Making New Fans in Unexpected Places

Whenever I write an article about sponsorship or marketing, I always talk about finding your unique, target audience. As bands, we usually focus on the genre: people who like certain acts that resemble our music. Sometimes, we base it on the subject matter of the songs or even the band’s image image. However, have you considered just connecting fans who have a similar personality or interest as the band members? Using our passions and some concentrated effort, we can make new fans in some unexpected places.

Here are some ideas on how you can attract new fans just based on your interests and experiences.

Using “social” apps such as Foursquare or Yelp: You’re probably familiar with the concept of “checking in” to places but have you thought about creating a band account so that fans can follow you on tour? What about writing reviews of restaurants, bars, or venues? Your band could create “lists” of favorite places on each site. You can even take things a step further with this:

For example, my band is passionate about food, especially Asian food. So we collected everyone’s favorite restaurants and wrote simple reviews/recommendations for them and I created an Asian Food Guide that fans could download. In addition, we created window decals for each of the restaurants  to display at their restaurant and sent them a letter for display so that people would see they were selected by our band for being one of our favorite places in the city. These same places also posted the guide on their websites so their customers could download our restaurant guide. We also worked with some of the restaurants to give discounts to our fans who mentioned the guide too. It didn’t cost us much but it did lead to several thousand downloads of the food guide and many new, unexpected fans as a result!

Using something that you are passionate about: If you’re active in your community, chances are that at some point, you will be asked by someone to donate your time to perform for a fundraising event or charity. However, you could always take a proactive approach in finding causes that are close to home. Use sites like Charity Navigator or VolunteerMatch to find an organization, then contact them about volunteer opportunities or performing. But don’t just perform at a fundraiser, find ways to get more active- and get more publicity.

For example, if you are performing at thire fundraiser, donate a portion of merch sales to the cause or offer some free mp3’s to donors (with an option to opt-in to your mailing list). You can also sign your band up as a fundraising team (especially for events like March of Dimes, Relay For Life, etc.) so that your band’s name/story can be shared with all fundraising participants. When my band did this, we got our logo on a local billboard as a top fundraising team. Whether it is for a non-profit or a candidate, followers tend to support the organizations that share their passion the most and can turn into die-hard fans!

Are you an expert? Speaking of passions, if you are an expert on something, consider writing Op-Ed letters representing your band (if there are related events). You can also sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO)  as a potential source that reporters can contact when they are writing an articles. HARO sends emails out three times per day and you have to be exceptionally quick in responding, but you can get some new/interesting publicity for your music. Best of all, this service is free!

For example, last year, Travel & Leisure Magazine had an article on America’s Worst Drivers. When the reporter was looking for sources, I responded as a touring musician with some crazy road stories who could comment on that. It was quick, fun, and I landed some immediate publicity for my band through Travel & Leisure, as well as, Hufftington Post, MSNBC, and other places that cited the article.

If you keep an eye out, you can always find some great, new, and interesting ways to connect with fans. Do you have stories of unexpected places where you’ve made some new fans?



  1. I love this article! Bob Baker also recommended using Yelp, but this article shows how to pull people from Yelp back to being your fans.

    The only thing I’d add is also comment and share blogs that aren’t music blogs, but overlap your band’s interests. Much less competition to get your music featured when you go where other bands aren’t!

    Again, I love this article! True guerilla marketing!

    • Simon Tam says:

      Yes! Blogs are a great way to tap into a community of like-minded individuals who have similar interests!

      When I first started promoting bands, it was all about AOL chat rooms. The same concepts apply despite the rising and falling of communication trends…people just want to find and connect with others who have something in common.

  1. […] 8. Niche Markets: Are there untapped target audiences that you could reach? Most niche sites have some kind of community board. For example, before each tour, my band-mates and I post in local Yelp communities and invite people to the show/go out for food. Need some ideas? Try this article on Making New Fans in Unexpected Places. […]

  2. […] you need to create something totally unique for yourself. Look for untapped markets where you can make fans in unexpected places. Have a unique voice or approach to social media, come up with unique pieces of merch, try new ways […]

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