Tag Archives: fan base

Multiply and Strengthen Your Fanbase

This article was written by Dave Huffman on knowthemusicbiz.com.

Dave Huffman is a musician and author of The Indie Launch Pad blog where he uses the insight he gained as a full time indie to share thoughts and advice for those wanting to enjoy an indie career in music as well. Follow him on twitter:@davemhuffman

So, you’re doing a lot of things right – you’re show is tight, you’re giving out some free tunes and encouraging people to share, you’re building up your mailing list and nurturing it with content, you understand social media.

You’re building fans.

Now what?

Keep repeating what you are doing?  Yep.

But what else?

Ever thought about taking your existing fans and then connecting them with each other?

Think of it like a spider web or an offline version of twitter.  You connect person A and his friends with person B and their friends – those two groups come together, and networks expand – but more importantly, the infrastructure of your fanbase strengthens.

How?

Because everyone starts to become more of a family.  Or pretty good friends at the very least.

Then you’re shows have one more hook to grab people.  Great music, great atmosphere, GREAT PEOPLE. Person A may now come to the show just to see Person B and so on.

Think about the promotional benefits too. By doing this you are actually forming a REAL street team, not just some online “Hey, do this for us and we’ll do this for you” type street team.  I’m talking about real friends of the band that are friends with each other – that will join up and spread the good word about ya.

Anyways, enough of the anecdotal stuff.  Here are some ways you can work on this:

1. Connect the Connectors with the Connectors (insert link)

Read Gladwell’s The Tipping Point?  Connectors are people in the community who know large numbers of people and have made a habit of making introductions.  You already know a few and they’re easy to spot.  Find the “connectors” in your group and introduce them to each other.

2. Encourage Social Media following a’ la Follow Friday on Twitter, etc.

This is why I LOVE twitter.  It’s seriously like a 24/7 networking event.  And in real-time too – not like email where you shoot someone a message and CC the other person, etc.  Hand pick people in your fanbase that have started to become friends and introduce them to each other through Social Media.  Twitter’s Follow Friday (#FF) is a great way to do this.  Be sure to give a good reason to follow as opposed to listing a bunch of names. Quality over quantity.

Throw a festival around your band’s name and vibe

Typical concerts and shows only last a few hours.  Give your fans more of an opportunity to create memories and meet each other by throwing a multi-day festival.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a jam band to throw a festival.  Just make sure the fest atmosphere matches the vibe of your band and you’re good.  Throwing a festival also builds an entire cultural experience around your band, which can be a completely different topic – but my main point here is it gives your fans more opportunities to meet, connect, and build memories that involve your music.

Play house parties

I wish I would have set up more house shows as we were touring.  The small number I did play really generated more for us than any opening opportunity or high paying show ever did as they give you a opportunity to really get close and meet people and then introduce person A to person B.

5. Show up at non-music events

I can’t tell you how crucial this is.  This makes you a REAL person, not just some schlub trying to hock his music on everyone.  If you’re going to be a REAL indie, you have to be a real person.  It’s just like owning a small business.  The more friends you have, the kinder you are, the more helpful you are, the better off you’ll be.  Just show up, provide support, genuinely network.  Which means, using YOUR network to help more than you rely on others’ networks to help you.

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Tommy Boy Silverman vs. Jeff Price – The "Crappy Music" Battle

What’s great about being an artist these days, is that you don’t have to rely on someone at a big label to decide for you whether music is good or bad – as a fan, you get to decide for yourself.

And sometimes one person’s crap is another person’s “musical soulmate.”

With the latest wave of direct-to-fan solutions, such as Nimbit’s, artists can now easily build a strong web presence, make their music merch tickets and bundles available to fans, and build relationships with those fans in a way that they “have the potential” to support their careers — so they can do what they love to do, which is make and play music.

