Basic Marketing Principles For Artists – Part 2: Increasing the Frequency of Purchases

cash register

The first piece in this series focused on increasing the amount of fans and how this is a necessary step towards success.

Part 2 of the basic three principles is increasing the frequency of purchases.
The cornerstone of this is simple: You can not only sell music.

In order to get the frequency of purchases up you must provide something that actually gets your fans to buy more frequently.

If you are only selling one album or one set of MP3s, it’s pretty near impossible to get this step accomplished because your core fans will only have one thing to buy (therefore making frequency non-existent)

Thousands of record stores have closed in the US in the past decade. This points out to one very clear conclusion: People are buying fewer CDs (of course we already knew this) but think about it – are you only selling music?

I sadly see this all too often. Artists only think about putting out one CD, but to survive and thrive in this industry where music — like it or not — is now widely distributed for free all over the Internet, fans are no longer buying music like they once did.

So, you must create additional products and offerings to sell. At the same time you must be building a two-way conversation with engaged fans.

Remember not to put the cart before the horse here, But if you don’t have a fan base to sell these things to, there’s no reason to build a series of products.

Survey Your Fans

Expert Internet marketers never release products without testing the demand first. Maybe you think you know what your fans want but they might surprise you.

Understanding who they are and what they like/ want becomes critical.

Internet Marketers always ask their core fan group what it is they would like and then they create the products based on their answers.

I have said this may times – that music is a feeling and it’s not like a typical Internet marketing product and its hard to get fans to tell you how they feel about new music that you may be writing but its EASY to get them to tell you what they like.

  • Is it girlie T’s
  • Yoga mats
  • Special non-leaching water bottles
  • Limited edition hoodies

If you don’t ask them they wont tell you…

Online Surveys

Using Your Mailing List

Set up a survey online and use your email newsletter list or Facebook page to get fans to tell you what they may buy from you in the future. Survey Monkey will allow you to create a free survey that you send out to your fans to ask them specifically what they might like to buy from you and how much they might be willing to pay.

Using Twitter

If you do not have a large enough mailing list to get a response, you can survey your fans using this great Twitter app –

Using Facebook

Or you can survey right on your Facebook page using the Survey Monekey for Facebook app or

Then make it and they will!

Merchandise That Works for Artists

Here are some great merch ideas to get you inspired.

Family Force 5 created a limited edition T-shirt of the month club. They offered their fans a new T-shirt every single month and it generated thousands of extra dollars for themselves and their fans loved the limited edition shirts.

John Taglieri, who I talk about often has a marvelous new series of EPs and books called Lives. This new project will consist of four 6-song EP’s, books & graphic novels, as well as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and blogger accounts for the two main characters.

Will Deynes made a Valentine’s Day song, and he would custom record the name of people’s beloveds right into the song. He sold dozens of them to his fan base at Valentine’s Day.

I met Shelter with Thieves, from Halifax, NS and they gave me an awesome USB drive full of music and special bonuses like artwork and videos, and its wonderful because fans can use the USB drive for school projects or at work.

Jen Chapin, being environmentally conscious and clear that her fans are too like purchased a few cases of SIGG Water bottles and had them customized. She sent an e-mail to her entire list that she had wonderful, non-leaching, water bottles for sale and she ended up selling many of them

Carla Lynne Hall is organizing a Bowling Tweetup at The Harlem Lanes near her home just to hang out with friends and fans and bond. She is not selling merch yet but you can be sure that when it comes time for her to sell that extra time she took to make friends with her fans will pay off. Studies show that people purchase from those they like and trust and Carla is building trust.


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

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, but now it’s back to the grind. To kick off the return of the grind, I have a brand new tool I’m excited to share with you – (powered by Indie Ambassador) is an easy to use, very slick looking digital press kit that ships optimized for mobile. is currently in private beta, which means you need an invite to sign up, but CEO and co-founder Ben Maitland-Lewis has kindly offered me a limited number of invites to give out to our readers. If you like what you see here and want in on the action, hit me up on Twitter (@jloom718) and I’ll get you set up.

