06 – Using the “SuperBrowser” to research venues and media outlets

The BandMgrX tool that Sugar Still uses more than any other is the “SuperBrowser” and it turns BandMgrX into a very compact research and booking dream tool. It gives us a way to book gigs in venues that most other musicians never approach, it gives us a way to quickly promote our shows on social media with just a few clicks, and it helps us route our tours using the integrated Google Map, Google Calendar, and GMail.

To see the Superbrowser in action, click any of the blue field labels on the Contact screen. Clicking the Contact label displays a Google search for that name. Clicking the C/S/Z/Co label shows a Google map. Click the social media field labels goes to that page. Click and go. And to display a Google Calendar, Google Mail, or any other website you use regularly, click in the drop-down list just above the browser window. You can edit that list to display any sites you choose… Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft, FestivalNet, whatever.

The single most important thing we’ve found we need when booking Sugar Still is a current, active, published email address for a venue. After an email address, Facebook messaging is next. Once we’ve contacted a venue, most people like to text after that, so a cell phone number is next. All three are important, but we’ve found we can book a show with just an email address, so the email address is by far the most important. If none of these are available and they only have an online submission form, we enter that URL into the “ContactForm” field. We can usually use the SuperBrowser to help us find the email address for any given venue in about a minute, even if we only have the venue name and no other information. Here’s how we do it.

1) In the SuperBrowser screen, Create a new Contact record and enter the venue name. Now tab to the next field. The SuperBrowser immediately displays the Google search for the venue name. If the venue name is fairly unique, nine times out of ten Google will display the “Google Place” data on the right hand side of the screen with the venue’s name, address, and phone information. In the search results to the left, Google will usually display the venue’s website and Facebook page. Once Google displays the information, we use the “PasteTools” in our “Utilities Menu” to quickly add the rest of the critical venue info into BandMgrX without re-typing. Here’s a 30 second tutorial video to show you what we mean:

Now, as we stated above, our real goal is to find a current, active, published email address. We’ve found that the email address is almost always on their website or their Facebook page. We click the blue Website field label to go directly to their website and look for a contact page. If the email is there, we copy it and paste using the Utilities Menu drop-down for Email. If it’s not there, we click the blue Facebook field label to go to their Facebook page, click the About tab, and usually find the email address there. Copy and paste. Done. BUT WAIT. Here’s where BandMgrX converts research into ACTION. Since we normally already have a FormLetter created for the tour route we’re researching, we click the Email tab, select the FormLetter from the drop-down list, click the SEND EMAIL button, and bingo. In one minute we’ve gone from having nothing… to having sent a new venue a booking request. That’s been incredibly powerful for us.

I bet you have a question lingering in the back of your mind. “Can’t I just buy venue lists that already have the email address, instead of doing this research?” You can actually. And you can import those lists into BandMgrX. BUT BE VERY CAREFUL. Nothing gets your email account shut down faster than sending out large numbers of unsolicited emails. Nothing. You’ll be flagged as a spammer and once you’re flagged it’s almost impossible to get off the spammer lists. The email giants (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Earthlink, Verizon, AT&T, etc) will shut you down cold. Don’t send an email until you’ve verified the address is current, active, and published. Email lists go out of date almost as soon as they’re published, so yes, YOU CAN BUY EMAIL LISTS. But man oh man can they cause problems. Be careful. And if you do buy a list, here’s what Sugar Still recommends: Find a way to confirm the email address is current, active, and published before you send an email to it (like by using the BandMgrX SuperBrowser or something like it), cool? You’ll be glad you did.

We us the social media links to circle back around after we’ve booked a gig to tag the venue when we post Facebook events, photos, videos, etc.