By: Christopher Knab
1) Give your music away, hell...if you are a new act, you are unknown anyway, so by giving your music away in either analog or digital ways you can help create a ‘Buzz’ and stand out from the other 75,000 other releases that came out last year. (That is a FACT, by the way). Then, pay attention to how your popularity grows, and as it does, give-a-way less and begin to sell your music at affordable prices for your fanbase.
2) Every record is a new release...if people haven’t heard it. Remember to put ANY and ALL past recordings up at your website as mp3 downloads, and on sale at all your live shows....remember the Long Tail Theory, (www.thelongtail.com)
and LIVE IT!! As your fanbase grows your fans will want anything you ever did, and this will expand as you attract more fans over the months and years ahead.
3) If you lent out ‘promo’ copies to various gatekeepers in retail, radio, the print media, and at live venues, and one day you see them for sale in used record stores, don’t get angry about it...BUY THEM back, no matter if you initially gave them away for free....then on your website have a special USED CD sale.
4) Another tip from Chris Anderson’s book ‘The Long Tail’... reduce the price of your music, and then cut 50 percent off all your recordings. (Do this for analog AND digital product)
5) Don’t laugh!...come up with some kind of coupon sale. Think up a marketing idea where your fans have to enter a coupon or promotional code at your website to get a discount on one or more of your recordings.(You can do this for digital downloads or for CDs.) and/or for ticket discounts for upcoming shows.
6) Offer to “include” the sales tax in your CDs sales, maybe even "for a limited time only” or for loyal repeat customers...or offer free shipping and handling.
7) Remember this golden thought. “If you are not out there promoting your music, someone else is out there promoting their music”. There is a tremendous amount of competition out there. THINK....what can you do that no one else has done, or better yet...steal a creative idea from someone else...hell, every advertiser in the world does this, why not you?!
8) Offer a free CD for every 3 CDs bought. You can do this at your live sales booth when you do concerts, or on your website...or BOTH! This way your fans can help you get the word out in an inexpensive way, and all fans LOVE to help their favorite band or artist.
9) Arrange to record a special ‘LIVE’ CD and invite only the fans who signed your email list to attend. You could do this in multiple markets, close to your home base. Charge them $25 for the live recording experience, (feed them spaghetti and salad as part of the deal), THEN tell them if they buy a copy of the LIVE CD that night, in advance, you will autograph the CD and remind them that they can hear themselves applaud and whistle on the recording....everybody wants to FEEL SPECIAL.
10) Never forget WHO your fan is. Study your fans at live shows...what kind of clothing do they wear? where did they buy it? where do eat before or after your gig?
Learn their lifestyle habits...and then use YOUR IMAGINATION to think up a clever co-promotion with an appropriate local merchant, restaurant, or coffee shop.
11) Get a local record store to help you with a sale promotion...If a customer buys one, they get another one free. (This is different than the buy one-get 2 free idea listed earlier. You have to be understanding of the records store’s needs...they don’t want to be giving a lot of your product away, in fact they would only do this if they felt that your promotion idea would help THEM sell more of the other CDs they carrry.)
12) When your catalog of recordings grow to multiple CDs etc. offer your fans price/packages, i.e. 1 CD at a given price, 2 for a slightly discounted price, and 3 for a more generous discount price, and ALL your back catalog for a super discounted price. You can do this for live concert sales, as well as offering the deal online at your website.
13) Invest in a CD duplicator, and at your gigs, offer fans a CD of ‘tonight’s concert’ for $15, and tell them it will be ready for them either within a few days of the concert by mail, or if you can afford a more elaborate duplicator, make it available to them RIGHT AWAY after the show. (And of course, YOU will be there to autograph that recording of the show you just performed.)
14) NEVER forget to have your email sign up list handy wherever you perform. AND have a place for them to write down not just their email address, but their birthday as well. The point is .... never forget that your fans appreciate being remembered, anyone does who has been a loyal customer, so email them a special song you wrote where you can drop in their name somewhere in the lyric, and send them a link to the song on their birthday....they will remember your kind gesture forever!
15) THIS IS AN EXERCISE! DO IT! Go back over this list and wherever you see the word ‘fan’ or ‘customer’ substitute the phrase “tribal member”....that’s right...I have been using traditional words used in traditional marketing, but really...in the music world today, the niche, or part of the greater music community you have as your fans....they are really like tribal members. In fact think of it this way. Your fanbase belongs to a unique group of individuals who not only like YOUR MUSIC, but music similar to your music. And if you DO STUDY your fans you will see they truly act like TRIBES, where the clothes they wear, the haircuts and body-wear they choose reflect a way of living....So, tap into that phrase “tribal member’. It is much more intimate, and will reveal many secrets to making your fans, LOYAL fans. DO IT!!