So what’s makes so awesome? Let’s take a look at 7 key features and why they’re cool.

1. Design – First and foremost, the design of is extremely clean, which is important for a digital press kit. It cuts straight to the point with one photo, band name, location, genre, links and tag line. The whole press kit is contained in one page, which means the user never has to click through pages to find what they want.


How to Write Engaging Newsletters – Ariel’s Greeting, Guts, & Getting!

Are you still not sending out newsletters to your fans? Studies prove you should be… Boston based research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey has completed a study that all musicians should know about.

Here are the important highlights:

Three-quarters of web users are likely to share content with friends and family, and nearly half do so at least once a week. But while much social networking content is built around such shared items, most people still prefer to use email to pass along items of interest.

The study goes on to say:

Overall, 86% of survey respondents said they used email to share content, while just 49% said they used Facebook. Broken down by age, the preference for email is more pronounced, as users get older. And only the youngest group polled, those ages 18 to 24, reverses the trend, with 76% sharing via Facebook, compared with 70% via email.

So, if your audience is older than 24 you better be thinking about your newsletter strategy now!

In conclusion the study says:

“Rather than focusing on sharing content they thought the recipients would find helpful or relevant (58%), most respondents cared more about what they thought was interesting or amusing (72%).

Here’s the entire study if you want to read it (with lots of pretty graphs too):

So, ask yourself:

Are you including content in your newsletters that is interesting and amusing.

If you are just talking about your next show and or your next release then you may be missing the mark.

Long story short, in the online world, email is still king when it comes to generating revenue. You make relationships with fans on your social networks, and turn them into customers with your newsletter.



In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Part XII – How Kat Parsons Has Built Her Mailing List to Over 10,000 Strong

I met Kat Parsons through a mutual friend and she hired us to write a full marketing plan for her. After working closely with her, I thought she would be the perfect addition to the 1000 True Fans series! By putting a strong focus on building her mailing list and genuine engagement through social media, Kat has been able to take the big leap into becoming a full-time musician. Her understanding of building long-lasting relationships with her fans has helped her to build a sustainable career in the music industry, and it is one worth discussing, so enjoy!

Ariel Hyatt: How do you make the 1,000 True Fans theory work for you?

Kat Parsons: I’m big into authenticity and connection and think that is key to engaging and developing a community around music… I think community is also one of the keys to happiness.

AH: Can you give us a breakdown percentage wise of the following:


House Concerts / Private Shows 70%
Live shows? 10%
CD sales? / Download sales? 10%
Film & TV 10%

AH: How many die hard fans would you say you have – fans that will buy everything and anything from you?

KP: I would probably base this on my Kickstarter campaign – there were 181 people who pledged through Kickstarter and another 30 who pledged privately directly to me. My mailing list is far greater than that and many of the people on there will buy my new upcoming recordings. I just moved servers but before I moved servers, my mailing list was 10,000.

AH: How do you go about attracting and connecting with “true fans?”

KP: I love FB…I love interacting with people on FB, but most of my connection comes through live shows. I do A LOT of house concerts in crazy places I never imagined visiting! Through those shows I meet new fans who invite me to their homes whose friends then invite me to their homes and….

AH: What is your favorite social media site and why? What advice would you give to an artist just starting on that site?

KP: Facebook. Sometimes I am verbose and I like the space…I don’t think in tweets! I also like how I can go to one place to see everyone’s responses and comment on everyone’s reply in one place.

AH: Which analytics platforms (if any) do you use? How do those metrics help you manage your music career?

KP: I am about to start using googleanalytics and….I am working on a new internet marketing strategy that will rely on new traffic…so I will be experimenting with ways of bringing people into the community and intend to used the analytics to tell me which ways work best.

