After meeting some friends in Hollywood for a bite and a drink, I was walking by the Piano Bar, a popular watering hole in the area. There was a band playing in there loud enough to be heard out front and they sounded good, so I went in to check them out.
After listening to them for a good bit, I decided that I want to learn more about the group. I turned to the guy next to me and I asked him what the name of the band was.
He didn’t know.
So, I turned to the girl on the other side of me and asked her the same thing.
She didn’t know…
…nor did the waitress.
There was no club calendar on the table or anything that might give a hint of who was playing.
I continued to watch for a bit, but soon needed to get on my way. Walking out of the club, I looked for a sandwich board or marquee that might have the name of the band – there was none.
I asked the bouncer/doorman for the name of the band.
He didn’t know.
Right then, right there, I decided two things:
1. If you don’t care, why should I.
2. No one is going see my band and not know the name of the group…which, by the way, is the Podunk Poets.
We have a banner that we hang at most every gig that has our band logo on it. I’m not actually sure of the dimensions, but I believe that it is 10’ by 10’ (not huge, but not too small). The Logo is in the center lengthwise, but in the upper portion height-wise so that it looks right regardless of how high it is hung.
So there’s our band’s name, big and bold behind us when we play. And, it appears in just about every photograph and iPhone video people take of the band.
In addition to getting our band’s name out there, it also makes the Podunk Poets look more professional…especially when multiple bands are on the bill: we’re the ones who care.
A band banner can serve double purpose as a backdrop for fan photos with band members. Savy bands have fan photo pages on their website and facebook page to help draw traffic.
As of this writing, I have just put in the order for the 5th box of Podunk Poets business cards from gotprint.com. So, with 500 cards per box there are 2000 cards with my band’s name floating around.
Before just about every show, one or two cards are distributed on every table. Sometimes those tables are occupied, sometimes not, but we leave cards either way.
At the end of the night, we may of may pick up the extra cards but they are so inexpensive that not picking them up is not a financial hit. So, sure of those 2000 cards out there, surely some are discarded. But from one recent event, the Podunk Poets got three good paying gigs from people who picked up our cards. And just one of those gigs more than covered the expense of all the cards we’ve had made and many, many more boxes we’ll purchase in the future.
(Learn more about promoting your band in Riley Wilson’s column Marketing 101.)
And the cards are also something you can carry with you in non-gig situations. At some point you will find yourself in the opportune moment to talk to someone of influence about your band…your so called “elevator pitch”…and it certainly looks like your band is professional when you’re able to pull out a card to hand to them. (And, it’s a great opportunity to ask them for their card.)
Merch is good for getting the band name out there, too, but then you are counting on them purchasing the item. Giveaway items like business cards and guitar picks, or photo opportunities with the band with the logo in the background or some kind of band related prop keeps your name out front.
The Speach Bubble tags the band in photo oportunies. A junker guitar with a band sticker could do the same thing.
It looks like you care and makes you look professional.
If you don’t care, why would you expect anyone else to?
– Jake Kelly