Many of you have now become aware of different indie artist self-help gurus and they have one common message; collect contact data.
Not for nothing, major label artists, famous people, actors, radio stations, ministers (big and small God’s children all God’s children), film studios, and TV networks could all change their worlds forever with this marketing strategy.
The tactic is called Permission Marketing.
I’ve written about this before, but in this article, I’m going to focus on a little perspective and then some real-world applications so y’all can get a better grasp of how it would help you.
Here’s the whole idea of Permission Marketing in one quick sentence.
“Permission Marketing is the concept that the future value of a fan is worth FAR more than .99 cents or $10.99 the old music business would have us collect from them right now.”
Does that make sense?
The old methodology to break an artist was blasting the message about the artist via many different mass media channels. As tens of millions of people are exposed to the artist’s work via radio, TV, print mediums, and live shows, we would get a small percentage of new fans to become aware of that artist or song. Once a single person has been exposed to the artist via mass media at least 7 or 8 times (which requires massive frequency in the message) the more we will begin to convert those new fans into paying customers.
Right now, too many of you subscribe to this archaic promotion method. It doesn’t work anymore.
How are your sales?
How’re the record businesses sales?
The Record businesses sales suck and so do yours. Guess what, it’s not working.
Yikes. Sorry, but I’m trying to be real here.
Here’s the issue with the old method in a nutshell.
There are no masses anymore. The conversion rates have ALWAYS been small percentages. But mass media was super powerful despite the low percentage of conversions because the masses were so BIG!
Now they’re infinitesimal and growing smaller every day.
How big were the masses back in the day?
When the Beatles performed their American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show February 6th, 1964 there were 78 million people watching that show! If 1% of the people converted (I believe that percentage was insanely higher but I digress), that means 780,000 people went out and purchased a record the next day.
How infinitesimal are they now?
Today one of our biggest hit TV shows is The Walking Dead. Their audience is about 3-5 million people. So, if it were a music oriented show, that means a 1% conversion rate would get you about 30,000-50,000 in sales, but the conversions are much lower than 1%, therefore it would be less.
Yeah, the Beatles stuck out like a sore thumb in 1964 for various SIGNIFICANT reasons:
- They towered over a VERY small pool of artistic competition with incredibly amazing art.
- The people they were reaching were not inundated with 3,500 ad messages per day, not even close.
- Thousands of incredible and wannabe artists were not clogging the ad channels with their art.
- The day after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show the masses all heard the single on the radio because they didn’t have choices in the car; they had to listen.
- There were only 3 channels on TV for the whole country and probably 1 maybe 2 choices for radio in any given city.
Do you see how much everything has changed?
Here’s a real world practical example of how Permission Marketing will change your life. I’m going to break it down from a more exposed indie artist all the way down to an artist that is early on their journey so follow me on this.
I received a call from one of the highest profile artists we’ve ever explored a relationship with, who I think gets Permission Marketing.
He’s a 28-year-old MBA, entrepreneur, rap artist, and TV personality.
He said something like this, “Johnny, I cut my teeth on multiple MTV shows where I was the host. I’m currently signed with Disney as I am a cast member on a new ABC reality show. I just dropped a single featuring Snoop Dog, we’re shooting the video next week. I parlayed all that heat into a new reality show on Bravo (which isn’t in production yet). I sold out 5,000 tickets for a show last New Year’s Eve. Oh, and I’ll know in the next 2 weeks if I get the lead role in a feature film for a major franchise (because it’s between me and one other guy). So, tell me, how would your marketing approach apply to me?”
Here’s what I said.
