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Why You Should Consider Non-Traditional Marketing

Let’s face it: when it comes to selling whatever we do, most of us feel uncomfortable. That is very true for musicians, too. Virtuoso jazz violinist Christian Hows address this problem in this interview with Jonathan Fields at 25:40 as “fear of self-promotion”.

What do we do to overcome this fear? In most cases, we delegate. We hire somebody and hope he/she will increase sales, secure more gigs and do the dirty job of finding venues, calling club owners and more. Musicians call this person a manager (PR). In the worse scenario musicians even hire an agency to procure interviews and press.

That’s traditional marketing. In other words: (1) we hire somebody full time, (2) pay them a commission on sales, and (3) have them go out in the field and sell.

It is good to have a person who promote your music on the field but I think that today there is a relatively new way to market your music and yourself (yes, I said it!) which involves new media. I think today we can operate in two directions: locally and globally. We have to coordinate these two assets, but I will explain this idea more in detail later in this article.

Also, today we have to consider that everybody is in sales. Daniel Pink has recently written a new book, “To Sell is Human, The Surprising Truth about Motivating Others”. In this book he argues that now everything we do is related to sales, not necessarily door to door sales however. He looks at how to convincing people to run with idea’s and persuading people to your way of thinking is selling, yes it is indeed selling yourself.

This involves more and more to refine your skills and grow your ability to promote yourself. An agency can give you contacts or some press, but what if you can approach potential gigs or writers with a systematic process?

These are other things that I think are important and can support traditional marketing:
a) building teams; b) branding; c) marketing; d) testing;

Building Teams
I always try to act locally but think globally. That means I want to support the territory where I live, local artists, local musicians, local food, local businesses, etc.: my own band is made up of wonderful musicians who live around my area; the music I play is somehow influenced by the place where I live, the air I’m breathing, the people I’m hanging with and more. And, I try to promote all these things to a global audience.

That’s true also when it comes to market our music. I’m trying to build a team where local people and global people support each other. Of course, I do traditional marketing but I support it with Facebook ads, blog posts, Twitter strategies, images and more. I am still a musician who practice several hours a day, but I control my marketing strategy by outsourcing the things I don’t have time to do to a person who lives far away from where I live.

Rebecca is my global manager. She does everything from updating my calendar and show schedule to manage my Twitter account and researching a particular niche. She will now describe her job here: Enter Rebecca: “I really enjoy working with Mike, his communication and leadership are first class. My job involves variety and responsibility which I love. I get to communicate with Mike’s followers on Twitter, keep Mike organized and keep his Facebook feed up to date with interesting posts. I also get to write, which is a passion of mine. All in all, I love my job!”

She actually proof-read and wrote part of this article, too. (She did a great job, didn’t she? )

By doing this I was able to maximize my impact and my productivity by 60%. My team marketing efforts provide me astonishing results: +10% gigs, +10% press, +10% sales. (I’ll share more results in another post, so make sure you follow me.)

At this point, you’re probably convinced of this strategy but wondering how to handle such a team.

The answer is simple: I crafted a system with simple but effective rules to follow in order to achieve a particular task. I organized all these rules in a document hosted on the cloud and have my team review it so that every time I need something they already know where to look for instructions.

They already know what do to and what not to do but most importantly, they know how to deliver extraordinary results and do an amazing job. The rules I provided are strictly but simple rules. Since they are break down into steps, they do not require much effort.

Why this work? Because people perform better when the job gives them a sense of autonomy, gives them meaning beyond just money and a chance to grow their skills and attain mastery. The Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has described this state as a state of “flow”.

Branding is a name, term, sign, symbol or a combination of all of these which makes you recognizable in the big wide world. It helps people to differentiate between sellers. Take Coca Cola and Pepsi, the drinks taste very similar, however the branding is key. Some people will never touch Pepsi, some people will never touch Coca Cola. I have had experiences where in a restaurant they have apologized and said they only have Pepsi and asked if this was OK. Branding therefore is a very strong way to communicate your image. As a musician it is even more important, there are so many people on this planet making, producing and creating music. There is not just one or two music artists, guarantee as you are reading this you can think of at least 10.

