Knowing how to market your music is without a doubt THE most important thing you can do for your music business and your music career as a whole. You know it’s something that must be handled and if you’re not making efforts to learn how to market your music more effectively then you should know that, at the very least, nothing serious will ever happen in your music business career.
The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not you’re currently managing the most basic elements of an effective music marketing campaign.
What do I mean by this?
To begin it’s important to assess where you’re at right now and determine whether or not you know and understand exactly what the basic components of an effective music marketing campaign are? Let’s face it, if you plan on making a name for yourself in the music industry it’s important to realize you’ll be investing a lot of your personal time and money into your music career. If you’re certain your absolute goal is to mold your music talents into a true “music business” and you have no doubts about the career path you’ve chosen… then you’ll want to be as efficient and productive as you can possibly be.
Most indie bands and musicians whether from the Rock, Hip Hop, Folk or any genre for that matter, tend to work on only one or two of the three essential requirements of effective music marketing. For instance most musicians are great at connecting with audiences. What with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube in the mix, communications have become stupid simple for today’s musician.
On the other hand, asking for the sale is occasionally handled effectively but tends to be approached hap-hazardly and without a formula or the necessary accompanying awareness campaigns. This lack-luster approach tends to dampen the efforts of even the hardest working bands and musicians in the industry. Unfortunately, applying only one or even two of these key components without the essential third element in a music marketing campaign won’t bring in maximum returns for the time invested. This just isn’t how to market music effectively.
Don’t get me wrong, getting your name out there and partaking in conversations with fans can be cool, even self gratifying and it’s definitely better than not doing anything at all, but imagine how much more effective you’d be if you went to work on all of these essential marketing aspects of your music business armed with a formula and a pin-point focused purpose.
The Solution To Ineffective Music Marketing
The bottom line is that when you break down the ins and outs on how to market your music effectively, it becomes apparent that as a musician, it’s important to discipline yourself to focus on the elements that are most productive for your music business growth. Broken down in an easy to follow process these elements of music marketing and music promotion essentially consist of a 3 step formula:
Step #1 – Create Awareness: Find an audience who appreciates your music style, your sound and your identity. Take the steps necessary to communicate your musical message to them. Everything you do should create an awareness for you and your music at all times. Approach this with precision and a firm direction and your music business foundation will be solidified for years to come.
Step #2 – Connect with Your Audience: I mentioned earlier how stupid simple it is to connect with fans today. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the many other online “hangouts” make this process a breeze. Once you’ve laid the initial groundwork and you’ve made your audience aware of exactly what you have to offer, work on maintaining those important on-going relationships with your fans, the media and the all important music business contacts you collect along the way. Your fans and contacts want to know that you’re for real. That you care about them. That you’re here for the long-haul. Making connections with them and keeping them involved in your growth process will ensure this happens for you.
Step #3 – Sell Your Stuff (Ask for the sale): This one is essential. If you don’t have products to sell… you DON’T have a music business. Working to create a steady, consistent cash flow for your music business is paramount to your long-term success. Entice fans to spend their money and buy your stuff and the rest of your music marketing processes will flow and flourish so much easier.
Yes! It’s Easier Said Than Done
I recognize that it’s easier to talk about these things than it is to make them happen in your career but this is what the music business is all about so incorporating these processes into your music business campaign is a must, or you simply won’t last long enough to make dent in the music world.
And that’s not what we want for your music career… is it?
Again, it might seem easy enough to map these things out on paper but the truth is that most bands and musicians will find a hundred and one ways to screw this up.
You’ll either spend too much time on creating awareness and connecting with your audience but then fail to ask for the sale. Or you’ll ask for the sale way to often and forget about connecting with your people. I mentioned earlier that it’s cool to get all gung-ho, get busy, and head on out there and do a bunch of music marketing, but if you’re not touching all three elements of this process on how to market music, then you’re missing the boat and more importantly… you’re fans won’t be “feeling” your vibe. They just won’t connect with you on a deeper level. Without connection, there’s no sales and without sales, you don’t have a music business.
