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Eight ways to promote your music industry career
Jeffrey P. Fisher
There are many ways to promote your music products and services, many of which I detail in my Ruthless Self-Promotion in the Music Industry book. Here are the highlights of the eight most successful methods.
 Pick up the phone
Calling past clients and reminding them of what you have is the single most effective way to generate sales. When you have something new to sell (or you sell a service that people buy regularly), use your phone to make contact. Making cold calls is another necessity. It can be a daunting task to pick up the handset and punch a stranger's number, but you must break through your fear. Look at it this way. You don't have the gig now, right? If you don't call you still won't get the gig. But if you do call, there's a chance you might get hired. Take the chance!
 Set up in-person sales situations
The personal touch really works in today's often sterile, anonymous world. No letter, e-mail, or flyer is ever going to take the place of standing face-to-face with someone and making your pitch. You can build rapport, address every objection, and win people over fast when you are in the flesh. When you finish work for a happy client, that's the perfect time to ask for another project or gig. If you have a prospect that's wavering on your proposal, simply meeting this person on their turf can close the sale. Back-of-room sales are always helped when the members of the musical act participate and interact with buying fans.
 Send a letter/postcard/e-mail
Dropping a reminder in the mail or e-mail is a terrific promotional strategy when approaching past buyers to generate new business. Conversely, sending a promotion to a cold list is the least effective way to promote. However, if you carefully refine your possible prospects, dropping a sales letter in the mail can make a good initial contact that you follow up with a cold telephone call.
Building a network of contacts requires that you become part of a scene. Networking allows you to gather useful information (and share what you know) and make valuable contacts with people who can help you. For example, to be a successful soundtrack composer, you must associate with people who need music for their audio-visual presentations. Joining and participating with them will help you in the long run. Remember that networking is both give and take. You want to help the other person as much as they want to help you.
 Use word of mouth
If you asked 100 people in the music industry what the best promotion is, 90% would say word of mouth. If you asked that 90% what that meant, only a handful could tell you. The elusive word of mouth promotional strategy implies that you do nothing and people just naturally seek you out. This is, of course, ludicrous. Successful word of mouth needs constant coaxing on your part. First, deliver quality music products and services. Nothing creates repeat and new business better than good work in the first place. Second, make sure you tell everybody about your successes. Remind your clients, fans, relatives, network, and other business peers of all that you have available and encourage them to pass on your information to their friends, relatives, colleagues, and more. Third, get referrals from satisfied clients and pursue them. And fourth, display your contact information prominently on everything you create and make it easy for people to find and get in touch with you.
 Get some publicity
A media review or article is a tacit endorsement of your music products and services. More people will believe what the media says about you over anything you or your promotional material says. In essence, you want some media source to either let you plug your latest project or plug it for you. What is the essence of the plug? Follow this simple equation: Provide value:earn a plug. The amount of plug you get is directly proportional or equal to the value you provide. For example, you could write a short how-to article for a newsletter about how you produced your CD or the lessons you learned. This article provides value -- information and knowledge -- that the newsletter can use to help its readers. In exchange for that valuable item, the newsletter lets you promote (plug) your CD.
 Create a web site
Today, virtually everyone in the music industry can benefit from a Web site. With most music bought on-line, the Web is the place to be. Set up your Web site as your personal Web community and storefront where everybody comes to get information, learn about you, and to buy from you. Your site should carry all the information prospects need to make buying decisions. There should be information specifically for the media. If it applies, there should be a section devoted to your vendor and other supplier needs. Your Net presence should also appeal to your clients and provide value-added products and services that keep them loyal.
 Get ruthless
When it comes to promoting your music industry career, you'd better be ruthless. Do whatever it takes to get your message across to people who would buy what you have to sell. Since this article only scratched the promotional surface, consider using the additional, proven techniques in the definitive guide, "Ruthless Self-Promotion in the Music Industry." This huge, richly detailed, and practical resource has the information you need to succeed. The book is available at http://www/jeffreypfisher.com/rsp.html