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How to Promote your Show: When and Where to Flyer

This article is a guest post written by Chris “Seth” Jackson and originally appeared in his website How to Run a Band. For more great tips about running a band, you can check out on his facebook page and follow him on twitter.


Most bands’ promotional strategy goes something like this:

1) Create fliers. Post them at club and random spots throughout the city. Well…maybe. How about just a flier on Facebook.
2) Create a Facebook event and invite everyone on your friend’s list…whether or not they live in the same city or state.
3) Finally, spam everyone to come out to the show on Facebook.

I know this strategy intimately. I did it for years. And it sucks.

So let’s break down some promotional strategies that don’t suck. Let’s start with my least favorite, yet still necessary, advertising: fliers.

Where to flier

I’ve questioned before whether or not fliers are worth it for a show. I think they can be if they are highly visible and highly targeted. Mainly, I think they serve the purpose of getting your band’s name out there more than getting people to the actual show.

To increase the likelihood of your fliers getting noticed, take Joe Taylor’s advice in More Gigs Nowpeople won’t travel more than 25 minutes to see your show. Armed with this information, your flier efforts should target that area around the club. The area where it’s the least amount of effort for someone to come out to that club.

Usually, bands scatter their fliers across the city. This is wasted paper and money. If you’re going to scatter fliers across the city, don’t do it for a show. Instead, just do it to promote your band’s website and your band’s name. That will get you more mileage.

For maximum effect, you should put the fliers in places close to the club with a lot of foot traffic. Better yet, pick spots where people have to wait like the bus stop. Try outside of other clubs where people smoke. Ask businesses if you can put fliers up in their shop where people have to wait in line.

Putting your flier up on every damn pole in the city, though it may get your show noticed, is a lot of money wasted that targeted posting could have prevented.

Make a list of places close to the club and have a battle plan. Do your fans get tattoos? Are they fast food eaters or vegans? Do they like vinyl or downloads? Find places near that club that are most likely to cater to your demographic. This way, you can pack the largest punch with the smallest dollar.

Also, since some cities don’t allow fliering on public property, the above may be your only option.

Power Tip: While you are visiting these small businesses, try to build a relationship with them. Ask them if their is some way you can help promote their business since they are helping promote yours. If they know you are going to promote them at your show and on your website, they might be more willing to help get the word out. Remember to think of others before yourself.

When should you put up fliers?

As soon as possible. Ideally, put up your fliers at least one month before your show for small clubs. People don’t go out every weekend. Sometimes the people you want to see your flier may go on vacation or not be in that part of town for a week or two. In the club, your type of crowd might not visit that club every week. One month greatly increases your odds that people will see your flier.

I’ve been guilty of putting up fliers the week before the show. This sucks. This really sucks. Especially if the fliers miss the weekend crowd the week before your show. At this point, a flier is basically worthless. Save your money and do Facebook Ads instead.

The longer your flier is up, the more likely it will be noticed. Try to make the habit of creating the flier as soon as the show is booked, and you know the line-up.

Power Tip: Don’t wait to know the whole line-up. Start advertising immediately. Put fliers up to at least get your name out there. Sometimes bookers have a difficult time getting the line-up straight. Don’t let that hold you back.

Fliers are your first line of promotion, but still only a small piece of your overall strategy. What is your experience with fliers? Have they really helped get people to your show?


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