Promote Yourself Without Being Pushy

On Saturday Night, I was party to the Annual Vampire Ball in my local community.

We all dress up like vampires and dance and carry on to support our local farmer’s market. It’s a good time for a good cause.

This year, we had 5 very talented bands performing. Voltaire was, of course, our returning headliner and while he wowed the crowed with his fun and entertaining songs, it’s not him that I want to talk about.

Some of these groups just didn’t have a clue how to promote themselves.

Here’s what one band said during their set:

“um, yeah, we’re (insert band name here). We’ve got a merch table in the back there if you’re interested. Our website is: name) – if you want to learn more about the band.”

There was more, but I hope you get the point. This very somber delivery (even if they were a goth band), didn’t get people excited about what they had to offer. The fact is, they were probably one of the better sounding groups of the evening, and their marketing was awful.

In fact, when they were on stage no one danced, and most people were making a beeline for the bar instead of their merchandise table.

How could they improve? Here are some basics that anyone should consider to help promote themselves without beng seen as pushy:

1. get a domain name. Telling people you’re on myspace only makes you look less comitted. Voltaire has a very active myspace page, but he still has his own domain name. If you’re not keen on maintaining to web spaces, just re-direct the domain name to the myspace page. That way pople are typing in “” rather than a longer myspace url (or facebook, or twitter, etc).

2. be enthusiastic about your work. If you’ve got product to sell (“merch” in the music world), you can be proud of the fact without being pushy. Instead of “hey, we’ve got a table full of merchandise in the back for you to look at” try this:
“If you really liked that song, it’s on our XYZ album that you an purchase in the back of the room. There’s also a ton of other groovy stuff and we’ll even sign it for you when our sets done.”
You’re still telling people yo’ve got a merch table. You’re also giving them two good reasons to come to the table – a personal autograph, and a way to purchase the song they just heard.

3. Interact with the people. If all you do is stand in a corner (or in the green room) until it’s your turn to give your presentation, you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with your audience, and learn what they’re all about. While the other bands were manning their merch tables both before and after their sets, this band was barely around – in fact because they drove from so far away, they were a little late in arriving.

4. Professionalism pays. Because they were tardy, they started off the evening on the wrong foot with not only the promoters, but the other bands because they appeared to be scrambling to get ready for sound check. The doors actually opened a few minutes late to the event, which is always a disappointment. When it’s your job to be on time, even when you’re coming from miles away, you need to do everything in your power to make it happen. The apparently apathetic response from this band about their tardiness did not go over well. We all know things happen, so take respnsibility and apologize for it. A response of “yeah, well we drove all the way here from the other side of the country” isn’t good enough. To repeat that in your concert to the audience only makes you look unprofessional.

Scott Stratten talks about “pull and stay” marketing – the idea of engaging your potential customers clients in a way that draws the in, rather than leaving them with a half-hearted attempt at offering your wares.

You can make a person want to know more – want what you have to offer – without beating them over the head OR being apathetic about it. It begins by sharing your enthusiasm.


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