How to roll out effective music sales promotions

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These eight steps will help you create, define, and execute successful music sales promotions, because if you want to make it, you have to market.

effective music sales promotionsSales promotions are short-term incentives intended to stimulate a quick buying response in your target customer. Coupons, one-time exclusive offers, customer loyalty programs, two-for-one discounts, and limited-time prizes with purchase are all examples of music sales promotions. Sales promotions can be applied to everything from selling records, merchandise, studio time, music lessons, concert tickets, and so much more. Music sales promotions are not for everyone, and you must use them strategically, but these following eight tips can help build more sales when you do.

1. Decide on the type of promotion that fits your artist brand
Whether you offer discount sales coupons that fans can print from your website or you announce a “one-time exclusive offer” to purchase your music at your record release party, remember that you must always stay true to the image you’d like to project into the marketplace. An anti-capitalistic punk band must obviously use sales promotions very subtly (or not at all), or they might otherwise come across as being phony. Get it? Good!

2. Decide on the mix of media you’ll use to deliver your music sales promotions
Remember that sales promotions can be delivered using the Internet (via email, your official website, and social media profiles), guerrilla marketing techniques (via postcards and flyers you hand out to people on the street), direct marketing techniques (via brochures you mail), and face-to-face selling techniques (via pitches you make to recording clients or fans at a show). The idea is to utilize a mix of media to ensure you effectively reach your intended audience.

3. Decide when the music sales promotions will begin and end
Sales promotions must have a clearly defined beginning and an end. Will it be just for the night of a show, for two weeks, or for the entire holiday season? Whatever it is, make it very clear. “Urgency” is a key ingredient in any sales promotion and in getting your fans to ultimately respond.

4. Test your promotion on a sample group
Before printing a few hundred coupons to send off to your fans, be sure to get some feedback on the words and graphics you use. The idea is to create the most effective promotion that will push your fans’ buttons and get them to take action. Test your music sales promotions on a small sample audience first and make any necessary adjustments that are needed. You’ll save time and money.

5. Keep the purpose of your promotion clearly in mind
Be clear on why you are holding a music sales promotion and what you’d like to achieve. Is your goal to sell a specific number of units so that you can take your musical act out on the road? Is it to raise a certain amount of money in your Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign to produce a live concert that will benefit the Cancer Foundation? Whatever it is, state a very clear objective.

6. Limit the number of promotions you hold
Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Sending out emails every other week telling people they can record in your studio at a “one-time specially reduced price” just looks bad. Always be tasteful, truthful, and subtle.

7. Stick to the rules of the promotion
Don’t be tempted to make an offer that is not in line with the rules of the promotion. Doing this can clearly compromise the integrity of the promotion and even your brand. Stick by your own rules! If the promotion ends on December 24, the promotion really ends on the 24th.

8. Remember that sales is not a bad word
Some people think of marketing as sleazy or pushy. This reaction is usually due to bad past experiences with deceptive advertisements or pushy marketing tactics. But if you can create products and services that uphold your vision and satisfy fans by giving them what they need, while presenting your offers in a non-intrusive manner that make fans feel like they are part the process, people won’t even know you’re marketing to them. Unless you are just a hobbyist, at some point you have to start generating some type of income. So make no mistake: if you want to make it, you have to market!

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Bobby Borg talks music sales promotionsA renowned drummer, teacher, consultant, and Disc Makers contributor, Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014, Hal Leonard). The book is available on the Hal Leonard website,, or at

The contents of this post are © 2014 by Bobby Borg All rights reserved. Not to be posted, printed, or used in any other way without proper attribution to Bobby Borg and Disc Makers.

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