Promotional marketing can be costly, time consuming, and sometimes beyond the reach of an independent artist or group’s resources. Here are 10 free music marketing strategies that will increase artist/group awareness, build large fan bases, and lead to increased sales.
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1. Set up a music marketing and merchandise table at each gig.
Do not let the size or length of a show determine whether or not you take the time to set up a music marketing – merchandising table. Every opportunity to market your music to potential fans must be taken. A simple table with a black or colored cloth, artist/group banner, and loaded with Flyers, T-shirts, and email sign up sheet is all that is needed to draw attention. Attention equals sales.
2. Give a compelling reason to buy your music
When you are on stage do not simply announce that your girlfriend or boyfriend is at the back of the room with music for sale. This is not a reason to buy. Give potential fans a reason to want to buy the album. Tell a compelling story about the recording session, featured players that appear on the album, special recording techniques, producers used, or anything else that may draw attention and get potential fans to go to your music marketing – merchandise table and buy.
3. Capture email addresses at live shows
Consistent music marketing newsletters delivered via email have proven time and time again to be a great source of album sales. Live shows are a great place to build your opt-in email list. Have your girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, sister, or anyone you can find walk around the club/venue during your live performance and ask folks to sign up for your free newsletter. In addition, make sure you place a clipboard with a pen attached at your music marketing – merchandise table for increased sign-ups.
4. Send consistent newsletters to fans updating music activities, shows, and information
As you begin to build your opt-in email list you will need to send consistent music marketing email messages and newsletters to your fans. Do not over market. A weekly email updating fans of upcoming gigs, press mentions, and other artist/group activities has proven to work best. The last thing you want to do is send too many music marketing messages to fans and become another junk email in their minds.
5. Place an eye catching music marketing ad on all social networking sites linking to your online store
Social networking sites like myspace.com, youtube.com, and facebook.com have increased independent music exposure more so than any other music marketing channel in the history of music marketing. However, many up and coming artists/groups never fully realize the benefits these types of social networking sites offer. Do not be afraid to advertise the fact that you or your group has an album for sale. Each one of your social networking sites must have an eye-catching advertisement to buy your album in a location that anyone who visits your page will be sure to see. Make sure you link the advertisement directly to your online store or page on your website where potential buyers can make the purchase with a single click.
6. Give the first single away for free
In the marketing world it is called a “loss leader.” You give potential customers something for free in order to get them to want to buy the entire album. By giving away a song for free you are giving potential fans a way to hear your music that will potentially lead them to want to buy the rest of the songs or your album so they can continue enjoying the music. Do not be afraid of giving a song away for free. If the potential fans like the music heard, it has been proven that they will buy the album.
7. Make it easy to buy your music online
If you have your own website make sure that you have links on every page of your site leading potential customers directly to the page where they can click on one button to buy your music. Avoid shopping carts that make potential customers click through pages of categories, sections, etc. before landing on the actual product page.
8. List swap with similar artists/groups in your genre.
As you work your social networking sites you will come across similar artists/groups that you like as a music listening fan. Contact these groups and ask if they are interested in cross promoting your group to their opt-in email list in exchange for you doing the same. Do not give them your list and do not directly market your music to their list. Have them mention your group to their fans and you do the same for them. A recommendation from them about you and vice versa will gain you a lot more fans than trying to directly marketing to people who have never heard of you before. Plus, if you use their list or give your list to them this is considered SPAM. Don’t spam!
9. Gig swap with artists/groups in your genre in other Cities and States.
Gig swapping works very similar to list swapping. Ask similar artists/groups from other Cities and States than your own if they will let you open for them at their next show. Offer them the same in your City. You may not get paid for the show, but you will gain new fans. Each of you should market the other artist/group in all music marketing efforts to get the most out of the swap. Opening for an established group in a new city rather than trying to headline a show on your own will gain you more fans and lead to additional album sales.
10. Perform at high profile events for free.
The more people you perform in front of the more potential fans you can win. Do not be afraid to perform for free if the show will be in front of a large number of potential new fans. The more fans you have the better your chances of selling albums. City events, charity events, store/business openings, and community events are a good place to start. Watch your local news and read the daily paper to find events that may fit within your genre of music. When you find an event you feel may have a large number of potential fans, reach out and contact the organization and let them know you would like to perform at the event so you can gain new fans. Try to get them to include you or your groups name in future marketing of the event as payment for your services.
As you can see, not all music marketing activities have to be costly or time consuming. For the up and coming artist or group all that is needed to build a large fan base that buys your music is creativity and consistency. Always remember to give potential fans an easy path to buy your music and merchandise. Do not be afraid to let your fans know what you have to sell!