Without the support of your fans and friends, you’ll have a difficult time building a career as a performer or artist. It’s important to constantly nurture and build your relationships with your fans because without them, you’ll be performing in empty clubs and releasing albums to an unreceptive audience.
In most industries fans are known as “customers” or “consumers.” They are those that “consume” the products or services that businesses offer. In the music industry, consumers are those that attend your shows, purchase your recordings and help support you through word of mouth. In other words, fans.
Building consumer loyalty, or fan loyalty, is incredibly important. Long term relationships with your fans encourage repeat concert attendance and music sales and in result, provide your career with longevity and a healthy sales forecast for years to come.
There are a number of ways to build long-term relationships with your fan base. Easy ways to do this are by providing value via a mailing list, fan clubs, meet and greets, social networking, etc. The most important thing to try and do as an independent artist is to be as hands-on as possible. The more authentic interactions you have with your fans, the more they will appreciate you and your music. However, make sure you keep it professional – there should be a line drawn between personal and professional relationships.
So let’s go back for a moment.
I’m going to re-emphasize a key phrase in the previous paragraph. In order to build a long-term relationship, you need to provide value. The ways that you do this matter less than actually having valuable content.
So what is valuable content?
As a musician, valuable content can be a number of things. It depends on the audience, your music, the genre, etc. At the beginning, you can always experiment to find out what kind of content works for your fan base and here are a few suggestions to help get you started.
If you’re looking for a few ideas, valuable content could be any of the following:
– Your music, first and foremost. Your fans need to find value in your music
– A behind the scenes look of your life as an artist
– Free content for those on your mailing list (a song, a lyric e-book, etc.)
– A blog which could provide behind the scenes photos, a tour diary, song lyrics, diy ideas for musicians or fans, if you have other hobbies you could share them (if you like cooking, you can post recipes), music lessons, etc.
– A Google Hangout chat or concert, etc.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET VALUABLE CONTENT TO YOUR FANS?
One of the best ways to get your music in front of your fans is via direct marketing. Direct marketing is marketing that involves interacting directly with your fans. It allows you to collect relevant info (email addresses, names, location, etc.) and the products involved in this type of marketing have more value to fans and are also more convenient for them. And trust me, the more convenient you can make things for your fans, the more they’ll come back. Marketing can be time consuming, however, so you may find it easier to automate your marketing strategy. If you are unfamiliar with how to execute this, you may find articles helpful such as – 4 Simple Processes To Automate Your Content Marketing Strategy.
An example of direct marketing (or sales), is selling a personally autographed CD direct to a fan at a show. Needless to say, this has more value than a CD purchased through Amazon online because it is directly tied to a personal experience.
WHAT ARE A FEW MORE WAYS TO SELL AND MARKET DIRECTLY TO YOUR FANS?
- Direct mail. This can be a bit expensive, but it can also be extremely effective, especially since not very many artists are doing it any more. It’s engaging, personal, and a great way to connect with fans. I mean, who wouldn’t love receiving a handwritten postcard in the mail from an artist or band they enjoy? This is really easy to handle on a small scale, but could get a bit out of hand or impersonal on a large scale. If you have a fan club, this is a really great exclusive offer you can provide your fans.
- Permission marketing. This is your mailing list. Because of all the rules regarding spam, you have to have the person’s permission to add them to your mailing list. They need to “opt-in.” The good news is, however, that once they decide to join your list, you know that your sending emails out to people who really want to hear from you. That’s a really great asset to have. So, if you don’t already, make sure you put a mailing list together. You may want to look into SMS marketing software from companies such as Tatango to keep connected with your fans. There are a ton of ways to do it, and some of them are even free.
- Your website
- An exclusive fan club
- A blog. Give your fans the options to subscribe to content on your website (or a microsite) with a blog. This keeps your content in their news feeds or email boxes and is a great way to get regular messages out to your fans.
- A book or an ebook (think lyric book, tour diary, sheet music, etc.)
- An album, EP or single
- A video on YouTube or Vimeo or Daily Motion or Vine or well, you get the picture
- Social Networks Using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more, plus using companies like Task Ant to assist in audience growth.
- Online workshops or courses
- A podcast (example)
- An infographic
- Google+ Hangout or chat
- Check Out More Content Marketing Ideas Here
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED WITH YOUR CONTENT MARKETING PLAN?
The same way you’d get started with almost anything else – figure out the who, what when, where, why and how.
Who is your audience or fan base?
What kind of content do you think they’d be interested in (songbooks, songs, music videos, etc)?
When do you plan on releasing your content/album? What are your deadlines and how will you create marketing around those dates?
Where will you distribute the content (see above)?
Why are you creating music and what are your goals?
How are you going to create the content and get it in front of your fans? What resources will you need to do it?
So there you have it. We hope this helps you get started with content marketing as a musician. And remember – be adaptable! The industry and technology are constantly changing and it’s important to be able to change along with them. Pay attention to market trends and do what you can to move with them.
What are your thoughts?
Want to learn more about the music business? Check out our popular FREE eBook – Advice for Young Musicians: From Established Music Professionals.