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flyers and mass promotion to strangers

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by pigpen02, Nov 6, 2002.

  1. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    so does this work? i mean putting flyers on cars, up in bars/colleges and whatnot. i've seen a million, and rarely if ever have i been inspired to check out a show as a result of the advertisement.

    i ask because my band has our first gig coming up, and the guys in the group want to canvas the community w/ ads. i don't mind doing the legwork if it shows a return, but i don't wanna sweat to litter, ya know? i can do that from the comfort of my car....

    any ideas on the success rate of this kind of advertising? any ideas on other ways to go about it? thanks.
  2. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    It does work.

    1. Don't touch people's cars.

    2. Flyers work best if there are good descriptions of your band excerpted from reviews in known media or from celebrities. If you have the typical self-hype people will likely ignore it.

    3. Make sure the primary thing is the band name, location, date, & stage time. Location includes an address! Also the door charge if you know it and your web address if you have clips online. A cool graphic that suits your sound helps, but it should be secondary to the info.
  3. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    i've always found music stores, other bars, colleges/universities, malls, etc. to be good places for putting ads. i'll second that you shouldn't put them on ther people's cars... it pisses them off and you dont want to see :mad: faces in the crowd!
  4. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Another good place to pass out flyers is at other gigs with the same type of music playing.

    I would say that the success rate is maybe about 1 in 20 if you pass them out personally, considerably less if you just stick them places.

    But, even if people don't go to the show, they might well remember the band name...
  5. I also print a whole stack out and go to local gigs around town and walk through the crowd handing them out, putting them on tables, at the bar etc. Give it to the audience you'll want to get. Aka in a metal band? hand out flyers at a metal show.


  6. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I don't think promotion works until you've built a bit of a following or a reputation. Then I think it works well. For the first couple of gigs, I think you should just worry about going in and making fans, that way when it does come time for promotion, it will work much better. For the first couple of gigs, it's a wise idea to invite family members, friends, co-workers, ect. That way if no one else shows up, it will still make you look good in the eyes of the club.
  7. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    But it also depends on the type of gig. If you're opening up for an established act, the flyers approach can work quite well.

    As you say, though, if you're playing on "New Band Night" it isn't likely to work as well...
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Get someone (usually turns out to be a girlfriend) to start a mailing list of people who were at the first gig.

    Mailing lists have a tendency to grow exponentially and are less costly than fliers.
  9. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    In my last band, we put many thousands of bright orange stickers up everywhere before our first gig. People came to the show, saying that they'd seen us, that our album was killer, that they'd heard we rocked. NAME RECOGNITION is very important, even when it's based on nothing!
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Putting posters all over absolutely works, depending upon what you consider "works" means. Will it bring people to your shows? Probably not unless you're already well known. Will it get the band name out there? Definitely! Provided you do a couple of things.

    As SMASH said, the name has to be really prominent. We have a simple thick black logo and we make sure it takes up most of the page. The rest of the information is secondary (or even useless) as far as I'm concerned. I've seen so many flyers loaded with nonesense that nobody would ever read, and the band name just tossed in somewhere. If the name doesn't catch their eye from 15 feet away I believe the flyer is useless.

    When we started out with our band "The Nerve!" there were about 4 other bands called Nerve, or The Nerve in NYC. We added an exclamation point to the end to seperate ourselves - and went out about every 2 weeks and posted about 100 flyers whether we were playing or not. A few years later we're the only Nerve still standing, and more often than not when we meet new people or mention the band name people say "I've heard of you guys!", or "YOU"RE TTHE NERVE, I've seen your flyers all over!" Given that it's NYC I take that as quite an accomplishment on our part.

    There's a book called Guerilla Marketing that gave me a few pointers that were really helpful. I kept the logo consistent over time and easy to understand. We kept posting them long after we were sick of seeing them ourselves - the book says when you get sick of your own advertising is when people are probably just beginning to notice it. And the book had lost of other great stuff too.

