For the past few weeks we started talking about Content Creation and Funnel Marketing for the Musician and now it’s time to put the two together and start populating your funnel to effectively capture and move your potential fanbase to your monetization.
Filling your Music Marketing Funnel
When it comes to building your funnel you always want to start with the bottom and work your way up. If you don’t have a solid foundation of monetization opportunities at the bottom of your funnel, nothing you can create at the top will mean anything.
The lowest part of the funnel is reserved for your most fervent fans. This is where you would create merch incentives for your fan club fans, VIP experiences for your shows (for an upsell of course). These can include dinner with the band before the show, backstage passes (complete with a lanyard), Photo ops, a part in your next music video, etc. Plan these out and have them ready to go. Be creative in making the “Fan” experience something to remember and very enticing to move fans down to this level of experience.
These are your superfans, your TRIBE! Create an exclusive fan club (ok I know that sound hokey, but call it whatever you want) and make this experience special. This is where you can really engage with your fans and offer them some unique opportunities that will stay with them a long time.
Merchandise and Music
You want to create your merch (See Merchandising your Band) to have something you an sell your fans. You want to be creative in the type of merchandise you offer. Create a good logo, create several t-shirt designs and styles, create hats, etc. The more creative you are in your merch and the more options you have for your fans the more chance you will have to keep the flow of sales going.
You want to have links to your live performance tickets or schedule (when we get back to live music), with options to move over the the VIP level.
You want your music available at this level for purchase! You should at the very least offer your music as downloads and CD sales. The addition of Vinyl is a way to upsell your music, but it does come at a cost. Again the more you have at this level the better your chances to get fans that come to this level to spend their money with you.
It use to be that the mailing list pad was at the merch table to capture email addresses of your fans was enough. Today it takes more effort to get peoples information. Not that you should through away the old mailing list clipboard, but you need to expand out and add other means of collecting data and information on your fans. You need to create the systems and ability to capture emails, cell numbers, etc.
When your mailing list gets large enough your regular hosting service will not be able to send large amounts of emails without you getting flagged as spam. This is where an email service comes into play. There are two types of services, the cloud type and local type.
Cloud Email Service
These services Like Constant Contact and Mailchimp both have “Free” levels to get your started. But, they can get expensive as you ramp up your email lists. The other issue is your information is under their control. If for any reason they cancel your account or suspend you, you will lose all your contacts you imputed. If you don’t have a backup of that information your out of luck.
Local Based Email Services
An alternative to these cloud based services are local software that allow you to keep your information on your own local server and you have complete control over your information. One of the services I use is a plugin for wordpress called “Newsletter Plugin“. This can be downloaded and used for Free, which is a great way to get started with this plugin. As you grow, you can purchase a “blogger” version for $65 which gives you some great additions and lets you take advantage of API style emails services. The API Email services allow you to send multiple emails through their whitelisted service. The one I use is “SendGrid” which has a free level which gives you 30,000 emails for the first 30 days and 100 emails a day after that. If you need more you can pay $14.95 for 100,000 emails a month. This should be more than adequate for most bands mailing list.
When we had LIVE music, I am sure you noticed as you were performing today. Most of the people in the venue were looking down at their phone. To get them to go to your merch table, pick up a pen and actually WRITE! Well that is a big deal. What if you could capture their cell phone information and instead of sending them an email you can send them a text with special deals on your latest release or when you are in town with a show. With SMS marketing you can setup an account where you just tell your audience to text xxxx to a number and they will get a free gift. In the meantime you get their information that is geo setup by their location. The next time you roll through their town, you can send them a text message with a link to the venue or to a ticket sale.
We posted an article on “Text Marketing for the Indie Artist” with an interview with Ben Flores of JookSMS Did you know that texts have an 85% open rate as compared to emails which has only 10%-15% open rate (if that). This is well worth checking out and having ready to put into play.
It sounds funny to say this, but many people think the webpage is old school. The fact still remains that the Webpage is your Hub, your home and your professional impression! Having an up to date Webpage that looks good and is easy to navigate is essential. As you drive fans down the funnel it is the webpage that excites and gives your fans a way to find all your social media and content. Stay in touch with what is new and what is coming soon. Keeping your website up to date and engaging is essential! Your webpage should be just that a WEB! It should connect to everything below and above in your funnel. It is the one place that someone can come to, to know about you, your music and what your are doing next.
