Basic Marketing Principles For Artists - Part 1: Increase Your Fanbase
May 14, 2009
Ariel Hyatt in Effective Publicity and Promotion, Expanding Your Fan Base, Facebook, Marketing, Marketing Strategies, myspace

As many of you know my company Cyber PR specializes in Internet Marketing, Social Media and PR. I am an avid Internet Marketing student and I gather the nuggets I learn from my studies of musicians.

I recently spent two intense days in Los Angeles, where I attended an Internet marketing retreat led by my mentor, Ali Brown. I belong to her mastermind group and participate in her yearlong program.

It was a whirlwind, and the core principles I learned were both basic and critically important.

There are three ways to increase your income:

1. Increase your number of clients (fans).

2. Increase the frequency of purchase, how often your fans buy from you. (and you’d better have more than just music to sell).

3. Increase the amount of money that you charge.

Okay, none of these three things is brain surgery, but from a musician’s perspective, it brings up some interesting points. In my last article about Internet marketing, I point out that music sold online cannot be treated like a diet product.

So, marketing music from a straight-up traditional Internet marketing approach is, in my opinion, not entirely possible. The reason why I think this is: Products that sell very well online tend to solve people’s problems. (Like Losing weight or making more money).

I am captivated by how musicians can use some of these basic principles, to increase their own bottom line in the digital space.

I’m going to break each one of the three principles down from a musician’s perspective, and my next three posts here will focus on each one.

This blog post will focus on

1.Increasing your fanbase.

I am always shocked when musicians I work for at Cyber PR, are desperate to reach more and more potential fans without really focusing on the fans that they already have. These fans don’t need to be found, because they are already your fans.

Studies have proven that it is much harder to make a new client and get them to purchase something than it is to get a client that already knows you and trusts you to purchase from you over and over.

I always suggest that, in measuring fans, the best place to look is at your social networks and at your mailing list.

Your newsletter list is the only place where you can directly engage with your fans on your own terms. Not Facebook’s terms, and not Myspace’s terms, and this is a key cornerstone to what I have been studying with Ali Brown.

10 fail-safe ways to increase / engage with your fanbase by focusing on fans that you already have

1. Get serious about your newsletter. Use or and send your newsletter one time per month. Track your effectiveness by monitoring your open rates.

2. Mine your inbox and outbox for names and addresses to add. Ask all of your friends if it’s OK to add them to your list, otherwise you might be considered a spammer.

3. Bring a clipboard to each and every live appearance. Invite people onto your mailing list with a raffle or giveaway from stage, and collect e-mail addresses. During your performance, hold the CD up on stage and than give it away, you’ve just inserted a full commercial into your set without feeling “salesy” and you’ve excited one of your fans by giving them a gift.

4. Include a special offer on your home page with a free exclusive MP3 or video. Use the Reverb Nation Fan Collector or Free Download widgets to deliver it.

TIP: Make sure this download is not available anywhere. Not streaming on your MySpace page, and nowhere else on your Facebook widgets. Only on your website.

And of course it can also be available for purchase on your CD, but make sure that no one can get it anywhere else online. This will motivate people to sign up to your mailing list!

5. Follow 25 new people a week on Twitter.

6. Send out e-mails to your most engaged fans through MySpace and ask if you can have their e-mail addresses for your newsletter. This is a bit arduous but the results will pay off.

7. Do the same with Facebook.

8. Start a blog and start sharing photos and stories and thoughts.

9. Start a podcast or a vodcast and interview other artists with big followings. Ask them to share your podcast with their fans and followers. It doesn’t have to be a big production. It can be a small, informal video at YouTube. Click here to see mine.

10. Ask your fans to review your music at CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon. Ask them to make iMixes and Amazon Listmania! lists, and include your music on them.

My next blog post will attack principle number two, increasing the frequency of purchase.

In the meantime I would love to hear how you build your fan base.

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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