AH: Can you describe how you accumulated so many email addresses and persuaded your fans to fund your album, “No Will Power?”

KP: I’ve played a lot of concerts and I really enjoy connecting with people. For better or worse, I am very warm and accessible at my shows (no matter how hard I try, I cannot be mysterious!!!). I used to walk around with my mailing list and meet everyone.

AH:  How do you get invited to play at house concerts?

KP: Most of my house concerts are invitations through guests of a house concert. I think what is unique about the way I do it, is that I really don’t think anything is outside the realm of possibility. If someone says, we’d love to have you come play in Singapore, I say “Ok” and we set about finding a way to make that happen, which often times meaning booking several shows in the same area to cover overhead and my fee.

AH:  How do you pursue house concert opportunities?

KP: When someone expresses interest, I follow up with them regularly and we never give up until we’ve got a date on the books!

AH:  How do you build on the relationships made from the house concerts, both the relationship with the host and the patrons?

KP: I make sure to express my gratitude to my hosts and the guests….it is such an honor to be invited into someone’s home and for them to want to share my music with their friends…I try to always be aware of that and make the concert tons of fun!

AH: What items do you sell the most of at house concerts?

KP: Cds. That is all the merch I currently have.

AH: If you had $1,000 to spend on marketing and promotion, how would you spend that money?

KP: Internet Marketing – getting traffic and then bonding with my audience and making special pffers for being a part of this!

AH: What was your initial vision for connecting to fans and how did Social Media change that?

KP: It’s always been in person, but as time goes on, I am getting so much enjoyment out of connecting through Facebook, in particular. Sometimes it can be really overwhelming….it feels like you are supposed to have a profile that you update every day on 15 social media sites. I have found that for me, it is more important to focus on one and make the relationship rewarding then spread myself thin on everything. I like that FB allows a deeper relationship and bonding with fans that they can opt into,.

Kat Parson’s new album ‘Talk To Me’ is now available! Go to for a free download!

Follow Kat on Twitter at @KatParsonsSings


Musician’s Arsenal – Killer Apps, Tools & Sites: Timeline Is Here!

Today is the day. If you’ve been holding off from switching your Fan Page over to Timeline, you have officially run out of time (pun intended). But never fear, I have here all the essential info you we need to get your Timeline set up right.

1. Cover Photo – The most noticeable change is the giant cover photo bands can now implement. This was a cool feature for personal profiles and allowed users to show off their creativity (or that amazing photo you took of the sunset on vacation), but it is a really powerful branding tool for bands. Loading up an eye catching photo will help draw fans into your page and solidify your image. Branding has always been a little tricky on Facebook fan pages as you had to use certain apps to effectively do this, but this left the wall essentially “unbranded.” Cover photo solves this issue and brings a whole new life to the “wall.”

2. Pinning – Facebook now allows you to “pin” certain posts to the top of your Timeline. I’m particularly fond of this feature because it allows bands to keep promotional posts at the top of their page instead of endlessly posting the same promotion over and over again. Instead of continuing to post updates about an upcoming show, bands can focus on providing more interesting and engage-able content to pull fans towards their page. Keeping the show promotion pinned to the top of the page ensures all visitors will see that post and will be reminded of the show. It’s a beautiful thing. (more…)


Top 10 Cyber PR® Artists For Spring 2012

With one of the weakest winters in recent memory now over, it is once again time to shine the spotlight on the Top 10 Cyber PR® artists for Spring, 2012. Though this is never an easy decision, especially with the level of talent we are representing on a consistent basis, we have compiled a list of the top 10 Cyber PR® artists that have received the most attention from bloggers, podcasters and internet radio stations. Enjoy and happy spring!

– Ariel and Team Cyber PR®


Lila Rose

Lila’s voice is best described as a triangle formed by the smoky alto of Fiona Apple, the gritty edge of Ani Difranco and the pure tone ofAdele. Lila’s recently released debut album ‘Heart Machine’ showcases a unique brand of cinematic emo-pop that has caught the eye of much of the blogosphere.

