Scott Ibex--Costa Mesa resident, entertainment lawyer and national touring artist who has performed with members of Chicago, The Rastafarians, Pato Banton and other famous artists--just released Low Budget ROCKSTAR: The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Booking, Surviving and Making a Profit on Your Own Indie Tour. As he says, "When I first began touring professionally, I was so deeply focused on my music that I neglected to plug my merchandise, circulate my mailing list, and effectively promote myself during gigs. Over the years, I learned my lesson, and it has resulted in a great deal more exposure for my music."
He adds, "Going on tour is the dream of almost every serious musician. Yet, to make the most of that dream, bands need to be serious about promotions before hitting the road." After the jump, he gives us his five steps to a successful Indie tour self-promotion plan.
5. Pre-promote your tour dates through venue-driven promotion
In order to effectively pre-promote your tour dates there are several important goals to accomplish. The first goal is to maximize venue-driven promotions. Venues have local know-how when it comes to promoting live acts. Make sure to supply them with advance press material. Ensure your gig is listed on their website, have them circulate your digital flyers, and request they publish your weblinks. This will enable you to take advantage of their community presence and attract the biggest draw to all your shows.
4. Take advantage of promotional opportunities onstage
Taking advantage of promotional opportunities onstage is something you simply can't forget to do. Be sure to announce websites where fans can find you online after the show, tell everyone about your last two tour stops and where the tour is heading, plug your new album, and make mention of any charitable causes your band supports. In addition to playing great music onstage, it's crucial to connect with new fans on tour in every possible way. Milk the spotlight as a promotional platform. It's the best possible way to get your message across and build a national following.
3. Make sure to effectively sell your merchandise after the gig
The best opportunity you have to sell your albums, T-shirts and personalized merchandise on tour is during and directly after the show. As you form a magical bond with the crowd they will gravitate to buy your music, read your literature and be interested in learning more about your band. Have someone run a neat and orderly merchandise booth during the show, further entice the audience to visit it by advertising an "artist direct" discount or autographed memorabilia for sale. Also, make sure to sell merch as a band while you meet the crowd after the show. Nothing will make your new fans happier than being able to buy merch directly from the artist they love and support ... you!
2. Distribute and collect mailing list info at every show
Collect mailing list information from your audience at all your shows. There is no better way to build a fan base than asking the audience to "like" your band profile on Facebook or by sending targeted emails about "when the new album drops," "when your tour will be back in Milwaukee," or any other band-related news. Approach audience members directly and solicit their information after the show. You'll find they will be very open to getting in touch with you online after seeing you rock out live!
1. Take advantage of alternative promotions on local radio and newspapers
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Many of the cities you'll be performing in have free local papers with a readership of thousands. The opportunity to advertise your gig in their entertainment section or have an article printed about your band before the show is amazing. Also, contacting local radio stations to book on-air interviews and short performances prior to your gigs is another effective promotional technique to increase your draw and online album sales. Make sure to contact these stations and newspapers who will be eager to report on your tour as it passes through their city--your show will give them a local hook to consider!
Advertising, marketing and effectively promoting a national tour requires a big commitment, but it's one you have to make. The big stars have dedicated teams of professionals who work around the clock to get the word out about their tours, albums, merch and more. Fortunately, the Internet makes a lot of the same promotional advantages large touring acts have enjoyed for years readily available at your fingertips ... and most of them are free. Invest your time in promotions before the tour and enjoy the ride even more after you hit the road!
Low Budget ROCKSTAR: The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Booking, Surviving and Making a Profit on Your Own Indie Tour is available for purchase at www.orangemoonpress.com, www.lowbudgetrockstar.net, www.amazon.com and www.bn.com.