I hear you asking yourself, “how can I brand myself?” Well there are ways;

Creating a band/artist logo, this can be very beneficial as people see the logo and instantly relate the image to the brand. Bet you can think of 5 logo’s as we speak. The most recognized logo in the world is Nike. Having a logo also helps when it comes to selling merchandise, such as hats, t-shirts, pens even.

Think to yourself, what genre of music you cater to. I am a jazz musician, therefore to create my brand I could research other jazz musician’s and see how they brand themselves and make sure mine is different.

Social Media is another way you can brand yourself, using mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. This helps to make you seem more approachable to your fans or followers. People like to feel a certain closeness and with social networking sites becoming more and more personal, that closeness is what it provides. Social Media allow you to post videos, tour dates, events, offers and so much more, all slightly influencing people and attracting people to you.

Other things that makes up a brand include your photos, your color palette, your fonts, your banners, your avatar, your tagline or slogan, your bio/story, your writing voice and more.

Copywriting is producing written copy for the purpose of marketing and advertising. This can be direct mail pieces, taglines, e-mails and internet content, web-page content, brochures and flyers. It can also be extended to tweets, blog posts and social network page posts. It also comes handy when you are branding yourself and telling your story.

Listeners want fresh, new and interesting content. They want the opportunity to listen and feel. I don’t mean feel by touch but music can introduce feeling. On your social media platform you could post videos, either yours or another influential musician. Keep your listeners updated. If there is big gap between posts people may lose interest. If there is a big gap between songs, listeners will start to wonder where you have gone, what has happened, keeping them informed will make sure you don’t lose them.

Every musician should build a mailing list for that purpose, keeping your listeners updated, with tours, breaks, new pieces and much more. There is a lot of information you could put in your newsletter, which can be weekly, fortnightly or even monthly.

I like to build systems to test things as well. In fact, I am continuously testing every aspect of my carrer including: Gigging: Am I talking to the right people? Is this my audience? Is my proposal as good as it could be? My shows: Am I making the best out of them? How can I impact more people? My communications: Is this email too long or too short? What can I do to improve my relationship with the venue owner? Broad career: Am I making a big enough impact? What are my peers doing?

How do you conduct these tests? That’s easy with all the technology we have.

One method is A/B testing on Facebook, this method allows artists to try out various options in an advertising campaign. You may have already tried this by asking friends and family, band members or fans what song they liked best out of a choice of songs to then put as a download on your site. Listen to the numbers, they don’t lie. One song may not be getting a lot of “likes” or “clicks” so you can then change it.

Another way of testing is test subject lines in your emails. There are several ways you can make the subject lines of emails more eye-catching so they don’t end up in the SPAM boxes of people. You can use mind-blowing statistics to build intrigue or you can personalize the email by using the person’s first name, this amplifies the feeling of missing out on something. No one wants to miss out.

Lastly testing at shows, you can see what type of response you receive if you dress one way for one show, then dress differently for another. Also you can also change the set list order to see what type of response you get. They might be only slight changes to you but they really allow you to test your audience.

So now I hope that you would consider using non-traditional marketing techniques to differentiate yourself from the normality of adverts. I sincerely hope this article helps you grasp social media advertising and making your page successful on a social media site. Build yourself a brand and run with it.

Mike Rubini is a talented musician based in Italy. FieldWork Social is a social media agency which represents musicians on social media. Get more exposure for your music: be heard today!

Make sure to check out Mike’s personal website or visit FieldWork Social.

Why You Should Consider Non-Traditional Marketing

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Reader Comments (1)

This post has really got me thinking about how to re-brand myself. Given me ideas on ways to do it. So well written too, it really is insprirational and invites thoughts to be created. Such a great read and I do look forward to hearing from Mike again. Such a well written piece, well done!!!

December 13 | Unregistered CommenterKasey Curtis

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