    Sooooo.... whats the point of getting the band name out there if it doesn't bring people to the shows??? I believe it's laying the groundwork. Kinda like building a fire and getting all the twigs and paper in there so that when the spark hits it'll go up in flames quite nicely. After 5 years with my band we're beginning to see that happen.
  11. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    there's a kind of trickle-down process that goes on with promotion - the most successful, in terms of flyers handed out to people at gigs is going to be you just giving them to your friends. Next up is going to be your fans/friends giving them to their friends (this is the thinking behind the e-team/street-team idea), after that, it's going to be flyers in places that in and of themselves carry some degree of cred - other venues, music shops etc. And finally, random flyering of people in the street or whatever. (again, don't stick them on people's cars, you'll just piss them off...)

    So your best bet is to get people you know to bring their friends - print up flyers, do advance ticket sales if you can, offer incentives (if you've got some stuff recorded you can offer a free CDR of live material to the first 50 people to buy a ticket using a coupon on the flyer...?)

    then get a street team list happening - if people are into what you do, they'll want to help. Don't assume that they'll go out of their way to help, and be very grateful if they do - after all, none of us 'deserve' to have people take time out of the day to help us with stuff like this, so it's a good-will gesture... the more stuff you can give to your street team (cheaper CDs, free exclusive downloads or whatever...) the better...

    It'll work best as part of a bigger marketing strategy that involves radio, local TV/press/magazines/promotional stuff with local record shops or whatever else you can come up with!


  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I've got lots of experience with this stuff so I thought I'd split it into 2 posts.

    BY ALL MEANS check the posting laws in your area before going nuts. In NYyou're not allowed to post on any city property. First time we posted we were playing a place called The Mercury Lounge. We put up about 50 flyers and the next day got a call from the club saying we were up to $250 in fines that we had to pay them. We'd best go get our signs down. They tagged us $50 a poster for 5 that they ticketed - and cuz we had the club address on the flyers they sent them right over. We're careful about putting the club addresses on outside flyers now, and post on private property (not city property) only. There's lots of construction sites, bulletin boards, and billboards around here to do that.

    Posting etiquette is REALLY IMPORTANT to us. We NEVER post over anyone else's posters unless the event has already happened. An we don't litter (just toss other people dated flyers in the street) cuz it's lame. We also don't take down any of our outdated posters and just keep adding to what's already up.

    I could go on and on and on...... I guess I'll just finish up by adding one more promo thing. We have a place over here where we can get 100 casettes and shells for about $30. For a while we were duping our own 3 song promotional tapes and going to shows where we thought the bands playing were similar to ours - Green Day, Blink, etc. We gave out the free tapes and flyers. It worked somewhat?..?..? I'd say we averaged 5 new people at a show for 100 tapes given out - and it got the name out there once again. If you're band has something to really make it stick out and you somehow get that into giveaways I think that you can get WAY better results. A freind of mine's band (DOPE) built some substancial success by giving away demos at Marilyn Manson shows. The cover of the tape was very well done, they had the look down (they had it all very well put together) and they're enjoying a great deal of success based on a lot of that early promo work.

    My theory is to do anything and everything to promote your band. Nothing hurts and if it feels like work and it's a drag then don't bother and either hire someone, or go get a real job somewhere and forget this musicians life :) .
  13. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I don't think the flyers work THAT good. The posters is where it's at, me thinks.

    They have much more space where to put much larger text and logos, and A4-copies are cheap and easy to get so you can put em on public bulletin boards, on the sides of trashcans, to bus stops, anywhere people are going to walk by and have a bit of time to look at them.
  14. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    A few things to remember, I guess...

    firstly, in a lot of places fly-posting is illegal - if your band name/contact details/whatever are on the poster, you're going to be in the s**t... it changes from country to country, but it is worth checking the law before just sticking them up...

