Guest post by Patrick McGuire
If you’re a serious musician, I don’t need to tell you how tough it is to cut through the literal and symbolic noise to find and reach audiences. Yes, creating great music should always be at the top of your list of priorities, but figuring out how to get that music in front of listeners is a difficult task you’ll have to think about if you want to sustain a career over the long-term.
Don’t have a clue how to market your music? Today, we’re highlighting 6 tools to help you get started:
Marketing on the Gram––can I call it that?––comes with some big benefits these days. Unlike Facebook, Instagram’s platform is simple and straightforward, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it. Sharing pictures and video stories, teasing new music and communicating with your existing fans are easy maintenance-driven ways to keep your audience engaged, but there’s lots more you can do to connect with new listeners.
For example, if you’re embarking on a tour, researching hashtags in the cities you’re playing in and following accounts associated with the venues, bands, and local press related to your tour stops can help generate interest in your shows. You can think of this marketing strategy as a way to introduce Instagram users to your band. It definitely takes some non-music related work, but the same goes with every other item on this list.
2. Facebook Ads
For all of its problems, the biggest social media party is still being hosted on Facebook’s massive platform. Investing in targeted Facebook ads is a solid way to round out a marketing campaign that highlights a musician’s new release or tour simply because of Facebook’s massive active user count which currently stands at over 1 billion. Launched in tandem with the other tactics on this list, Facebook ads can help boost existing interest and find new fans for your music.
3. Mailing list
Mailing lists might seem antiquated in today’s rapidly evolving music industry, but they’re a proven way to connect with and engage your listeners. Announcing tour dates and new music or sharing blogs about band updates are a few of the obvious mailing list benefits, but there’s some other big ones you might not know about.
The analytic tools can help you get a better understanding about just who is resonating with your band’s emails. They not only let you see who opens your emails the most, but can also give you the location, which is hugely helpful when it comes to deciding what cities to focus on during tours.
Remember a couple of years ago when everyone thought social media platforms would eventually replace websites for musicians, small businesses and big brands? Well, those days are long behind us. Actively engaging with fans over major social media platforms is a proven way to market your music, but in a very limited way.
From having a complete say over the look, feel and functionality of your site to the freedom of not having to adhere to character limitations, artist websites allow musicians to present themselves on their own terms. And while the fan analytic information tools Facebook and Twitter can give you is limited, website platforms like Bandzoogle are now giving users an enhanced view about the people who are visiting their sites.
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5. Streaming platform analytics
Musicians have lots of mixed feelings about the world’s recent transition to streaming music rather than purchasing it, and for good reason. Worries over money have impacted musicians for a long time, but with musicians now being paid around .005 cents per-stream, many artists now find themselves in dire financial circumstances. But it’s not all bad news, especially when it comes to smaller artists.
The analytic tools some of the major streaming profiles now offer are giving musicians massive benefits when it comes to learning about who is engaging with their music. These tools let you see who listens to your music the most, and lets you learn about where they’re from, how old they are and, in many cases, how they discovered you.
There’s plenty you can do with these tools, but the biggest benefit is that they give you a broader picture of what’s going on when it comes to how the world is relating to your music. You can now release music and see how well it performs in real time. Since the technology behind these tools is so new, we’re just now beginning to comprehend the implications and benefits for musicians.
6. Compelling visuals
This might not seem like an essential marketing tool for musicians, but visuals are absolutely crucial when it comes to attaching meaning and ideas to your music. You might make incredible music, but it’ll have trouble finding an audience without an interesting visual accompaniment. Since people are bombarded with so much media in any given day, they often need extra help understanding, interpreting and connecting with ideas––especially if those ideas are new or complex.
Adding a strong visual element in the mix when it comes to your music can help audiences get a better understanding of who you are and what your music means. Website banners, posters, murals, art installations, music videos––these are all opportunities to present your music visually. If you can afford to, hiring an artist to add a visual element to your work can pay off in a big way.
Also check out: 17 ways to promote your music online
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.
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