When you promote yourself via e-mail or with the words you use on your web site, you have a choice. You can be straight-forward and matter-of-fact (also known as bland and boring). Or you can communicate with pizzazz.
Case in point: My friend Gregg Hopkins plays in a band called The Melroys. He could have sent a run-of-the-mill e-mail to promote a recent show, including the rudimentary club name, address, phone number, etc. Instead, he sent this:
Git yerself down to the Broadway Oyster Bar tonight where The MELROYS will present our little Rock and Roll fandango. The food is delicious, the adult beverages are cool and refreshing, the music will be swinging, and you'll fit right in with the other beautiful people there. Showtime is 9-1. See ya there!
P.S. Any person peeved by perpetual pestering such as this posting will be promptly purged from this list upon proper petition.
Ya gotta admit, this short message is a fun read -- which leads one to assume that a Melroys live show will be a fun event. And that's smart marketing. (The only thing I might add is an address and phone number of the venue for those fans who might not know where it is.)
So don't be afraid to show your personality. In fact, go out of your way to do something fun or different or creative any time you communicate with the public about your music. Got it? Good.
Use Hypnotic Descriptions
Here's another example from a longtime musical pal, Michael Schaerer. In this recent e-mail, he does a great job of painting word pictures of the venues he plays and describing what it means to him:
We'll be at Felix's starting around 9:30 Saturday night ... if it's anything like last week was, it'll be a full-fledged rock concert ... and it'll sound better than most of them too! It's really like seeing your favorite band in your living room. So intimate and powerful at the same time.
Come early for a fine dinner, or eat late ... the kitchen is open 'till close, baby. You really need to come out to Felix's and see why it's so popular! Call 'em at 314-645-6565. Felix's rules. Period.
On Sunday, Amy Miller and I close out my work week at the Tin Can Tavern on the south side. We play 9:00 to 11:30 or so and we like playing together so much that we usually have to be told to quit! Great new songs, and Amy just sounds like an angel ... amazing. Please attend. www.TinCanTavern.com or 314-865-3003.
Last week was a great week for me. So many people came and enjoyed my music that I was overwhelmed. Thank you, really. It means everything to me.
This example is so powerful for many reasons. The way Michael describes the places he plays, you can't help but want to go and experience the vibe yourself. And you know the venue owners have got to love the ringing endorsements, too.
Finally, as Michael illustrates in his last sentence, always remember to thank your fans. They're the reason you're doing more than just playing music in an empty room. Without people to listen, enjoy and support you, your creative process would be a lot less satisfying. So be sure to regularly express your gratitude.
Your Comfy, Cozy Computer
The challenge when promoting yourself online is this: There's only so much human warmth you can get from a computer. Anything you can do to make your online communication more warm and fuzzy will make you stand out and be more appreciated.
No one does this better than Derek Sivers and CD Baby. If you've ever purchased music from cdbaby.com, you've probably received this shipping confirmation e-mail -- one of the classic "power of personality" messages you're likely to see:
Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day (date inserted here).
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music
Now that's powerful .. and effective! Think twice before sending your fans another e-mail message. And always remember the power of personality!
Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site, blog and e-zine that deliver free music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas to musicians of all kinds. Visit
TheBuzzFactor.com for more details.