Click here to view Lila Rose’s VPK



Art Decade

From Boston, MA comes alternative rockers Art Decade. With the release of their stunning new album Western Sunrise, and the evocative video that accompanies it, Art Decade takes its place as one of the leading experimental rock bands in the country. Art Decade has an expressive, distinct style that shines throughout the album and is captured beautifully in the breakthrough video created by animator Whit Alexander which was made using the $5 Procreate app for the iPad 2.

Click here to view Art Decade’s VPK


Colin McGrath

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Colin McGrath has a knack for penning tales of freewheeling characters with a natural tone that is both whimsical and heartbreaking. NPR Music has described him as an “Itinerant folk orchestrator,” who writes “songs that are steeped in storytelling, with characters and images drawn from old Americana.”

Click here to view Colin McGrath’s VPK


Lexie Roth

Lexie Roth is the daughter of guitarist Arlen Roth and his late wife, Deborah. She has appeared on her father’s album Toolin’ Around Woodstock with Levon Helm on drums, and sings Vaya Con Dios on the upcoming release of the Les Paul Tribute Album alongside of Keith Richards, Slash and many other greats. Lexie has also launched a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the packaging of her debut album!

Click here to view Lexie Roth’s VPK


Tom Fuller Band

In just 7 years and 3 albums critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Tom Fuller has matured into a sophisticated tunesmith with a flair for penning cinematic, anthemic, pop-rock with introspective and spiritually-uplifting lyrics. The Chicago native’s third and latest, ASK, released September 5th in the UK and recently in North America on Redcap Records is his most realized vision.

Click here to view Tom Fuller Band’s VPK


Trew Music

James “Trew Music” Crockett is an American Alternative Hip-Hop rapper and song writer. Born in Prince George, VA, Trew grew up listening to an array of musical genres of different eras. As of recent, Trew has written songs for soundtracks for Sony Motion Pictures and toured with rock band “Kid is Qual”, as well as Pop-Rock bands “The Audition” “Valencia” and “Promise of Redemption”.

CLick here to view Trew Music’s VPK



London-born, Brooklyn-based, Indian rock songwriter/ guitarist, Pheroze just released his second solo album, Crows Into Swine, on November 1st of 2011. Unlike his previous work with hardcore metal band Scar Culture, this album displays Pheroze conquering new territories, likening himself closer to a combination of classic Soundgarden and Alice in Chains than Slayer.

Click here to view Pheroze’s VPK


Midwest Hype

Midwest Hype combines hip-hop, funk and reggae that sounds like a combination of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime. They have performed at several festivals including Head Jamz Music Fest, Summer Camp Music Fest, the Indianapolis 500, Green Music Fest, Chicago Bluegrass and have opened for The Wailers, Umphree’s McGee, Rusted Root, and GIRL TALK.

Midwest Hype released DAYGLOW on Jan 5th with a sold out show at Schuba’s in Chicago and followed up the show with a high attendance show at House of Blues Chicago.

Click here to view Midwest Hype’s VPK


The Wee Trio

While rooted in jazz The Wee Trio finds ways to break boundaries encompassing their other roots in rock and fusion. Each member is a leader in their own right, but together as The Wee Trio, Westfall, Loomis and Schonig represent one of the highly creative groups pushing jazz and improvised music in exciting and innovative new directions. They now offer their latest creative tour-de-force, Ashes To Ashes – A David Bowie Intraspective.

Click here to visit The Wee Trio’s VPK


Kira Willey

In the kindie music world, Kira Willey breaks through with her unique, two-in-one albums that blend upbeat, danceable music with get-up-and-move yoga inspiration. In October 2011, this innovative singer-songwriter from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, released her second CD, “Kings & Queens of the Forest.”

Click here to View Kira Willey’s VPK