Tips to Promoting Yourself
Updated: Jun 29, 2019
Promoting your product is a must in any field. You need the world to know you and what you’re selling. Promoting yourself is no different. In this case, you, yourself, are the product. You need people to understand why they should hire you and not the other guy.
There are many ways to do this. Most only think about online promotions, such as ads. Yes, ads are effective, but what I have found to be the most important way of self promotion is community engagement.
Based in the small town of Berlin, Maryland, just a ten minute drive away from the tourist-heavy beach town of Ocean City, I knew that promoting my brand of musical entertainment would mean taking care to make sure that I not only spread the news of what I had to offer by putting myself out there as a musician, but more importantly, to create meaningful connections in and around town with community influencers and business owners. Though some might disagree with me, this is what I think of when I hear people talk about networking. In all honesty, two thirds of my monthly “gigs” are a result of the network I’ve built here and the relationships I work to maintain.
Small towns thrive from word of mouth; if you make one good impression, your reputation will follow you and help you along your business path. Unfortunately, the same goes for bad impressions, but in the opposite way. Take care to minimize the potential for bad impressions!
Since my business is in the music field, some of the best ways I’ve found to put oneself “out there” are through simply engaging in the musical community events that occur everywhere. In my experience, open mic nights, weekly/monthly jams, and sitting in with other performing artists, are great ways to let people know what you do. At these events, remember that it is important to network with intention. Simply put, I would encourage you to meet the people that are not only responsible for the event, but also, the people in the local crowd who truly support it. Remember, though many who go to events like these are not themselves artists or music practitioners, in most situations they are the ones who show constant appreciation and support for the arts. Introducing yourself to these individuals will help you grow your following like water on a seed. When meeting these people, be kind, be engaging, and be memorable. If you have a business card, make sure they don’t leave without one.
To create mine, I used vistaprint:
Be sure to put your number, email, Facebook and Instagram information so people will be able to go home and find you!
To distill all of this down, here’s my best advice: start small. Build a solid foundation of followers, positive connections with business owners, and close relationships with those who support you because they will be the ones to carry your brand to the next level.
“Dan’s Wife Avery” is just getting started in our small town, but almost every picture and/or video we have on our page has been posted by our community of followers. If we had not made these connections, they wouldn’t be at our shows posting content of our product for their friends to see, who in turn share it with their friends!
Your relationship with your following and social media should be symbiotic. To simplify, be the artist who always has people talking about them, rather than the artist who is always talking about themselves to other people.
When building a brand this way, YOUR community is giving YOU content instead of the other way around.
To find some new places to play in town, I bounced around to ten potential gig locations in the area collecting data to see if any of them could be places that might book us.
Here is what I came up with:
Bar gigs are a really laidback and easy way to bring in some money, but some of our biggest income producing shows are private gigs in which publicizing our skills is a bit more difficult. In those cases, “word of mouth” is an even more important variable. For example, “Dan’s Wife Avery” was just contacted for a wedding gig during the beginning of July for the Vice President of Phillip’s Seafood Company. The only reason she even knew we existed is because we played her friend’s wedding a month earlier. The future bride happened to be in attendance that day and liked what we did enough that she reached out to the bride for our contact information.
It’s all about optimizing every opportunity you are given and carrying yourself in a professional way
When it comes to weddings, funerals, and house concerts, generating work it’s not as easy as walking door to door to see if you could snag a bar gig.
To help the general public know that “Yes, we do these things,” and also, “No, we aren’t willing to play for tips,” I made up a price chart using Canva (canva.com) to keep things simple: