Your online marketing strategy should include creating content that nurtures communication, engagement, and sales on your way to achieving your music career goals
Building a strong fan base online requires you to create and execute an effective content strategy. Most often, we focus on the idea of engagement – creating content that asks your fans to get involved, respond, or take an action in some way. There is no doubt that this is a requirement of an effective content strategy, but engagement should not be the only focus of your online music marketing and your efforts to achieve your music career goals.
In fact, engagement should really be just one of three goals for the content you create. As you plan your content for the days, weeks, and months ahead, you need to consider the importance of three specific end results for your communciations:
Don’t try to do everything at once. There are different reasons to publish content, and strategic times for specific messages and calls to action. To be effective, each piece of content you publish should hone in on a single objective and serve that as best as possible as your take one step at a time towards your music career goals.
No matter where you focus your energy – Facebook, Instagram, your blog or newsletter – the platform should act as a channel that allows you to get the word out to your existing fans. Contrary to popular belief, not all content needs to create engagement. There are times when content simply doesn’t require a call to action or a reason to engage.
Your daily life
You’d be surprised how valuable the minutia of your every day life can be for your fans. Sharing your daily highlights can be a great way to communicate with your fans and give them something to feel they can be a part of – particularly when you’re in a creative mode or recording. This is the basis of building your fan community.
News and updates
Sharing news about your latest project, your current tour, your next music video, a recent collaboration, etc. is not the shameless self-promotion we’ve all been told to avoid taking part in, lest we be seen as spammers. If you have news you want to share about yourself, your band, your music, or beyond, communicate it via your social channels.
What are you passionate about? The answer to this question, be it music or something outside of music, is a great opportunity for you to curate content that can be shared with your fans on a regular basis. Communicate your passions and their role in shaping you as a person and an artist. You might be surprised how many of your fans share these passions with you. Make an effort to keep this content varied, as all of your content should be, by utilizing text, photos, videos and links to articles.
While engagement is not the end all and be all of your content strategy, it still plays a critical role. Engagement allows you to build conversation and loyalty, helping nurture your connection with the fans who are most likely to spend money and support you.
Start discussions on important topics
How do you feel about the debate surrounding streaming music? How important is the green movement to you? Are there any political or scoial causes you support? Why?
Whatever topics you find relevant and which you can cast a unique perspective on can be used as an opportunity to start a discussion. Encourage your fans to voice their opinions and share their stories, give them the opportunity to use your social channel as a platform to be heard and they will reward you with increased loyalty and direct support.
Your time spent online doesn’t need to focus entirely on creating content for those fans who are already following and supporting you. Considering the topics and passions discussed above, why not seek out some existing conversations happening elsewhere?
Twitter is a great platform to plug into worldwide discussions, and the blogosphere can be, as well. Consider what keywords will help you to pinpoint relevant conversations and get involved by voicing your own opinion, just as you’ve encouraged your fans to do above.
Engagement is never meant to be a one-way street. When you pose a question and encourage your fans to speak up, any comment that isn’t acknowledged by you in some form, be it a like, a reply, a re-tweet, etc. is a wasted opportunity to further engagement. If a fan comments, and you acknowledge it, you’ve created an instant gratification that may persuade them and other fans to get involved the next time you ask a question.
Contests and sweepstakes
Engagement should be more than just “comment and discuss,” it should also be a way for you to reward your fans for their involvement. Think about any opportunities you may have to create a contest or sweepstakes around a new album or tour. Can you give a few tickets to each show away in exchange for email addresses? Can you give an album away to the first 10 people to share your album announcement video? Think about ways you can really make it worthwhile for your fans to get involved with you on a regular basis and bake these ideas into your content strategy.
While social media has never been the greatest direct sales tool, your channels can most certainly be used to generate sales and leads that can turn fans into purchasers at a later time.
Make your mailing list your focus
You should be taking every opportunity possible to build your mailing list as it is still the most effective direct sales tool you have in your digital arsenal. Offer something attractive and exclusive to fans in exchange for joining your mailing list, and make sure you’re sending out a newsletter at least one a month.
With this in mind, you also need to incorporate a call to action to join your mailing list on a consistent basis into your content strategy. Once a week, ask fans to join your mailing list – find creative ways to make it worthwhile for a fan to join other than “get news about the band.”
Create exclusive sales opportunity through your newsletter
Every newsletter should have one strong call to action. Unless you have a reason to be asking fans to do something non-sales related – voting for you in a contest, sharing your recent video – you should be driving your mailing list (i.e. your most loyal fans) to be purchasing from you.
This is a great opportunity for you to create exclusive bundles, extend VIP opportunities, and offer exclusive products – all of which can be publicized through your social channels to encourage further mailing list sign-ups by the way!
Urgency is your ally
One of the best ways to drive sales is to create a sense of urgency within your message and offer. This is the reason you see messaging like “this weekend only” within advertisements. Without urgency, people feel like they may need some time to make a decision and they’ll come back to it at a later time to make the purchase. Think about opportunities to reach out to fans with time-sensitives offers or discounts to help them to make a decision and make a purchase more quickly.
Jon Ostrow is a regular contributor to Disc Makers Blog. Follow him on Twitter @jon_ostrow.