I speak with a lot of artists every week looking for promo and marketing support for their music. While well intentioned, 80% of these artists don’t understand the importance of getting out in front of an audience on a regular basis. This needs to come first.
Regardless of how great your music is, it’s absolutely necessary to promote yourself in this manner. Performing live is the most cost effective form of quality promotion and marketing. It gets results and builds a solid fan base.
If you’re not currently performing live at all, then start local. Book a show where ever possible, a coffee house, book store, private party, etc. Be willing to perform for free if necessary, but get out in front of people. Once you get some experience performing live then you’ll eventually be able to charge a fee for your performance.
Show-up prepared. Bring some merchandise to sell, such as CDs, DVDs, T-Shirts - what ever you’ve got. Bring a sign-up sheet to get fan email addresses. Only send emails when you have news, but stay in touch with everybody. Use your email list to let fans know when you’re performing again & ask them to bring friends. Thank them for their support.
Once you have a solid local fan base, then begin booking shows out-of-town. A college town close to you is great place to start. Then, spread out from there.
Build a solid fan base. Perform live as much as you can in order to continue adding to your base. Then, you’re ready for additional marketing and retail support to take things to the next level.