We have already discussed the meaning and impact of direct marketing in part one. In this part we want to take a closer look at a number of direct marketing methods in the music business. And how we can „work“ our fans efficciently.
For all methods and media there is a set of basic rules we can follow:
Inform and entertain…
…instead of push and molest. If we want our fans to open and read our newsletters regularly, that means every time we send it, we have to provide the widely-cited added value. Our newsletter should not be a tool limited to the announcements of concerts and album releases. Fans like stories, fans love to get to know us as people and fans want to know what’s going on.
So a little story here and there, a look behind the scenes or even the coverage of other bands, events and albums will keep our newsletter fresh and interesting – one that our fans will like to open and read.
The market, even our niche, is big and glutted. In order to stay on top of our fans’ minds we will have to maintain a regular presence on the scene. So we will have to send out signals periodically, packed in good portions. For social media I recommend two great posts per week that really count. For our newsletter a bi-weekly cycle has proven to do a good job. During the run-up to a new album release or a longer tour we can post and send a bit more often.
Call to Action
A call to action is an integral part of all advertising. If we present a new album we should induce our fans to order (which is morally totally acceptable). The same is true for a call to watch our new video. In both instances we can weave in the aforementioned added value, this time be it an emotional one. Instead of throwing a blunt „Watch our video“ at our fans we can put it more nicley: „Get some Summer feeling in your home or your office with our new music video“.
One thing we should refrain from, however, is becoming too demanding and too force-feeding. It’s fine to point at a few outlets that carry our album, but let’s leave it to the fans then whether they want to make a purchase. Fans are very sensitive to sleazy sales tactics such as scarcity („only 2 copies left“) or intimidation („last week’s murder victims did not own our latest CD“). We will not be making friends by being that pushy.
Links, Links und Links
Outbound hyperlinks are the key to direct sales. Be it our newsletter, social media or Youtube video, we can make it easy for our fans to find our music at certain outlets if we provide them with a number of direct links: Links to our album on iTunes, links to our videos, our website, ticket shop etc.
We can include such links at our website, in our social media posts and in the description of our videos (don’t forget to add the ‚http://’ prefix so the links will actually work on Youtube).
Prior to a release
We can intensify our direct marketing efforts during the run-up to an album or video release or prior to the kick of of a tour. That means we will shorten the intervals between posts and newsletters. It will be crucial, though, to clearly relate to the occasion. A countdown that spans a few days has proven very effective to major artists as well as indies and unsigned musicians.
Our newsletter subscribers are our closest fans and appreciate a little V.I.P. treatment: special deals, backstage passes, V.I.P. bundles etc.
Good old postcards
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a dedicated fan and imagine we receive a postcard from our favorite band – instead of just an eMail. Tried and tested by an ever increasing number of artists this old medium is all about added value – and you cannot just click it away. Okay, there will be a few unavoidable dead letters, but still conversion rates are extremely high.
Availability and ease of purchase
Once we have called our fans to make a purchase the items in demand should be available and easy to find. Sounds like a no brainer, but still there are many cases when both fans and musicians fail at this last hurdle. Second to last, to be prices, since the final hurdle will be the purchase: Since walking out of an online store with just one click can happen within a second we will have to try to take advantage of our fan’s buying mood as long as it exists. Thus the purchase process should be made as easy and as fast as possible for our fans. That’s when an online checkout system does a great job in that it keeps conversion rates up. The days are gone when fans would send cash in an envelope.
Let’s sum it up: we should be authentic, entertaining and informative; let’s stay in contact with our fans by „showing up“ regularly; we can make a call to action – the nice way; we will link to where the meat is; give our newsletter subscribers V.I.P treatment; postcards work magic; ease of purchase is crucial.
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