Happy (almost) Halloween! In honor of all the spookiness that lies ahead, we’ve put together a list of fun, scarily good tactics to try out in an effort to up your marketing game. (Ok, so they’re really just fun marketing tricks to try, but we’re excited for Halloween—can you blame us?)
So if you’re sick of the same old tired techniques or simply don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with these music marketing tips to try.
Partner with other artists
I’m such a fan of partnering with others, joining forces, and growing together. I really believe that we can achieve so much more together than apart, and partnering with other artists is just one way to do this.
Think of a few artists in your scene (or even outside of it) who you really admire and whose vibe, style, and genre meshes well with yours, and then start to brainstorm different ways you can partner up. You want to have a few solid ideas in the works before you approach them, rather than just rolling up with a “hey, wanna do something together?” That’s a sure fire way to have the conversation quickly fizzle out.
Try to brainstorm ideas that are brand and band specific to the both of you for the strongest results, but if you’re feeling stuck a few starter ideas might include:
- The popular but never out of style pairing for a split EP
- Getting on the same show bill, and putting on a joint show, preferably for a big event like someone’s album release or a themed night (more on that later)
- Putting together a joint monthly playlist of local bands you’re both digging, ideally from across the country/world, rather than just your local town
- Paired merch bundle/contest
Any of these are a great way for each of you to gain exposure to a totally new audience, all while doing something outside the box. Plus, it’s always more enjoyable when you’re working with someone.
Partner with other brands
On a similar note, why not start partnering with other brands? They can be local, but they can also be internet based brands that you feel are a perfect fit for your existing brand/aesthetic and that you know your audience will love.
Again, the best ideas will be the ones highly specific to you both, but here are a couple to get the ol’ noodle fired up:
- Partnering with a startup clothing company, where they send you some of their shirts/hats/etc for free and you wear them on stage or in a press photo or on some of your social media posts, and maybe even have a few for sale at your shows in exchange for a small percentage of sales.
- Partnering with a local coffee shop to create a weekly or monthly playlist, where you get to include a few of your songs and the songs of other local artists (bonus: networking!)
Start a mailing list
This one might not be terribly original, but it’s one that most artists are still neglecting. In the age of algorithms, it’s more difficult than ever to capture the attention of your audience. But with a mailing list, you can count on it getting delivered to the inbox of your most loyal fans. Just remember to keep it interesting, keep it real, and connect with your fans. The best newsletters aim to connect, not sell. Consider sharing short personal blog posts in your newsletters—anything that gives personalized insight into your thoughts is most likely going to be a hit.
Get behind a cause
If your band is already all about a specific passion or cause, such as sustainability, saving the environment, women’s rights, or any number of other causes, why not take it to the next level? Your band can participate in a local event that’s already running (posting about it and throughout the event on social media as a way to get the word out and offer content to post) or if there’s not anything happening in the immediate future—start your own!
You can go big like organizing a march or peaceful protest, or keep it small by donating proceeds from a special merch bundle to your favorite organization and trying to get write ups in local blogs/paper to spread the word.
If you want to really test your creative skills, you can rent a booth at an upcoming event (usually for $25 or so), whip up a batch of cookies, brownies, and other baked goods (again, taking pictures/videos to share!) and then put a sign on your table that all the money you make goes to X cause. It’s such a good way to get out there, get involved in your community, raise awareness for a cause you believe in, and get some unique, interesting content for your social media pages. Plus, it’s fun (and tasty!)
Do a scavenger hunt
I’ve said this before, but I honestly want to start a band just so I can do this one. I have never actually seen a band create a scavenger hunt and I honestly don’t know why because I think it’s the coolest idea ever, and sounds like a ton of fun for everyone involved. Is it a little bit time intensive? Probably. Do you need a solid local fan base for this to work? Definitely. But what could be more fun for your fans than getting daily hints at where to find puzzle pieces or prizes like exclusive merch, show tickets, or a ticket to enter a drawing into the ultimate fan experience. (Whatever you decide that is.) Tons of companies have done this, but for some reason, bands tend to neglect it.
Please do this and then please let me know so I can participate.
Partner with local radio
Take advantage of your local indie or college radio stations and see if you can get in there for an exclusive performance or interview ahead of an important show. If you have a decent following in your city and a bit of buzz, that’ll be a big help. It’s a great way to broaden your audience, all while getting more involved in the community.
Put on a themed show
Another favorite of mine is a themed show. So many shows now are just plain boring. Everything from stage presence to your set list to the vibe of the room should be carefully planned out and executed. It doesn’t matter if there’s 5 people in the room or 500—that show needs to be top notch every time.
While it’s unrealistic to think you can put on a big shebang each and every time, having a themed show for special events (album or single release, hometown show of a tour, etc) or just having one for fun every few months is a must-do, in my opinion.
Take advantage of the holidays if you’re stuck for other ideas—Halloween offers the perfect time to rent a fog machine and encourage patrons to dress up for a discount, to offer free candy out of a pumpkin bowl at your merch table, and to dress up with a theme when you take the stage.
Christmas is a great opportunity to string your show with colorful lights, offer tiny gift bags (AKA presents) for the first 25 people to show up, and have a donation tree for the local shelters.
What I’m saying is, you want to make every show an experience to remember, but every now and again, pull out all the stops and really make it something they’ll never forget. Experience is everything.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.