Marketing Plan Tactics For Independent Musicians – Part 3 of 3: Content Is King

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Here’s the final post in my 3 part series discussing some basic marketing plan elements for independent musicians. So far we’ve gotten Everything In Order (Website is up-and-running, Newsletter plan is in place and Touring and Merchandise steps have been taken) and we’ve also had a successful Album Launch.

What now?

To build off of all this progress that has been made you will now have to keep supplying content to strengthen your relationship and stay relevant with your current fans, while at the same time this content will also help to increase your fanbase. Additional merchandise is one idea, you can make vinyl for the last album or announce new T-shirt designs. You can also create more videos for songs off the last album or videos of you performing covers…..yes the latter of which is copyright infringement. Here’s a tip: Set up a second YouTube channel for all your cover videos to protect your official artist YouTube channel from being shut down (but this hardly ever happens).

Below I’ve gone in to detail for three important content streams: Music, Social Media and Live Shows.

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Musician’s Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools & Sites – Mobile Roadie


Here at Cyber PR®, we’ve been thinking a lot about mobile lately. It’s clear that people are spending more and more time on mobile devices and as such, mobile marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of an artist’s overall marketing strategy. What we’ve been thinking about is the best way for artists to do this. Everyone here in the office has been working on various blog posts about how musicians can take advantage of mobile, and since I hate being left out, this weeks Musician’s Arsenal is all about Mobile Roadie.

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Marketing Plan Tactics For Independent Musicians – Part 2 of 3: Album Launch

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The first piece in this 3 part series discussed steps you should take before you start promoting a new album, such as having your online presence all in order. In Part 2 I will go over some basic elements for, yep you guessed it, promoting a new album.

Album Pre-Sale

A great way to build excitement amongst your fanbase leading up to the release of a new album is to organize a pre-sale campaign. Hold a contest, where everyone that makes a pre-sale purchase is entered in to win a prize. Prizes could be additional merchandise, tickets to the CD release show or if you really wanted to get crazy, offer to write and record a song about the winner.

From your online store you should have a few different pre-sale packages at different price points available. For example:

- Tickets to CD release show and digital album
- Autographed CD and tickets to release show
- Autographed CD, T-Shirt and tickets to release show

And make sure everyone who purchased the album during the presale gets their purchase by the release day (that’s the point of the pre-sale!), so mail out any packages a week beforehand and send them a digital download of the album by release day or better yet, the day before.

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Musician’s Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools and Sites – GigFunder



Fan funding, it is the saving grace for the broke independent band. Where before bands couldn’t consider studio time or hiring promotional companies to support their release, with a little hard work, some social media love and good old fashioned word of mouth spread, bands can raise the cash they need to fund their dream projects. With the big four players fairly entrenched in the field (PledgeMusic, Rockethub, KickStarter and Indie GoGo), it’s hard to imagine a new player coming into play. However, GigFunder has found a unique need to fill in the fan funding world.

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Marketing Plan Tactics For Independent Musicians – Part 1 of 3: New Album Preparations

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Chris Hacker here, I create Marketing Plans for artists at Cyber PR® and really enjoy working with my many clients. I’ve noticed a huge problem though. Artists call the Cyber PR® offices all the time looking for us to promote their new album, totally fine of course, but the problem lies in that many of these artists call us when their albums are coming out the next week!! It completely baffles me that an artist or band will work so hard on an album, spending hours and hours writing songs and practicing these songs and then spending large sums of money recording, mixing and mastering, to only rush the release with no plan in place! Not planning enough lead time for a press campaign isn’t the only issue, but many people we talk to try to release their album when some of the basic music promotion elements aren’t even in place, for example a website where you can sell the music!

In a three part series I will discuss some basic components of a marketing plan to help properly market you and a new release. This first blog post in the series can eloquently be called the “getting your sh*t together” phase. Here I’ve laid out 5 areas that need to be addressed before any official announcements should be made about a new album coming out.

 

1. Digital Distribution

Figure out how you’re going to digitally distribute the album, and a physical CD only release or selling the CD and mp3′s strictly on your website is not the way to go. You need to make your music available everywhere digital music can be streamed and bought, such as on iTunes and Spotify, and the best way to do that is work with a digital distribution company like CD Baby or Tunecore. With that said, I talk to people all the time who then take this one step too far and sign up with multiple distribution companies because they think they are covering all their bases this way. Which they are not. All that does is put multiple copies of the same album on iTunes and the like, which looks silly and can cause unnecessary confusion. And if you plan on working with a PR company to promote the release don’t set the release date until AFTER you have talked with them first.

 

2. Online presence

Make sure your online presence is complete, effective and contains all the necessary promotional tools. There are lots of places online that artists can have a presence, here I talk about three of the most important sites: Official Website, Facebook and YouTube.

Official Website – Your website should have a place where people can easily listen to and buy your music (but not a player that plays automatically when a person enters the site, can’t stress that enough), a homepage that has a news section where people can read the latest happenings with your career, and a newsletter sign up form, one that offers an incentive for signing up such as free music or discounts on merch. Plus it always surprises when I go to an artist website and can’t find any contact information or links to their social media networks.

Facebook – Just as important as your website is your Facebook Fan Page. On the new timeline there are three tabs that are on display; one tab should be a band profile that at a minimum contains a music player, tour dates and press quotes. Next is a newsletter sign up form, and again, this should offer an incentive for signing up. And the last visible tab should be a Store.

