I love artists, especially indie artists like you. I live every day to help them. Sometimes I’m motivational, inspirational, educational, and sometimes I’m all three. Today is educational and it’s all about contact lists.
Creating a life for yourself as an artist is going to require more than your amazing talent. It’s going to require a little business savvy. The business savvy ensures that, somehow, you get compensated for your creativity.
Sounds fair, right?
You have to start small.
Crawl before you can walk.
Walk before you can run.
Then run like you STOLE SOMETHING!
First get compensated in some way.
Then work towards a method to get compensated more often for your creativity. You got paid once, figure out how to do it again.
Now, you’re just a few tweaks away from actually making a living.
There is a TON of mental landmines you’ll have to navigate (we ALL do, don’t fool yourself), but there are some common sense tactics that will point you in the right direction.
Step one to monetizing your fan base (or creating cash flow) is creating contact lists.
Most of you suck at contact lists so it’s no wonder you’re so frustrated.
You see, marketing at its most basic level requires REACH and FREQUENCY.
This is EXACTLY how radio used to work for all the old souls out there reading this.
Contact lists allow you to reproduce the effectiveness of radio in a very DIY manner. It is slower but extremely effective.
Every radio station provided a certain amount of REACH within their market, and the rotational format of radio provided the FREQUENCY.
Radio promo required a “radio tour” visiting MANY different stations for the purposes of creating relationships that would result in spins at each station to maximize your REACH.
FREQUENCY costs money on the radio. Lots of money.
FREQUENCY costs money on TV too. That’s called ad space.
The power of frequency in radio to break an artist was so great that it was always going to cost money; the juice was worth the squeeze to the labels.
Think about frequency for a second. Today most stations are only spinning about 25-40 (ish) different songs per week.
Here’s the math: 12 songs per hour, times 24 hours, times 7 days = 2,016 spins per week.
That’s a LOT of frequency for 25-40 songs.
That’s NOT many artists, though.
Also, not as many people are listening to radio these days.
Now radio isn’t as powerful. At least not in the same way.
You’re not going to break on radio.
Now consumers aren’t forced to endure the frequency because they have choices today that they didn’t have even 5 years ago.
Smartphones provide these choices.
As a consumer, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for with anyone of the 1,000 choices you have and you’re not looking to discover new music, are you?
No, you want to play your jam.
We all do.
All you indies need to be aware of that.
Here’s a really cool big picture SECRET: If you have contact lists, the FREQUENCY is free.
I know, I know, I KNOW exactly what the naysayers are vomiting up right at this moment!
“Email is dead therefore contact lists are worthless. Only .1% response rate.”
This makes it very easy for you, the one who is currently ignorant about the power of contact lists, to avoid learning that marketing skill.
These horrible response numbers are probably true: for email spammers.
Buy 100,000 random email addresses and you have 100,000 contacts but you DON’T have permission from an of these contacts.
You know, like a telemarketer has your number but not your permission. There’s a difference.
What’s the difference you ask?
Well, if you’re providing content that is relevant and personal to your contact lists, you can experience consistent email open rates that are as high as even 75%, or higher.
The proof is in the pudding. Here is a real image of the email chain open rates that comes out from my free Twitter Book squeeze page.
Here is an image of a bunch of Bailey James email open rates from her contact lists.
This is the difference between permission and spamming.
Too many of you immediately think of “sales” as “spam” or obnoxious. We ALL hate to be sold but we LOVE a good story and good information that can help us improve.
You provide the improvement information and it’s not sales, you’re helping them and building trust.
So let’s look honestly at the gifts that are easily and inexpensively available to you today for marketing.
Social Media: Not only do you get worldwide reach for free on multiple platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. (that doesn’t require a radio tour or travel or even leaving your couch for crying out loud), but you get far better targeting than you would on radio or TV.
What do I mean by that?
Yes, think about it. Maybe you’re a country artist on country radio but some people like this artist or that artist, and some people like “old” country as opposed to “bro” country, etc.
By the way, this is true of ANY genre of music like jazz, rap, hip-hop, R & B, Rock, Metal, Pop, Ska, Reggae, etc. There are sub-genres. In the business world, they refer to these sub-genres as “Niche Markets”.
Country radio doesn’t articulate between these sub-genres or niche markets. Nor does urban radio, rock radio, pop radio, etc.
Social Media does.
Social media can REALLY get surgical which is far more efficient.
Social media is so efficient that with a little knowledge, you’re only spending time building relationships with potential fans that YOU KNOW like your specific sub-genre of music.
Less time wasted.
You don’t want to waste time trying to sell awesome hamburgers to a vegan community.
Touring is another excellent way to target an audience that you already know absolutely loves YOU.
Every freaking show, you should be collecting contact data. There is no better way for an artist to create a relationship with a fan than by blowing them away with the artist’s live show.
Bailey James has played 1 middle school show. We got 150 contacts from that one show.
Abbey Cone is an artist I used to work with. She did a show and implemented text capture. The result was over 400 contacts in 5 minutes!
Now, you’ve done that.
You say they love you.
GET THEIR INFORMATION DUMMY!
Squeeze pages and text capture are amazing tools to do this with.
You need to be downright OCD and ANAL about this process.
So you have the REACH. What are you doing about the FREQUENCY?
Bottom line, it’s a psychological FACT that the human brain needs to hear a song at least 8 times before subconscious brain begins to realize that it should even pay attention to a hit song, let alone love it, know it, and live it.
8 knocks are required before anybody even thinks of opening up that door.
If your content, especially video content is valuable to THEM, you can always be playing your music in the background; creating FREQUENCY.
For the indie artists with a little promo budget flirting with the idea of radio, one or two spins isn’t going to get it done.
You’d better have a budget for a boatload of spins to even make a dent.
Btw, the dent you may or may not be making is a “dart in the dark”.
There’s no way to monitor it, measure it, get real numbers as to how many heard it, and who exactly heard it.
How about who liked it and who didn’t after they heard it?
With social media there is analytics.
With your contact lists there are analytics.
If you take the time to learn about different contact capture tactics, you’ll begin to see results.
What I mean by that is there are Squeeze page, text capture, and other kinds of technologies that will keep you in touch with these fans.
Once you master the REACH of a live show or social media and capture the people who respond, you now have an opportunity to create a relationship and implement FREQUENCY to deepen that relationship.
Once you have a deep enough relationship, meaning once they trust that you, the artist, cares about them, they will spend their money.
Remember this, communication is NOT your intention, it is what is being received by the potential fan.
It doesn’t matter that you actually do care about them. I mean, it DOES matter, but if your language, communications, and exchanges are not relevant to THEM, or personal to THEM, it doesn’t matter that you really do care.
They won’t open the emails.
They’ll think you don’t care because you haven’t effectively communicated that you do care.
Telling them you care because you really do isn’t enough.
You have to SHOW them you care.
When you start wondering how you can communicate that you care and what kind of content will be valuable to THEM, you’ll start asking the RIGHT questions.
Once you figure out how to gain and keep permission, they’ll buy from you.
If you are OCD ANAL about building your list and (especially for touring artists) if you’re converting that list, you’ll become a successful artist who is making a nice living doing what they were born to do.
You have the seeds now. Just add execution and GROW YOUR BUSINESS.
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