Metal mascots – Mortal Sin

Metal mascots with Mat from Mortal Sin

MMM: Who designed the classic Mortal sin logo and what was the design process for the Mayhemic Destruction album artwork?709_logo

Mat: The Mortal Sin logo was designed by our original guitarist Keith Krstin, but the ironworks type font was what we all wanted, but it was Keith who actually drew it.

The Mayhemic Destruction artwork was something that we all wanted, we felt it was a great way to show that we were Australian and also just look brutally metal. The original cover was drawn by the graphic designer at OK Signcraft whose last name was O’Keefe but I don’t remember his first name. The Demon was given the name Oscar Kilo which was the call sign for OK.

The second version of the album that was released by Phonogram Records in the United Kingdom was designed by Simon Bisley who went on to become famous for his work on the comic 2000AD and also several Danzig albums among a million other things.

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Was the Demon on Mayhemic created with the intention of making it the Mortal Sin mascot, or did the fans adopt it first?

Not really, though it soon became evident that the Simon Bisley design was going to become something big, and was really popular among the fans. The album also featured in an album cover display of Australian artists at The Powerhouse Museum as well.

Did merchandise featuring the Mayhemic Demon sell better than other merchandise items on offer?

Our two best selling shirts are the Mayhemic Destruction prints and also our large logo print.

Do you think the metal mascot was just an 80’s thing or should newer bands think about creating their own mascots or characters?

It seems like it is an 80’s thing, I haven’t really seen too many bands these days creating one, most just create a really good logo and use that on their merchandise. I think it’s a great idea to have a mascot, especially if it’s a really good one that can be reproduced as either an action figure or a plush toy, and can even be used in film clips. I think fans could identify really well with a good creation.

Who is your favourite metal mascot and why?

I really like the Overkill one, it was so good that a (very) similar version was used by Avenged Sevenfold (lol), but for me Eddie from Iron Maiden has to be the pinnacle. When I saw them at the Capitol Theatre back in 1982 and this monstrous 12ft high Eddie came out on stage, the whole crowd went apeshit! They’ve used him sensibly and consistently throughout their career and if you showed his picture to any metalhead 100% of them would be able to identify him.

Bonus question – did the Mayhemic devil ever have a name? Or should we start a competition for the fans to give him a name?

As mentioned above, his original name was Oscar Kilo, but was mainly only known to us. It’s a silly name and very unbefitting of such a brutal character. I have looked around at PVC manufacturers to find out if I could get some small action figures produced so you might see something in the near future, so YES, I think it is time a proper name was given to him!


Do you have a name for the Mortal Sin Demon?

Submit your entry via the form below.
Competition closes Friday 24 June!

The 5 best names will be chosen by Mat from Mortal Sin. These names will be put to vote on the Mortal Sin Facebook page on 27 June 2016 for the fans to vote! Voting closes on Friday 1 July 2016.

The name with the most votes on the Mortal Sin Facebook poll will receive a Mortal Sin merchandise pack.

Please make sure you enter a valid email address. The winner will be contacted via email.

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Like Metal Marketing on Facebook to go into the draw to win a Mortal Sin t-shirt!

Competition closes 5pm AEST 1 July 2016. The winner will be announced on the Metal Marketing Facebook page.

Band merchandise review: Textures live at 013

Now here’s something you don’t see every day, a merchandise review.

It’s crucial for fans to buy merchandise at live shows to help bands earn a living, or just cover costs to put the show on in some cases. So how do you make sure fans purchase your stuff?

First and most importantly, make sure all of your merchandise is visible and clearly labelled and priced. Some fans don’t like asking, and may assume if they can’t see a price they can’t afford it.

Take some time and effort to print up labels and/or stickers to mark each of your items for sale, no last minute hand written signs on the pizza box from dinner in the band room. Your fans notice the quality, time and effort you put into writing, recording, rehearsing and playing live. They should expect no less time and effort put into your merch stand.

Another great tip from Andy Dowling of Lord, is for bands to spend some time at the merch desk. Not only does this improve their sales, but gives them an opportunity to meet their dedicated fans. You can read my Q&A with Andy here.

I recently saw Textures play live at 013 in the Netherlands and I was blown away by how professional their merch looked, it was as if I had walked into a store selling their items. Everything was clearly labelled with prices and sizes available as well as which designs came in women’s fit shirts. They had made signs for merch bundles (cd+shirt), individually printed labels for specialty items and also had a full list of products available with their prices.

The lighting was quite dark in the separate room where the merch was located (as you can see from the photos I took on my phone). I purchased a women’s fit shirt with a gorgeous gold lion design on it. They had a variety of coloured shirts in black, white and maroon and they also had navy blue shirts, which looked black to the naked eye. Under these lighting conditions the blue shirts should have been labelled as such.

When I woke up the next morning I realised my new shirt was in fact blue… I still like the shirt, but I might have considered a different design on a black shirt if I had known.

Overall rating 9/10.

