Promotion Part 2: Target practice
Andrew Booker 2007-05-17 12:15:25
Who is our target audience?
At the end of Part 1, I left you with a few reasons why I would go to a gig. But the fact is, I don't go to gigs much. Am I a good model person to try and reach?
I think so. There are lots of reasons why I don't go to many gigs, not least because I need time to prepare for Improvizone. I also don't live very near to many good venues. And I'm naturally a very, very dull person. But hey. Even if I don't go to many gigs, I'm often reading reviews and looking to see what's on. And if I'm often on the lookout, then to be promoting Improvizone effectively, sooner or later I should come across a mention of our own gig, without remembering exactly where to look.
Suffice it to say I'm... erm... not quite there yet.
In the beginning, I made a list of as many ways I could think of that people could reasonably expect to find us. Especially, any ways that I could reasonably expect to pull off myself. So I'm ruling out major stuff like TV coverage, mega-newspaper articles, blimps and projections onto the Moon. Also adverts in newspapers. I do look at them sometimes, but almost always for names I already know. Here's where I got to with the list.
- Website with goodies (free downloads)
- Google Ads linking to the website
- Posters in music shops, rehearsal rooms etc, the venue.
- Fliers as posters, also handed out at similar gigs.
- Listings in newspapers and on music websites.
- Discussion group entries on music-related websites.
- Talking to people about it in the pub, at parties, etc.
- Emailing news bulletins
- MySpace page.
And here's how I've been getting on with each of those...
- Well... you tell me :)
- Google Ads
- These are ads that appear on the right hand of the results page when you do a Google search. The advertiser chooses keywords that will trigger the an appearance of the ad, or impression. I then pay per click. Google give me a report on which keywords are generating impressions and clicks. Per month for my Improvizone ad, the number of impressions is typically in the hundreds. The number of clicks is miniscule or zero, so far the only items to have yielded any significant clicks are electronic music and electronic drums. Google also use my keyword choice to place the ad on other suitable sites. The impressions on these are in the hundreds of thousands. The clicks are in the early hundreds. This is costing me > £50 per month, the click origin is completely untraceable, and no more people seem to be coming in through the door at Imbibe yet. I'll probably leave this going for a while, but there may be better ways to spend the money.
- I began by putting these just in the venue. Then I had a walk around the West End and put various shapes and sizes of poster up in the following places.
- Andy's Guitar Workshop
- Tin Pan Alley Drum Co
- Wunjo Guitars
- Rock Stop
- Foyles cafe
- Sister Ray
- Mister CD
- Vinyl Junkies
- Rough Trade
I should also be covering rehearsal rooms, student unions, galleries, community centres... multi-storey car parks...
- Spreading posters around can be a lot of legwork. As a better alternative, I'm looking into using the London Community Network for distributing fliers all over London while I sit back and drink tea. Many years of technological advances in global communication have passed since I last stood outside a gig and handed out fliers, but I suppose it's a possibility.
- I've been looking for sites that have some kind of What's On section of music events in London and then trying to submit stuff to them. This takes longer than you think. The text is basically the same, but needs checking and tweaking for each. Some have nice web forms you can fill in. Others you have to email, which quite often means a dead end. Here's the (growing) list of sites I've covered.
- Fail (via email)
- pa-entertainment.co.uk (via email. This is how to get listings in thelondonpaper etc)
- One week to live
- Bankside Press (editor James Hatts seems to be one of the few people responsive to emails!)
- allinlondon (needs approval by events team)
- www.freeloader-london.com (needs approval)
- na.visitlondon.com (needs email)
- friday-ad.co.uk - paid £12, also paper edition to greater London area. Watch hits.
- Avant Music News
- wherecanwego.com (paid £4 for a link to this site)
- Discussion groups
- Same sort of process as above, except with the potential to consume the rest of my life. There are more chatrooms than there were grains of rice in my last biryani. And the number is increasing. (Luckily not in the biryani.) Thing is, I don't hang out in chat rooms, therefore I'm not morally comfortable with posting adverts to them, except where there are dedicated What's On lists. For example
- Resonance FM
- Talking to people about it in the pub
- This is something you cannot do enough of, and I don't seem to be doing much of, outside of people who are already interested in it, eg because they're playing.
- Email lists
- I have yet to send a bulk email about an upcoming gig. Anyway the whole bulk email thing is a bit dated. The C21 way of doing this is to use RSS feeds, which we have just introduced. The URL is http://improvizone.com/rss.xml. This is a blog-only feed for now. Podcast to follow... probably. One nice thing about an RSS feed for this text is that you can format it on a white background, so it looks much less suspect reading Improvizone posts in the office while you're supposed to be doing something else.
- I am definitely not an early adopter of MySpace. Obviously, if you're a band, you get a load of useful features for free that you don't have to take care of in your own website, like a gig list, blog, guestbook, etc. This is great if you're not a web designer, and if you are, it is still much, much quicker. And it's definitely a great way of checking out a band's music for free. For me though, there are three things I don't like about it. One. You can only have four tracks, which cannot be downloaded. This is minor. Two. Tune out the background image, and everything starts to look exactly the same. Imagine, 20 years in the future, every album cover laid out in the same kind of form, with the name and artist details all in exactly the same place. (Some labels have already been doing this for years!) Anyway, also minor. Three. It is a totally secondary phenomenon. Take a popular band at random... ooh, I don't know... Interpol. I love Interpol. As of yesterday evening, they had 133,655 friends. Let's not quibble about the meaning of the word friend right now. Instead, imagine a scary, desolate world with no MySpace. Would Interpol still have sold out Tuesday's Koko gig? Of course they would. Interpol have friends on MySpace because they are already popular, not the other way round.
Anyway. Several ideas I've either been trying or am thinking of trying. In Part 3, find out whether or not any of it is making any difference. Plus, I guess I really ought to wade a bit deeper into the subject of promotion, of which few of the above are true examples.
Until then, join me in running a quick test. Try and find an Improvizone listing on the web. Without using the name Improvizone anywhere in the search.