Digital Music News wrote about the battle between Tommy Boy Silverman (New Music Seminar) and Jeff Price (Tunecore) – Tom saying mos of the music out there today is crap, and you need to sell 10,000 albums to be relevant, and Jeff saying he’s a hypocrit since most of his releases didn’t meet that standard, and the number of “albums” is on old-school measure of success.

Tommy is right – by making it so easy to record, distribute, and market music, the result is there will be music out there that “the masses” (and sometime, even their own mother or best friend) won’t care for.

But, if you have a following of less than 50 fans, and you can now move that to more than 1,000 and fill your shows, that can be “success” – and, sometimes it takes a while for you to develop who you are as an artist, your music and sound and brand and performance style, and by enabling the career growth of these non-mass-appeal artists, you may be enabling a future superstar in the making.

And Jeff is right – the “old music business” metrics of success probably aren’t relevant to a majority of artists.  Probably because success is in the eyes of the beholder (artist), just like music is in the ears of the beholder (fan).

So what if there’s great diversity in the music out there, and so what if there’s crap out there - fans and free markets will make that determination.  But in the end, there will be more music, and more fans listening and passionate about the music, and more musical creativity being encouraged and explored – and isn’t that a good thing?

Bob Cramer
Chairman and CEO, Nimbit

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Tommy Boy Silverman vs. Jeff Price – The “Crappy Music” Battle

What’s great about being an artist these days, is that you don’t have to rely on someone at a big label to decide for you whether music is good or bad – as a fan, you get to decide for yourself.

And sometimes one person’s crap is another person’s “musical soulmate.”

With the latest wave of direct-to-fan solutions, such as Nimbit’s, artists can now easily build a strong web presence, make their music merch tickets and bundles available to fans, and build relationships with those fans in a way that they “have the potential” to support their careers — so they can do what they love to do, which is make and play music.

Digital Music News wrote about the battle between Tommy Boy Silverman (New Music Seminar) and Jeff Price (Tunecore) – Tom saying mos of the music out there today is crap, and you need to sell 10,000 albums to be relevant, and Jeff saying he’s a hypocrit since most of his releases didn’t meet that standard, and the number of “albums” is on old-school measure of success.

Tommy is right – by making it so easy to record, distribute, and market music, the result is there will be music out there that “the masses” (and sometime, even their own mother or best friend) won’t care for.

But, if you have a following of less than 50 fans, and you can now move that to more than 1,000 and fill your shows, that can be “success” – and, sometimes it takes a while for you to develop who you are as an artist, your music and sound and brand and performance style, and by enabling the career growth of these non-mass-appeal artists, you may be enabling a future superstar in the making.

And Jeff is right – the “old music business” metrics of success probably aren’t relevant to a majority of artists.  Probably because success is in the eyes of the beholder (artist), just like music is in the ears of the beholder (fan).

So what if there’s great diversity in the music out there, and so what if there’s crap out there - fans and free markets will make that determination.  But in the end, there will be more music, and more fans listening and passionate about the music, and more musical creativity being encouraged and explored – and isn’t that a good thing?

Bob Cramer
Chairman and CEO, Nimbit

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Voyno: Is Social Media Killing Your Band?

This article was originally posted by Voyno on Hypebot.

In the few short years since Social Media has invaded our lives many artists have been steamrolled into picking up the technology, but few have been trained in how to use SM.  Not that there is a huge difference between how an individual uses Twitter vs the way a band uses Twitter, but there is a difference.

Band SM means you must know how to interact on 2 levels. You must have an idea of what is appropriate for your social group (your fans) and what media (twitter, fbook, YouTube) will work for you. Blasting away on Twitter about anything and everything may work for you IF you’re a singer songwriter whose already revealed much in your music.

But some (read: many) artists benefit from mystery. Bowie would not have become Bowie if he video blogged his entire career. He had a mystery that intrigued the world. Taking away the mystery may have revealed things that would turn off fans, that would hurt his career.