Your Webpage is 100% professional Image. This is your calling card, your face to the industry and it should reflect not only your professionalism but it should speak to your image as an artist. As with the social media this image should be based in authenticity. Fake or pushed personas rarely go over in today’s jaded world.
Links to your Social Media
Provide a way for visitors to your website to find ALL your social media accounts. Not just a few, but every Social media account you have. Link to your Youtube channel, Link to your Facebook Page, Pintrest, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp, Bands in Town, Spotify Page, Pandora page, Itunes Page, etc. If you find a new platform, then add it to your webpage!
A link to your Spotify playlists, Soundcloud playlist for ALL your releases
Music Video Page
A link to a page that contains all your videos with your latest one on the top!
This is where you can post Fan Pics, Road pics, Back Stage Pics and Images shots
Mailing list form
Have a form for fans to signup for your mailing list
If you want press coverage then make sure you have an EPK which has downloadable “PRINT” resolution pictures, An updated Bio, Press Quotes, Latest release, Spotify Player, Soundcloud Player, Your latest Youtube Music Videos (no bad quality live videos), etc.
Stage Plot and Ryder
Having a Stage plot and Ryder available on your website is just good business. When you are on the road it is so much easier to send the venue a link to your performance information. I have not run across any venue that did not appreciate this.
Make sure you have a schedule of live shows on your website. You can use Reverbnation‘s Schedule which can be encoded on your website. Just make sure it is ALWAYS up to date.
This is a no brainer, but I can’t tell how many band websites I have been to that have NO STORE! Make sure your website has a complete list of merch items available for fans to buy directly from you. You can setup a paypal button to give them a quick and easy way to pay for the item. Everything that is in the lower part of the funnel should be included in this store, this includes the VIP experience options.
This is where you will list all your professional contacts such as your booking agent (or booking email/Phone Number), Publicist, Radio Promoter, Manager, Agent, Press Contact, etc. Everything anyone would ever need to know to contact you, and hire you should be here.
Social Media Pages
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a social media presence. The landscape in social media changes almost daily, what was once THE place to be in social media is quickly replaced with something else. You can feel like you can’t keep up with it. The best advice is to focus on one at a time, master it build it and then work on the next. Find out where your fanbase hangs their digital hat, and work that platform. Many of the Social Media platforms are pretty similar in how they operate. You create content, you get an engaged fan base, they follow you and you use your engagement with that following to move them down the funnel.
Your Social Media presence should be a good blend of professional image with personal accessibility. Think in terms of a reality show, It’s here that you can give your fans (and Potential fans) a glimpse of you as both an artist and as a person. The most important thing to remember is be authentic to who you are, most people can see right through a fake persona.
Start off with the Big 5
- Youtube – Create your own Youtube Account, set it up to be monetized. When you get enough followers this can be a significant income stream.
- Facebook – As it is one of the oldest Social Media platforms it is still one of the biggest. Make sure you create and promote a Facebook Artist/Band Page, not your “Personal” page.
- Twitter – Setup a Twitter Account Under your band/artist name but make sure your @name is easy to type and identify
- Instagram – Setup your Instagram Account again under your artist/band name with a @name that is easy to identify to you as an artist.
- Spotify – You should also make sure you setup your Spotify for Artist account, this will give you control over your Spotify profile and allow you to submit to Spotify to be included in their playlists. I cannot stress the importance in making sure all your music is available on this platform. I know, I know they don’t pay, it feels like they are stealing your music. But get over it, this is our new reality, the new consumer has embraced this technology and the days of purchasing recorded music are coming to an end.
If you are not available on the streaming platforms you are not considered viable. This is the best way to reach fans and move them down the funnel.
Of course there are others like TikTok, Twitch, etc. But start with those above.
The goal here is to get fan “Engagement”, move them to Like your page, Follow your YouTube, Follow you on Twitter and Instagram. But, do not mistake this with services that offer you thousands of likes and follows for a price. These do you absolutely no good. These likes and follows don’t care about your funnel and will never move beyond those likes or follows nor will they engage with your content. You want REAL fans, REAL likes and REAL followers. These are the only ones that will potentially move down the funnel to where your income stream lives!
