This guest post was written by brian botkiller.
Voice-mail, Vlogs, VIP treatment, and more!
Probably the hardest thing as a musician is figuring out how to promote your music to the masses. We all know that we can make great music, but how can we get people to hear it? This article isn’t about promoting on twitter and Facebook – at least not in the usual ways. This is about coming up with unique ways to promote your music and find new fans.
First off, don’t’ talk about yourself all the time. Talking only about yourself on social networks won’t keep people’s interest. Pay attention to what they say. Respond, retweet, like, interact! Then, when you promote yourself, you may find that they’re more interested in what you’re talking about.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Host contests over social networks, offering up cool stuff beyond just free downloads to people who share the news about your band. Free mp3s are fine,… but what about signed CDs and custom merchandise? Remember, your music is only a very small part of your band’s brand recognition. It’s your main product, but not your only product.
Fans love it when they’re treated like VIPs.
So how can you give fans that VIP treatment?
1. In the case of my band, Vertigo Venus, we opened up a Google Voice hotline (which you can call or text anytime at 505-750-VENS).
It was simple; open a Google account, signup for Google Voice, and link your voice account to a cell phone – it’ll have to be one of your bandmate’s, of course. And then, one big thing; set the voice account to “do not disturb” in your preferences. This will assure that your phone doesn’t ring off the hook or get millions of text messages, but you’ll still be able to get texts and voice messages in your voice inbox. You can offer up cool stuff to fans who leave the most inventive messages, texts, and things like that. And then, you can ask them if it’s ok to add them to your mailing list! Best of all, Google Voice is FREE.
2. Another VIP treatment we’ve come up with is writing songs for your fans – this is something I haven’t seen done before. You can pick your favorite fans and write short songs about them for free (remember the ones that come to your shows all the time – reward them!), or you can ask fans to donate money to you to record the song. Maybe one of them needs a song for their girlfriend? Tell them to go to you for that! You can make a lot of headway in this fashion, and give fans the VIP treatment.
3. Try out a subscription based model for your music. In our case, We call it “Vv365” – and for a small subscription fee, paid per year (with discounts for buying more than one year), a fan gets all of our music in digital download format, both previous, and new releases, as well as one-offs, studio cuts, and other special offerings. They get music before everyone else this way, and they get the red carpet treatment for new music. You can set this up in Paypal pretty easily, and find a great way to work with fans in ways most others are not.
4. Other ideas include making custom art for fans, setting up promotions with local clubs (see if you can tie in with their email newsletter if you offer to do some footwork and flyer for their business), and making a webcomic about your band’s escapades. Have fun with promoting, and think about the kind of things that you have fun interacting with!
This isn’t everything you can do (the possibilities are endless), but all of these ideas are things you can offer up to fans to help promote your music and your band. Use these ideas on your Youtube (vlogs!), Facebook, your blogs, Tweets, and your newsletter. Remember, connect with your fans! Talking to them means that you’re a real group of people. Tell them about what you’re doing as a band, keep them interested. They’ll thank you for it, and you’ll see your fanbase grow – and in the long run, that’s your goal!