Not every show you play is going to be in the same area. Even in surrounding cities at your hometown, it is important to market each show to a different demographic.
For example, I regularly do shows in Sanford, Florida. Sanford is about 20-30 miles north of Orlando. I book Orlando bands at this Sanford venue all the time (Sanford is a small town and few bands are out of that area). A complaint I often hear is that bands cannot get their fans to Sanford to attend the show.
Two things –
If your fans won’t drive 20-30 minutes to see you play, you either over saturate your market or they aren’t fans, they’re friends.
You are incapable of marketing to a new area.
I’m guessing it is a combination of the two.
Luckily for me, everyone I work with LOVES the Sanford venue (it is my favorite venue to work out of as well) so they are typically happy to play there. Very rarely do I have an issue at this venue or with bands agreeing to play there.
Anyway, I know I sound like a broken record, but social media is the first place you can start. See, each city that has any kind of music scene is going to have Facebook groups that you can join and promote your music/shows on. Utilize this! It’s free. It just takes some time.
You can go to shows in that new area (if it is close and makes sense, i.e., you will play there more than once a year). Pass out your bands stickers, free music downloads, but most importantly, make real connections! No one wants to feel like they are being sold something. So make a friend, and just so happen to tell them you’re in this awesome band they should check out. You can go to this areas happening bar and do the same. Malls too.
If you live in a major city, chances are there are numerous suburbs around you. Take the time to pay these suburbs attention. Just like Sanford is a city outside of a major city (Orlando) you have smaller cities outside of your city. Take advantage of them! Once you get to the point where you are playing two, three, four shows are year in your hometown people will come out from these suburbs to see you.
Or, you know, don’t. And be a one-town band.
Due to the circumstances with Hurricane Irma I want to wish everyone in Florida a safe weekend. I hope you are prepared, and if it gets to the point we NEED to evacuate, leave. You can rebuild a house. You cannot rebuild your life once it is lost. Be safe!