While maintaining a steady web presence is a vital part of any musician’s promotional arsenal, you shouldn’t rely on it as the only way for fans to feel connected to your music. Make sure you’re not neglecting an equally important means of making an impact: real-life interaction with your audience. Opportunities to be face-to-face with your fans – most often at live shows – certainly aren’t going to be as frequent as your social networking communications, but this only serves to make them more special, giving you a chance to leave a lasting impression that you could never achieve online. But what can you do to make sure your audience remembers you after the gig is over? As usual, you’ve got to get crafty and make yourself stand out from the pack.
Portland band Dirty Mittens, when searching for a unique way to both ramp up fan interaction and say thanks to their loyal following, stumbled onto an idea that struck them as so simple they couldn’t believe they were the only band doing it: punch cards. “We’re making VIP punch cards, like you get at the coffee shop,” says singer/guitarist Chelsea Morrisey. “If you come to 5 shows and get us to punch your card each time, you can redeem the card for a super awesome prize. Basically whatever you want: a copy of our album when it’s released, drink beers with us at practice, a shirt, make-outs with any eligible band member, a free show, we come over and make you dinner, whatever.”
They had the cards designed by a friend and handed them out inside demo CDs they distributed for free at shows. They’ve found that not only does it encourage repeat visits to their shows, but it has also shown their fans that they appreciate them enough to give something back. “For the band, it’s our way of saying thanks to the people who come out to our shows and help make playing music something that we love to do,” says Morrisey.
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