Social Media Engagement
This is how you get your fans to invest in you. If someone shares your content, make sure you like it and drop a comment or personal note thanking them for sharing our content. If a fan sends you a message, make sure you answer it. If they comment, Thank them for their comment. It is always a good idea to never go to bed with unanswered messages an unliked posts. If you fans see that you are paying attention to them as fans they will reward you with their loyalty.
If the fan feels like you are accessible, they will feel connected to you, invested in you as an artist and a person. Your music will become personal to them, and they will like and follow your content as well as want to know more about you. This is the key to building your social media accounts.
Long Form Content
This is the content that is more involved in you as an artist and a person. This is where your production music videos come into play. This is where you can populate your live streaming or produced streaming shows. If you are good at your instrument, create some free lessons. Show off some of your gear, do a review, etc. Your Spotify Playlist lives here as well.
This is also where you can create content that shows you as a person, behind the scenes or at home. Think of it more of like a reality show type content. A little bit raw, authentic and still keeping with your image as an artist.
The fans that engage with this content are the ones that like your music, your image as an artist and more importantly YOU. They want to know more.
Short Form Content (Kittens, Puppies and Babies)
Ok, let’s face it. For the most part people on the internet today have very short attention spans. You know you do it yourself. How many times have you scrolled through funny videos of Kittens, Puppies and Babies. This is the top of the funnel! You need to create intriguing and engaging videos or images that draws fans to you as a person/artist. Create and publish playlists of artists that inspire and influence you. Create content that draws people into your world both as an artist and as a person. This is your gateway to potential fans.
Do you have a release coming out? Show some clips of video from the mix session. Do you have a lick in your latest song that is cool, well create a video showing how to play it. On the road, post pics of interesting sights and experiences you have along the way. Announce where you are headed and invite fans to suggest a good place to eat or hang out and have them meet you there. Got a squirrel in your back yard that goes to great lengths to get to your bird feeder? Do you have a hobby? Show your skills in this hobby, this gives the fans a reason to feel close to you as a person.
Create some short content through video, images, Tiktok’s whatever to attract those kitten/Puppy/baby watchers into your funnel. This is where you can be creative, funny and engaging!
Ok let’s first realize that today’s music consumer not only purchases their music differently, they also listen differently. They don’t pop in a single artist and listen to a release from beginning to end. They go through a release and choose songs that fit into a soundtrack of an activity or a mood they want to create. This really negates the whole concept of the Single. If they don’t feel that song you choose as your single fits into their world of playlists there is a good chance they are going to not come back to your funnel.
A better marketing plan is to release your full release, have it available at the bottom of your funnel to purchase, download and stream. If you have the rest of your funnel in place as described above this would be an example scenario that you could use instead.
Create a short “Making of” video of writing and recording your latest release and upload it to youtube. Also create a music Video for your “Single” you first want to promote and also place it on Youtube. Promote the making of Video which will act as your “Short Form Content” and those who show an interest will also check out your music video. If they like your music video they will follow you on Youtube and look for you on social media and follow you there.
From here they move to your Spotify page and check out the rest of your release(s) and pick some songs that fit into their playlists. Enough fans choose songs for their playlists it will attract the attention of the Spotify Influencers and maybe you will get on some top playlists they put out. Those fans filter over to your webpage and check out your store and decide to get the cool T-Shirt and maybe that hat for the hubby and sign up for your mailing list.
I think you are getting the idea. We are in a instant gratification world. Nobody wants to wait, anticipation is a bad word. Even TV has change in that they release a full season on Netflix so you can binge it all at once, no more waiting for 3 or 4 months to get to the season finale. The world has changed and we as indie artists need to look at these changes and see what we need to do to adapt to this new market. The old ways are not going to work anymore.
Back in the late 60’s early 70’s the Single was put out to promote the Album. We are getting back to that mentality again. Have all your content and merchandise ready at the bottom of the funnel and use the Short Form Content, Singles and Music Videos to promote and move fans down to your Funnel to your income streams.