How to promote music events and gigs
1. Plan Ahead
If there’s one step that proves the most important with online or offline promotion of live music, or anything else for that matter, it’s planning ahead. The time constraints of holding events affect all of us: the venue changes, artists bailing, permits and licenses that you might not even know you need, and so on. Overall, promoting shows is essentially marketing a business that will only be open on one day and time. This is exactly why people often don’t, but always should, allow plenty of time for promotion. When it comes to online promotion, things get even more difficult. With 24 hour access to any online service you desire, people often put this task off until the last minute because they can always do it tonight over a beer. The truth is that will never happen and you’ll be left with a heap of online services that could work great but are crippled by a short lead time. If I made a dollar from everyone who wanted us to promote their event at the last minute I’d have fewer dollars than I do now: those are always the people that are unsatisfied with any service they choose to use. Results just don’t come overnight.
2. Online Ticketing
In my opinion, online ticketing is the most important aspect to promoting any music show because it allows you to collect payment in advance of any event. You can measure your Facebook RSVPs, people who have personally committed to showing up, or any other metric like this. The bottom line is that even if a personal friend tells you they’re coming that isn’t a complete commitment. If they pay you, however, you know two things. First, they still might not show up but at least you’re getting paid. Second, they have committed the one resource they spend most of their day searching for. Having a free event? No problem! Allow people to RSVP for free but pay a door charge without RSVP. This provides a sense of exclusivity, a great boost in real commitment, and allows you to collect email addresses to communicate with people who have already shown they care about your shows.
I don’t think there are a lot of people that would argue that press isn’t an important aspect of promoting, well, anything. As a concert planner/promoter, however, I’ll promise you either already do or will learn to love PR. Why? Because each show is a new opportunity to promote your band, firm, or other organization associated with it. Newspapers, blogs, and other outlets are always on the lookout for new content as that is their daily struggle. Each of your shows is a new opportunity for you to show them exactly why you’re awesome.
You have 2 options here which can both be very successful: get your own PR or use a press release distribution service. If you’re looking to get your own PR, be ready to spend a lot of time running trial and error experiments to see which outlets respond to what message you present and which outlets just don’t care. If you’re going to use a Press Release distribution service be ready to run the same trial and error experiment using your money instead of time. The bottom line is that all distribution services are not the same and some work better for certain purposes than others. The road to the pot of gold, when it comes to press, is laden with pitfalls and rejection so be ready for a little frustration.
4. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is an essential part of the tool kit of many successful concert promoters. While each dollar is precious, paid advertising methods provide consistent attention to your band and message. The two most important aspects of this are setting a consistent budget and knowing the strengths of each method so that you can ensure the success of your campaign. Are you trying to get email signups to leverage at a later date? In this case, you might want to spend time with Facebook ads. Are you trying to drive a large number of people to the show? Running a special on GrouponLive might be the way to go. Just keep in mind that each advertising method has its own place and the only path to proving what works for you is intelligent patience.
5. Free Promotion Alternatives
While “you get what you pay for” is a valid philosophy, there’s something to be said for the free promotion methods available online if you are willing to put some time and effort in. Options like free press release distribution and starter advertising credits allow you to have a taste of the paid services. Connecting with local bands and promoters via Twitter, if done correctly, will allow you to leverage their network. Finally, the prevalence of online event calendars gives you a multitude of places to share your show with the people who are looking. For this final method GetPromotd has your back with an event promotion service that allows you to post your event online once and publish it out to national, local, niche, and social media event calendars where people are looking for activities just like it.
In conclusion, promoting live music shows is no easy task. The answer is to be patient and persistent. Your first show won’t be a huge hit, sure, but dedication creates results by nature. Just stick to it, learn from your mistakes, and most importantly have fun. I promise it will pay off in the end.