I wrote this for a lovely (and good) singer I met in Brussels a few weeks ago. I was interested to see that she didn’t really do any personal marketing. It was her thoughts that to become famous she’d need to impress someone upstairs and so I wrote her this email:

Your general goals
This is a guess but based on our short conversation
-Get more gigs in and around Benelux
-Build your own reputation with your fans

The goals of a venue
Any venue wants more people, if when looking for bookings you can say you have a mailing list of 10/100/1000/10000 fans that you can email and get down your chances of getting that booking and indeed increasing what you’re worth (fee) will be in your favour.

The goals of a fan
When I hear someone I like, I want to know when they’re performing and where as well as who I might bring along. An email everytime you get a booking updating me would be really nice.

What an email mailing list can achieve
You want to satisfy both your fans and your venue. Your fans enjoy your music and hearing what you’re doing, where you’re singing and ideally where they might even be able to download or buy your music for their little ipods.

Look at this email:
Hi, I’ll be singing this week at [Bar name], it’s a really nice bar near the tram museum. They serve good food and it’s a perfect place to bring a date. Make sure you phone chalks the owner and book a table on this number: 02/…, say I sent you 😉 See you there x Diwa!

A fan gets your endorsement on where they can go for dinner and take a friend/partner and they think by saying your name they’ll have more chance of actually getting the booking. The bar gets table bookings and every time one of your fans phone up they say Diwa sent them, the venue (if a restaurant in this case, you could do different things for different types of venue) knows that you’re bringing in a crowd with you and you’ll immediately become much more important in their eyes.

How to do a mailing list?
Simple an A4 piece of paper that you let people write their name and email address on. You tell the manager of the bar when they book your, or on the night, that you’ll be putting out a piece of paper near the door where people can write down their details. You tell them that you’re doing this at all of your gigs and that every time they book you’ll send out an email to your list and that they’ll get the benefit of all of your fans and get new clients.

Then at the end of the gig you tell the audience, in a nice friendly way, that if they want to know more about you to checkout your homepage and that if they want to hear about all the great gigs you sing at to put their names on a mailing list that you either have at the back or get a few friends to hand out and collect.

You could then tell them that if they want your personal contact details to see you at the end and that you’ll give them one of your personal cards. This means that anyone who is a really big fan or was impressed will come and speak to you and you can get their details as well as see if they might be interested in bookings, gigs or even helping you out.

There’s a great (free to start with) app/site called www.mailchimp.com which you can use to send your mailing list from.

Update 1
You could even give away a cd with a free recording for the people who come up to see you personally.

Most people above the age of 18 (myself included) either don’t know what myspace is and/or don’t want to know what it is. The majority of people also understand ‘mailing list’ whereas they don’t really understand blog/twitter/myspace/facewho?

You need to make it really really easy for any normal, non-geek to get to you. I’d suggest that you set-up a page with www.posterous.com. It’s a very simple, clean and easy to use blogging platform to put up photos, videos and blog entries and with a very little bit of work you can collect email addresses from people as well as make yourself appear under useful search results like ‘Soul singer Belgium’

There are no contact details here, how do I contact you for bookings/keep up to date. In fact I don’t think it even mentions that I could book you.

Domain Name
Giving out www.myspace.com/[singer name] is all and great but www.singername.com or similar would be alot easier/more professional and only cost ~€10/yr

This isn’t essential I think you need to get the basics before you really focus on this but as it takes all of 3 minutes to set-up and add to your blog/myspace/business card/mention at shows, you have no excuse not to get it even if you only ever post once a week/month on there. Eventually you’ll build up a great channel to your fans that you can use to have conversations with them and another channel to talk about your shows in.

Additional points
I just remembered we talked about collaborations/working in bands and all that. One of your goals was to do more of that and become better known within those people. I’d suggest that soundcloud.com is the best place to start. It’s where most switched on bands/djs/producers hangout and post their work. You could even start a regular monthly show on mixcloud.com, again for free..
Follow people you’d like to work for, they’ll probably follow back and regularly post recordings of your vocals and eventually someone will come knocking..

This email has turned out to be a little bit longer than I expected and I think I’ll post it on my blog as it looks like quite good advice. If you want to catch up for a beer I think everything above can be set-up within in around an hour or two and I’d be happy to give you a hand. My thoughts (and that of many others) are that if you want to become famous, the community of fans starts at 1 and you have to go from there.

Let me know when you’re next down and I’ll drop in and say hi!

Cheers, Duncan

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