 

Merchandise Q&A with Andy Dowling of LORD

In the past I have been a merch girl and I have also been responsible for ordering merchandise for a tour, but I thought it would be good to speak with one of Australia’s leading metal bands to see how they run their merch.

I spoke with Andy Dowling, bass player for LORD and host of The Andy Social Podcast.

MMM: Who handles the merchandise for Lord? Who designs it and do you print your shirts locally?

Andy: I handle the majority of the ordering, stocking, and selling of our merchandise. The merchandise is designed by a multitude of people from within the band as well as Australian and international artists, depending on the product itself. T-shirts are printed both locally and internationally, depending on the number of colours, style and exchange rate.

MMM: I loved the Mork and Andee shirts, do you find that the funnier designs sell better or is it just a case of printing something you guys think is hilarious and hope fans also like them?11079630_10152774556880098_6058299584402224245_n

Andy: It’s a combination of both. We find that firstly a variety of merchandise works quite well from an online perspective (not as much at live shows) and having some more humorous simple t-shirts helps balance out the range and attract more people to the store. We find that a lot of people come to the store to buy a ‘mork & andee’ or ‘Do You Even Riff’ shirt and also pick up a CD while they are there. I almost look at them as baits to get people to the store. Of course, they also make us laugh so even if a particular design doesn’t do well, we still get a kick out of printing a few for our own enjoyment. 

MMM: You can buy the shirt here if you like it! There are only 9 left!

MMM: Over the years, what merchandise items have been best sellers?

12243139_10153234899110098_4430723386051199859_nAndy: CDs are our biggest seller, by far. We’re lucky that we have a large number of releases and have various bundle discount deals. People either come back multiple times to slowly buy each title or come in and buy one of the bigger bundles to grab them all in one hit. After CDs, our t-shirts sell quite well also with the variety that we have. All of the other more niche items (hip flasks, drink holders, posters, patches, etc) sell alright but they work more as complimentary items to our main CD/T-shirt stock. 

MMM: Do you find that your presentation of merchandise at gigs and in online shops affect sales?

Andy: Absolutely. Presentation is everything. You need to attract people first visually before you can feed them any information on the product itself and convince them that it’s a good idea to purchase. At shows, we try and sell our own merch if possible as it attracts people to the table to talk and historically we have turned over far more than having a merchandise person work the table for us. Online we have invested money upfront to make our webstore as user friendly and intergraded into social media (Ie: logging in) as much as possible. This alone has made retention so much easier. 

With that being said, however, it’s far from perfect. There’s still a lot of improvements to the webstore that we would like to make and a number of interactive features to help attract new buyers to the store. Lots of ideas, but it’s more finding the appropriate time to do it. The positive to this is that we already have a lot of success with what we’re doing now, so any improvements we do make in the future will make things even better.  

MMM: Do you have any tips for new bands printing their first run of merchandise?

Andy: Two pieces of advice to new bands.

1) It’s natural to be excited, however don’t go and print large runs up front thinking that you’ll sell them all out. The cost per unit might be a bit higher, but always start out with a small run. Besides, it will sound better if your small run sells out quickly, rather than you desperately trying to sell the remaining stock.

2) Listen to your fans, but take their feedback with a grain of salt and don’t rely solely on their feedback when it comes to printing different types of merch. There’s been a few instances where fans of ours were screaming out for a particular merch item, we printed them and then no one bothered to buy them! Always weigh up the pro’s and con’s to everything new you’re looking to get printed. Take fan feedback but also feedback from peers (ie: other bands), your band mates and close friends. Only then will you have a balanced opinion and clarity to make a call!

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Why call to actions are important on paid social posts

What’s a CTA and why you should use one if you boost your posts on Facebook?

I try not to use too much marketing jargon when I write, but there really are a few things that are just to long to type repetitively, call to action being one of them. call-to-action

A call to action or CTA for short, is what you want your fans and followers to do as a result of your post on social media. You can have a number of call to action responses including; liking your post, commenting on your post or sharing your post. These are the three basic CTA’s that you should aim to receive at least one of from each fan that sees your post.

The kinds of CTA’s you want your fans to do if you pay for your posts on social should be much more significant. As they say you need to spend money to make money. If you’re going to pay to get your product out there, you want a dollar value in return. These kinds of CTA’s should include; watching a video from your YouTube channel (which you may earn money from ads), going to your website to purchase some merchandise, visiting your bandcamp page to buy a new release or posting tour dates with a link to the ticketing company to purchase concert tickets. 

Paying for ads on Facebook can be a matter of trial and error, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You could just start with boosting an engaging post to people who are already your fans to make sure they can see your content.

Think about what you want to boost, are you releasing a new album? Maybe it might be best to try boosting your post to your fans and their (like-minded) friends. It has been discussed that people are more likely to do/buy something if they know their friend endorses it.

