We all know of McDonald’s and everything on their menu yet they still run TV spots like there’s no tomorrow. Why do they need to do this? It’s not because you don’t know who they are, but to stay ahead of the competition and remain first in your thoughts for fast food. They show you the “what’s new” in terms of specials, contests, etc. As DJs, we should constantly have a “what’s new” in our careers; new events, releases, mixes, and other projects and involvements. And unlike McDonalds, not everyone knows who we are so we should also be recruiting new fans every chance we get. Even though I believe we need to promote ourselves heavily, “over promotion” does exist and I am quite guilty of it…but does it do more harm than good?
My promotion style
Let’s examine my own promotion. I send out a weekly e-blast to mostly my Chicago base. When I’m really pushing an event I might sent out two e-blasts that week. I also use event invites on FaceBook and send out a text reminder on the day of the event. This is all electronic promotion. In some cases there will be printed flyers, posters or magazine ads. Personally I rarely pass out flyers anymore. I do pass out a lot of CDs though and will place flyers in the CD sleeve, Is this too much? Let’s break it down:
With electronic promotion such as e-mails and social networking like Facebook, users have a choice. They can opt out of mailing lists or choose to delete promotional e-mails and messages. However, it can be overwhelming at times. Often one e-mail is not where it ends. You get multiple e-mails or you get them in two or three accounts. As for social networking, MySpace has gotten completely flooded with bad promotion. But, the user still has some control. You can delete or block friends in social networking or opt out of groups. With e-mail you can define senders as junk or spam to cut down the promotion.
Every time I leave an event I’m handed a few promotional flyers and find a ton of them piled on my car windshield. Some people just toss them. I actually read them because I want to know what’s going on and I’m always curious about the design, style and marketing angle. While this can be annoying, it can also be trash just as easily. I used to pass out a ton of flyers but in a digital age the need isn’t as great…or I’m just getting older and it has become too much for even me. I like to pass out mix CDs all the time so I stuff the sleeves with my event flyers if I have any on hand. People are getting a free CD so they don’t seem to care about that.
This refers to sending out promotion to specific groups such as people in a give n region, age range, music preference, income, etc. I try to target my promotion mostly to the region of the event. People in Australia shouldn’t have to read about my event in Chicago. However, I might send something out to the world if something is relevant to all, like a mix download or video link. Targeting your promotion is a great way to cut down on over promoting and keeping it relevant.
A true sign of the new millennium is SMS, or promotion via text messaging. Text messaging is a great way to get your info to people immediately and you know they will see it. If it is delivered through a service people can opt out. However, I often get them directly from promoters or djs as well. This too can be overwhelming if promoters have several events a week. The best text messaging promotions are the kind that offer you something for showing the text like a free drink, no cover or reduced cover.
Over promotion can be intrusive with too many e-mails and text messages. If you live in Chicago and are in the Deep House scene you may receive quite a bit of my promotion…..but you will always know where I’m playing. However, those who are out of state are getting a lot less promotion but just enough to know what I’m up to and that I’m keeping busy.
I have many examples of how over promotion has helped me in the long run.
Example 1 – Locally
A while back someone declined to be my FaceBook friend and took a moment to write me saying that he was sorry he couldn’t accept my friend request because I promote way too much and he gets enough of my promotion elsewhere. At first I was taken aback and a felt little put off. However, I quickly realized that is was not a bad thing. I don’t care if he accepts my friend request, I didn’t even know him personally. If he hadn’t wrote me, I wouldn’t have even known about it. But I’m glad he did write. He provided confirmation that my promotion is out there and is reaching far more people than I know about and from many different sources. Even if this guy isn’t my friend on FaceBook he will still know what I’m up to. That’s great!
Example 2 – Nationally
I recently went to Hawaii on vacation and knowing I was going to be there I reached out to a promoter I didn’t already know. I e-mailed him introducing myself and letting him know I would be in Hawaii and available for booking. He wrote me back immediately saying that of course he knew of me and booked me on the spot. He even had a flyer the same night. How was this able to happen? I don’t produce music (yet) and have no reputation in Hawaii that I know about. Well, I do put my name out there a lot with a ton of free mix downloads, a blog, a YouTube channel, and of course social networking. People see what I do no matter how big or how small. As a result, I was able to get this gig and it was a great time. While I was there I passed out 100 mix CDs and hopefully made some new friends and fans.
In conclusion, there are a lot of different ways to promote and I am a firm believer that all should be utilized as much as possible which can be overwhelming if it isn’t spread out evenly. However, I would much rather you be bombarded with my event info then receive none at all. Also, my over promotion trickles down to those who have never heard of me which can lead to even more new friends and fans. My fellow Chicagoans are unfortunately going to be subjected to a lot more promotion since most of my events are here, but everyone outside Chicago will get just enough promotion to keep them in the know and keep them interested which has proven to pay off. Like McDonald’s I know that you are aware that I’m here, but I want to make sure to you don’t loose sight and keep you in the know of “what’s new.” Most importantly, if someone is ever wondering where I’m playing, it won’t be hard to find out.