Marketing isn’t necessarily easy. But anyone who says it isn’t fun is lying to you.
You get to experiment, apply your creativity, and gain more exposure for your art. Seriously, what could be more fun?
Though there are many ways to promote your music, sticking to the following proven methods will help you cut through the noise and remain focused on the right things. Ready to learn? Let’s go!
1. Build Your Website
You can find several guides on our website talking about how to set up your website, so I won’t be talking about that here.
The most important part is that your website is the only online property you truly own. You do not own your social media accounts. You should promote your music on social media, but to me it makes more sense to put the lion’s share of work into your own website than anyone else’s.
You can use your website to sell your music and your merch. You can send people to your social media accounts to follow you. You can get people to go and stream your music. Whatever it is you want your fans to do, you can prioritize those things on your website. Social media sites don’t offer that level of customization.
See your website as an asset. I know, it’s easy to look at it as a nuisance because you must keep it updated, but you’ll thank me later if you take my advice and keep adding fresh content as often as you can.
Speaking of fresh content, there is no better way to keep your site updated than to share regular updates through your blog for your fans.
Should you blog or not? That depends on your level of commitment to the activity itself. You get what you put into it, so you won’t benefit from it unless you’re willing to work hard and put in the effort. You must commit to a schedule and stick with it.
A blog is good for a lot of things, including:
- Regular communication. Your fans want to hear from you. A blog is an excellent medium you can use to keep them updated.
- Building your email list. You can have a subscription form at the end of every blog post. Nobody else owns your email list except you, so it’s one of the most important assets you can build.
- SEO. I’m not going to be overly generous here. Someone is already ranking for every keyword you could possibly conceive of. But you might be surprised to find people finding you through search if you blog steadily for a year or two.
3. Build Community On Social Media
Much has already been said about social media marketing. Some of the podcasts I listen to seem to be obsessed with the topic to an unhealthy extent.
Let me say it like it is – 95% of the content and advice out there doesn’t apply to you. Why do I say that? Because you probably aren’t that far along in your music career yet.
Advertising, live streaming, Instagram Stories… All this stuff is great, and it will do little to nothing for you or your music unless you have a following.
If you’re just getting started, you need to ignore the noise and just focus on one thing at a time. Sell one product (i.e. an album). Use one traffic source (i.e. Facebook). Direct people to one place on the web (i.e. your website).
Keep at it until you begin to see the kind of traction you’re hoping for. Then, once you’ve mastered one channel, like Facebook, add another, like Twitter.
And, please, focus on building community, not on selling to them. You can certainly let your followers know when you have a new release, but above all find ways to engage your community and have fun.
4. Grow Your Email List
No matter what happens, your email list is yours. Your social media following could evaporate in a minute, but you won’t lose your email list.
I would suggest prioritizing the building or your email list over any other marketing activity, because people who sign up to receive updates from you are the most loyal and interested in what you can offer. They’ll come to your shows, vote for your song, call radio stations on your behalf, or stream your new release time and again.
This is not a guarantee by any means. Only a percentage of your following will ever open your emails let alone take an action that benefits you. But I’ve seen artists that have 40 to 50% open rates, which is anywhere from 20 to 30% above the industry norm! You can get a very decent response rate with an open rate like that.
You can use everything in your arsenal to build your email list, including your website, your social media accounts, your live shows, and more. Once your list starts to grow, send regular, engaging updates to keep people interested in what you’re doing.
5. Perform Live
There’s no promotion quite like playing live. The tricky part today is that you can play a lot of gigs that don’t pay or help you grow your audience.
Live performance isn’t everything, and there are career paths for artists who’d rather work entirely from home.
But I also know many artists who feel like they were born to perform. If that describes you, then prepare for what’s ahead, because you’re probably going to be doing a lot of playing out to uncover who your fans are. And, yes, unfortunately you might end up playing your fair share of dive bars and dingy clubs in the process.
Instead of dreading the process, set yourself up for success. Prepare an email list signup form for every show you play. Bring your merch and CDs. Get a banner made for your band so you can spread your name and your website address.
When you’ve gained enough experience to command a higher fee, that’s when you can start being a little more selective about your gigs. Until then, playing shows might seem like a means to an end. But honestly, if you like performing, you’ll still have a lot of fun along the way.
6. Sell Your Merchandise
Merch is a promotion tool as much as it is a revenue stream. Many artists spend years building their careers without even realizing this fact.
You make merch to sell it, true, but wearable merch is also a form of free advertising. When your fans wear it around town, they become walking billboards for you.
So, it’s best to be strategic about the merch you create. People might not notice something small like a pin or a sticker, even if your fans are wearing them. But a T-shirt, hoodie, hat, or coffee mug will always draw attention.
If your pins happen to be your best sellers, then I see no issue with selling them at your shows. Just recognize that the promotion value won’t be quite as high as a bigger merch item.
|You’ve only read some of this guide.|