Unless your band has recently been signed to a major label recording contract, you probably don't have anyone dedicated to promoting your band. But promotion of your gigs and music can be the difference between life and death for an independent band. Organizing your fans into a street team can offer lots of promotional opportunities and cost you little to nothing. You can then use this new resource to build your fan base, increase attendance at you gigs and sell more CDs. Simply follow the steps below to get your new promotional machine started.
Things You'll Need
- List of potential street team members
- Marketing materials (i.e., posters, stickers, etc.)
- Calendar of upcoming shows
- Maps of areas around your gigs
Identify people to be organizers and street team supervisors. Look to your relatives, girlfriends/boyfriends, classmates and loyal fans for help first. These people will be responsible for organizing promotional activities, overseeing other street team members and basically acting as your liaison with the street team. To get people interested, you can always offer to pay them for their time. Since most indie bands can't afford this, try offering backstage passes to upcoming gigs, free CDs, special T-shirts or other merchandise as payment for their help. Hopefully you will be able to identify several people who love your music and are willing to get involved as a way to help the band.
Recruit street team members from your fan base. Advertise at gigs, on your website, through flyers or via email if you have a mailing list already in place. When people respond, ask how much time they are willing to offer and when they are available. Organize these names into several lists for poster teams, handing out flyers or any other activity that fits into there availability. This will become your resource database for future promotional activities. You will also want to give some thought as to how you can thank them for their help. Special street team T-shirts or hats is always a great low-cost idea.
With your street team in place, plan promotional activities with certain events in mind. Promote a single upcoming show, CD release or any other event that you have on your calendar. Some ideas for promotion include putting up posters in local businesses; handing out flyers on the street, at the local college or any other place where there might be a lot of people; sending emails to people that they know to promote the event; calling local radio stations to request your music or asking them to plug the event on the air.
During the event, have your street team hand out flyers promoting your CDs or your band's website, give away inexpensive band stickers, collect names for your mailing list and help sell your other merchandise. Personal interaction with your fans can help push along the sale of merchandise and possibly even recruitment of new street team members. You might be surprised how well this works.
Tips & Warnings
- Look to your closest friends and relatives for help getting started.
- Offer to cross promote your gigs with other bands that are on the same bill. This is a great way to increase exposure.
- College campuses are a great resource and respond well to this type of promotional gimmick.
- Offer special prizes to street team members who recruit new members.
- Remind your street team members to be polite. They are representing you and their behavior will reflect on your band.
- Don't trespass on private property during promotional activities.
- Don't put posters or flyers on telephone poles or other city/county/state property. This can lead to a fine.
- Don't promote gigs at other venues/clubs during a gig. This can really upset an owner.
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