As cynical as it sounds, your ability to gain exposure for yourself and your music as well as build relationships with industry influencers is just as important as your talent and the quality of your music. Unless you’re lucky enough to have industry backing, if you’re unable to promote your music, it’s never going to reach the people it needs to. These 4 tools will dramatically boost your exposure on the internet, enable you to develop relationships with industry professionals and strip hours off of your everyday band admin, so that your music can reach more people than ever before.
#1 Personalise Mass Emails the Easy Way
Emails are the lifeblood of the DIY music scene. Over the course of your career you’ll probably send out 100s if not 1000s of emails to promoters, bloggers, journalists, booking agents and management, let alone any mailing lists you may have built.
It’s important to remember that promoters and management agencies probably receive 100s of emails just like yours every day, so you need to make sure yours stands out. Sending a personalised email that shows that you know and care about their work is essential – a generic email (known in some circles within the music industry as a “hey dude…” email) is unlikely to elicit a response.
However, actually sitting down and individually writing out 100s of emails is prohibitively time consuming. By using mail merge software you can send out mass email campaigns which can be automatically personalised with information like a name, company, associated acts and anything else you could imagine.
For users of Microsoft Office, Outlook has incredible mail merge capabilities; you can easily organise your contacts into categories and send out unlimited emails. To start mail merging with Outlook, check out this guide which will show you everything you need to know. Outlook often comes installed with Windows OS computers, but if you don’t have Outlook, or use a different OS, you can pick it up at a discount on this store.
If you don’t want to buy Outlook, you can also use Gmail and Google Docs to send mail merges for free. Although with Google you are limited to 100 emails per day and you don’t have the same ability to organise your databases, as a free tool it’s pretty incredible! There’s a tutorial on using Gmail to mail merge here.
#2 Follow Up Like a Pro
You already know how competitive the music industry is. There are probably 10 acts vying for every single support slot available at your local “toilet” venue, let alone trying to get the attention of booking agents and managers. However, tenacity and hard work go a long way in this business, and timely follow ups on important emails will get you great results. At the same time, there is no quicker way to alienate an important industry contact than by constantly bothering them with unwanted emails. You need to know when to take a hint, as well as know when to pursue a lead!
This is a very tricky balancing act, but one which is made infinitely easier with the help of Sidekick, a free email tracking tool which allows you to see who has already opened your emails, when they opened it and if they clicked on any links in the body of the email.
Having this insight into the behaviour of your contacts allows you to make better judgements of who you should follow up and when you should do so!
#3 Use Your Social Media to Listen, Not Just to Talk
There are countless articles out there which will teach you how to use social media as a loudspeaker to promote yourself, however this point is about doing the opposite of that: using social media as a tool to listen.
Mention is a fantastic software application which allows you to monitor what people are talking about in your niche. For example, a London based techno outfit can use Mention to scour the internet and social media platforms for any mention of relevant gigs in need of more acts, or journalists looking for new bands to review.
When used wisely, Mention will allow you to keep abreast of all the opportunities popping up on social media which would have passed you by otherwise!
Mention costs £30 a month, which sounds like a lot of money, but you can get an awesome return on that through gigs and exposure. Fortunately, it comes with a month long free trial, so you can see for yourself if it is worth the investment before you put any money down.
#4 The Importance of a Great Online Presence
There is so much new music out there that trying to find something new can be overwhelming. As a result, you need to give yourself every single conceivable advantage in getting people to listen to your music. Simply put, you need to be plastered across every single music platform on the internet to ensure that you are as searchable as possible.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a band kill it live, but have been unable to find them anywhere on the internet later that night. No matter how great your band is, people don’t have the time to play detective on the internet to track you down. If you don’t pop up in the first couple of spots on Google when you search your own band name, you need to do something about that.
Complete profiles on the major music platforms will help you do this and as a minimum you should have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and have your music published on Spotify and iTunes. Youtube is often overlooked, but is a huge force in music streaming, so even if you don’t yet have a music video, you should upload some of your music, accompanied by a static image of your album artwork or some press shots.
A website is also a great way to tie together your online footprint. It also allows you to present yourself the way you want to be presented and gives fans a way to connect with you, listen to your music, buy merch and find out more about you all in one place.
Thanks to CMS systems, you can put together a bespoke, great looking website without any knowledge of coding. Wordpress is my CMS of choice, but some of the functionality is quite limited if you have no coding knowledge, so it might be worth looking into other alternatives if you aren’t as tech-savvy. Web hosting costs less than a round at the pub each month, and will give you a fantastic return on your investment.
By using these 4 digital marketing tools, you can get more gigs, more exposure and connect with important industry influencers more easily, so you can get back to doing what really matters: creating and performing great music.
Is there anything we’ve missed out? Let us know what digital marketing tools you use to make your life easier in the comment section below!
Written by Scott Mailson
For help with your online presence and overall reach, you have the option to hire music bloggers through Music Gateway, or you can hire PR and marketing professionals!