Don’t Fall Into the Marketing Music Business Trap
You’ve seen them. They’re all over the place. Lame press releases that musicians love to send out nowadays. These press releases are posted and delivered to my inbox on a daily basis with headlines like: “Johnny Come Lately, the Latest Album Release from the 123 How To Rock & Roll Band”. Go ahead… admit it. You’ve probably sent out something like this yourself at one time or another.
Unfortunately there are some problems with this spray and pray technique that will be blatantly obvious when you stack up a headline like this against my 3 step process. See the press release handles the “Creating Awareness” aspect and even touches lightly on the “Selling Your Stuff” step but it fails to connect and that my friend is a no no. It’s 100% self interested and sadly, it will fail every time it’s used.
Fans and media see right through this. All the band wants is the money. For some unknown reason the band is expecting us to head on over to the link included in their press release and click on the buy button. But where’s the connection? What about the awareness we need BEFORE they ask for the sale?
Think about it. Have you ever bought an album, or anything for that matter, without some type of emotional connection? Chances are you haven’t. If you think you have… think about it again. I’m certain you’ll reflect and realize that a connection of some sort was definitely involved in your purchase. Musicians who make this unforgivable marketing mistake should be ashamed of themselves. If this is the only way you’re promoting and marketing your music take an hour or so to track your results.
I’m willing to bet what you find isn’t very encouraging.
Are You Leaving Money On The Table?
Now let’s look at the flip side. What about musicians who connect with us masterfully but never ask for the sale? You’ve experienced it and honestly, you probably love them. You dig their music, love their stage presence and you love to hear from them. But when you want to support them and demonstrate your love… you just don’t know where to go. They never tell you where you can buy their stuff.
Not a great formula for success right?
If you’re not asking for the sale then you’re failing your fans. Fans who love bands love to buy “stuff” from bands. You can’t drop the ball on this. Without generating cash flow, you simply won’t succeed in the music business. It’s too expensive to work a music business without cash flow. The fun dries up real quick when the money keeps pouring out, but never flows back in. Don’t be that band, don’t be that musician.
How To Make The 3 Step Music Marketing Formula Work For You
I realize that you may not have a lot of time in your life. You might be working a 9-5 at this point or maybe your touring schedule is insane. Regardless of your current situation, it’s important to take some time out to implement these 3 activities into your music business promotions. Start by cutting back on an hour of television every day and put that time into creating awareness of your music.
Find out where your fans hangout and get active with them. Let them know what you’re up to. Create some behind the scenes videos on your studio recording sessions and your touring trips in the van on the way to your next gig. Let fans get to know who you are. Let them see you in real life situations. This creates rapport and connection all while you build awareness… double whammy.
What do you do when you hit the bathroom? Personal question I know but stick with me for a bit. Why not take your smart phone in with you next time and instead of reading the latest updates on Facebook, post something relevant on your fanpage. Answer one or two of your fan questions on your timeline or tweet them out for everyone to see. Why not share or re-tweet a fan post? In other words, connect with your audience everyday for at least 15-20 minutes. Find the time one way or another.
We can all find 20 minutes in a day if we REALLY want to.
Without Products You Don’t Have a Music Business
Finally, asking for the sale happens as a result of having products to market. Don’t have any products yet? What are you waiting for? Record your live performances, hit the studio, create a DVD documentary. Remember if you don’t have any products, you don’t have a music business. Get busy.
Once you’ve handled the awareness and connection aspect of the 3 step music marketing formula, asking for the sale is a breeze. True fans really DO want to buy your stuff. If you ask without appearing pushy or greedy, they WILL buy. It’s important to offer more awareness content and to connect with fans more than you ask for the sale, but for goodness sake… DO NOT forget to ask.
Working these three how to market your music elements effectively in your career will not only help to grow your music business, but will get you headed on the right path to creating a long-term, long lived music career. Getting the word out (Create Awareness), building a fan base (Connect with Your Audience) and making money (Ask for the Sale) will ultimately place you on the road to music industry success.
It’s not easy to manage all aspects of music marketing but I’m here to help in any way I can. For more music career advise and marketing information visit and subscribe to our free newsletter at Catsask Magazine.