Headshot of Ari Herstand, a musician and author

You got the gig. Now what?

This is an excerpt from Ari Herstand’s book How to Make It in the New Music Business (second edition) — with a few additions from us at CD Baby. 

Congratulations! You just secured a date at your dream venue. You locked it in. Negotiated, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!

Ok, but your work has only just begun. Once the show is booked, here are eleven things that you should do right away to make sure you are set up for success and that nothing slips through the cracks. 

1. Create smart links

Once you have the ticket link and Facebook event link for your show, create trackable, smart links so you can see how your promo efforts are going. 

A smart link is a sharable URL that automatically directs someone to their preferred destination, and it can sometimes account for their territory, device, and other user preferences. Depending on the service, smart links can also fire retargeting code so you can build ad audiences of people who’ve shown interest in your event. 

If the price-tag is too high for certain smart link solutions, even free tools like Linktree and Bitly can be super helpful when you want to shorten a link, provide multiple link options, or see what platforms, emails, or ads are driving the most traffic to your event pages.

2. Add the show to your tour calendar

You can embed a Bandsintown or Songkick calendar on your website.

Even if you don’t have the embedded calendar on your site, you need to add your shows to these databases. Bandsintown and Songkick have each built up communities of active users, over 10 million members each, who use the apps to track artists and get notified when they come to town (via push notifications and customized emails).

If you’re routing a tour, you can schedule the shows to go public at a certain time. Triple-check the ticket link and don’t publish the show until you have the ticket link included (because if fans get a notification about your show and click through but find no link to the tickets, they won’t be able to buy and may forget about the show).

Songkick and Bandsintown have partnered with many digital platforms like Spotify and Shazam — so if you’re wondering why your concerts aren’t being listed on various platforms online, it’s most likely because they aren’t on Songkick or Bandsintown.

3. Create a Facebook Event 

Bandsintown can actually auto-create Facebook Events for every date, but you’ll want to double check that all of the info is correct, has the proper banners, links, and info.

Having a unique Facebook Event for every show is crucial for building buzz, gaining interest, and making contact with the local market.

Here are more tips on creating an effective Facebook Event for your show

4. Create a show or tour poster 

Hire a graphic design artist to make something truly eye-catching that represents your image and vibe.

No budget to hire a designer? Don’t have Photoshop? You can check out a free online design tool like Canva and use their templates to start making interesting concert posters.

See our 12 concert poster tips to help you get the most out of your designs.

5. Create a video for your show or tour

Make a long one for YouTube, IGTV and Facebook, and make shorter ones to roll out on Instagram and Twitter.

6. Print up physical posters and flyers

If it makes sense for your market and town, you can print up 11 x 17 full-color posters and smaller handbills and get those distributed around town in the well-trafficked areas.

Disc Makers has great, inexpensive options to print both posters and flyers

7. Send posters to the venue

You want people who already attend shows at this venue to know about YOUR show. Be sure the posters arrive weeks (or months!) in advance to to get the most visibility for your event.

Bandposters will print, label and ship five very high-quality, full-color (no-bleed) posters to each venue for $15 a pop.  If you’re busy, the expense can be totally worth saving the time, Sharpies and hand cramps.

8. Send an email blast

Email is still one of the most reliable and cost-effective ways to reach your audience. Send an email announcement about your show and include the ticket link and promo video.

But don’t hit your whole list, just the people in the region of the venue.

Here’s how to automatically geo-target your emails in Mailchimp.

9. Write a press release

Media — not just social media — matters.

Local press coverage for you show might get folks who are on the fence to actually leave their house to hear some live music.

Here’s how to write an effective press release that’ll get you some extra media attention for your shows.

10. Restock your merch

You’ll never have a better opportunity to move merch than when your fans are right in front of you. So don’t run out of CDs, vinyl, pins, posters, or shirts.

If you’ve sold out of a particular item, it’s probably a good indicator people WANT that merch!

Order more in time for your show.

11. Split up your promotional duties

Work with the other bands on the bill to figure out a cohesive promo plan and delegate jobs to your other bandmates and street team members.

You should each be sending emails and doing social media promo, but one poster design, one press release, one promo video, and one Facebook event might suffice for all the different acts in the lineup.

Don’t duplicate work; delegate!