Play live anywhere and as often as possible is the best way to build a following. The larger your following, the more in demand you will be. If you learn what makes venue owners happy and you do it, then most likely you will have a standing invitation to come back as often as you want to.
A few suggestions:
- Email blasts to your fans
- Create traffic to your website with regular, purposeful communication on social sites. And when you send fans to your website, make sure there is plenty of new video, audio, photos, and so on to give them something exciting and fresh to look at.
- Cold calls. Call every venue, promoter you can find and then follow up each lead. I understand these concepts are not new but they work.
- Work for free
Then if you get in there you have a few options to make some money anyway. You can sell some product to make a few $$. If you have aligned yourself with a charity you can make some $$ (and help others at the same time).
But the bigger point is this: all of this is good (experience, exposure, and generating a little income) – BUT, if you are amazing LIVE, they will book you again. And the next time, they’ll pay you!
Bottom Line for Success remains: Live shows and building your fan base. You can have the best of everything else, but unless you focus on these two, it's unlikely you will play a venue more than once.
All roads do lead to the stage, where you and your band have the best opportunity to connect with fans by creating special moments and memories that will gain you the most important thing in your music career: TRUE BLUE FANS.