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June, 2004

"Business Buzz"

by Webmaster

Up until now, I've written about topics that have gotten my interest and about my personal experiences.

I think this column is an appropriate venue for that—not just from me, but from members of this web site.

And, this column could be more than that. So, this month I'm going to pass along some information that may help you promote your music business.

The following suggestions come from an article that was printed in the National Asociation of the Self-Employed magazine. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a record of issue. And the column does not give the author. It's entitled "10 Ways to Get Business Buzz Going". I've summarized and restated the points here:

  1. Use color-photo postcards to make your mailing stand out in a stack of mail.
  2. Create an unusual business card.
  3. Put a discount coupon on the back of your business card. When it's used, give the customer 2 more cards: one for the customer, one for a friend.
  4. Offer a discount to people with names that relate to holidays: "heart" for Valentine's Day, "work" for Labor Day, etc.
  5. Ask your best customers for help: word of mouth advertising, referrals.
  6. Offer a free service related to your primary work.
  7. Create free events that tie in with holidays.
  8. Exchange customer lists with complementary businesses.
  9. Ask other businesses to hand out your cards.
  10. Write articles for newsletters or trade magazines and include your contact info for publication.

Now, if you're in a band and using this advice to promote your business, you may think that some of these ideas don't apply to you.

But, if you're selling CDs, you could offer a discount on CDs. You could tie your performances to holidays. You could join together with other bands to create events. You could join organizations like this web site and Gold Dot Colorado Bluegrass Music Society that offer opportunities to promote your band. You could write articles for music-based web site, like this one, and for newsletters like Pow'r Pickin', the newsletter of the Gold Dot Colorado Bluegrass Music Society. They are always looking for articles about their member bands and the bluegrass music scene in Colorado.

Opportunities are out there for "shameless self-promotion." I learned a simple technique from the book "How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet" by David Nevue, available from Music Biz Academy. One of his suggestions was to use sound checks as an opportunity to tell people about your web site. You could also tell folks about your CDs and your upcoming gigs.

As webmaster for Gold Dot Colorado Bluegrass Music Society, I get a lot of requests to promote bands and events. I'd like to offer some advice here for those folks who promote their bands via e-mail:

  1. Know the requirements of the site you are sending e-mail to. Make sure you qualify.
  2. Send a brief description of the event(s) including who is performing, where the performance is (building, street info and city), date and time of performance(s), contact info, and other info required by the receiver, such as cost.
  3. Put content into plain text e-mail in a readable form. Lot's of formatting takes away from the readability.
  4. Don't bury the information in large images of your poster or multi-page Word Documents.

Good luck promoting your band. If you have any advice for other bands, please share them with us here.

Thanks for visiting AcousticByLines.

After writing this, I read an article in "Colorado Country Life", June 2004. This magazine is put out by rural electric co-ops. The article is entitled "Co-op hits high note for rockers" and is from the Cooperative Business Journal.

To better the odds [of making a living playing in a rock band in Alaska], a small group of Anchorage rock'n'rollers are taking a lesson from our country's rural heritage and forming a cooperative. Named Procrastination Records, the music co-op is organizing with five bands and 20 volunteers...."[W]e decided it would make sense to pool our resources," said [organizer Zeke] Trosper....An initial project is a CD featuring music from the co-op's member bands. Each group's membership fee is the songs it contributes to the project. The co-op is also collecting vehicles and gear for all the bands to use. Volunteers provide everything from free legal help to assistance in circulating flyers on gigs. All efforts are nonprofit with any income being rolled back into the co-op and used for everyone's benefit. The key criteria for participating in the co-op is a willingness to work cooperatively.

Please let me know if you act on any of the ideas presented here. Thanks.

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