Written by Lisa Jones.
Consider who your target audience is and go to them (Don’t wait for them to come to you).
If your target audience are all ages; get in touch with local high schools – ask if you can put your posters up on their student noticeboards, add posters to their Facebook pages or even play a free lunchtime concert.
Many of the free magazines we enjoyed as teenagers (such as Tearaway) are still available. Enquire about placing an ad in those magazines.
If your target audience is older; get in touch with Universities and Polytechs etc. – you can do the same as above, and also ask if you can have your music played on their student radio shows.
Many cities have their own local community papers. Do some research online and find out if you can advertise in these papers.
Research out what local clubs & youth groups there are in each town. Having your poster displayed on their noticeboards could help towards encouraging people to attend your show.
Consider all means of getting the word out there
As well as putting posters up on poster walls, you could look at placing flyers on car windows (for private car parks you’ll need permission from the car park owners, and you may also need to check with local city councils). Flyers can also be put in mailboxes and added to any public noticeboards, including noticeboards in information centres.
Setting up an online street team can be an excellent way of sourcing people who can do these things for you.
If money is an issue, shop around for cheaper printing or do it from home – think black and white printing, and fit 4 flyers on one A4 page.
Get in touch with local music stores and ask if you can send them some flyers to give to customers. Some local stores may also be happy to put your tour poster in their windows and they don’t necessarily have to be music related; options include takeaway shops, hairdressers or even book stores.
Many venues (and even cafes etc.) will also be happy to put your poster up on their poster walls, and they’ll also advertise your gig on their websites and social media pages.
Some towns also have street-vines and other music related publications. Most of these will also have an online presence – find them and ask if you can add your poster in the next issue.
Have the details of your gig added to the classified section in any local newspapers.
Although costly, you could consider advertising on billboards or on the back of buses.
If you sell t-shirts through a website such as PrintMighty, you could create an exclusive tour t-shirt with the tour dates on it to include with your other listings.
Enquire about placing ads in music magazines.
Don’t forget about Radio stations and podcasts – many will be happy to give your tour a mention. Some local stations will even play your music to help promote the tour.
Ticket giveaways are also a good way to encourage attendance – the winner will usually want to bring some friends along.
Press releases are a great way to get the word out there. You can either create one yourself and send it out to anyone you can think of, or you can contact a professional PR writer who will create one for you and send it out to their media contacts for a cost.
Press releases aren’t just used online, they can also be used for making TV and Radio announcements.
Ideas of what to include in a press release include:
- Is the tour to help promote a new release?
- Talk about each of the acts
- Give all gig/tour details (venues, dates, age restrictions, supporting acts, tickets/door sales)
- Describe your music and/or musical influences
- Talk about your future plans
- Provide website and social media links
Come up with a description: Create a couple of sentences which provide a good description of your music. These sentences can be good to refer to if anyone wants a quick answer.
Choose a spokesperson: It’s a good idea to select someone from your band/duo who is good at talking to take care of any interviews and requests from the media.
The day of the gig
Send some people down town in the hour or so prior to the gig and hand out flyers to anyone you consider to be in your target audience.
If you head outside the venue to have a break, tell any passer-bys about the show.
Purchase or borrow a sandwich board (the kind shops put outside) and put it out on the path in front of the venue with your poster attached to it. Some venues may do this already, so you may want to check in advance.
You could also put your tour poster up in the back window of any cars that you’re travelling in, just be careful that they don’t obscure the driver’s vision.
Consider having business cards available at the door – as amazing as your music may sound, some people may still forget the name of the band and having a business card will stop that from happening. If you put on a great performance, word of mouth is one of the best ways to get people to attend your next show.
- Stay positive and enthusiastic.
- Keep calm and patient – not everyone will respond to you straight away.
- Be punctual when attending any interviews, promo photo shoots and soundchecks etc.
- Keep it professional – keep swearing to a minimum and avoid making any derogatory comments.