May 17, 2010

To Flyer or Not to Flyer - It's Better Face-to-Face

Those of you in bands may have faced this dilemma before. What is the most effective way to promote your upcoming show? Flyers are an old-fashioned, yet tried and true tactic to let people know you're coming to town.

So, with several shows on the horizon, I went down to the Lower East Side yesterday (in the greatest city around, NY, NY) with a purse full of flyers and some freshly purchased mailing tape. (You know, the kind you pay too much for at the post office).

I walked around several city blocks and saw that ATMs and outdated telephone booths (remember those?!) were the areas reserved for posting flyers. I saw flyers for only 2 bands, and the remaining space was taken by cell phone companies, street fairs, and a company promoting CD replication services. I ended up not putting up any flyers at all, and saved a heck of a lot of expensive mailing tape.

Feeling like I had hit a dead end in the goal I had set for the day, I walked around the corner to Rockwood Music Hall, where I was handed a flyer. Hmm, I got to thinking. Maybe getting the word out about your band, concert, etc. is better done face-to-face, or hand-to-hand, for that matter. Who even looks at telephone booths anyway?

The person handing me the flyer was a volunteer for Oxfam, an international relief and development organization that works to solve poverty, hunger, and injustice. They were hosting a benefit concert, featuring three New York-based artists.

What did I learn from this experience? Well, there is something special about personalization. It makes your experience count. Who cares about some random band on some random flyer posted on an ATM. What people respond to, at least what I responded to, was someone talking to me and promoting themselves, their cause, etc. face-to-face.

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