You have to have your own website – one that you fully own and control, that uses your own domain name. It’s not enough to just use other social networks, like Facebook, or MySpace. Remember MySpace? Yeah, gone. The goal is to have a hub, a central Create your own hub that you own and control.
This site should get updated often with pics, a blog, news, tour dates, notes from the road. That’s why WordPress works so well – you can update it yourself, and connect it with other accounts like your Twitter account, Reverbnation etc.
And for chrissakes, use the email address that comes with your domain name. Yourname@yourband.com is the way to go – people will see that and go to your website. Don’t use a gmail or hotmail account. Advertise your own site!
A domain name and webhosting with Hostgator will cost less than $70 dollars a year. A bit more with Bluehost. And it’s soooo worth it.
Talk to your fans, online and off
No more hiding behind PR and press people who talk for you. Connecting with your fans is important. Do this on your blog by answering comments or posting in your forum. Interact with them on your Facebook page or with Twitter. Sign CDs at the merch table after your show. But remember, it’s about the music. Keep making excellent music.
You have to start an Email list
Keep it at the swag table. Have it at the door and offer raffles at the show. Do what Dave Matthews did to build a strong following – after every show, for those that gave you your email, have a draw for 2 tickets, so that the person who won can bring a friend. Word of mouth is the best marketing.
Reverbnation has an email list builder – free for up to 1000 members. Or try Mailchimp – free for up to 2000 members. Back up your fan list periodically. You don’t want to lose it.
Find out where your fans like to hang: is it Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr. Be there too. Share pics from the road on Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr and Twitpic.
Share your music
Get an email address in exchange for a free song or track in the works. Use Soundcloud to share your music onto Facebook, Twitter or to other music sites like RootMusic, Mobile Roadie or Virb that are integrated with us.
Put your genre in your tags
So that other who like that genre will find you.
Use your fans
Set up a street team. Have them set up flyers around town, or work at your merchandise table to get people to sign up to the mailing list. Have a contest for t-shirt and swag design. Word of mouth is the best advertising, and happy fans will love sharing your news.
At the very least, you want:
- a great pic of the band, and it has to be press quality (300 dpi and about 8 x11 inches)
- a well-written About Us doc. With real stuff that journalists can actually use
- band member bios,
- a Demo CD
- High res quality pic of your CD covers
- contact info
Have this on your site so that people can download it.
- Have t-shirts, CDs, books, organized nicely on a merch table at your shows. Bring a light so people can see them.
- Sell online with bandcamp
- Sell stickers, postcards. Moo cards are beautiful – you can have more than one pic on a card
- Signed and unsigned limited edition posters