Musicians are all about their music. Unfortunately, you cannot live on artistic expression alone. In order to become a professional musician, you need to establish yourself as one first, and whether you consider it marketing or not, it is marketing. You need to market your music so that others will hear it and love it as you do.
Marketing is not as bad or commercial as it sounds. Simply put, marketing is about putting out the word and generating awareness for your music. It is no different from performing for your friends and family at a reunion, except to a wider audience. Sometimes you have to pay to generate that awareness through traditional advertisements or by hosting a performance, but you can use other channels to achieve a measure of exposure.
Fortunately, for you just starting out in the music industry, you do not have to rely on the whims of a music producer. No, you can create your own label and publish music at little or no cost. On the other hand, you will not have the marketing machinery of those big, bad music labels, so you have to do it on your own. So how do you do that?
You need a plan.
A marketing plan will give you a better understanding of your audience, and the direction to which you want to take your music. It helps you establish goals and ways and means to reach those goals. It is not as complicated as it sounds. You just need to think of it as planning your day, but for a much longer period. Here are 8 tips for creating an effective music marketing campaign.
Identify your audience
Whether you plan to market purely online, or a mix of traditional and online marketing, you need to identify your audience. This is a key component of any marketing campaign, because if you do not identify your audience, you will be wasting your resources.
Knowing and understanding your audience will help you focus on where to find your potential fans and how to engage them. You will be better able to plan and create content, with or without the help of a professional essay service, for your blog, social networks, and ad copy that will appeal to your audience and add value to their lives.
Create a buyer persona
One way to identify your target audience is by creating a “buyer persona” of your ideal fan. This is someone who will be enthusiastic about your music, buy albums, tickets, and merchandise, and spread your brand of music through his or her own network. You will need to know this person’s:
- Personal attributes
- Financial capacity
- Music preferences
- Favorite social networks
Fill in the blanks according to what you think they are, and then go do the research. You can often develop a persona that is more or less your ideal fan based on your own instincts, and then you refine these characteristics over time and experimentation.
When you feel that you have finally identified your buyer persona, you have accomplished an important step in identifying your target audience. You can now more easily customize the rest of your marketing plan around it.
A good way to find out if you are hitting your mark is to read the comments in your blogs or to your social media posts. They may love it or hate it, but either way it is a source of information. No one comments if they are not interested in your music, so do not dismiss what the haters have to say. You will more fully understand the audience you reach, so you can adjust you content to reach more of the people that like you. You will also get a better feel for the kind of content that they want to see.
Identify your unique proposition
People say there is no original music anymore. They are just variations on a theme. However, even if this is true, your music can still find an audience if you offer anything unique to your potential fan base. The question is, do you? For example, there is not really much to the music of Psy and his phenomenal Gangnam Style music video, yet it garnered more than 2 billion views because his presentation was unique, and frankly, entertaining. That in itself gives value to his fans.
That said, copying what has already found a market is not the way to go. You want to offer something that has not yet been seen or heard in exactly the same way. Taking Psy as an example, subsequent music video “Gentleman” along the Gangnam Style style still garnered more than a billion views, but not to the level of the first video. If you tried to do something similar, you’ll probably get a lot of criticism for being a poser.
Identify your own unique proposition. You will have a lot more potential for engaging your audience.
Set your goals
Setting your goals give you a start and finish point to your campaign. Your goals will depend on what stage you are in currently. If you are just establishing your brand, your goal will be simply to get likes and shares. If you are launching an album, you will want sales.
Be as specific as possible, make sure your goals are measurable, actionable, and realistic, and put a time limit. That is the SMART way to set goals.
Act on your plan
There are no results without action. Once you establish your SMART goals, act on them. Think about what type of content will help you garner the likes, shares, or sale you want, and go about creating it.
You can also start planning performances, live or online, that will get people to sit up and notice. You may choose to boost your posts announcing your new album, for instance, or participating in a local event by offering your services. Whatever action you decide will help you achieve your goals, get crackin’!
Keep at it
You may not see the results you expect when you set your goals. Gangnam Style was not the first work of the artist Psy. It was his 18th single, and the lead single for his sixth album. It often takes a while for someone to break out into the mainstream, so keep that in mind the next time you feel frustrated about your lack of success, and adjust your goals accordingly.
You can do some research and find out what successful musicians in your genre are doing, and what you can expect in terms of sales for your own album based on the sales of an established musician. This will help you find a foothold in the industry.
You cannot afford to ignore these essential elements when creating an effective music marketing campaign. Keep these 8 tips in mind, and you are well on your way to a respectable marketing effort for your music.
Laura Buckler is a passionate writer with creative imagination. She spent over 5 years in the writing industry and has turned dozens of companies’ online presence into a success. Besides writing, Laura also has experience in social media marketing and SEO. Find her on twitter.