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Music Marketing Tips - Increase Your Fanbase

As many of you know, I avidly follow the latest trends in internet marketing, and gather nuggets of useful information for independent musicians.

The internet is a veritable treasure trove of information, but at the core of it all are three key principles to increasing your income. These principles are fairly basic, and critically important.

The Three Ways to Increase Your Income:

1. Increase your number of clients (fans).

2. Increase the frequency of purchase (how often your fans buy from you). To do this, you’d better have more than just music to sell!

3. Strategize to make a sustainable living.

Okay, none of these three things are brain surgery. But from a musician’s perspective, they bring up some interesting points.

Traditional internet marketing – in my opinion – doesn’t work very well for music. Why is this? Products that sell online tend to solve people’s problems (like losing weight or saving money). In order to market music effectively, you need to approach the whole thing a bit differently.

With a little customization and savvy strategy, musicians can use those three basic principles to increase their own bottom line in the digital space. I’m going to focus on each principle in turn, digging into the practical things you can do as a musician to increase your income.

Before I get into the nitty gritty details, I just want to caution you: while you’re out searching for new fans, don’t forget the ones you already have. These fans don’t need to be found, because they’re already following you!

Studies have proven that it is much harder to make a new client and get them to purchase something, than it is to get a client that already knows and trusts you to purchase from you over and over.

I always tell my clients that the best place to start marketing a new product (album, merch, etc.) is your newsletter. This is the only place where you can directly engage with your fans on your own terms. Not Facebook’s terms, and not Twitter’s terms. For this reason, your newsletter is perhaps your most powerful internet marketing tool.

Here are 10 fail-safe ways to increase / engage with your fanbase. Many of these tips help you take full advantage of the crowds of people who already know and like you!

1. Get serious about your newsletter.

Use Fanbridge.com, ReverbNation.com, or Mail Chimp to send your newsletter at least once per month. Track the effectiveness of your emails by monitoring open and click rates.

2. Mine your inbox and outbox for names and addresses to add.

Ask all of your friends if it’s OK to add them to your list, otherwise your account may be labeled as spam.

3. Bring a clipboard to each and every live appearance.

Invite people onto your mailing list with a raffle or giveaway from stage, and collect e-mail addresses.  During your performance, hold the CD up on stage and then give it away: you’ve just inserted a full commercial into your set without feeling “salesy” and you’ve excited one of your fans by giving them a gift.

4. Include a special offer on your website’s home page with a free exclusive MP3 or video.

Use one of Noisetrade’s free download widgets, or the Reverbnation Fan Collector.

TIP: Make sure this download is not available anywhere.  Not streaming on your Facebook page.  Only on your website.

And of course it can also be available for purchase on your CD, but make sure that no one can get it anywhere else online. This will motivate people to sign up to your mailing list!

5. Follow 25 new people a week on Twitter. Engage with them!

6. Send out e-mails to your most engaged fans on Facebook and ask if you can have their e-mail addresses for your newsletter.  This is a bit arduous but the results will pay off.

7. Do the same with Twitter.

8. Start a blog and start sharing photos and stories and thoughts. Take full advantage of Instagram!

9. Start a podcast or a vodcast and interview other artists with big followings.  Ask them to share your podcast with their fans and followers.  It doesn’t have to be a big production.  It can be a small, informal video at YouTube.  Click here to see mine.   http://www.youtube.com/arielpublicity

10. Ask your fans to review your music at CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.

The number of things you can do to promote your music online is practically infinite. But these 10 tips will get you well on your way to a successful internet marketing strategy.