A gig is a gig, but a gig with a cash-spending, dancing crowd is a gig that makes everyone happy. This includes the venue, the fans, and you, the hard-working advertising wizard who also happens to be a musician. So what makes the difference between a gig and a good gig? Music marketing. Here are some tried and true methods to filling the venue:
Fliers, Promo CDs, and Awareness
It may seem basic or outdated, but fliers are important. What are the demographics that (you expect to) attend your shows? Go to the stores, coffee shops, hookah lounges, restaurants, and bars that your adoring fans would likely frequent. Leave fliers (well-designed, legible, and informative) on their community boards, or ask if the shop would play a promotional CD. Be sure to leave cards with your website on them. Genuinely get to know their patrons and mention your gig.
Find and use every resource in your area that has a schedule of local events. Local entertainment magazines and websites are an obvious resource. If your target market is the newspaper reading crowd, get your gig listed in the classifieds.
Certainly you’re going to take advantage of your social media accounts. Use the Facebook event function to inform your fans and encourage them to invite their friends. You could also use Facebook ads, which could be a beneficial investment depending on the type of gig. If your target crowd is on Twitter, give them 140 characters on why your band will rock their face off two weeks from Friday at 9. (Hint: you can share a pic of your event poster.) The point is, these are free tools that you can use. So do it!
Word of mouth advertising is the best that it gets. Attend similar shows in the area and strike up conversations with those around you, then slyly mention that you have a gig coming up. (Just don’t burn bridges with those performing at these shows.) Another solid word of mouth option is to play at an open mic night (or two). This is a good way to showcase your music for a few minutes. Tell the crowd that, if they like what they hear, to come ask you about your next gig. (Just don’t burn bridges with the open mic venue.)
What marketing strategies do you use to promote your gigs?