In this digital age your success will be judged by your social media presence (or lack thereof). Artists in the music industry must embrace and master the ever-changing digital tools at their disposal to create a strong online presence. Sadly, no matter how good your music is, if your metrics look a bit puny then industry people and even potential fans won’t take you seriously.
But metrics certainly aren’t everything. True connection and engagement is. There’s a hell of a lot of noise in the digital space and it’s the artists who harness their creativity and tailor an approach that resonates successfully with their audience who enjoy the most success.
A knowledgable woman once told me that digital marketing is a lot like a matrix. There are multiple platforms that intersect and relate to each other in specific and unique ways. It is so complex that we couldn’t possibly cover it in just one blog, but at the core of digital marketing is the experience that you are providing for your audience. If you don’t get that right, then no amount of ninja skills in the matrix can help you.
These digital marketing fundamentals should help you on your way to digital ninja marketing dominance:
1. Have a website
Kinda obvious I know, and yet artists still ask me if a website is absolutely necessary when they have a Bandcamp page and a Facebook page. The short answer is 100% yes you do need a website. It is the gateway to all your other platforms—the front door if you will—and at some point it should even become a primary point of sale platform. Don’t be lazy, make a website. And while you’re at it, make a great website that’s clean, functional and contemporary. Nothing spells DIY faster than a clunky old thing that looks like it was regurgitated from the 80’s.
2. Build a mailing list
I often have to drag artists kicking and screaming into the world of email marketing, but believe me it’s worth it. Email marketing is not dead contrary to popular misconception and in actual fact is an essential tool in attracting and retaining customers. Take a signup form to every show you play and have a signup option on your website and on your Facebook page. This list will remain your IP even if all the social media sites came crashing down tomorrow.
3. Use your data
Artists have so much access to data now, so be sure to make use of it. Check out your Facebook analytics to find out where your fans are located, this is a great way to determine where you should be planning to tour. Make sure you review your stats after every Mailchimp campaign that you send. Use bit.ly links in all your campaigns so you can track how many clicks you got. Be driven by your data.
4. Master social media
Having regular engaging content on social media is an essential activity for indie artists. Fans not only want to listen to your music, they want to be part of your story and find out all about who you are. They are buying into the lifestyle you are sharing as well as the music you’re making. You don’t need to share every minor detail of your life (hold some things back for the sake of your sanity), but creating an interesting artist story via your social pages is key to ninja marketing.
5. Get to know your audience
By connecting with fans online you can get to know who they are, what they want, where they go and ultimately what kind of experience they want to have. In any relationship in life, when we know how to give someone what they need we will have a friend for life. Customer loyalty is everything in the current climate of content overload. If you can capture fans for life and figure out how to monetise them, you will have a sustainable career for years to come.
6. Harness the power of digital advertising
Artists have never in history had access to the targeted advertising that Facebook provides. Although I find some marketing guru’s do not condone Facebook advertising, in the music industry it is highly effective, even essential for growing an artists career rapidly. Organic growth is possible but digital advertising is indispensable for promoting gigs and capturing new fans. Having said that, ads that have a more relaxed real-life approach, tend to work better than obvious sales pitches. More on this in a blog to come.
Good lucky mastering your digital marketing ninja skills. May the force be with you.