Oh, check this out. We recently auctioned off a couple of iPods loaded up with Supersuckers songs on Ebay and it was such a success that we want to give one away! Here’s the deal – everyone who makes a purchase from our web store during the month of May will have their name entered into a drawing to win a brand new 20 GB iPod all loaded up with ’suckers gold! Also, any orders over $50 will receive a 10% discount. How’s that for good business? They don’t call me Crazy Eddie for nothing! We’re blowing it out! Everything must go! Good luck to you, shoppers.
Eddie Spaghetti, on the road between here and there, Cinco De Mayo, 2004.
The fan club, email list, auctions, merchandise, touring, press, radio, ebay, all of these tools paled in comparison to getting to know the fans, and transforming what we did into an interactive experience for the fans. With the Supersuckers every show was the Super Bowl and every day was fan appreciation day…
We put Eddie’s writing skills to work. He wrote all of the descriptions for the items in the store, most of the descriptions for the eBay auctions, and the descriptions for the one sheets too. One sheets are basically sales sheets and these can make a lot of difference for your release so pay attention… Here’s the one sheet for the the Sauce; Eddie first solo effort. Check it out.
Included in the one sheets were marketing highlights, strong touring markets, potential radio markets, testimonials from artists such as Willie Nelson or Eddie Vedder, and production and band credits. The one sheet’s are still on their site in the resources section.
Overall I thought we had great initial sales and was glad fans could see the sales numbers. Bolton referred to it as “Team Man Stats” and he liked the idea of fans rooting for their Team: Supersuckers. I often wondered why bands didn’t make their sales numbers available. I believed that showing our sales was just another way of having our fans involved with the business. But most bands don’t share their sales with fans. Silly isn’t it? Even McDonald’s tells you how many of their crappy burgers they sell.
Going back to 2001 when I met the band they had a u-haul trailer. They owned their van but they rented a trailer. I took it upon myself to figure out how they could buy one and save rental money. A penny saved is a penny earned. The solution was easy; sell ad space on the trailer to cover the costs. Who wouldn’t want their logo on the side of a trailer that toured all over North America? But we had to be careful with who might purchase the ad space. We didn’t want to make the trailer too inviting and set ourselves up to have it broken into, so guitar or music gear companies were out.
How we got the funding is an interesting story. The first step was having Eddie send an email out to the list asking if anyone was interested in buying ad space. This got us a few instant responses from fans that owned their own business, or worked for a business that had an ad budget. And most importantly it got the word out. Next we listed a side of the trailer on eBay. I think the reserve was set at $500. We used eBay all the time, selling everything from signed parking tickets to concert tickets. It was the best advertising tool we had-bar none. Some fans couldn’t wait to see what we might auction off next. And I still sell stuff today so get to clicking…
Here’s a copy of the email that went out to the fans regarding the trailer…
Okay, we got this trailer we drag around with us everywhere we go and we like to offer people the opportunity to do a little advertising on the sides of it. It’s a nice little piece of what we call “mutual exploitation”. As you may or may not know, we travel a lot. A LOT. So we’re like a rolling billboard, exposing people all over the country (and Canada too) to the
advertisements on this thing. We have no shame either – we’ve advertised everything from dog treats to skateboards to leather jackets – anything goes! And we thought it’d be fun to auction off one of these ads, SO, if you have a business of ANY sort and you’d like people of all walks of life from all over North America to find about about it, here’s your chance to get
some very cost effective advertising out there – traveling around with The Supersuckers! I know, we’re crazy. But that’s the way we like it, baby!
Eddie Spaghetti July 22nd 2005
A company called Hot Leathers was one of the companies that purchased ad space and sponsored the trailer. I thought it was a good fit, great deal, and it eventually turned into a friendship that I maintain to this day. So here we are rolling down the highway with a huge “Hot Leathers” ad on the side of the trailer. Seemed like every time we pulled over at a gas station someone wanted to buy a leather jacket. We also had the voice mail number on the trailer so anyone could call and inquire about buying ad space.
