How do you promote a music tour in 2021?

With new tours, festivals, and events being announced what seems like daily, it’s important to remember that we’re still communicating through an active crisis. Promoting a tour has always been relatively straightforward, but just how do you promote a music tour in 2021 under the veil of COVID-19?

Guest post by Dayna Young of Fred & Augustus

With new tours, festivals, and events being announced what seems like daily, it’s important to remember that we’re still communicating through an active crisis. Promoting a tour has always been relatively straightforward, but just how do you promote a music tour in 2021 under the veil of COVID-19?

Build Your Marketing Strategy

Many of the standards still exist – you should identify your goals, define your budget, plan your social media, email marketing, and website property rollout, and establish the strategy for your digital ads and remarketing. For paid media, you’ll want to pay particular attention to rebuilding your audiences so they are once again of value. You should be mindful of incorporating tactics that drive traffic or engagement ahead of your full tour announcement date in order to optimize the value of those rebuilt audiences.  

From a communications perspective, you should ensure that your listings (local listings and key touring and ticketing platform listings) are all up to date. Lastly, ensure you’re communicating pro-actively with your promoters as during this period each town or city you stop at will have its own unique challenges in terms of how audiences are feeling about attending events. 

Remember the Good Times & Clearly Communicate Safety Measures

When you’re selling tickets to an event or tour, you’re essentially selling what encapsulates to a “moment in time” – a be there or miss out feeling that implores fans to purchase tickets so they can say there. Your challenge during COVID will be in convincing fans that your shows are events they shouldn’t miss. 

In his insightful article on Communicating through Change, Event Marketer Mike Mauer shares the tactics you can use to keep your brand alive during the four phases of COVID. As we see fans actively return to events, they are moving between the two stages which Mike’s article discusses: Escapism & Optimism, and Rebound & Recovery. The tools, tone, and approach that you’ll use to communicate with fans at each of these active stages will vary.

Escapism & Optimism

In this stage, fans are hopeful for the future and looking forward to a return to live events. However, they may still have some concerns about gathering together again and it is up to tour marketers to alleviate these concerns. Share positive messaging, tinged with nostalgia and optimism. 

Rebound & Recovery

In the Rebound & Recovery, stage fans are excited to experience a return to normal but they now have new considerations in hand, such as ‘Could attending this show impact my health?’ or ‘With my current financial status can I afford this experience?’. 

Keep your message on brand and clearly communicate the venue or tour safety measures in place. Be direct, factual, straightforward and most of all – reassuring.

Have an Exit Plan

While things might feel like they’re turning back to normal in the near future, we’re not out of the woods yet. In fact, the current and potentially unknown long-term volatility of COVID-19 cases (even as more audiences become vaccinated) further reinforces the need for having a good Exit Plan. When you agree to a tour you should do so recognizing that you may need to cancel a show or the entire event at any point in time for reasons entirely out of your control. As such, it makes sense that you would have an exit plan in place for how you would communicating a cancellation or rerouting to your fans in the instance one were to occur.

Consider your Assets

While you’ll certainly have your typical tour promotion assets it will benefit you to create specific assets that support your messaging. For example, if taking a nostalgic approach to your messaging, create assets such as behind-the-scenes video or stills from past tours, playlists of past setlists, or video interviews with the artist reminiscing about what touring – and connecting with their fans – means to them. You could bring back classic, limited edition merch items to promote the nostalgia of times past. When it comes to sharing safety measure information, consider building a page on your website which shares specific venue information regarding this topic, or if the venue has a page on their site – linking to that in your communications. Include this safety messaging in your social posts and email blasts to audiences to ensure this information is being seen and consumed.

A Well Rounded Conversation

Remember that a well-rounded conversation is important. This means that a musician should never just talk about one thing (music). People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your fans are invested, because they see something special in you, which means sharing your unique world view. Therefore it’s important that during a tour promotion timeframe you talk about more than just buying tickets to the events. This is especially so during COVID, where we’re all craving to hear about topics other than the pandemic. Draw upon your content pillars for additional talking points and ensure you’re continuing to connect with your audience.

While promoting a show can be demanding at the best of times, if you implement these tactics you’ll be demonstrating empathy and understanding of your audience, helping you to attract larger crowds to your performances. Whether you’re a venue, event, label, or artist marketer these music tour marketing strategies can help to ensure successful ticket sales while fans are still actively recovering from a worldwide crisis.

Dayna Young has 15+ years of global experience in music, entertainment, and leading creative teams to success. As the Founder of Fred & Augustus, she provides strategic marketing resources for artists seeking to grow their online profile and engagement, with a focus on developing existing and new revenue streams. Ultimately, what gets her out of bed in the morning is the knowledge that she’s creating opportunities for artists.

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