Promoting gigs from your band’s website may seem pretty pointless to a lot of bands who only use Social Networking sites. But, I bet it’s better than only promoting your gigs from your band’s "Profile" - you have got a website, haven’t you? Promoting gigs from your band’s website will have a positive knock-on effect, it will increase the number of fans who roll up to support you, and that in turn will get you more repeat gigs - venues like to book bands who can bring a (thirsty) crowd - and help you sell more albums and merchandise.
It’s Very Easy
The wrong way: post the gig information on your website, direct everyone to your website at every opportunity, they see the information and about 0.01% of the visitors will come to the gig - if you’re very, very, very, very, very lucky (0.01% would be ultra, extremely good)! Caveat: unless you’re Coldplay or any other well known band, but then again, you’re not reading this are you!?
The correct way: post the gig information on your website, direct a targeted local audience to your website, offer a freebie, they see the information, pick-up the freebie and about 1%-3% of the targeted ‘local’ visitors will come to the gig - not much luck required, just hard work!
Unless you have a hard core of about 500 fans who will support you what ever the weather, you should keep your promotion efforts local to the venue - meaning: within about 25 miles. It might be odd thinking local with a World Wide Website, especially when you have fans from every corner of the globe downloading your music! - but it’s usually only locals who are going to turn up and support you.
Note: don’t leave it all to the last minute, there can be long lead-in times for online promotion, it should be continual and ongoing even if you haven’t got a gig booked!
don’t just rely on your website for gig promotion, you must take the holistic approach and you must exploit every avenue, otherwise you will probably fail.
You could fit all the required information onto one page, but I’d go for three: Home Page, Gigs Page and a Venue Page. Each page needs to contain: full contact inf., a mailing list sign-up form, how to book your band inf. and a couple of short, recent gig reviews (maybe in the sidebar?).
What’s On The Home Page [file name example: index.html]
If you run a blog on your home page (which is a good idea for lots of reasons), you can give a running commentary of the build-up to the gig, but, you only need to keep listing the basic details.
- Date & time of gig, inc. hypertext link to Gig Page.
- Venue name, inc. hypertext link to the Venue Page.
- Description of the freebie.
What’s On The Gigs Page? [file name example: flying-footstools-gigs.html]
Keep the presentation and the information, incredibly clean, simple and uniform.
- Date & time of gig, plus: doors open @… first band on @… etc…
- Venue name & town, inc. hypertext link to the Venue Page.
- Hypertext & image links to the "one off - pre-release - special edition" freebie. The freebie must be easy to find, if it’s an MP3 (which it normally is), then make it very available. There should be a pay-off with a free gift, meaning, you give a free gift :: they sign your guestbook/read your blurb. Or, you give a voucher from the website and they get a free gift at the gig.
- The line-up - with hypertext link to other bands’ websites (use: target="_blank" attribute).
- Ticket price.
- Age restrictions of venue &/or your performance.
- Your available merchandise list - that you are taking to the gig.
- Free gift (if you’ve got one) @ gig information.
What’s On The Venue Page
I keep going on about being found for something else other than your band’s name, well, being found for a venue’s name is one of the options. When you promote a gig from your website you are actually promoting the venue as well, so make the most of it.
- Venue’s name inc. hypertext & image links to the venue’s official website.
- Hypertext link to venue’s MySpace.
- Venue’s Full address.
- Box office details (link to box office &/or online ticket agency).
- Normal ticket (admission) price.
- Usual doors times.
- Age restriction details.
- Full travel information and directions inc., how to get there: on foot, by rail, by bus, by car with parking inf., and hypertext links to Google maps.
- Video link to your band playing the venue.
- House DJ details.
- Open mic. details.
- Local information might inc., independent record shops, fashion shops, cool coffee houses and pubs etc. that reflect or complement your genre.
Direct A Targeted Local Audience To Your Website
The people who want to come to your gigs are the people who like your sound, genre and lifestyle. They probably hang out in the same colleges & universities, independent record shops, fashion shops, cool coffee houses, pubs and nightclubs that you do, they live next door, they listen to the same music and they want to dance like you, or maybe you want to dance like them! They’re your friends, or they could be. You know who these people are, where they are, what they want and how to approach them. I don’t. I can only generalize.
Real World Stuff: get a map, find the venue, draw a circle with a radius of about 20 miles (about 32 kilometres) around the venue, hit those streets with your flyer. Go to all the places where your potential fans are, then (legally) hand out, post, pin up, stick and drop your stickers, flyers & business cards - they should include your band’s name, your band’s website address, your contact information and free gift details.
Online Stuff: Linking (all local addresses)
swap links with: bands of the same genre, indie record shops, fashion shops, coffee houses, pubs/nightclubs/venues.
get links from: fans, friends and family websites, local charity, local press and local radio.
Set up a mailing list - a mailing list and a website go together like Rock & Roll. If there are four members of your band, it should be easy to make a list of about fifty people. This group of fifty people are not subscribers to your mailing list, they are fans, friends and family. Invite them to the gig, ask them to forward the email and recommend a friend. Include opt-in and opt-out information - you then have the beginnings of a mailing list and a quantifiable fan base. Keep it local and Always include at least two links to your website.
Tip: A fan who just subscribed to your mailing list is HOT, and is the most receptive to buying a CD or merchandise, reply straight away to their sign up request with details of how to purchase your products.
Set up an e-team - an e-team is an online version of a street team. Yep it’s those stalwart fans, friends and family again! They can give you their time and skills to help with online promotion, the mailing list, networking, merchandising and even with the accounts, etc… it’s a long list. Their pay-off for helping is usually free gig tickets or merchandise, but, you’d be surprised how far a beautiful bouquet or scrumptious box of chocolates goes.
The e-team should be helping your band by: running a fan site, social bookmarking your website, posting in forums, commenting in blogs & profiles, emailing the local radio station and requesting your "single", using your flyer as an avatar, putting up e-posters, wearing your band’s promotional T-shirt and inviting their friends to your gigs. All with a smile and at the same time not pissing anyone off.
Get Your Website Indexed - today?
This is the big one, everyone wants to get their newly updated websites crawled and cached as quickly as possible. Having a proactive and knowledgable e-team can really help to get your band’s website indexed by the search engines quickly. Obviously it’s not only about being indexed quickly, where you are positioned in the search engines is also important - it’s no use being indexed quickly and being number one hundred and fifty in the search engine charts. Getting indexed quickly and search engine position are related and helped with ‘good quality‘ incoming links.
I suppose my top tip for getting indexed quickly is: participate in popular and ranked (PR4+) forums and blogs that Google visits regularly because the information is constantly being updated - always post using a signature with a hypertext to your website. Write a daily blog yourself, so the search engines crawl all over you - tickles, but it’s lovely.
If your website is Rome and all roads lead to it, you will get indexed and cached very quickly.
TURN UP THE VOLUME
Unsigned Band Promotion
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