    Secondly, flyers work if they are given out to a targetted audience. Hanging round the local goth bar handing out flyers for a jazz gig isn't going to work, and just sticking them on the tables in pubs is pretty futile unless you print up millions of them...

    But people having something to take home, that they look at again when they empty their pockets before washing their clothes, or take out of their bag when looking for their phone... that's good, you've made an inroad into their house, and might even end up on the family notice-board in the kitchen if they think it's something they might want to go to... ;)

    Best bet is both - posters and flyers. With both of them, do your research - go round town and think about what works, what catches your eye, what the details are that need to be on there, how big are the logos, how big are the venue details. What tells you that it's a concert, what info is there about style - is it just the logo that gives it away, or does it say 'Uzbekistan's finest death-polka band' under it?

    there's no substitute for proper research...


  15. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    "Everything is a gig or a flyer." - Mike Watt.

    Meaning you're either gigging or promotinig your next gig at all opportunities.

    People like our handbills, and in our city many stores and restauarants set aside areas to leave handbills for people to pick up.

    Frankly, if you tell me you have a gig upcoming and can't put the details in my hand immedaitely then I'll not take you seriously and I'll expect the same slackassery from your stage show and music. Not good. Not pro.

    At the least you have to have business cards with your contact info an web address. I don't need to tell people what we sound like, I give 'em an attractive card or handbill and they can access the site and find out for themselves. They don't need to memorize a web address or a gig date/time/place and I don't need to hunt for a paper and pen like a chump to write it down for them.
  16. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    You are of course absolutely right on this Steve, I put my words up poorly as I did not mean that you should absolutely not deal out flyers.

    I think flyers have much smaller success rate if you just deal them out to random people. But where their strength is, is that they fit your pocket. The best results come if people take them and KEEP them - one good way to accomplish this is having lower or even free entrance charge with the flyer("Entrance $4, with this flyer $2"), it pleads to peoples wallet ;)

    And when posting gig posters, it's good to remember to keep certain good principles. I personally post on key locations: to bus-stops, bulletin boards, next to ATM machines - anywhere where people are going to stand for a moment is good, they usually look around too - but I never post over any official information like timetables. And I try to remove all posters afterwards so they don't litter the streets.
  17. bassguitar808


    Jul 9, 2010
    always prints 10-20x more flyers than you want people be there

    capacity at venue 75 print 10x that = 750 flyers
  18. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Any kind of flyer that I find on my car doesn't get read. Period.

    You definitely need to advertise and the leg work and going to shows is one of the best. If there are several clubs in your area that host the style of music you play get out there and hand out flyers or business cards often.

    Case in point, one of the larger bands in San Diego back in the 80's was made popular because the singer/guitarist of this particular band was at every metal show in town, small gigs or arena gigs. At every show the guy had a full reem of flyers to hand out for their next gig. We're talking the full package of paper for your printer. He handed out thousands of flyer's to people face to face. There's something to that kind of contact of being face to face and being able to talk to people directly.

    BTW when handing out flyers present yourself well. This seems stupid to have to say it, but take a friggin bath and don't smell like a distillery! I can't tell you how many times somebody has handed me a flyer and the only thing I remember or could focus on at the time is a serious case of halitosis.

    Websites and audio clips or video clips are great but unless you're willing to do the leg work nothing happens.
  19. ncbassman


    Mar 20, 2010
    Eastern NC
    kind of on topic: would you guys recommend magnets or stickers for handouts with band logo/website on them?

    I also agree, if something is on my car, I will only read it to see where I'm NOT going that weekend. I do check boards at local music stores and headshops though and have went to shows/events based on seeing something that way.
  20. YES!

    For the 1st show you may not see a financial return

    but you're name is seen... and if/when you DO get a hi-pro gig or radio play... It'll help trigger a connection in peoples' heads.

    So it may be a longer-term thing.

    And it's better than staying in the closet.

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