|A note from the FNO
Greetings FNO Bands and
This month Bob
Baker shares some cool insight about attracting more fans, and more
importantly, the right fans for what you do. Dig it!
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|Four Ways to Attract More Music Fans Faster
- By Bob Baker
Attracting more fans. Admit it, that's what music
marketing is all
about -- getting more people to come to your shows and buy your CDs.
And hopefully, getting a lot more people to do those things.
Why else do you work so hard to travel and play as many places as you
can? For what other reason do you meticulously write and record songs?
I don't believe the reason is so you can practice and keep up your
chops in obscurity. It's not because you want to impress influential
managers or A&R people. You work hard because you know you have
something of value to offer ... and you want to reach as many people as
possible with your music.
Marketing is the thing that helps you reach that goal. But marketing is
also a subject that confuses a lot of musicians. Songwriters and band
members the world over know they need to promote themselves. But many
don't know where to start, much less know how to continue effectively.
Does this describe you? Do you ever feel like you're spinning your
wheels, not sure exactly what you should be doing next to market
yourself? If so, this would be a good time to cover some basic
marketing concepts for independent musicians.
The VFW Hall Principle
Let's say you went to an average U.S. city (such as Kansas City or
Denver) and you rounded up 1,000 people and gathered them in a giant
VFW hall. These 1,000 folks would be randomly chosen and made up of
people from all ages, genders and backgrounds. Next, you'd distribute
information about your act to these people and play tracks from your
new CD for them.
After this direct exposure, what are the chances that one person out of
those thousand would be attracted to your music and identity enough to
buy your CD or come to your next show? Most musicians, regardless of
what style they play, should feel pretty confident about being able to
win over at least one new fan from this group of 1,000. That's a
one-tenth of one percent conversion rate.
Now let's multiply that formula by the entire U.S. population of 285
million people. One-tenth of one percent would be 285,000 people.
Mind-boggling, isn't it? That would be enough fans to make you a
Meanwhile, Back at the Corporate Office
Next, switch gears and consider how major labels market themselves.
They select and promote acts that they feel have the potential to
appeal to 10 or more of those same 1,000 people. Then the labels spend
millions of dollars in what I call shotgun advertising. They spray
their marketing message over a targeted chunk of the population (which
often amounts to many millions of people), knowing well that only a
small percentage will be interested enough to respond and become fans.
Sometimes, this widespread tactic works well enough to sell lots of CDs
and concert tickets -- but it's very expensive.
As an independent artist, you can't afford that type of marketing
campaign. But you know those potential fans are out there, and you know
that you can be successful by connecting with far fewer people than a
major label requires. It's just that your ideal fans haven't found out
about you yet -- and you're not quite sure how to find them.
What's a frustrated musician to do?
The answer: You must find creative, low-cost ways to go directly to
those one-in-a-thousand fans. Don't waste your time and money promoting
yourself to people who will most likely never embrace your music.
Here are four steps to take to reach new fans:
1. Define Your Distinct
You must have a firm grasp on what your music is about. And you must be
able to define it clearly and quickly. What are your strongest musical
traits? What sets you apart from other acts? What attitude or social
statement do you make? Being a generic rock, pop or hip-hop act won't
cut it. Dig deeper and discover your unique identity. When you do
finally reach some of those rare potential fans, don't lose them by not
being clear about who you are.
2. Describe Your Ideal Fan
Once you have a handle on who you are musically, it's time to paint a
clear picture of your ideal fan. Can you articulate how your fans
dress, where they work, what TV shows they watch, what they do for fun
and who their favorite cultural heroes are? Observe the types of people
who come to see you perform and note what they have in common? Knowing
precisely who your fans are will dictate what avenues you use to reach
them and how you communicate your message once you do reach them.
3. List Ways of Getting
Access to Your Fans
Once you know exactly what type of music fan you're going after, start
making a list of the various resources these specific people are
attracted to. What magazines and newspapers do they read? Where do they
hang out? What radio stations do they listen to? What retail outlets do
they frequent? What web sites do they surf to? What e-mail newsletters
do they subscribe to? For example, if your fans are mostly Harley
riders, go to a search engine like Google and start entering keywords
related to motorcycles. Evaluate the search results and compile a list
of the many good sources you uncover.
4. Network and Promote
Armed with this targeted list of contacts, get busy! Send e-mail press
releases to niche media outlets. Contact the webmasters and editors of
appropriate publications. Post messages in specialized forums. Visit
and interact via the web sites of similar-sounding bands. Contact
organizations and charities related to your musical niche.
In short, go to where your ideal fans are. And market yourself through
these outlets relentlessly. Why waste time and money trying to promote
to everyone ... when you can save money and be far more effective by
going directly to those valuable one-in-a-thousand fans?
Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook,"
"Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also
publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site and e-zine that deliver
marketing tips, self-promotion ideas and other empowering messages to
music people of all kinds. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine
by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com today.
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