Of course this is all hypothesis but in today’s world of RSS everything there is such a thing as overexposure (Lindsay Lohan anyone). Early on in the NewRockstarPhilosophy book we ask you to make sure you know yourself as an artists. When you have a solid idea of the artist that you are, you can choose the type of SM that works for you. You can keep your fans engaged and still leave them wanting more. So spend some time and figure out what kind of Social being your band is, figure out what SM you are comfortable with, and figure out what part of your artistry/personality you will reveal to your fan base. That way you will be using SM to add to your band rather than simply adding to the noise of your band.

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The Importance of Community for Artists [from Music Power Network]

This clip was reposted from Music Power Network.

Ariel Hyatt, expert music publicist, discusses the important of building, maintaining and knowing your Community as an artist:

Music Power Network is an online information service for independent musicians and bands, songwriters, producers, and managers. MPN provides online music business lessons, exclusive video interviews and advice, career and business planning tools and thousands of specially selected resources designed to help people achieve success in an ever changing industry. MPN provides the tools, expertise and guidance to help people get organized and take their music careers to the next level. Learn from industry experts, set your goals and realize your vision.

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Build your Fan Base

A TRUE FAN SUPPORTS YOUR BUSINESS:

Sounds a little crude,  but really — what good is a fan if they are not creating income for you in one way or another? Some fans buy anything you have to sell. Others only buy music and never come out to live shows. And then there is a growing number of fans that only download free music. They are a new breed of fan that need to be embraced in the direct to fan economy. Are these fans buying tickets to see your show? Buying merchandise? Willing to donate to your cause? Try not to get too hooked on exactly what they need to buy from you as long as they are or could be buying something.

Direct Patronage of the Arts

Nothing new or mind shattering here. Direct patronage is a return to an age old concept that makes more sense than ever today. Fans want to support you. They want to give you money and be a small part of your success. There’s no excuse not to set up ways for fans to support you directly and feel involved in your growth as an artist. There’s no excuse not to engage your fans and make sure you communicate your appreciation for their support. It’s not rocket science but it does take a little effort and a plan.

Your mission is to get as many fans as possible to support you in one way or another. We’ve defined support as participating in creating more income for you! So lets look at some approaches to creating fan driven income. Some programs may seem like no brainers and others will hint at where you can go with your own creativity. You know your fans best so you’ll have to apply that knowledge to whatever tools you have, execute programs to engage your fans, create reasons to buy and measure the results. Do not be afraid. Take it one step at a time.

CAPTURING FANS:

Centralize your List

Get your fans and their contact information into one central place. The most benefit will come from centralizing your lists where you can track additional interactions (sales, promos, attendance) with ease.  This is one of the core concepts of the Nimbit platform.

Import all your contacts into a real messaging system. Part of centralizing your lists is getting rid of doubles and getting all of your existing lists into one place.

Get Signup forms or links to signup forms everywhere it makes sense to capture a fan’s interest. Try to have all your forms go to the same system. If all your signups can post to one list, you won’t have to update constantly. From simple email forms to email for track widgets, keep it simple as possible to get all the signups to come into one list. (see the theme here? Make things easy on yourself.)

Give Away Free Music

Remember, Free really isn’t free. You should give away your music in return for some kind of engagement! At its most basic application, get an email in return for free music. Or drive fans to your store to “purchase” a free track. Encourage fans to forward a promotional link that gets the fan AND their friends a free track. Offer “Free” music for purchasing merchandise or a “boxed set” of albums.

Look at Free as a license to engage in a sales pitch with a new fan.

Using Social Networks

Whatever social network you are thriving in, you should make sure you capture a fan’s email address in case you lose your social network page or your social network changes it’s mind about how you can engage your fans. Social networks are great but you eventually need an email address to identify a fan and track their interaction over time. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the viral nature of your social network to launch a free track giveaway link or promotional code that trades free music for an email address. Nimbit makes it easy for you to create different promo codes for different networks so you can track the interest through the response of different social network channels.

