Spreading the word that you operate a studio can be a tall order, especially if you aren't connected with the professional music scene in your area. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
Nothing beats a little bit of good advertising. A well-placed flier can do wonders, so be sure to place fliers where musicians go. Music stores often provide space for this via a bulletin board. Also visit the local clubs and talk to bands and artists who perform there to let them know about what you're doing. You might even try advertising in print ads. Many cities have music papers that highlight local music, and they, like most the papers, rely on advertising revenue to keep afloat. Your advertisement can go a long way if it's printed where musicians look for these kinds of services.
When advertising, a picture or description of your gear might help attract customers. Make it sound exciting — don't just list the equipment you own. Describe what you can
Nothing spreads faster than good news. In the recording studio world, news about a flexible studio and studio owner will spread like wildfire. Having a reputation for a clean, well-equipped studio with competitive rates and an easy, flexible working environment will be your greatest advertising tool. Remember, business of any kind is about people and the interaction with those people. The easier to deal with and more flexible you are, the better your reputation will be.
Get to know the other studios in your area. Make sure they know who you are, and what you're doing. Little things like directing a group you can't accommodate to another studio will generate goodwill from that studio, and one day it might return the favor and send a few clients your way. The more often you do this, the better reputation you will get among studio owners.
You might also want to consider bringing some of your best work to other studio owners. Regardless of how well set up your studio is, if another studio is going to refer business to you, it needs to be certain you can deliver a high-quality product. Nothing looks worse than recommending a studio that turns out a bad product. In those cases, neither studio ever gets a call again from the disappointed artist, and the bad news will travel — fast.
Word of Mouth
Most studios rely solely on word of mouth for new business. You'll find that the more clients who have good experiences in your studio, the better you will do. If your work is good, they will tell their friends. This is one of the reasons to keep prices low — it helps draw a steady stream of clients. Another way to drum up business is to ask for studio credit, another kind of word of mouth. If you record a demo for a band, make it part of their contract that they must list the name and number of your studio somewhere in the CD packaging. That way, if the CD sells a lot of copies, your number will be distributed to a lot of people.