Last week, I reached out to Andy of Hot Leathers and I asked him if he’d like to share a story;
I met Chris Neal in Aug 2004 when the Supersuckers played at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. We had spoken on the phone before the band got to town and I knew we wanted to sponsor them in some way. Having been a fan for years, I knew their fans and our customer base crossed over. Well being the marketing genius he is Chris suggested maybe we put our Hot Leathers logo on the side of their trailer. Now we had never advertised outside of the motorcycle industry so for us it was a gamble. Less then 2 weeks later our Hot leathers logo was riding down the highway with The Greatest Rock N Roll Band In The World!
It has now been 6 years since we started this & Hot Leathers has made tons of new friends through the Supersuckers. Doing this also lead to us sponsoring 2 other bands. Two Cow Garage from Columbus OH and I Can Lick Any SOB In The House from Portland OR. I cant thank Chris enough for opening this door for Hot Leathers. He is truly a class act and someone I consider a friend for life.
Andy George Hot Leathers Sept 2010
It’s important to note that we would have other companies logo’s on our shirts too. A company would put their logo on one side and we’d have the cracked logo on the other. This helped keep the costs of shirts down too when another company was willing to cover some of the costs. We did this with CD’s too. We’d sell ad space on the cover “Your Logo Here”. We called this mutual exploitation. Obviously a win win situation for everyone. I never looked at it as “selling out”. We needed the help and it was welcomed. I enjoyed being creative and drumming up ideas to save a few bucks, and I was glad the band was willing to try different things. Even their Fan Club was a bit different than most bands.
Fans would pay a small and reasonable fee for an annual membership. We gave the fans an option to buy 1, 2, or 3 year memberships or a lifetime membership. Members would receive limited edition CD’s and DVD’s in the mai,l and could request guest list spots to shows. A Lifetime aka “Goldtop” Member could request a ticket for themselves and a guest. We also sent out signed Holiday Cards.
…pretending to care…
The Supersuckers and Mid-Fi
wish you a pretty good Christmas
and an okay New Year.
The cover of the fan club CD’s or DVD’s would always feature a letter from a fan. The back would have a description from either Eddie or Ron about the contents. I put a lot of effort into the fan club. We would obviously put fan club members on the guest list for shows and 95% of the time we were able to accommodate them, even when they had the opening slot for Pearl Jam, Social Distortion and the Reverend Horton Heat. Or when they opened for Jerry Lee Lewis and even for their 20th Anniversary show or the Hootenany. Or when Eddie Spaghetti & Jordan Shapiro went to South America. Anything Anytime for the PIT Members…
Fan Club Members or PIT members would usually be the first ones to hear any new songs and a couple times entire shows on DVD were sent to the members. I always wanted to make those fan club members feel special because they were. And I could count on them to promote a show or an album. I knew if I gave away a pair of tickets to a fan club member, chances were they would bring someone new to the show and help spread the word. Being on the bands guest list was special and worth bragging about.
At one point the Supersuckers had about1000 members. Incredible, when considering the number of each record sold to the ratio of fan club members. In other words, the ratio of people who purchased the releases and the number of people that were in the fan club was telling. It’s safe to say 5% to 10% of the fans who purchased a CD were also in the fan club. I’m certain there’s not many bands with that same ratio. But we were hands on. Some bands don’t run their fan club and most bands probably couldn’t name a member. It all goes back to knowing your customer
Today it’s common for bands to have third parties send out emails on their behalf and encouraging people to be part of a street team or buy merchandise. Over the recent years, the disconnect between the band and fan seems to have grown. While I understand the need to hire marketing companies, I’ll always feel bands must make certain whoever they hire has the same goals, is familiar with the music, and has a passion for the job. While I worked for RCA, I’ll always remember leaving those clubs and having some kid outside of the club hand me a flyer for a band he most likely knew nothing about. Your bands street team should be your fans. It’s that easy. Some fans are going to talk about the band more than others and some fans are going to be more dedicated than others but at the end of the day the person you want talking about your band is a passionate fan and not some college intern getting credit for passing out flyers for a band he’s never heard. Until next time.
BTW the winner is Steve Hart. So get in touch w/ me.