CREATING REASONS TO ENGAGE (KEEPING YOUR FANS)

News and Alerts

The most important thing to keep in mind is whether what you have to talk about will be interesting to the audience that you are sending it to. Twitter fans are going to want short bursts of immediate news. Email subscribers might read a story if it’s interesting and engaging.

Contests

Everyone wants to win something! Contests can be for just about anything but the key is to make sure the prize is interesting yet easy to deliver. We’ve seen everything from VIP backstage access to a phone call from the band work as great prizes in contests. Whatever the contest is, it should be as entertaining to know who won as it is to win.

Friends Are Fans Too!

Tell A Friend / Bring A Friend. There is nothing more powerful than the recommendation of music by a friend. Fans fit the most sought after profile of the best sales teams! They are motivated by their emotional tie to your music. So don’t hesitate to engage them in sharing your music with a free promotional link or rewarding them with VIP access or a download card for bringing someone new to your shows.

Reward Good Behavior

Don’t promise bonuses, give rewards. For instance, send everyone who spent more than $10 in your store last month a thank you note with a free download. Whatever you decide to reward them with, try to make it special and feel exclusive. We’ve seen everything from live board recordings to physical VIP access passes as rewards for shopping direct!

CREATE REASONS TO BUY (MAKE YOUR FANS VALUABLE)

Support The Arts

Fans seem to understand this better than they understand that you should pay for music! Strange but true. So make it clear that buying from you directly supports the creation of more of the music they like.

VIP Packages

When you sell direct, you have the opportunity to make that sale very special. First, you are making a direct connection with the customer. Second, you give them exclusive products and bundles that are not available anywhere else! You can’t buy a t-shirt and download bundle on iTunes! So create cool VIP packages and bundles. Change them often. Experiment and see what fans are willing to pay. We’ve seen everything from Signed CDs to VIP access sold at a premium with great success.  VIP packages can be changed often and give fans reasons to buy directly from you. Why buy a ticket from Ticketmaster if you are offering a Ticket bundled with VIP access after the show, special seating and some live digital downloads? (you make a premium and the fan gets a new level of engagement.

Unique To Buying Directly From YOU!

I can’t overemphasize how important it is to make your direct to fan storefront a better deal all around. Offering better products through bundling, better pricing and more choices will engage fans to choose your store as the place to shop. Don’t expect to sell direct if you are pushing iTunes and selling your music at a higher price than iTunes or Amazon MP3. Packaging bonus tracks with your Album, giving a compelling price and emphasizing that buying direct is supporting the artist are all compelling reasons to engage.

It May Not Be About Buying the Music

A fan that shows up at a gig is as valuable as a fan that buys music but never shows up to a gig! So don’t discount the fans that don’t buy music. Take all the folks who you know consume your free giveaways and offer them a great deal on VIP tickets or Merchandise. Have download cards that you only give away at shows so that you can track which fans are actually coming to gigs. As long as they are paying a cover charge, they are supporting you!

MEASURE AND DO IT AGAIN (FANS ARE A SCIENCE)

Confirm Your Hunch

It’s difficult to know you had a good marketing idea if you don’t have a way to measure it. It’s not that hard. Download cards at shows can give you an idea of how many fans come to shows and care about getting more of your music. Using a promo code to giveaway a track will tell you much of the same info except make it easy to see where on the internet you are getting the best response.

Never Give Up

Don’t be afraid to try things. Put together different levels of packages ranging from free to very pricy. See what sells. Change prices and try again. Sometimes fans don’t connect with a specific track that you giveaway and sometimes they take off like wildfire. The key is to measure what moves and what doesn’t. Look for the clues and try again.

Perfect What Works

Look at how many people read your emails and when they read them.  Believe it or not, 25% or better open rate is good! 10% or better click through on a link is good! If you are doing that well or better, keep messaging. If the open rate goes down, you may be sending too many messages. With Nimbit you can even track what day and time is best to send a message. Use any type of measuring tool you can to get feedback on your marketing.

If something works, by all means repeat it until the approach gets old.  But watch the numbers to avoid oversaturation.

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