If you're here to look into new and different methods by which you can market your band or artist. You've come to the right place. I'm Tom Colohue, and this is Marketing Methods; your guide to traversing the basics of the marketing world while avoiding the pitfalls, the traps and the unreasonable arseholes in it.
Marketing Methods by Tom Colohue
Part Seven: Creating Your Own Website
There's a lot to be said for marketing via social networking websites. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and all others that aren't as mainstream in the internet popularity contests add to a collection that, when added to your reputation and local fan base, show you your following. However, there is always a line between amateur and professional. With musicians, the meaning is the same as the actual one: until you're being paid enough to earn a living solely from those earnings, you are an amateur musician.
Thankfully, over the years, the word professional' has taken on a lot of different connotations. Amongst these has been born the ability to fake professional, as it's more of a status symbol to be a professional than an amateur. Nothing says professional like your own website.
With your own website, you have total control. You get to decide on what logos and images to use, as well as what music to upload and what to say about yourselves. It adds to how worthwhile you are when googled too, since you can directly control the meta tags that boost your appearance rate in search engines. While you should always have a presence on other social networking sites, there is a huge and obvious advantage to forming your own social network around your band.
Those are the advantages. There are also disadvantages, the first of which is purely financial. Buying your own domain name costs, especially if you want to double up with suffixes such as .co.uk and .com. Domain names tend to be quite cheap overall when you compare to the cost of having a website designed for you, and then having a webmaster to maintain it. It's always better to have the skill set yourself, but if that's not available then abuse friends. Even better, if you know a student studying web design, you have a project that they can add to their portfolio. Students are a marvellous resource.
Maintaining your website will be a constant, especially where people are concerned. On Facebook, people are already there; you just have to entice them your way. With a website, there's nobody who goes there naturally; you have to bring each one over individually to build up. Often it's better to spend a few months working on numbers for other sites and then use that to draw people over to the website.
Advertising in person is one of the best ways to draw people to a website. Draw up business cards with your name, number and address and you're sorted in that department. Add it to the bottom of promotional materials, replacing any fan page or myspace music page in the process.
There are also things that you can do to make people stick around. A forum is a fairly well known communication tool that all website users seem to welcome. Another method would be to only keep certain releases and materials on the website. News posts by yourselves will hold a certain attraction to people who have never met you.
With websites, the benefits are mostly in your image. It will improve your reputation amongst venues because it makes people take you more seriously as performers rather than just a band that played at a pub this one time.
Tom Colohue is a writer from Blackpool, England. Though he specialises in Fiction, he also writes music theory articles, and new media articles based primarily on the internet. On occasion, these also intermingle. He is well recognised by numerous critics and analysts for his integrative descriptive work and his cynical textual mannerisms. For more information, Tom Colohue keeps a Facebook Fan Page, which contains updates from new articles and his personal blog, Mental Streaming. This page can be found via this link.