Guest Post by Bobby Borg, author of The DIY Musician
The Internet may be one of the most popular and convenient forms of promotion today, but it’s also flooded with independent artists all trying to get attention. Thus, with consideration to your target customers, your budget, and your goals, you might consider evening-out your promotional campaign with a variety of additional strategies. Simply put, the more unique places your target customers see your message, the more likely you’ll get their attention, stimulate their interest, and cause them to take action! What follows is a brief description of 11 different forms of promotion strategies that you might consider, and a note about when you might consider them.
1. Internet Promotion: Internet promotion is the art and science of using the Internet to communicate your message and get people to take action. It is used when you want to interact conveniently and cheaply with your target audience in a two-way form of communication, build relationships, and educate fans about your products and services. As most artists already know, personal websites, videos, social networks, blogs, web radio, podcasts, and gig calendars are all different methods of online promotion.
2. Word of Mouth Marketing: Word-of-mouth marketing is the process of stimulating natural conversation (or “buzz”) between people about your products and services. It is used when you have alluring, amusing, and/or interactive communications about your products and services that tease the audience and gets them to pass it along and refer you to others. Creating amazing products is the best way to get people to start talking about you first and foremost. However, contests, free samples, and “seeding” influential people in your community with news about your band are all methods to get the buzz started.
3. Guerrilla Street Marketing: Guerrilla street marketing refers to any unconventional form of promotion that can be employed on a low- to no- budget. It is used when you want to take your marketing message to the streets (i.e., to the sidewalks, walls, and bathroom stalls) using stickers, posters, spray chalk, and other low cost means.
4. Publicity: Publicity refers to the unsolicited comments, reviews, and stories about your company made by journalists that are not paid for, nor directly controlled, by your band. It is used when you have something that is truly news-worthy that people (for instance, journalists) will want to write or talk about. Publicity may come in the form of record reviews, live performance reviews, stories, and brief updates about your band.
5. Public Relations: Public relations are the various activities a band does to help promote and protect its brand image in the eyes of the public. It is used when you want to enhance your public image or when you’re facing a media crisis and you need to do damage control. Inviting press people to charity events that you are hosting, contributing to special causes that you believe in, and attending community red carpet events and award shows are all ways you might boost your public image.
6. Radio Promotion: Radio promotion is the process of soliciting your music to radio stations to get airplay, build professional relationships, and make fans. It is used when you have master quality recordings, when you want to form solid relationships with DJs who are well connected in your area, and when you want to be broadcasted to potentially thousands of people in one spin. While regular rotation commercial radio stations are a tough nut to crack, college radio, national public radio, commercial specialty shows (“locals only” type shows, and satellite radio are all possibilities.
7. Sponsorships: Sponsorships are a mutually-beneficial relationship wherein two (or more) product-based companies market their products via the support and approval of the other. It’s used when you want to create the perception of legitimacy, and you want to uniquely promote your products via your fans’ lifestyles. Red Bull, Monster, Zippo, Levis, Jeep, Sabian, Pearl, and so many more companies actively participate in sponsoring bands, from mentioning artists on their websites, to offering cash prizes.
8. Direct Marketing: Direct marketing is a system by which organizations bypass intermediaries and communicate directly with end users to generate sales. It’s used when you have a well-targeted database of names and your target audience responds well to one-on-one communication via email, snail mail, telephone calls, or texting.
9. Sales Promotions: Sales promotions are short-term incentives intended to stimulate a quick buying response in your target customer. It’s used when you want to create the perception of urgency and get people to act now by using “try me” coupons, contests, two-for-the-price of one deals, and samples. Sales promotions can be executed via the U.S. mail, personal websites, and face to face from your merch booth.
10. Personal Selling: Personal selling is the process of getting eye-to-eye with target customers and influencing them to act. It’s used when you have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with fans or business contacts to communicate the benefits of your products and ultimately make sales. Personal selling is one of the most powerful methods of promotion, especially for those who are charming, witty, and good negotiators.
11. Paid Advertising: Finally, paid advertising is the marketing communications you direct other companies to publish at a cost to you. It’s used when you have an advertising budget and can afford to send out repeated messages to mass audiences via print, radio, and television. Other more affordable forms of paid advertising include banner ads on websites, paid search engine advertising, and vehicle wraps for your band’s van.
As you can see, there are a variety of strategies that you can use to inform your target audience about what you have to offer. By considering the make-up of your target audience and the money and time you can afford to spend, you can customize the right mix of both online and offline strategies to cut through the clutter and more effectively reach your target audience.
BOBBY BORG is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014). The book is available on Hal Leonard website under “Trade Books” http://bit.ly/1po5FyO (ISBN: 9781480369528), AMAZON http://amzn.to/X4Fwst, or Bobby Borg (www.bobbyborg.com).