Today we’re going to look at an extremely important aspect of your music career: Music Marketing. We’ll looking at some of the best ways to promote your music, as well as some of the platforms that work best in getting your music out there.
This article isn’t a bunch of rehashed information full of strategies that don’t work anymore, everything listed below still works for the modern day independent musician. It’s because of this that I ask you to share this article around if you feel it has been helpful for you. You can either do this by sharing it via the social media buttons at the top of this article, or by linking to it from your website.
But before we go into the best ways to market your music, let’s have a look at why you need to do this.
Why You Need To Market Your Music
Marketing is the process of raising awareness of what it is you offer, in this case your songs and brand. You may make the best songs in the world, but if no one knows they exist, how successful do you think you’re going to be? Not very, is the answer.
Once your song has been recorded, or even before, you need to think about your marketing strategy. How are you going to promote your latest release? Without knowing this, you might as well not record any new songs.
Having a poor marketing plan will basically spell failure for your music career. Do you want to be just another reject of the music industry? If not, you need to start taking your music promotion seriously.
While I’m not saying everyone that markets their music will be a success, what I am saying is you need to take part in promotion in order to give people the chance to take to your music. And unless you’ve got money to pay music marketing companies to do this work for your, the promotion of your music will be down to you.
Below we will look at some of the best ways to get your music out there for free or cheap. All of these strategies are suitable for independent musicians, and work in the modern day music industry.
Online Music Marketing
Using the internet to market your music has become the norm, apparently it’s the ‘new age’ method to doing things. Me personally, I like to see it as another piece of the puzzle. Here are some of the best ways to market your music online.
Your Own Music Website – Your Main Advert And Marketing Hub
Before you start thinking about all the social media marketing and signing up to the popular social networking websites, it’s important to create your own website. This will be your home online, and the place anyone wanting to find out more about your music will go.
On here you can let people:
- Hear samples of your songs,
- See all your latest videos,
- Get to read about your latest going ons,
- Read more about your history,
- Buy your music,
- See where you’re next performing,
- Find out what social networking sites you’re on,
- And much more.
On top of this, you can use your website for two very important things:
- Get people to sign up to your mailing list. From here you can build a relationship with them and keep in contact.
- Create a sales funnel which will help your identify your most dedicated fans.
These are two very important things you should be doing in your music career. Building your list will mean that you have an army of fans that are clued up about what you’re all about. They can also be easily contacted when you have a release to promote, or just want to raise awareness about an aspect of what you’re doing.
Building your sales funnel will allow you to see the people who actually buy and promote your music, and allow you to give special attention to these people. Keep a good relationship with them, and they will continue to make you money and benefit your music for a while to come.
We look more at how to build your list, how to make your website, and how to create your sales funnel in the IMA Music Business Academy.
When promoting your music on other websites, you should always aim to drive traffic back to your official website and get people onto your mailing list. Here are some of the best websites for doing just that:
Facebook – For Build Meaningful Relationships With Your Fans
Facebook is one of the best places to get your music out there. Let me ask you this, how many of the people you know have Facebook? Not just musicians, I mean out of everyone you know in the world. Probably over 90% right? Or at least 80%?
Facebook is a big deal, and a good percentage of people have gone on to sign up an account. People put their real details on there, and only allow things that they are genuinely interested in on their page. So if they go on to click ‘like’ on your music page, there’s a good chance they’re interested in what you are doing.
It’s because of this, that Facebook fans are some of the most responsive around. While it may be harder to build them up, when you do have them, this is a great place to market your music to.
The key to marketing your music with Facebook is being interactive. Start discussions, share exclusive songs and offers with your Facebook followers, and generally befriend people on there. The more interaction you have going on, the more lifelong fans you’ll gain. The more lifelong fans you gain, the more people will spread the word about you. Not to mention you have the chance of going viral as people share your content around…
Twitter – For Gaining Potential Fans Fast
Twitter is another great tool for marketing your music online. It allows you to quickly and easily update your fans on what’s going on with you, as well interact with them in short burst.
