7 Steps for an Effective Music Marketing Plan
Credit: Austin Neil
Why Marketing... Isn't Great Music All That Is Needed?
Do you really need a music marketing plan? I am sure that you are asking yourself that very question.
Great music will definitely be able to draw attention on its own, right?. From the hypnotic pounding of drums to the soothing melodies coming from the box of the piano, melodies that encompass music can inspire even the most unassuming person.
But... music has to reach the masses in order to do so. It would great if a musician's work can magically reach the ends of the earth but just like any other content; it is only as good as the marketing strategy behind the scenes.
Music has its purpose and so does marketing. Music marketing is so much more than just putting your music on Facebook or Soundcloud. There is so much more that goes into a music market plan than that.
The first thing you should do for an effective and efficient music marketing plan is to first have your goal in place for your music. This includes having a deep understanding of your audience, your goals, and your competition.
And even prior to knowing your goal, thing about why you would need a marketing plan? And what you actually would like to accomplish with your music marketing plan, as well?
There is no right or wrong answer, but it helps you not to be so scattered and to be more focused when planning.
Once you finish the article and you are ready to implement your strategy, check Chance The Rapper's marketing strategy that he used without the backing of a record label.
Now let us dive into 7 steps to creating a great music marketing plan:
Step 1: Understand Your Audience
You have to know your audience.
It would be great if everyone loves your music, but that is not realistic. Understanding this will help you pinpoint your true fans, where they are located, who they engage with, and also help you uncover potential fans as well.
A bit of market research will be involved. Through this research, you will also uncover their "language" as well; how they communicate.
Also, you be able find out other music artist they follow and music they like, which will be your direct competition.
In order to get an even clearer picture of your fans, find out their habits as well demographics. Below are a few things that can assist you to know your fans a bit better:
Their social media usage.
Their purchasing personality.
How much are they willing to pay for your music?
What are their favorite social media platform they use?
What do their friends listen to?
These are few thing to look out for when determining your fan base and audience to market to. Can you think of some other things you should look for?
Where to research your target market (fans)?
Social media, of course!
Social media is great for researching and understanding your fans better. Social media allows you to communicate directly with your audience; they have direct access to you and you have direct access to them.
You can easily out surveys or polls to your audience. Twitter has a great poll creation tool that you can easily tweet out to gather information as needed. Facebook has a poll creation tool as well; although we have yet to use theirs.
You can also post links to your own personalized survey to your followers, just in case you want more detailed info. SurveyMonkey is a personal favorite survey tool of mine; it is very intuitive and versatile when designing a survey.
If you don't want to create a survey or poll, you can simply post a question to your followers directly. Listen to feedback, then apply the new information or feedback to future projects.
Your fans will not only be happy that you listened, but they also will be ecstatic that you implemented their recommendations.
You should pay close attention to hashtags and @mentions.
This allows you to monitor what your fans and others are saying about you and your brand.
Step 2: Empower Your Fans
Once you have identified your fans, you should start to groom them to spread the message about your music.
Of course, you should have a strong following of loyal, ready-to-die fans that will do your bidding. They should be willing to promote your music; basically your own personal little army that will be willing to do battle whenever you say so.
This group of super fans usually will do these things for little to nothing. All you have to do is just empower them and recognize them, either as a whole or individually.
You could also give them free tickets or free music for their loyalty in return. Make them part of your family and make them feel wanted.
Build a relationship with your fans
Of course, in order to get these super fans, you must have a strong rapport with your audience. It goes without saying, you have to build a relationship with your fans.
Utilize social media to help build this relationship. Social media allows you to directly communicate with your fans and it allows them to directly communicate with you.
Also, if you have an email list, you can solidify your bond with your fans by creating email campaigns. Email campaigns help to keep them in the loop about any upcoming events or just to let them know what is going on in your world.
This step is so invaluable.
Step 3: Know the Market and Competition
Okay so you have a better understanding about who your audience is, now you should start to think about your market and your competition. This should include local markets, as well as, global markets. By understanding your marketplace a bit more, allows you to understand where you fit into all of this.
Above I mentioned that you should understand your global market, and you may be thinking that global domination may be too expensive or too big to tackle. The world is much smaller than it was 20 years ago because of technology and online platforms, so don't get discouraged to go big.
I advise that you start regionally prior to going global. I great to have hometown buzz going before you attempt your outreach.
Do some research online or at local venues to get an idea of your competition and market. You should be looking for things such as:
Touring schedule of other artists that are in your genre.
Any promos or special offerings being given when albums are purchased to entice sales (i.e. Any free concert tickets with every cd purchase.).
Are your fans also fans of your competition?
What are other successful artists doing to attract their large fan base?
What other content is your competition using and do they elicit the response that you are looking for?
Look for these thing to better understand your market. This may be time consuming but it will definitely give you the upper hand over your competition.
Step 4: Set Your Goals
Establishing your music marketing plan may seem pretty straight forward; you just want to be heard and make lots of money, right? It is not quite that easy. You have to be a bit more specific.
When setting goals, you should think in terms of setting mini-goals.
You should always look deeper than just face value when setting goals. For example, “If you just want to be heard, then how many ears do want at your attention?” or “ How fast do you want to reach x amount listeners?”
Having mini-goals can help you determine your main goal within your music marketing plan. By setting mini-goals, you incrementally meet or attempt to meet your overall goals.
It has to be measurable as well as timed. This gives you not only a structure to follow, but also it allows you to recreate or tweak past goals by making changes to your previous campaigns.
Using the example of wanting to be heard, your first goal could be to have an EP available in 2 months with 5,000 downloads with 5 shows booked. With your follow up EP, your goal could be 4,000 downloads but also have 15 shows booked.
The more goals you set, the easier it becomes to exceed meeting your expectations. You just have to start. It is best to start small then gradually increase goals based on your wants and needs.
Step 5: Create an Action Plan
Once you have your goals in place, your next step should be how you will accomplish these goals. There are many things that compose your action plan, but these are some of the main components you can focus on:
How are you going to tackle these on a consistent basis? How would you structure your plans on a time basis?
It is best to have some type of system the track your plans. This way you can map everything that you have accomplished, currently accomplishing, and will accomplish at a later date.
Some people use some type of CRM, but a spreadsheet can work just as good. Basically you would want some tool that allows you to list out components/data and also you would want to structure it(i.e. monthly, quarterly, annually, etc).
Organizing your action plan helps you to see the full picture of each individual effort. It helps to keep things in order and also to help alleviate any stress you may have.
Whatever you do, make sure to have KPIs(key performance indicators) to see how effective or lack thereof your components are performing.
I can suggest to add tons more to your action plan, but this step should be individualized based on your needs/wants for your music marketing plan.
What should be constant, no matter what, is the review and analysis of your efforts and data. Then make necessary changes especially if things just isn't working or if the results are too slow.
Step 6: Get Your Money Together
Just like starting a new business venture, your music career takes the same amount of effort to grow awareness. In order grow, it will take time, effort, and most importantly, MONEY!
Once your action plan has been established, you now have to accomplish some of the components by spending money. You will have to determine how much you would like to spend on each components, as well. Depending on your budget, you may have to neglect some plans, so prioritize your plans and goals accordingly.
Also, your budget will force you to be creative and more focused, especially if you are under budgeted. Be realistic and you will be ok.
Step 7: Put It All Together
From researching your audience to setting goals; you have to be smart, realistic, and you must be able to measure your results. Since you will be spending either your money or someone else's money, you have to be as precise and calculated as possible. When done correctly, you be able to see results from your hard work.