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Buttons For Bands: How to Promote Your Band with Pinback Buttons

[Note: If you're thinking to yourself, "Hey! I've seen this post before!" you might be right. This post was originally published on December 24th, 2008. We are cycling it back to the front of the blog so our new readers are made aware of it, as the content is no less relevant today. And besides, it's always good to review...]


When thinking about how to promote your band, it is often imperative to think in terms of what kind of promotional strategy can give me a big bang for a little buck. Buttons for bands have proven to to be an excellent way to achieve this goal. Pinback buttons have been in use for a number of years and some are quite popular as collector’s items, especially for independent bands. A number of rock bands in the 70’s sold 1-inch pinback buttons with the band’s logo or name. The tradition of buttons for bands has increased as more and more bands search for cheap ways to promote and advertise themselves, an album, a show, or even a particular song. Additionally, many bands have evolved to use more than just 1-inch buttons for promotional purposes. Refrigerator magnets, medallions, and earrings have also become popular because of how easy they are to produce. The most cost-effective method for how to promote your band through promotional buttons will depend on how many buttons are desired. If you only want a very small amount for a one-time promotion, ordering the buttons for bands from a custom button making retailer can be a decent option. However, what the vast majority of bands are finding out is that a small portion of gate receipts from one show can allow them to invest in a 1-inch button maker, like the one we sell at American Button Machines. With their own button machine, many bands are finding that they can then purchase the supplies to make their buttons for less than it would cost for a one-time run at a custom retail button making shop. They also have the ability to produce buttons quickly on-demand, and have the flexibility to alter designs on the fly and get immediate turnarounds. Typically, after only a couple runs, the fixed cost of the button machine investment is fully absorbed and bands have not only saved money, but they have produced nice promotional products in the process. Marketing and promotions can be an expensive business, and it is the biggest difference in exposure between signed bands on big labels and independent bands. The bands on the big labels have a huge money machine behind them to get their name out to the public. Independent bands have to be creative and find innovative, cost-effective ways to get the word out. The biggest strength for an indie band is the passion and zeal of their core fans. Why not allow your core group of supporters to do your promotional work for you? Fans of indie bands love to tell other people about them, and have that sense of "discovery." Giving core fans buttons and other promotional items will expose your band's image and brand to a wider audience of people, and can help increase the exposure of a band exponentially. Advertising a particular show, for instance, on a button that is worn around town by as little as 50-100 of your closest fans can expose that show to 500-1000 people, if your fans only show it to ten people. And we are probably underestimating the numbers in this example. Either way, when you are searching for effective ways for how to promote your band, that is powerful word-of-mouth marketing! They always say that smart business begins with having leverage. Leveraging the low cost of a button machine and button making supplies, and leveraging the word-of-mouth power of fans, are great ways for bands to execute a cost-efficient and effective promotions and marketing strategy. Brighid Brown - Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM

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