[ Music Info ] Music Marketing on a Budget
Many independent artists find themselves at a standstill, due to being intimidated by marketing. No matter where you are in your career, marketing your music should be a priority. It is essential to growth. Here are some tips to help you out even if you’re on a tight budget.
- Stickers- People love stickers because it shows that they were a part of something. Perhaps it was a live concert or maybe a rally. Imagine you’re driving and see your bands name on a sticker on a car. That is great, free exposure. How many times do you find yourself reading other folk’s bumper stickers at a red light? These little items can be found hidden in promo packages.A couple years ago I went to hip-hop music festival A3C in Atlanta, GA. When we left we received a free promotional gift bag with various CD’s, flyers, magazines and of course stickers.
I kept a few of those stickers and posted them on my computer. It reminds me of the good time I had there. Stickers are cost effective and can create a nostalgic memory for the consumer.
- Contests- We’ve all been a part or heard about contests on the radio to win merchandise. You have to call in before a certain time listing all the songs to win. Contests are a great way to grab people’s attention but also get them active.Some great contest winnings could be a gas card, gift card for Wal-Mart or maybe even opt to buy $50 (Any amount of fund) worth of groceries. Each one of these items are great. Try putting together a gift bag with items such as, a shirt, hoodie, wristband, stickers, and CD.Contests should be used lightly though. You don’t want consumers to think you are trying to buy them into being your fan. Find unique fun ways to get consumers involved with the contest. That way they provide free promotion for your band.
- Wristbands- This is probably my second personal favorite. Wristbands show where you were, what you participated in and even can stand as a fashion statement. They are cheap to get printed and easy to distribute. Get some of wristbands printed up with your catch phrase or bands name. Put a few on all the tables before you perform and collect the ones not taken after the set. No need to forget about the ones that didn’t get picked up. Make the most out of your money, recycle.Along with your catchphrase or band name, include your bands social media info. If you use front and back then you’ve got more space to cover.
- CD- Now this one is a bit give and take. Considering that the CD is on the decline why would you want to waste the investment? Well contrary to popular belief, people still want CDs. It’s a physical object you can feel, you can touch. The graphic design entices you. Some like the feeling of importing a new CD and transferring it onto their iPhones. Since the CD is on the decline, costs will be relatively low. I used to purchase 100 stacks of CD cases at Big Lots for only $10. I’ve been given CDs with money inside them, wristbands and condoms. Some may call it a gimmick, while others call it an incentive.
Either way, you need both to capture people’s attention today. Starting out you probably don’t need 1k CD’s pressed. Start out with 100 and see if you can get rid of those. I don’t mean just randomly pass them out to people. If you have a live show, leave some on the tables with a wristband. Whatever CD’s don’t get picked up, collect afterwards and use another time.
- Merchandise- Merchandise can be anything. Each piece containing your contact information and social media accounts. Frisbees, lighters, wristbands, t-shirts, posters, shot glasses, or even water bottles are just a few ideas. Remember that you want your merchandise to work for you. Invest wisely into items that compliment your bands work. Understand that t-shirts are great, but they aren’t unique always. Everyone has their own custom t-shirts.Try having a t-shirt and some other form of merchandise. If you set up a booth after a show with just shirts, chances are they won’t sell out. You should want to get a ROI (Return on investment) or at least break even. If you’re constantly investing in something that yields no return then you should reconsider using it. Don’t waste your money on items that don’t sell at that moment.
Overall it will cost some money to market your material but it doesn’t have to be much. Be smart about your investing and stretch your money. There will be times where you can’t cut corners and there will be times where you can.
Marketing doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In order to be great and bring awareness to your brand, you will have to spend time doing it.
Remember this: Do your research. Sometimes the cheaper alternatives aren’t always the best. Compare and contrast companies. Don’t wait until the last minute to print something. Mistakes happen and you don’t want to be in a position where you’ve promised fans something you can’t provide.
Terence Jordan is a professional mixing engineer, record producer and freelance music journalist. He is currently based in Tallahassee, FL studying broadcast journalism at Florida A&M University. Known as Trill Trax or Trill Trax Engineering.