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Basic Marketing Principles For Artists - Part 1 of 3: Increasing Your Fan Base

As many of you know Cyber PR® is a hybrid of Internet Marketing, Social Media and PR. I am an avid Internet Marketing student and I gather the nuggets I learn from my studies for musicians.

For many years, I’ve attended internet marketing retreats and seminars; a favorite of mine was a two-day intensive course run by the incredible marketer, Ali Brown.

The course 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.

So How Do You Increase your number of clients (fans)?

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 Twitter’s terms.

10 Fail-Safe Ways to Increase/ Engage With Your Fan base

Here are 10 fail-safe ways to increase / engage with your fanbase by pulling from fans that you already know and have who trust and like you!

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 Reverbnation Fan Collector or Free Download widgets to deliver it.

TIP: Make sure this download is not available anywhere.  Not streaming on your Facebook page.  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 on Facebook 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 Twitter.

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

Note: you can also use Instagram to take pictures from your iPhone or Android phone, which can then be shared through Facebook and Twitter.

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.  

How Do You Build Your Fan Base?

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 in the form of a comment below

Reader Comments (3)

I think having a blog (updated regularly!) has proved itself more and more useful in the past years. Everyone has Facebook/Myspace/Twitter accounts and they are needed, but blogs allow bands to communicate on a more intimate level with fans, express thoughts and reflections and so on. In order to develop a loyal fan base I think they are immensely useful.
I'm also trying out using ringback tones with my own music for my home number and cell phone, a nice little trick to present new songs/have a little advertisment for next shows and so on... I don't know yet if it's proving more effective or annoying, but it was worth a chance! :)

April 23 | Unregistered CommenterFox

One of the problems I see a lot is that all the fans are divided over different media. There are lots of fans on MySpace, but MySpace seems dead. ReverbNation is not very know, there's Facebook but with the automaticly generated communities you even see within the same medium a fragmentation,... Others only visit the artist website,... So the great difficulty is collecting all those names to reach as many as possible. And that means putting the word out on different channels. And linking them to eachother. If a fan likes visits the website it should be easy for him to like you on Facebook. So next time you reach him by pull (website) and push (facebook) messaging. My 2 cts.

April 25 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

You are so right Ariel about not engaging the fans you have. We are about to release a new CD after 15 years of being out of the loop. We were a very successful gospel group in the late 80's and early '90's. But the only problem is the tedious, laborious work of sifting through old e-mails, contacts, etc., etc.,

And yes, fans are in different areas of the net, but like anything worth building - it's gonna take time. Slowly but get there...

Thanks for the good info, I had forgot about some of the ideas of fan base building and learned some new ones! I'm gonna "favorite" this for reference!!

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

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