File Under: Marketing Your Music
One of the biggest misunderstandings in growing your fan base is to avoid trying to appeal to the largest groups and taking on too large of an audience with your message. While that's a strategy for large media companies and labels with huge marketing budgets, instead, ask yourself a more manageable question: where will I get the next 10, 20, and 50 fans? The key to music marketing is to narrow your focus to a single group and then targeting a message that speaks to those people specifically. This works because viral campaigns grow from just a few sources, and if you hit the right ones, it can share quickly.
Try these techniques to help you find and target your next 50 fans.
1. Get the Next 50 by Targeting a Niche.
Every interest, topic, or subject, no matter how big or small, have a meeting place somewhere on the internet. For example, Reddit has turned into a massive website partially because they have "subreddits" on every topic you could imagine (and many that you don't even want to imagine.) As we discussed in the EM Masterclass Nine $0 Music Marketing Strategies, niches are not always small. For instance, soccer is a niche. So are foodies and comic book lovers, but there's millions of fans of those all over the world.
Marketing to a niche works is because it makes it easier to craft the right marketing message aimed directly at that specific audience. If you're not sure what niche you should target, start with your lyrics. See if there's any themes or hooks in them that speaks to a particular group. For instance, our band's song, "I Am My Mom And Dad's Tech Support" speaks directly to IT professionals and geeks. Another angle is to consider whether your music is good for a particular activity, such as working out, meditating, or partying. Once you zero in on a niche for your music, the audience are already predisposed to like your music since it speaks to their interest and it increases your chance of being successful.
2. Get the Next 50 by Focusing on Your Local Area.
Another technique is to focus on your local area and scene. You can grow your fan base one room at a time. For instance, you can target playing a venue in a new area of your city. This would expose you and your music to some new people. Another idea, if your music fits the part, is to partner with DJs and get them to include your music in their set to play to their fans.
3. Get the Next 50 by Convincing Just a Few People on Social Media to Share Your Music.
While it's obvious that social media gets your music out there, the fastest way to do this is to get advocates to help you. This is the internet version of a street team. To succeed at this, consider using video, which is the only truly viral media. Then ask on a handful of your most engaged fans to talk you up and share your video to their followers and friends. The key is to be clear about exactly what you want them to do.
4. Get Your Next 50 By Borrowing an Audience.
Another great technique in getting your next 50 fans is to borrow someone else's audience. Quite a few strategies outlined in our Electronic Musician article, Nine $0 Music Marketing Strategies can help with this. For instance, try the piggybacking and standing out strategies. Find sites, media, businesses, or other artists who already have a sizable audience, match your music or work to their interests, and then and partner with them. For example, getting your music played on a podcast gets your music directly in front of that podcast's audience. Appearing on someone's YouTube channel or vlog reaches their viewers.
Note that these four techniques won't do much good if your music doesn't resonate with those fans. Also, make sure that you build conversions into your message which are specific actions that they should take after experiencing your work. This requires a lot of the same thinking we discuss in our DIY Advisor article, 5 Ways To Improve Every Marketing Message You Send. The best conversions are subscribing to your channel or feed so that they can experience the next work you release. Also, make sure that your name, links, mentions of your website, social presences (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), YouTube channel, your mailing list, and any other places that they can follow you are part of the message. Many musicians get the word out to a lot of people, but miss pulling them into their world, losing chances to grow their audience. You should be able to boost your fan base each time you put your work out there.
Once you've grown a bit, you can experiment continue to expand your reach. And then, after you've grown your fan base, you can start asking the question: "where will I get my next 500 fans?"
- 5 Ways To Improve Every Marketing Message You Send
- Nine $0 Music Marketing Strategies
- The Indie Band Survival Guide (Remixed & Remastered: Second Edition)
- Making Money With Music (15-hour Online Course)
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