5 Simple Music Marketing Tactics
By Johnny Dwinell
In my last blog I really dug into the difference between distribution and marketing because I have had way too many conversations with artists who feel they are marketing their music by having it on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, their website, etc. Once again, that is electronic distribution; that is definitely NOT marketing. In today’s blog I’m going to get into some serious music marketing tactics.
Music Marketing is Influencing Buying Decisions
Marketing is the art of influencing buying decisions. For Instance, when you and your friends are in a disagreement as to which movie to go see, each side serves up their best reason to spend money on their preferred movie choice; this is marketing. Granted, it doesn’t seem like marketing and it doesn’t feel like marketing but y’all are EXACTLY marketing; you are trying to influence your friend’s buying decision on the movie. Effective marketing influences buying decisions which, in turn, drives traffic to whatever distributors are selling the product like cars, or iPhones, or Tide detergent, or your music. This means the ultimate goal of marketing is to drive traffic to where ever you are selling or streaming your music. Once you get the traffic online you will get a mathematically predictable amount of sales. This is cool, because if you want more money, you just have to drive more traffic.
I’m always telling you guys to think like a record label; so, let’s start there. When you have a major label deal, the label will try to use radio as their main form of promotion. They will have distributed your product (aka your CD) to the very same electronic distributors that you can get on your own, with the difference being they will also have companies like Anderson Distribution placing physical CD’s into Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, etc. They will use PR (Public Relations) and Radio to expose you to the general public and ultimately influence their buying decisions. I think the magic number is 7, so once John Q. Public hears your song 7 times (if he ever does) the song is in his brain and that’s where the buying decision is influenced.
You have to think like a record label and understand your main goal is to influence buying decisions after the record is made. Let’s discuss 5 different ways to market your music and drive traffic to your cash registers for a purchase.
- Twitter – This is undoubtedly the most surgically effective marketing tool. We use Twitter to indoctrinate our future fans by creating relationships and letting the music do the talking; we give away the single. Well, we give away the single in exchange for their email address via a squeeze page. I say surgical because we have an Outlaw Country artist named Craig Gerdes (@craiggerdes) who has a single called Haggard Fan (Haggardfan.com). Merle Haggard has 90,000 Twitter followers and growing; are you kidding me? That one is like shooting fish in a barrel. Everybody LOVES “Haggard Fan” from that lead source. We are firing up a marketing campaign for an artist named Jeremy Calley (@jeremycalley) whose record Kelly and I mixed. Jeremy is a good looking Texas Country rock & roll guy; the ladies go crazy over him. I went right to Brantley Gilbert’s Twitter following for Jeremy. We are growing everyday and the lead source is predisposed to love him. I could also go to Luke Bryan for the same effect. Get it? It’s so perfect, but it’s not everything.
- YouTube – If you’re thinking like a label, you need to think of YouTube as your radio source; especially if you have amazing performance talent. Artists like Karmin, Noah, and Macklemore have been launched into the stratosphere from YouTube. Karmin and Noah used a clever strategy of recording artistically stylized cover songs with their talent that eventually blew people away and created viral videos. Karmin’s biggie is at 84 million views now and Noah’s was around 18 million last time I checked. When you start getting that kind of traffic there are many ancillary cash registers that will pay you money as well (see my blog on 6 Ways To Create Cash Flow On You Tube). Macklemore release a killer single with a KILLER video and blew up that way, but he blew up on YouTube. Remember last week’s blog where I spoke about strategy and tactics? YouTube is a great strategy, but you have to put in the work.
- Live Shows – This is probably one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your cash registers. First of all a CD from a live show where a fan loves the band is a souvenir as they are (hopefully) intoxicated with the emotion of your live show. Indie artists like Anthony Orio (AnthonyOrio.com) play over 200 shows per year and move 7,000-10,000 units a year from the stage alone. Do the math 7,000 x $8 (avg price) = $56,000; that’s enough to record the next record, y’all; and for a bunch of you, that’s a huge step up. There are some great tactics to push product (aka your CD) at your shows. Anthony or his bass player Chris will literally hold up a bunch of CD’s in their hand for 3 songs straight while some other band member does a little portion of their endless 4 hour set. When the first CD is sold, they get which State the buyers were from and start a competition; works every time. “We just got a sale from KY! Who’s gonna kick KY’s ass??” get it? Another tactic was to get the bar owner to agree to give away a $25-$50 bar tab (which costs the bar $6-$12 in booze) in a raffle environment. To qualify, fans just have to go to the roadie at the merch table with a computer or their smart phone to opt in to the squeeze page. The artist gets email confirmations from people who opted in and chooses a winner at the end of the night. Who doesn’t want to trade an email address to a band they like for a shot at winning a $50 freakin bar tab?!?! Anthony shoots out these really inexpensive rubber wristbands you can purchase for like .09 cents each with his website on them. Cool little free souvenirs that have a call-to-action on them. Google search to find tons of competitors for these rubber wrist bands, the company we use is http://24hourwristbands.com/
- PPC Campaigns – PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click if you don’t already know that. When you are on gmail or Facebook typing about lawnmowers in an email to your mother, did you ever wonder how lawnmower deals magically pop up on the right hand side? Those are PPC ads. You only pay for them if someone clicks on them. If someone clicks on them they immediately jump to your squeeze page get a free track which jumps them to your store and puts them in the sales funnel. These are a bit more advanced as it’s not too difficult to spend too much money, but they are quite effective once you get your head around it. PPC is an amazing marketing technology that allows you to reach a more targeted audience.
- PRWeb.com – Look, this costs money, but for $250 you can purchase a 1-time Press Release that will go to tons of music magazines, music blogs, radio stations, newspapers, etc. The more places you are seen the more traffic you will drive. On this note, you may consider a PR firm, especially if you’re touring, this can be quite effective especially for the beginning of a marketing campaign.
There you have it. Hope this helps you get your head around marketing a bit more
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