You’ve finished and released your music. Now it’s time to get your art into the hands of the people. You’ll do this by planning and executing effective marketing.
“Here’s the simplest, most jargon-free, definition of marketing you’re ever likely to come across:
If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday,” that’s advertising.
If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.
If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity.
And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.
And if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing.”
-Allan Dib, The 1-Page Marketing Plan
If you want to do music full-time, you’re not just an artist: you’re also a business. All businesses grow by doing marketing. Your marketing plan describes how you’re going to use your music to find new fans and build deeper relationships with your existing fans.
Your marketing plan is unique to you as an artist. It’s a part of the same artistic vision that guided you through the production, songwriting, and recording stages. In this section we’ll cover big-picture marketing concepts and how to use them to develop your own marketing plan.
Marketing has less straightforward answers than a topic like getting a great recording. I’m spending a LOT of time testing different marketing tactics and techniques right now. I’m going to update this section as we learn more.
Your Goal: Create New Fans
Your mission is to find people who have never heard of you or your music, get their attention, build a relationship with them, and then convert them into your fans.
Music marketers have different ways to describe this. Indepreneur calls it The Buddy System. Heroic Academy calls it The Fan Funnel. They’re based on the idea of permission marketing: you earn the right to communicate with a potential fan, and then you build a relationship with them so they support your music.
There are many ways someone can give you permission to talk to them. This includes when someone…
Signs up for your text messaging list.
Signs up for your email list.
Follows your artist profile on Spotify or Apple Music.
Follows you on social media like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
When a potential fan takes one of these actions, they’re saying “Yes, I want to hear more from you and here’s how I want you to talk to me.”
If you do a great job of engaging these potential fans, some of them will become fans of your music. You’ll know you won someone over to be your fan when they take an action to support your music career. This includes when someone…
Buys a ticket to one of your shows.
Listens to your music regularly on Spotify or Apple Music.
Purchases your music, in a physical format like CD or vinyl or as a digital product.
Buys any of your merch.
Shares your music with one of their friends.
How do you get permission from people to talk to them?
And once you get that permission, how do you turn those people into fans?
That’s where you have to get creative as an artist. There’s no one right way to do this. The more you stand out from the pack - and the more unique and creative your marketing is - the better chance you have to get noticed.
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