. Let fans know that you have a street team. Recruit members whenever you can. Get them excited about helping you. Have a place on your website for people to sign up to join. List what specific things you'll need help with.
You need help with your website?
Let them know.
Someone to call media or radio stations?
A fan may have the skills you need. Valerie Vigoda, lead singer and electric violinist for GrooveLily, is a great example of an act that's harnessed the power of their fans.
They had a member of their street team act as their publicist for years. This fan went on to actually work for a PR company, so it was mutually beneficial. Announce what you're looking for at all gigs. Encourage people to get friends involved. Keep a record of where fans live so you can tap into those in markets you tour. Fan power is a force that can seriously help advance an artist's career. It can create the grassroots awareness that's necessary to sell CDs, book gigs, bring people to your website, get press, and get you to the next level.
When you tour, ask for help in each market. Street team members can give out flyers, hang posters, and do whatever they can to promote your gig. They can recommend radio stations to approach, ask stores to bring you in for in-store promotion and get stores to carry your CD. They can even help you find a gig if you don't know venues in their region.
Recruit fans to work a merch table when you perform. In return, give them free tickets to your gigs, t-shirts, and whatever else you can do to make them feel special. Hang with them a little at the gig. Ask fans to go into chatrooms and post messages on the bulletin boards of artists who are similar to you. They can talk you up to music lovers who might love you too, if they knew about you. Make sure you have a good website that these potential fans can be invited to.
Show great appreciation for members of your street teams, whenever you can. Create a separate newsletter for street team members. Let them know your news first. Make it personal. Talk to them like friends, because they are! Thank individual members for specific things in the newsletter.
It will inspire others to do things to get their name in it. You can't make fans feel too special! And, that's all most want for helping. Give them special t-shirts, advance copies of new releases, a song no one else has and any perks you think of. When fans feel like a part of something special, they'll work hard.
Street promotion is important for grass roots awareness. If you give posters to your street team members in different markets, they can go to retail stores and talk to buyers about pushing your CD. Ask street team members to go to any place that a potential fan might go. Encourage them to let you know when they're going to music events that fans of your genre attend, especially at a large venue. Give them T-shirts (preferably with your website on it) to wear. Ask them to give out postcards, samplers, stickers, or any swag with your name and website on it.
Where might potential fans shop? Fans can bring promotional material to retail stores that music lovers may go into. These stores don't have to sell the CDs. But they might give out swag to support the music, if enthusiastic fans approach them. Tony Brummel says, "That's a big alternative marketing area for a label like us - a lot of alternative type accounts that might be interested in our artists will do things for us, outside regular music retail. For example, we continually supply skateboard shops, surfboard shops, place like that, with free music, t-shirts and giveaway items. In turn, they'll give out our samplers, put up posters and play the CDs in their store. They don't sell the CDs. We still want sales to be in music retail." Many stores play music. Why not yours! And if you don't care about retail sales numbers, ask them to sell it too.
If someone from a foreign country orders your CD off of CDBaby, contact him or her and invite them to join your fans. Offer to send them 5 free CDs for their friends with a pile of postcards advertising your music. They can leave the cards in record shops, clubs and other places that music lovers can pick them up. People who've done it say their orders in those cities picked up when a fan distributed cards. Then all of those people can be invited to join your street team too. With the Internet, street teams can be anywhere. Tap into this source of fan power and your career can spread its wings more.