As a guitarist for hire at weddings and events, I would like to share my experience of the marketing side of things when it comes to being a freelance musician. There are many ways to promote yourself in this fairly crowded market, and below is a list of the more effective routes…
1. Build A Website
The obvious central hub for your online promotion. There are two aspects to creating a strong website:
The content needs to be captivating and conservative, in other words very well written, no exclamation marks, swear words and so on. Your audio/video demos need to be accessible from the home page, and preferably start up automatically on entry to the site. Past client testimonials are a must. Set lists should be arranged by genre, and as vast as possible.
It is possible to create a website yourself through a website template service, or you can employ a web designer.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
This is how your website ranks in the search engines, and there are many factors determining the outcome. One factor is content – a simple guide is the obvious; if a potential client types a search query into Google etc, how relevant would the text on your website be? It is important to identify relevant keywords and phrases and place them strategically in various parts of your website, not just the main text but in page titles, picture captions and so on. The other major factor in quality SEO is your site’s backlinks – the number of links on other relevant and quality websites pointing to your website. Therefore a major ongoing task is link building, by registering your link on other websites. There are a number of good sources to get going with, such as local/musician directories.
There are many good tutorials on SEO for beginners found through the search engines. Go for the top ranking ones, they obviously know what they’re doing..
2. Register With Musician Agencies
There are many quality music agencies in the UK who accept artist applications. If accepted the agency will ask for music/video, photos and a short biography together with client testimonials. Most agencies are free to join and take a percentage commission fee for every gig they book for you.
3. Social Media
It is vital these days to set up and maintain social media pages, simply because the way people act as ‘consumers’ has changed; people demand interaction and attention before committing to purchases. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites should host your details, and each page should point to your main website. As an example I use my Facebook page to collect other Facebook client testimonials, and these serve as a genuine source of positive comments on my performances. Every time I interact with a Facebook ‘fan’ I reach out to the friends of the fan, increasing exposure in a natural cost-free way.
To really climb above the competition sometimes a little investment is needed. There are a few options for the function musician to explore…
Google AdWords – pay per click advertising from search results.
Facebook Advertising – pay per click/1000 impressions targeting different demographics.
Specialist directories/magazines – eg. wedding directories.
These cover the main areas of promotion for the working musician. There are many other avenues to explore, many of which I have yet to think of. The key to success is to be as creative with the marketing as possible. Find places where people have failed to spot potential clients. Keep your target audience fairly local to minimize competition. Be persistent – as long as your content is of a high quality, it’s just a matter of time before you’re receiving so many enquiries maybe it’s time to start an agency…