Are You Getting The Most From Your Current Fans?
September 24, 2015
Brandon Waardenburg in Email, Fans, Harnessing Popularity, building fans, connecting with fans, email list

It’s deliciously tempting to ignore everything and obsess about getting more fans. 
It’s natural to want more fans.  It’s not even a bad thing.
But what if you aren’t getting the most out of your current fans?  Is getting more fans going help?
It’s easy to think that more is the answer.  We do a simple math equation…

  • More fans = more people to sell to
  • More fans = more people to fill a venue (and venue owners like that)

But adding more fans isn’t always the answer.  

It often takes less effort to work with relationships you already have than to put in the necessary effort to develop new ones.

Before we get to the rest of the post, I want to let you know about a bonus 5 day “Fan Development” email series that I’ve put together on this topic.  It’s totally free and just for those who want to grow their fan base.  If you want to get on it, go ahead and do that right here or grab the link at the end.

Here is a quick list of 4 things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most out of your current fans.


1. Incentivized “Word of Mouth”

Are you asking your fans to spread the word about your music?  And more importantly, are you providing INCENTIVES for them to do it?
I really like my Dr. Z Carmen Ghia 2x10 combo amp.  I love it actually.  But I don’t really tell people I love it unless it’s solicited.  Either someone will ask me what amp I would recommend or they hear me play my Ghia and fall in love with the tone like I did.  It’s a good thing I’m not an amp salesman because I don’t go out of my way to tell people about it.
Now, that could change in a hurry if Dr. Z himself provided the right motivation.

  • $10 off a product every time I told someone about it
  • 50% off coupon code for sharing a testimonial on their website
  • Free test-drive of a latest product
  • B.O.G.O. amps
  • etc.

We’re human.  And incentives work on us.
Are you incentivizing your fans in a way that makes it very difficult NOT to tell people about you?  


2. Gig Ambassadors

You (hopefully) have 2 eyes and 2 ears.  A fan base of only 100 people has 200 eyes and 200 ears.  That’s a lot more eyes and ears than you have, looking out for your interests.
I won’t beat around the bush here, ask your fans to help you line up gigs.

For some reason we have this idea that we can’t ask our fans for anything.  Fans need to beg us for more of us, like a constant curtain call, and that won’t happen if we show vulnerability… ahhh!

True fans want an opportunity to help out, especially if they can use their strengths.  And I’ll also add, incentives don’t hurt either :)


3. Private Shows/Corporate Gigs

Here are 2 likely accurate assumptions:

  1. Your fans have friends
  2. Your fans have jobs

Both are great opportunities for lucrative shows.  Private and corporate shows have the biggest margins in independent music.
Bigger than ticket sales.
Bigger than album sales.
Even bigger than the margins on merch.
You’ve already built a strong relationship with your fans, leverage that (and deepen them some more) by coordinating private or corporate shows with their help.

  • Birthdays
  • Weddings
  • Office Christmas parties
  • Corporate mixers
  • Corporate training workshops
  • Bar Mitzvahs
  • etc.

A simple email to your list will do the job.


4. Engaging Relationships

Making a livable form of income is high on my priority list when it comes to music, but it’s not at the top.
It may sound stupid, but I’m in it for relationships.  That’s what gets me up in the morning after a late night. That’s what makes me write another 1,000 words on a blog post when everyone else stops at 500. The people are the cake and the money is just the icing.
I’ve made great friends through my various music projects and through Apparatus and that keeps me motivated.

Make sure building strong relationships is high on your priority list too.  (If you’re stuck on how to do this, don’t forget about the free 5 day “Fan Development” series.  Grab the link at the end.)

Your Action Items

It’s fun to read these kind of idea emails, but just reading it won’t gain you any more traction in your career.  Put the rubber to the road and do one or more of these…

  1. Ask your fans to share something (can be a video, album, upcoming show, etc) and incentivize them
  2. Ask your fans to help you set up a show (incentivize it if you need to)


Bonus “Fan Development” email series:

I have a quick and easy 5 day email series that takes this concept to another level, including how to get your fans to buy more from you, how to deepen relationships with fans and even how to get more fans.

Sign up for the 5 day “Fan Development” email series by clicking here.
- Brandon



About Brandon Waardenburg

Brandon Waardenburg is the founder of Apparatus (an artist accelerator providing music advice and education to independent artists) as well as a musician, songwriter, “musicpreneur” and consultant. After receiving his Bachelors in Music back in 2011 he began working alongside independent artists, songwriters, producers and engineers in their quest to retain creative control. Sign up for his free email newsletter here and get open-source ideas and actionable advice for your career.

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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