The reason I encourage you to use Facebook as well as Twitter, is because they serve different jobs. While it’s not easy to gain new fans via Facebook without an initial push, Twitter fans are easy to come across when you know how. That link leads to the first of a two part series I’ve writing on how to promote your music on Twitter, and will let you know everything you need to know to get your Twitter music marketing going.
As they’re easy to gain, the targeted followers you come across on Twitter can be driven to your website and Facebook page. On these platforms you can build up a better relationship with them, and turn them into true fans.
Youtube – For Marketing Yourself As A Brand
These days, fans want to do more then just hear your music. They want to see what you as a person are about, and buy into you as a complete package.
Creating videos is one of the best ways to help your fans achieve this. And Youtube, the most popular online video sharing service in the world, is the place to be if you want your videos to take off.
Showing your fans another side to you can help them really warm to you. You want to make it so they feel like they know you, and want to buy into what it is you’re about. Videos can go a long way in creating this bond between you and your fans, especially if you create exclusive videos talking to them personally.
Videos you make could include music videos, recordings of your live gigs, interviews, special recordings talking to your fans directly, you performing live in front of a camera, and cover songs. You could also take your video marketing in other directions, such as recording short stories and incorporating your music in there.
Forums – For Reaching The Enthusiasts
As well as the above three mentioned websites, there is another type of website that can still go a fair way in marketing your music: Forums. Forums are places you can go and discuss what’s happening in your music genre, or in music in general.
There are a whole host of music forums you could join, you’ll just need to find one or more that’s relevant to you. For example, if you’re from the UK and you make Grime music, you could search ‘Grime Forum’ in google. It will give you options of some relevant forums you could join, and discuss your music.
It’s not a good idea to go straight into promoting your music on these forums however. You should spend a few days seeing how people carry themselves, and join in once you feel you will be able to fit in as part of the community.
The good thing about forums is if you get one on your side, you will have a great platform for encouraging word of mouth promotion. Become part of the community, and link to your website in your signature. You can often also let people know you have a new release out once you have a decent amount of posts under your belt. Be sure to mention this in the correct section of the forum, and link to this post in your signature for all to see.
Guest Posting – For Leveraging Other People’s Audiences And SEO Benefits
Guest posting is a tactic largely used by marketers looking to take advantage of other people’s traffic. You write a post for someone else’s websites (Usually blogs of fellow musicians or fellow marketers), and they publish it in exchange for the free content. You benefit as you will get some of their traffic going back to your website. You will also get a link or two leading back to your website from theirs, which is great for your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
For those that don’t know, SEO is the process of getting your website ranked in the search engines. If you can get ranked for certain terms, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing will send your website free traffic every day. Independent Music Advice for example gets hundreds of people visiting this site on a daily basis, even when we don’t write any new articles on promote it. If you can do this for your music website, you will get potential fans coming to your site every day on autopilot. From there, it’s up to you to put them in your sales funnel and convert them into fans of yours.
We talk a lot more about guest posting and SEO in the IMA Music Business Academy.
Should You Market Your Music On Any Other Websites?
So, should you use any other sites to market your music on? Well, that’s totally up to you. From what I’ve seen, the above are the places where most of your potential fans will be online, so it makes sense to focus your marketing efforts there right?
I know some of you will be wondering about Google+, and whether or not you should use it. Well, not right now. Google+ is still largely used by businesses and people with something to promote, the average person is still currently using Facebook. It may be a good idea to set up a Google Plus account just so you’ve secured your name, but don’t focus your effort on there for the time being. I don’t know one person who has got a Google + account but not a Facebook one, do you?
Stick largely to the five above mentioned websites for getting your music out there. Don’t spread yourself too thin, otherwise your promoting on all of these platforms will be substandard.
Offline Music Marketing
When you talk about marketing your music these days, a lot of musicians simply feel you’re talking about marketing their music online. In reality however, you still need to do a fair share of offline marketing if you really want to get your music out there…
Branding yourself is all about getting your music in as many places as possible: The more places people see you, the more they start taking notice of your brand. If they recognise your brand, they are more likely to give your music a listen when they come across it.
