How one guy can make a huge difference for your band. And a common mistake some bands make; I’ll call it “Not getting your fans involved….enough”
I’ve introduced Brian Baltazar before and he’s contributed to this site in the past. I wanted to re-visit his contribution because the proof is in the pudding (and in the Denver market)…
After learning more about the band, certain things were obvious to me. For one, they really needed to connect the dots from the fans to the band. We desperately needed help spreading the word and getting supporters involved with the cause. One thing is certain about a Supersuckers aficionado; they’re not a passive group.
I found myself mailing posters, flyers, CD’s, stickers, or anything else to fans to promote a show, album, etc. Sending signed 8 x 10’s to promoters and radio stations was just one way to say thanks, and hopefully get added to the wall space. As time went on, we created the “Team Man” section of the site so fans had the tools to create their own flyers and email them along with song snippets and video clips to help build the excitement and promote the band. Anyone remember the ecards the band used to have?
More on that later… here’s Brian:
So I’ve been asked a few times lately, “what exactly did you do to help promote the Supersuckers?”
I was a huge Supersuckers fan. I looked at the band as both a product and a service. They were the product, and the service was making loud relentless rock and old school ramblin-gamblin country, but the shows in Colorado, especially Denver (where I live) weren’t selling out. Why? I figured that it had to do with marketing and promotion. Where are flyers/promo posters hanging? Would people on the message board want to help spread the word? I wanted this band to sell out shows and become huge. From where I was standing, it was a crime these guys weren’t selling out Mile High Stadium.
In 2002 I joined their fan club and promptly took advantage of the guest list privilege for an exclusive party in Aspen that year. At the show I spoke to Chris and told him I had some ideas for strategies and tactics (more on the strategy and tactics in a moment). What was his response – “Those are great ideas, Brian!!! Can you take this email list and get people to sign up and help me sell some merchandise? Anyone around here deliver Pizza?” He pimped me out within the first few minutes of meeting him, like only he could. I knew the band needed help and I was passionate about it. Most importantly, I was glad that I had finally connected with someone in the camp who appreciated the help.
He promptly sent me posters and handbills for the next Denver show. A month before the show I asked him for promoter contacts to get more posters and handbills. Before I hit the streets, I had a game plan – put posters everywhere, find out where the Supersuckers CD’s and LP’s were in the record stores, take posters and flyers to pizza joints, restaurants, tattoo shops, skate shops, books stores, bars, etc. But most importantly, be professional, courteous, and develop business relationships at each place so we could continue to promote there… I’d offer guest list spots too.
It all started to have an affect. In Denver the pre-sale ticket sales spiked 50% from their November 2001 Denver Bluebird show compared to their next 2002 show at the same venue. This translated to more merch sales, more fans, more people on the email list, etc. Chris also wanted my help with selling merch at the shows and those sales increased too. Most of the time, it was Chris and I selling the merch together around Colorado. I always felt good about what I was selling and felt the prices were fair too.
This was accomplished in a few ways; Primarily reaching out to people on the message board and building a team… On the Supersuckers website, Hal the Web-Guy, put a Street Team sign-up on the site and Chris would send me the info for people in the Denver area. We would: Work with the venues to create contests for pre-sale ticket buyers, create eBay auctions and promote the contests and auctions in Eddie’s blast emails on the message board – outside the box ideas which were really encouraged. Auctioning off tickets to sit on the stage during a show is something most bands just don’t think about doing.
In Denver, pre-sale ticket sales grew quickly and would nearly sell out the Bluebird (cap. 550) and the walk-up sales would help sell out the venue on the day of the show. Then the Supersuckers went on to play the Gothic (cap. 1000) and we nearly sold out a few shows there too. It was a lot of fun being so involved and making such a huge difference for one of my favorite bands. I made some new friends, made a difference, and got a front row seat to the inner workings of the rock business. I thought it really spoke volumes about Chris Neal getting so many people involved. And if it was 2002, I’d do it all over again…
In summary, it’s interesting to me how lucky the Supersuckers were to have such dedicated fans. And the story above proves what a difference one guy can make, and hopefully provides some useful insight. Guys like Doug, Andrew, Monty, Hal, Kaz, Cory, Paul, Andy, Frank, and others made such a huge difference for myself and especially the band. Knowing that I could reach out to fans to help spread the word on a show or release was something I never took for granted…