This week, our live class featured music marketing expert Leonard Patterson, content marketing lead at Artist Collective. Leonard shared his tips on how to effectively promote your live shows, both online and offline, in a post-pandemic world.
If you missed the class, you can watch the replay above. Or, if you prefer the highlights-only version, read on for a summary of Leonard’s presentation.
7 tips for promoting your gigs online and offline
Leonard is a big advocate of finding the most efficient way for musicians and artists to promote their live events. As a former band member himself, he understands an artist’s desire to stay within their comfort zone – working on their music and booking gigs. Marketing usually ends up taking a back seat, and that, Leonard says, is a problem.
The reality is that promoting gigs is a huge part of making it in the music business. And with in-person events making a comeback and summer just around the corner, this is the perfect time to market your live shows.
So, how can you promote your next live event effectively? Here are some tips:
1. Make your marketing content look professional
Whether you’re promoting your events through social media, your website, or in person, all of the content you put out into the world must look professional and well-designed. The neater and more compact your content is, the more likely it is that you will succeed in getting your message across to your fans.
But of course, small bands and musicians don’t have the budget for a full-fledged, professional marketing campaign. But there are ways to create your campaign yourself.
Leonard recommends that musicians create their posters, flyers, and social media posts, quickly and affordably using PosterMyWall’s customizable band promo templates. He’s been using PosterMyWall for years and recommends it to all of the budding artists and musicians he works with.
2. Consider lead time, frequency, and friction
An important thing to consider before promoting your event is the amount of time and effort that will be required from you to make that promotion a success. Let’s say you’re planning to play at a huge venue and the ticket price is $15. For an event like this, you will have to spend more time promoting your event than if you were playing a small local venue with no cover charge. Why? Because the combination of the larger venue with bigger crowds plus the higher ticket price acts as a barrier or source of friction that may deter your fans from coming.
But if you’re aware of the challenge upfront, you can plan to put in the effort that it will take to market the show successfully.
Similarly, think about gigs that are close to one another in proximity and timing. If you’ve got four gigs back-to-back in one weekend, figure out which one needs the bigger push to get people to show up, then invest your efforts there.
3. The tic-tac-toe promo template
This marketing plan template, designed by Leonard, will help you map out your online and offline promotion strategies before, during, and after your event. The objective is to plan out your promotion ahead of time so that you can schedule and streamline your marketing activities without getting overwhelmed or missing any opportunities.
Leonard stressed that while it is ideal to have at least one activity in every “box”, it’s better to concentrate on the opportunities that will yield the biggest impact with the least amount of effort–than to take on more promotional activities that you don’t have time to implement well.
4. Create a Facebook event
Even though it might seem outdated, Facebook is still a very popular platform for events — and for good reason.
Facebook event posts allow fans to (virtually) raise their hands and show their interest. Rather than annoying fans by posting too frequently on your music page, you can invite the fans who are interested to your event page–and post your updates there. Your fans will be notified each time you post, and you won’t annoy the people who aren’t interested.
You can also use your Facebook event pages to have conversations with your fans and track event RSVPs. This increases engagement and gives you the opportunity to be more flexible with your event planning.
Another benefit of a Facebook event is that you can create multiple dates for a single event. A great feature is that the date of your next event updates automatically.
If you need help getting started, browse through PosterMyWall’s thousands of Facebook event templates.
5. Consider non-social sites
Bandsintown is a great promotional website that integrates with Amazon Alexa. If you list your dates on the site, people who ask Alexa: “What shows are playing in my area?” or “When is the next Myband show?” will be rewarded with information about your show.
Another great website to consider is Eventbrite. Eventbrite attracts tons of organic traffic. When you integrate your tickets onto the site, anyone who searches for, say, “bands playing near me,” will see your gig in the search results.
Finally, try Songkick. This site is pretty neat because it shows up on the concert tab of your Spotify account. If you list your concert dates on the site, fans will be able to see those dates on Spotify.
6. Make your event feel “new” post-pandemic
Another great way to make your concert promotion stand out is to create new types of events. Leonard shared several examples, which he hopes will inspire you to try something new:
Brett Wiscons is an indie artist who creates custom events that he calls “Seasoned Sounds.” These are culinary concerts, i.e. a house concert paired with gourmet food. “This is an exciting alternative for people who are still not comfortable with large crowds,” Leonard said.
Nikki Sbaffoni is another indie artist who keeps her online fans engaged by live streaming all of her in-person shows. During her streams, she talks about where she is and what she’s doing. She also shares a searchable song list so people watching from home can make song requests.
7. Get your fans excited for your gig
Leonard said that getting fans excited about an upcoming show is an art that all musicians need to master–and shared several examples of artists who are doing it right.
Musician H’Atina’s approach is to shoot wildly enthusiastic videos that invite her fans to her shows. Because H’Atina’s enthusiasm is contagious, fans who see the videos can’t help becoming excited too. H’Atina also uses an on-screen text display to share her show dates and times as she speaks. After each show, she shoots a second video where she thanks her fans for coming and uses the momentum from the last show to promote her next gig.
Another way to get your fans excited is to promote your gig across your social media accounts. Try Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But always be mindful of when you post and where. As Leonard said: “You don’t have to be everywhere on social media, just know where your fans are hanging out and start there.”
PosterMyWall video templates are an easy way to create dynamic social media posts because they’re fun, engaging, and more likely to catch your audience’s eye than a static graphic.
Leonard challenged the artists and musicians watching to each try one new tactic to improve their promotion. As he wrapped up, he shared these inspiring words: “There are fans waiting to hear your music, so if you’ve got an opportunity to connect with fans, do it. And if you’ve got a gift, share it!”
Leonard has shared free, downloadable marketing resources to help get you started at www.artistcollect.com/pmw. Leonard’s book “365 Livestream Ideas for Musicians” is available for purchase at Amazon.