Born And Raised

The money doesn't end at the concert. Get your fans back to your website with buttons that promote your site!

We hear quite a bit about content marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing and other such Technobabble these days, and yeah, there's definitely something to be said for modern-day online strategy, but you can't underestimate the value of real-life attention-grabbing swag that compliments your online efforts (let's face it; you're spending most of your time on Reddit anyway). It's easy to forget that there's a world outside of your bright, high resolution 6' HD screen.

Think about it. When someone gives you a flyer, you're pretty likely to throw it away. But if someone gives you a water bottle or a pen or something with a little more practical value that you can hold onto and use and re-use, there's a not-so-subliminal marketing message they're lodging into your feeble human brain. Enough repeated views of that stupid website address printed on the side and all you can think about is going to their god-forsaken homepage so you can get it out of your mind and get on with your day! But let's face it; you're on YouTube when you're not on Reddit anyway.

It's like mobile devices. You see the way people touch and feel and look at those things, and you know it's a tactile and sensual experience for them. Various comedians have pointed that out already, but it's true; people are pretty attached to their phones. If you can tap in to that little bit of psychology, you know you're onto some great exploitation merch ideas.

So there's one fundamental truth you're going to find difficult to bypass if you want to promote your website using buttons: you're going to have to incorporate your website address in the design! Seriously. Here are a few related do's and don'ts:

DO make sure the website address is readable (pick a good font and color)

DO make sure the website points to your dot-com domain name; not a Myspace profile or a Facebook fan page

Optional: DO register additional catchy sounding domains that forward over to your main site (but don't blow your budget in the process)

Optional: DO use applicable #hashtags along with the website address (especially if you can tie them in with your own social media campaigns)

DON'T crowd out your URL with a ton of extraneous text

DON'T misspell your website address

DON'T send people to a bad or non-existent website; no content, little content, badly designed, broken page, 404 error, etc.

With that established, we can move on to the good stuff. Here are several ways you can leverage your band buttons to promote your website.

Fans

When fans buy your buttons, attach them to their clothing articles and wear them around town, they are essentially volunteering to be walking billboards for you! Lemmings. That's a whole lot of free promotion, dreads!

Just make sure you've got a quality, nicely designed product. You won't be able to get your fans to buy those buttons let alone wear them if your product is shoddy. The free endorsement you get is well worth the effort of making something great.

The Band

Band Website

A cool design for a poster complete with website URL promotion from Ryan Montbleau Band.

Yeah, yeah. You might feel like a big Hollywood sell-out wearing your own merch. You might even feel tacky. But if you've got new swag or promotional deals back at the merch table, then wear it proud dude! Live performance is a great opportunity to plant recurring mind-infecting messages into the brains of those unassuming puppets fans, especially since they're staring up at you all night.

Make your fans aware of what you've got, and if they like it, they'll be all the more likely to hit on your merch girl back at the table. And then buy your buttons. While you're at it, make the merch girl walk around wearing your stuff and collect email addresses too.

Pictures

Whether a picture of your button is worth a thousand words or not, you might be able to display it in a thousand different parts of the web with a little ingenuity and effort. And guess what? If your website address is prominently displayed on the buttons, you'll soon be marveling at the wonders of passive promotion.

You could submit your pictures to bloggers; stock photo sites, merch critics or even design sites (just make sure your button designs are actually cool before you do that). You could upload them to DeviantArt. You could upload them to social channels like Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr and Facebook. You could post them to your blog and your website. There are many more possibilities to explore here.

We hear email is another old-fashioned tool you can utilize to spread your pictures around (that sounds kinda dirty). You could include new merch items in your signature or you could showcase new products in your email campaigns as well.

There are also picturesque possibilities beyond the digital world, like posters, pamphlets, flyers and so forth.

Videos

There are many ways to sell your swag using video (always remember to include a link to where people can buy it). You could film a new video any time a new piece of merch goes live on your web store and upload it to YouTube. Show someone wearing your new buttons, and do some fun close-ups.

You could also wear your own buttons in a few videos. It doesn't matter whether or not you talk about them, but do make sure to use the description to let people know where they can buy them.

You could also encourage your fans to wear your buttons in the videos they create and even make a contest out of it (don't do this without legal advice, though; the internet police are always ruining all of our fun keeping the interwebs safe).

Image: Micah Tayler