You've probably been told a million times by now that internet marketing (i.e., social networking, posting videos, getting reviews on blogs) is one of the most convenient and low-cost methods of promotion today. But it's also a highly competitive space, filled to the brim with artists fighting for even the tiniest sliver of attention. Therefore, if you want to actually get seen and heard, it's wise to even out your promotional campaign with a blend of both offline and online strategies. Are you overlooking these six effective methods of marketing your music?
1. 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. Setting up "meet and greets" with your fans at local retail stores to promote your album or inviting a music supervisor out to a lunch to discuss possible placements can produce tremendous results, especially if you're charming, witty, talented, and a good salesperson.
2. 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 communications. Snail mail, texting, and even telemarketing are all methods of direct marketing. On the latter note, when is the last time you went through your database of fans and personally called people to remind them about an upcoming show? You probably haven't, and neither have many other bands – and that's precisely why this method can potentially work well for you.
3. Radio promotion
Radio promotion is the process of soliciting your music to radio stations to get airplay, build professional relationships, and make fans. It's used when you have master quality recordings, want to form solid relationships with DJs who are well-connected in your geographic area, and want to be broadcasted to potentially thousands of people in one spin. While regular-rotation commercial radio stations are a tough nut to crack, more viable mediums include college radio, National Public Radio (NPR), satellite radio, and commercial specialty shows (i.e., "locals only" type shows that air late night on weekends on commercial stations). Not only will the DJs play your music, but they can also arrange interviews, invite you to perform live on-air, and even announce your local gigs, contests, and news updates.
4. Sales promotions
Sales promotions are short-term incentives intended to stimulate a quick buying response in your target customer. They're used when you want to create the perception of urgency and get people to act now by using discount coupons, two-for-the-price-of-one deals, special event offers, holiday specials, giveaway gifts with purchase, and more. While sales promotions can be executed in a variety of different ways, they're very effective when executed by an attractive sales person at your merch booth before, during, and after your live performances.
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. Did you know that Red Bull, Monster, Zippo, Levi's, and Jack Daniel's actively participate in sponsoring bands – from hosting battle of the bands, to offering cash prizes and even opportunities for record deals? Even smaller businesses in your hometown can arrange sponsorships – from playing your music in stores, to hosting live acoustic performances. No matter how you slice it, sponsorships are a great way to promote.
6. Guerrilla street marketing
Guerrilla street marketing refers to any unconventional form of promotion that can be employed on a low- to no-budget. It's used essentially when you want to take your marketing message to the streets. Placing stickers in the stalls of cool clubs or comic shops, spray painting (with spray chalk) your logo on city sidewalks, plastering telephone polls and construction zones with large bill posters, and handing out postcards in front of clubs are all low-cost guerrilla marketing techniques that can help attract attention. Just remember that when planning your next guerrilla marketing strategy, you must always respect the laws of your city and never do anything that is harmful to other people's property, or can get you in trouble.
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack on a Low Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard's website under "Trade Books" or on Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at bobbyborg.com.