Bands! – Social Networking Is Not Just Online.
Before the internet was so ubiquitous with social networking, bands with a little knowledge of connectivity with their audience, would keep their own social network in the form of a physical mailing list.
Email had yet to make an impact and artists were forced to get peoples actual addresses and update people via snail mail. It was expensive to upkeep, time consuming to implement, but for all its woes, it was very effective.
My first band had 5,000 physical addresses, and every tour we would send out the latest details on shows and releases. With just this amount of contacts we could sell out many shows in a short amount of time with no advertising. Many an evening was spent, with a couple of band mates, applying labels and licking stamps. Our work was never futile because without fail, every show would produce a number of people telling us how they heard about it through our mailing list, and better, still dragged five friends with them to check us out.
Does It Work?
The email list has seemingly eliminated the physical mailing list altogether for bands. However, other companies still take the time to send mass amounts of content via the wonders of the postal service. Any musician that has utilized Disc Makers will be familiar with their regular catalog send outs, as with Guitar Centers latest offerings and holiday weekend sale postcards.
Does it work? Well ask yourself two things. Would they continue sending these catalogs every month if it did not produce results. And secondly, when the catalogs come, do you have a look yourself and see what the latest deals are?
A colleague of mine used to work at a performing arts center. When people purchased tickets they would ask how they found out about the shows. Whereas print and radio proved pretty much a waste of time and money, the majority would say they found out about the show via the arts centers mailing list.
Make An Impact
Email still proves the most effective way for bands to connect with their audiences, but people resent any form of spam. It's tough to disassociate yourself with this if you are sending any sort of mass mailings. Just look at your ReverbNation stats (although not essentially accurate) to see how many email posts go ignored.
Postcards are now so cheap to produce, especially compared with just a few years ago. If you create something that is both pleasing to the eye and informative, people will notice that in their post box. Make it on to their fridge and they are going to see it every morning. Have an effective logo and your band (or brand) is imprinted on their brain.
Old School Rules
Sometimes finding the best way to promote is not always looking forward and being on the cutting edge, but taking a few steps back and understanding not everything has to be about instant delivery. It may be a tad more expensive than your email list, but it will send a message to your fans that you think a little more highly of them, and they are worth more than a simple email blast or Facebook update.