Photo courtesy of ThisIsChris.com
What have you done to actively recognize your fans? What do you do on any given day to keep your band fresh in their minds? More importantly, how have you increased sales via fan interaction? Procrastination is a career killer. Don’t wait for CD Baby or iTunes to sell your music. Get involved. Don’t expect fans to patiently wait for your next release. Make them a part of it!
You are a musician. Assuming this is your chosen career path, you need to make money. In order to make money, you need fans. No, you need paying fans! To create a paying fan, you need to create a bond through active interaction. This places you on a personal level with your fans and builds trust. To make this happen, you may consider:
- your own dot com website,
- a mailing list / newsletter,
- an interactive blog,
- social networks,
- and possibly a squeeze page.
Your Own Website
It’s all about seizing control and taking ownership. Building credibility, showing professionalism, and claiming your brand. Social networks will continue to come & go, so don’t go through Myspace meltdowns every couple of years. Set yourself apart. Every band and their mother tries to (unsuccessfully) use a social network as a home base – be original!
Mailing List / Newsletter
Do you have a Newsletter? Have you built a mailing list? This is probably the most effective fan management/interaction, and sales tool available. While people more often than not, overlook a social post, if they have opted in to receive your newsletter, they want to hear from you. Collecting email addresses is collecting a potential buyers list!
Reverbnation offers one of the easiest ways to build a list and create a newsletter. Their cut & paste ‘Fan Collector‘ widget makes collecting email addresses a snap, and the ‘FanReach‘ function allows you to manage/add contacts, and create easy, template based Newsletters & auto responders.
MailChimp is another good option. It has a bit more of a learning curve, but offers many more professional email marketing features, in my opinion.
Have you written a blog lately? Do it now! Do it often. It’s super easy and your fans really want to know what you are up to. I’m not talking what you had for breakfast (unless there is a funny band story behind it). But you can write about future plans, a new song in the works, a new product endorsement, keep a tour diary, etc. You may consider holding contests or giveaways via your blog. Keep your fans updated and involved at least once a week. Close your posts by inviting your fans to stay updated via your Newsletter, then provide the link to join the mailing list.
I use a self-hosted WordPress for Network or Die, but there are plenty of platforms to choose from. There’s also a hosted WordPress option. Blogger is one of the easiest ways to go for beginners, but WordPress is hard to beat for advanced functions and extensions. No matter which blogging format you choose, keep it simple, keep it active, and drive readers toward your mailing list!
You probably went through your Myspace phase, but didn’t utilize it correctly. Hopefully, you weren’t one of the clueless ones who had their “www” redirected there. And surely you weren’t convinced all of those “friends” were fans, right? hahaha
One of the biggest drawbacks to Myspace was the design option. Allowing people to add excessive banners, photos, videos, and flashing graphics took away from both the band and the music. OK for teenage girls, NOT for bands. Unless you were a teenage girl band, I guess? By default, Myspace music profiles were nearly perfect, industry one page style sites. Had more bands just filled in the blanks and forgot the glam…
Thank the music marketing gods that Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are geared more toward content than flashy, pretty, teenage girlie things. Just keep in mind when building your social networks to focus on funneling your fans (potential paying customers) to your mailing list!
The Squeeze Page
So what is that exactly? Just as it sounds, a single web page with the sole purpose of squeezing email addresses from visitors for follow-up marketing. With the exception of a Newsletter sign up box, content should be kept to a minimum and there are no external links.
Visitors are usually enticed to sign up by way of free downloads. Once they have signed up, they are directed to a Thank You page which lets them know an email has been sent with instructions on how to claim their free download. You gain a potential paying fan that has practically asked you to communicate directly with them! Well, there’s a little more to that, but you get my drift.