Spreading the word vs. inspiring action

Virgil Dickerson of Suburban Home Records is asking his blog readers for advice on how to (cheaply) promote a tour for one of his bands. He’s already got a partial list of ideas posted and a few responses (mine included) in the comments.

What is effective promotion, really? I think it has to do with your most desired result. I have a sneaking suspicion that when a band says they want to “get the word out” about a show, what they really mean is “pack the house.” The former is relatively easy to do that with standard practice stuff â€??? flyers, press releases, etc.

However, it’s a much bigger challenge to inspire people to choose to attend your show instead of, say, a karaoke bar or the latest Pirates Of The Carribean movie. That’s why it’s too easy to sink a lot of money and time into successfully “getting the word out” yet still have a disappointing turnout. Trust me, I’ve been there.

In Virgil’s case, the band already draws an average of 100 people to each show. My gut reaction is: 100 people?!?! Well heck, forget about flyers and instead do everything you can to convince each of those fans to bring along just one other person, potentially doubling the attendance! Even an increase of 20-25 people would have a signficant impact, I’d think.

What’s your advice?