“Let’s suppose that we were working together from the beginning of your MTV days. We would scrub the internet looking for everybody that hash-tagged you or mentioned your name. They’re easy to find and the social media mentions would be busy during the airing of any given episode. Now depending on what your idea of fame is (meaning do you feel like following somebody first is smart or do you feel following somebody first will undermine your fame?) we go out and follow them all. Then, to the ones who follow us back, we offer a free song download or something valuable to them. Now we own the information. If we did that for both MTV shows, the new ABC show, collected information during your sold-out NYE show, and the Bravo show how many contacts would we have? Oh, let’s not forget the Snoop Dog single! If you’re in the video with him, that’s instant credibility for you. Snoop’s social media wells are the gift that will keep on giving. After all that, could we maybe have 1 million emails? NOW, apply that power to the conversations you’re having with the huge feature film franchise. If it’s between you and one other guy, it’s safe to say that they like your acting chops, they like your look, but the only thing they need to figure out is who is going to fit better. What if you had 1 million contacts who are rabidly awaiting your next message that would directly receive the trailer and some BTS access during shooting? THAT’s TICKET SALES. THAT’S MONEY! THAT’S POWER!”
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
Can you even vaguely see how having the contact list would tip the scales in this situation?
the more an artist gets directly connected to his fans the less he needs 3rd party entities to connect him with an audience.
He’ll still need those 3rd party entities to help him create and distribute his art, but can you envision how drastically the role of that 3rd party changes when he comes to the table with an audience that he can contact at will?
The bigger his audience, the more power he has.
These 3rd party entities are TV networks, TV production companies, record labels, movie studios, radio stations, corporate sponsorships, branding and co-branding opportunities, etc.
Envision the record labels coming to you because you have an audience, you can quantify that audience, and you can contact them directly.
What would that do for an actor?
An actor with 1 million contacts could take on indie film pet-projects and get immediate funding because the investors would know that they already had an audience to recoup their money.
What would that do for a minister?
I was interviewing a potential new intern this past week. His resume showed me that while he was interested in the music business, he was deeply involved in his church and had some ideas about being a minister.
Can you imagine the work you could accomplish if you were a minister with 1 million contacts? Get everyone to donate $1 To build schools or houses in Haiti. Boom, just like that you’re on your way! They know you. You have their permission to reach out because your content is relevant and personal to them, it’s consistent, and they trust you to be a good steward of their money. Of course, you would need to spend a small portion of that money ensuring that you document what their $1 investment did for them, but that position would be quite powerful.
Permission Marketing is the mother of crowdfunding. If you do a good enough job with the permission, you arguably wouldn’t need a crowdfunding platform, you could just take the money because they trust you with it.
What about on a smaller indie artist level?
Well, I have a 14-year-old artist named Bailey James. She currently has about 39,000 followers on Instagram. When we started with her she had about 100 or so. Her Instagram account is large and engaged so she now gets paid good money post stuff on her account. She’s considered an influencer. Bailey has played 3 shows so far. She is in the early stages of her artistic journey, but her audience is strong and growing every day.
Bailey has over 20-30 fan created social media fan accounts.
I’m relatively sure that’s more than most of you. See the power in the strategy?
Her strength in social media has gotten her many opportunities with PR companies, musicians, and corporate relations. For instance, her relationship with The Jason Foundation was largely due to her social media audience. That relationship with JFI has led us to a decently paid, full-production gig during CMA week for a private fundraiser.
Bailey has a contact list but it’s small right now. That list will probably triple during her first radio tour this summer.
What if you’re an indie artist who plays a ton of shows?
Man, if you’re not collecting contact info at every show, you’re an idiot. I don’t care if there are 5 people at the show, those numbers add up over time. Think about how many shows you play per year and your average audience size. Add up those numbers. It becomes quite clear that touring artists have a massive opportunity to grow a list if they just understood what was right in front of them. Even for a weekend warrior, you’d have 10’s of thousands of contacts after just 1 short year.
Imagine an indie artist with just 100,000 contacts, which is TOTALLY doable in less than 2 years for a band that plays every weekend. What brands would be interested in a direct rifle shot into the hands of 100,000 people that are waiting to hear what the artist will say, sing, play, wear, drink, eat, watch, etc.?
How much could that artist make with one video message?
What about a TV network or production company?
Imagine possessing a massive list of people who love a specific kind of content like zombie thrillers. Now you can email them directly to make them aware of your new show for free.
Do you see how this is so important?
Bottom line, the bigger your audience, the more power you have. Your audience will grow slowly so get going on it immediately.
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is right now.
Grow your audience, increase your power, increase your income.
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