Here are some offline methods of marketing your music. There are of course a lot more ways you can go about offline marketing then this, but here are my personal favourites.
When you mention radio, there are a lot of music industry figures that instantly think this isn’t possible. You need to be signed and have a big name to get radio play right? Well, not really…
While it may be difficult for a non signed artist to get played on mainstream radio, there are always other options. What about community radio stations? What about niche specific radio stations? What about online radio stations?
All of these places provide a place for you to showcase your music, and do so to a decent amount of listeners. While it won’t give you overnight success or make it so you’re known all around the world, it will get you new fans, and raise awareness of your music considerably.
The great thing about these radio stations is you may also have the chance to appear live for an interview. When networking with Djs, mention that this would be something you’re interested in. If they already do musician interviews, it will be much more likely you get accepted (Talent permitting of course). If not, then suggesting this may encourage them to do their first one with you. Make I out like it will bring their show to life, and draw in a whole new audience for them. After all, every DJ wants a bigger audience.
Gigging, one of the best ways to make money from your music for musicians at any level. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing for free at a showcase event, you can still make money from performing gigs. You simply need to have your CD there to sell to people after your show, and not be to shy to approach people with this offer. Forget standing at the side and waiting for people to come over to you, go out there any make those sales! It really does work, I promise you.
As well as being a great way to make money from your music, gigs are a good way of getting in front of new potential fans, as well as communicating with existing ones. If the event isn’t yours, you are opened to a new audience of music lovers. Put on a stand out show for them and let them know where to find you online, and you have a bunch of new fans instantly. From there you can put them through your sales funnel, and convert them into mailing list subscribers or buyers of your music.
We look a lot more at making money from your gigs, how to get gigs, how to perform live shows effectively, and setting up your sales funnel in the IMA Music Business Academy.
Music Marketing Is Still Marketing, So Give Yourself A Unique Selling Point (USP)
When wondering how to promote your music, you should remember one thing: You’re not just promoting your music, you’re promoting yourself! You’re not just marketing your music, you’re marketing your brand and everything about you. Because of this, you need to create yourself a USP. In other words:
You need something to make you stand out!
You need to sell yourself as more then just a voice on a song. Your whole image, the way you act, the clothes you wear, it all counts to how brand-able you are. Even if you have good music, you can still easily get overlooked. But if you have good music and a story that people take to, you make yourself a lot more memorable.
Ed Sheeran is a good example of this. While he is a good and talented musician, there are three things that made him stand out over a host of other people doing his type of music:
- Him having the likeability factor,
- His willingness to jump across genres and work within different music types, and
- His ginger hair.
While the last point might not sound like something major, him being ginger allowed him to stand out from the crowd, and make him more easily recognisable. It also added to his likeability factor, and helps him appear as ‘the guy next door’.
I’m not saying to go out and dye your hair ginger, although you can if you want (If you do please share your picture in the comments ). What I am saying however, is you need to think about what makes you different from everybody else. Why are people going to buy into you over the thousands of other acts out there similar to you?
You don’t have to go out and act crazy to make your brand different, sometimes simply being the best at what you do is enough of a USP. If you can’t step your game up enough to be the best in your genre however, you need to find yourself an angle.
Music Marketing Strategies Conclusion
What you should do next is go off and put together a music marketing plan. This should map of how you plan on promoting your music, and what platforms you’re going to use.
There is no one best way to promote your music, a good few of these methods should be used together to achieve your goals. A combination of offline and online marketing methods will raise the awareness of your music, and make it so people know your music exists. From here you have the chance of converting these people into fans.
While there are a lot of other ways top promote your music then the ones mentioned above, these are the ones I feel work well for the independent musician. Things like magazine adverts and flyers work well when you’ve got a bigger budget, but don’t really benefit you enough when you don’t have huge amounts to invest in them.
If you want to learn more about marketing your music effectively, you may want to check out the IMA Music Business Academy. Here look at music marketing extensively, and give you step by step instructions on how to promote your music.