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Self promotion is essential. If you want to gain a following you will need to advertise where you are playing and build a database of fans contact details.  Standard press release letters should include a brief description of your act/band and its achievements, contact number, venue address and contact number, gig date & time and the nearest transport available. Including photo's may encourage local press to do a feature on you!

There is no point in relying on 'Word of Mouth' recommendation from your friends, relatives and fans to build up a fanbase big enough to attract media and A & R attention. Whilst it is probably one of the most effective ways of marketing, it is important to suppliment it with other forms of advertising techniques.

Advertising does not have to cost a fortune, there are many places that you can advertise your latest gigs and keep your adoring fans up to date for nothing more than a few minutes of time and the cost of a stamp!

The following tips should give you few pointers towards ways you can promote and market your act or band, for a minimum cost. Start with what you can afford and put aside a few quid from your gigs towards printing and postage costs.

Local, National & Trade Press - usually have an Events/Diary/Gig Guide or music column where you can advertise your gigs free of charge - info required approx 14 days in advance.

Radio Stations - regional and college stations often have a weekly show for new talent, check their program listings or contact the station for details.  Listen to the show for a few weeks to gain an understanding of the style and quality of acceptable demos then send a demo with covering letter to the shows presenter/producer.

Teletext - Channel 4 Television (UK) - music listings page '450' provides free gig listings to bands and artists. Send your gig dates 2 - 4 weeks in advance.

Posters - Design something striking but simple with a empty section at the bottom where you can write in venue/date or other details etc.  Don't stick them up just anywhere, ask your local shop, community centre, friends, venue, libruary, and college to put them on their noticeboards/windows/fences for you and ensure the venues receive copies well in advance of your gig date.

Flyers - Should contain logo/name and contact number and can be used to advertise gigs, merchandise or demo, be smart and add a small section at the bottom for people to write their details for inclusion on your 'Mailing List'.  Some promoters will happily negotiate a reduced admission price for people carrying flyers which is an added incentive for them to be picked up!  Always carry a bundle and leave a handful in local pubs, clubs, shops, record stores, community centres, libraries and civic centres (ask first!), put some on tables at your gigs, hand them out to mates etc.

Flyers 2 - If funds are available many newsagents will insert your flyer into newspapers assigned for delivery for a small fee. Local newspapers will also supply the same service on a larger scale.

Internet - Build a site promoting your act/music and add it to as many act/band databases, free for all link pages and music sites as possible, upload & sell your music via sites like 'Peoplesound' or register with similar 'Artist Listings' sites.

CD/Tape Inserts - Include an insert or tear off section for fans to send you their details for inclusion on your mailing list.

Electronic Noticeboards - Many local councils have these scattered around busy Towns, Roads & Shopping Centers.  Many allow free advertising of events, contact the Reception or Computer Department and ask who deals with them in your Town.

Independant Publications - produced by local councils, arts groups etc., are often distributed free of charge throughout the borough.  Check your Civic Center, Town Hall or Libruary for information and examples of local publications/newsheets.

Brochures/Programmes - Charitable events repay you by placing your supplied advertisement or information in their brochure/programme free of charge.

Billboards - Static 'Announcement Boards' are dying out somewhat and many people are resorting to 'Fly Posting' (which is illegal so be careful if contemplating this course of action.)  Look round your area for legitimate boards, often placed outside or near Libruaries and Town Centers.

Mailing Lists - are one of the most effective ways to build a local fan base.  Create flyers or blank postcards with a section or label stating Free 'Mailing List' or 'Information Service', please write your details and hand this back to 'the band/the artist' for future gig dates & news.  Add an incentive like a free tape (a 3 song demo is adequate) and before long you'll build up a healthy database of interested fans who you can then send gig details, sell merchandise and provide demo 'list members only' tracks.

Allowing Mailing list members reduced price tickets is one way to ensure they turn up and if you have a decent fan base this can be utilised to the fullest by negotiating and offering coach trips to your out of town & London gigs.  Make sure you sell the tickets as a joint package (keep the monies seperate the promoter and coach company will need to be paid!) and ensure the return coach picks up at the gig itself.

SMS - Text Messaging is becoming a popular solution to keeping fans informed about the latest gigs! There are several providers around who make this affordable for artists and bands

Merchandising - splashing out on a few cheap pens with your logo printed on them, mugs, t-shirts, cd's etc can all be produced at a reasonably low cost and sold at gigs.  Keep track of stock including 'give aways' and don't overcharge, the end aim is to get people to come and see you and buy your music.

Video's - Don't get conned into paying to have a gig recorded, the lighting is invariably inadequate and the sound from the desk often disappointing.  A talented mate or film student with a good Super 8mm or VHS camera is an asset and will give you a perspective on how you look when performing but should not be used for any other purpose unless you have specialist knowledge and excellent editing facilities. If you need a decent video and do not have the facilities or experience, use a professional video recording studio like one of these: UK Recording Studios.

Websites - are a useful advertising tool which are relatively easy and cheap to produce where you can advertise gig dates, sell merchandise and Cd's etc.,  Adding 'sound clips' photo's, band news, reviews, contact details and an interactive section (live chat/messageboard/mailing list form) will help to gain new fans and interest.

There are several other articles on marketing and promotion listed in the navigation box on the left and links to a huge range of links to similar articles provided in the Marketing Articles section. Read them all before you start producing your promo material then take a visit to our Magazine Listings and Music Industry Databases for contacts!