Selling tickets to a show in a city you’ve never been to? This is where much more targeted advertising will come in handy. Be very specific to get the best value for money. Click on ‘People you choose through targeting’. It will bring up a box where you can get quite specific. I have created an example for you below. Change the location to cities, and add in a radius. Start typing in the name of the city you’re selling tickets for. Add in an age bracket for your post. If it’s an all ages show make sure you lower the age, and if its 18+ make sure you change the higher age to represent your fan base. You can choose to target a specific gender, i’ve left mine as all in this example. Then add in interests, here you can include bands you sound like to get your post out there to new people who might like your music, or those who know you but don’t follow you on social. Feel free to be as specific as possible, really put your money to work.

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Once you’ve saved this information you can add in how much you want to spend over a specific amount of time and it will show you how many people your post could reach with the amount you’ve chosen. Now the keyword here is COULD. I could pay $4 and 1,900 people could see it, or i could pay $4 and 5,100 people could see it.

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This is why a good CTA is important, you are paying for these people to see your post, but what have you done to make it engaging enough for them to actually click on it?

Also, keep in mind that if you use images in your paid post that it must have less than 20% text on it, or they won’t approve it. Also note that if you are running competitions or giving something away that rules also apply. Here’s a great infographic to see if your Facebook competition/giveaway is legal.

How to write different content for each platform

How do you cross promote one piece of content to various channels?

I am a firm believer of not sharing the same content to each platform. When I say this i specifically mean word for word. You can share one piece of content to each platform by changing it up a little for each social account.

How do you do this?lightbulb_icon

Here are some thoughts around how you could release an announcement for tour dates for each platform. It may take some time and effort to do it this way, rather than writing something once and publishing it to every single platform, but that’s boring and lazy. You can still be efficient by using a program like buffer to schedule posts, and by doing it in advance you can save yourself some time.

How to cross promote your tour:

Website: Update your home page with a new banner or call to action to get people to click on your tour announcement. Your website is the place where you can keep the announcement simple and informative. Include the dates, cities and where fans can buy tickets. In the announcement link a call to action to your blog.

Blog post: Don’t just announce the dates and cities and leave it at that, make it a piece of engaging content for your fans to read about, make it an actual blog. Have you been to these cities before, have you played at these venues, are there any tourist attractions the band is looking forward to seeing. Ask you fans if they have any recommendations for restaurants or sights to see in the areas.

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Press release for websites: Check out this article on how to write a press release for an event and give it a go! Send this out to various online websites and music magazines with a professional photo and ask if they can write about your shows.

Facebook: There are so many possibilities for Facebook so get creative! The first thing is to create an awesome cover photo with your tour dates and updating your call to action to ‘book now’ with a link to your website to buy tickets. Facebook is a perfect place to share visual content so it would be good to share your youtube video here (see below). Another great use of Facebook could be to create polls to ask fans what songs they want to hear – maybe the winning song will be the song you close your sets with. You could also share your blog on Facebook and ask fans to give you tips about the cities you’re visiting. Fans like to feel involved with the band, so let them get involved. Ask them questions, give them reasons to comment on your posts. Share your live photos and thank you’s for attending the shows.

Twitter: This is also a good place to share thank you’s to fans attending the shows. It’s also a great place to post live reviews or retweet any photos that were taken by fans. If you retweet fan comments and photos from your shows you might just encourage more fans to do this. Anthrax are great at retweeting fan photos and tweets. They even retweeted my photos I took on my phone at a show in Amsterdam. A retweet from the band makes fans feel important and will encourage them to promote the band to their friends and followers.

YouTube: If you have the skills, create a short 20-30 teaser on Youtube. This could feature one of your songs, some live footage from previous shows and the dates you will be playing. This teaser would also be great to share on other social platforms. If you aren’t skilled at editing videos consider asking someone to record you band announcing the tour, or even doing something like a stop-motion video. You can do both of these on your phone if you don’t have access to expensive equipment.

Instagram: Use Instagram for tour merchandise teasers. Share hints of what your merch is going to look like, ramp up some hype and excitement in your fans. Ask them to tag photos of them selves wearing merch that they own. You could even give them an incentive to win something or even receive a free sticker when they show their tagged photo at the merchandise stand.

Consider using Instagram as your only photo platform during the tour for behind the scenes shots. Make sure you tell your fans on Facebook and twitter that if they want to see exclusive tour photos that they should follow you on Instagram. You can share the live shots and on stage photos on Facebook.

 

My top ten Instagram photos in music marketing

In my last post I mentioned that Instagram is a great way to share behind the scenes, live, candid or promotional photos and short videos with your fans. You don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment to use this channel, just a good quality phone, a nice filter and good use of hashtags.

I thought I would share ten of my personal favourite Instagram images with you. It was really hard to choose just one photo from each band and I love each image for very different reasons. Some are professionally shot and some are just raw and fun photos.

Check out their captions, tags, credit to photographers and use of hashtags as well as comments from the fans.
P.s. they are in no specific order.

1. Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage

2. Alice Cooper

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3. Tesseract

Tesseract

4. Shining

Shining

5. Hardcore Superstar

Hardcore Superstar

6. Stam1na

Stam1na

7. Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica

8. King Parrot

King Parrot

9. Devin Townsend

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10. Satyricon

Satyricon