YouTube – Another important piece of your online presence is YouTube. I’m always curious how people listen and discover new music and time and time again the response I hear back is YouTube. It’s critical to have videos up on YouTube for every song of the new release by the release date or soon after. Not saying these have to be well produced music videos, but just the songs themselves. To do this some artists just put up an image of their cover and leave it at that, but people are much more inclined to listen to your music if there are scrolling lyrics they can read as they listen or if there is a slideshow to watch. Taking free archival footage and editing together to make a music video is another relatively easy and inexpensive way to create a video for your songs, and can be a lot of fun too.

 

3. Newsletter

This is real simple. Have one. And contact your mailing list once a month with news. Don’t cut corners on this either, a newsletter is where you’ll see the greatest impact on sales. All the tweets and facebook posts about a new album out for sale won’t equal the results of a well crafted newsletter, so spend money on a mailing list service provider that can help you design a rich looking email and provide analytics and tracking capabilities so you can measure the effectiveness of your newsletters and make adjustments where need be.

 

4. Touring

Ideally you’ll have a tour booked immediately following the release, which greatly helps a PR campaign. A local blog or local newspaper will be much more inclined to cover a new album for an artist if a show is booked in town. And not saying this has to be a month long tour, just a few regional dates will help with your press efforts. Now timing can be tricky here, just like setting a release date too soon, you don’t want to book a tour and then not have the album ready or press plan in place. So wait until you have a better idea of what that will look like and then start booking a tour, and if the tour doesn’t happen until a month or so after the release that is quite alright.

 

5. Merchandise

Pretty much everything in regards to your music career takes longer than expected, from making the album to creating the artwork to booking shows, and this definitely applies to any merchandise you want to have available to sell with the new album. And merch isn’t limited to T-Shirts and tote bags, handmade items can make for great unique offerings. Here’s a tip, at your merch booth bundle your music with these items cheaply and easily through download stickers from MerchMusic.com, where 120 codes will cost you just $10. Even though people aren’t buying CDs much anymore, they are still interested in supporting artists they love so give them lots of different ways to support you and purchase your music instead of just having a CD and leaving it at that.

So remember, plan early so you can have these items when you’re ready to release a new album, which I will be getting in to in more detail in the next blog post where I will discuss some basic principles for an effective pre-sale and album launch.

To find out more about the marketing plans I create for artists please visit our page here.

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Basic Marketing Principles For Artists – Part 3 of 3: Increase the Amount of Money That You Charge

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Welcome to the final segment of a 3 part series that was inspired by a mastermind program I participated in with Ali Brown who is my mentor in the world of online marketing.

Here’s the recap of what we’ve gone over thus far…

There are three ways to increase your income:

Part 1. Increase your number of clients (fans).

Part 2. Increase the frequency of purchase, how often your fans buy from you. (and you’d better have more than just music to sell).

Part 3. Increase the amount of money that you charge…

Increasing the amount of money you charge poses a problem if all you have to sell is music because music is now widely available for free, and people have proven that they are not willing to pay a premium for music.

However, fans will pay plenty of money for experiences, like a great concert or a chance to be a contribution to an artist, a special memento, or wonderful merchandise that really resonates with your fans.

An Example…

Jeff Krantz created a BIG payday in one fell swoop.

Jeff Krantz & The $10,000 Song
http://jeffkrantzmusic.com

Recently I was hanging out with past Cyber PR client who had a fabulous tale to tell. Jeff launched his singer-songwriter career in Second Life where he has managed to build a wonderful fan base.

Through networking online, he met a man who fell in love with his songwriting and became a fan. This man called up my artist and told him that he was having a big anniversary coming up and he wanted a special song written just for his wife. He asked if he would be up for writing and recording a custom song for her.

Realizing that this was a huge opportunity told his fan that he would present him with some options he began to THINK BIG. So he created 3 packages that this man could choose from with three separate prices (depending on how much he wanted to spend / how involved it would be silver, gold and platinum)

Here’s what Jeff wrote about how it worked:

As part of the Gold package that the client chose, I agreed to write 3 different songs (first verse and chorus) for the client to chose from. Once the client selected the song, I spent 1 week writing 2 full lyrical options for the client to chose from. Once they had decided on the song, Jeff went into his studio and recorded the song, bringing in musicians to fill out the arrangement. He then sent it to a top studio to be mixed and mastered and 2 weeks later he sent the client the finished song (with the masters). “It took about 60 hours in total but it was so much fun and I made almost 10 grand for the effort!”

The point is because he leveraged just ONE relationship with just one fan he managed to make over $10,000 on ONE song.

Had he not been working on increasing his fanbase by networking online, he never would have had this opportunity present itself to him.

Fan Funding

A newer option that has become a widely available option for indepdent musicians to take advantage of is fan funding. Fan funding sites (often called ‘Crowdfunding’) have become an incredible resource for musicians to employ this very strategy.

Here are a few options available:

Be it your album creation process, setting up a tour, creating merchandise, or any other important aspect of being an independent musician, creating a fan funding campaign not only helps you to raise the funds, but it will allow you to give your fans the opportunity to take part in a unique experience.

Your fans will be paying more because they will be buying into more than just a pre-sale for a project, they are paying for the opportunity to join your journey to get there.

How Have You Added Value?

I would love to hear how you have managed to add value and get more profit. Please share!

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