When all the numbers and the platform choices start to overwhelm you, take a step back and ask yourself – “If I was a fan, what would I want to see on my page?”
In the grand scheme of things, your pages are not about having the most views, the most likes or even the largest number of email subscribers – it’s about connecting with the ones that care enough about you to do something (Think: recommend your music to a friend… show up to a show… spend time at the merch table… buy something). When the platforms have evolved, changed their rules, or disappeared, those types of fans remain loyal and seek you out. These are the types of fans that are willing to pay for things that the fair-weather fans may not. Establishing good relationships with your fans is an essential step to monetizing your art.
One of my favorite ways artists are connecting with their fans and promoting fan engagement is contests. Contests are great for three important reasons:
1. Contests create fan engagement and bring fans together – they ask them to participate in your community and bring your fans together in friendly competition.
2. Contests give you new, fan-generated content to feed your page and share.
3. Contests give you a chance to give back – fans are a big reason why you are where you are at right now, and will continue to be a driving force in your career.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few contests to get your brain juices flowing:
Paramore asked their fans to submit a video of their best karaoke attempt to their recent single “Still Into You” – once all submissions were in, they picked their top six and asked their fans to vote to determine the winner. The lucky Paraoke Queen (or king) was up to grab the bicycle from the music video, two tickets to a show, and a merch pack.
This contest flooded YouTube with Paramore covers, allowing the band to promote their new release without shelling out big bucks. They used the contest to turn their fans into marketers.
Third Eye Blind used instagram to run a contest, which they cross posted to their Facebook page for 20 fans to win a chance to attend a private practice at the rehearsal studio. All the fans had to do was upload their photo entries to Instagram and hashtag their entry #3EBontheroad– winners were chosen daily the entire week – encouraging fans to keep their eyes on the page all week.
With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I thought it would be fitting to talk about some unique ways to incorporate holiday cheer into your marketing strategies this season. The holidays offer great opportunities to engage with your fans (and generate sales!). For example, you could give fans two albums at your shows and ask that they gift one to a friend. Get creative and have fun with it!
The folks over at Cyber PR wrote this article about holiday marketing that includes some great ideas that any band could pull off. Here’s an excerpt from the article, but you can read the full post on the Cyber PR Blog.
Here’s wishing you all a great holiday season.
Nothing says ‘unity’ like creating opportunities where your fans can all contribute. Once you’ve picked a holiday theme (i.e. ‘All I Want For Christmas Is…’), there are several easy ways for you to request content from your fans that can result in a single, crowdsourced project. The result would be something that everyone, you and your fans included, can take pride and enjoyment in:
- Ask fans to upload photos to Facebook and tag your fan page so that you can track all submissions and then create your own Holiday Photo Album.
- Ask fans to submit text or photo submissions through Twitter using a single Hashtag so that you can track submissions. Then you can use Storify to create a single project where all of the tweets are gathered in one place.
- Create a youtube video announcing the project and ask your fans to submit their own video responses so that you can create a Youtube playlist with all of the responses.
- Ask fans to submit photos through Youtube or Twitter, and then you can create a slideshow music video using the fan submissions.
- Create a collaborative Spotify playlist and ask your fans to add their favorite songs based on the chosen theme. The end result is a playlist that can be shared with your entire fan base as something unique they can listen to throughout the holiday season.
An excellent way to not only engage your fan base, but also create a strategy that showcases your products for sale (without being overtly self-promotional) is to create a contest that requires fans to engage with you.
It is important that your contest be worthwhile in order for it to work, so make sure your contest is set up with a prize that offers something exclusive, be it a signed copy of an album, or backstage passes to an upcoming show.
There are TONS of contest apps and platforms available to you at different price ranges, offering different types of contests, so do a simple google search to find one that works best for you.
A classic tactic for boosting sales at the end of the year is the bundle. And with good reason to. It works! Fans may be less likely to purchase your album because they can just as easily listen to it through Spotify or Rdio, but may be far more likely to purchase your album if you bundle it with other things. Here are a few levels of bundles that could work well:
Low-Price Level idea: Album + Merch
Low-Price Level idea: UBS Drive of full anthology of albums (possibly even including exclusive, previously unreleased content)
Mid-Price Level idea: Album + Tickets to an upcoming show
High-Level idea: Album (or USB Drive) + Tickets + Merch + Phone / Skype Call with Fan
The best way to make these bundles effective is to create multiple price points, with each one increasing in exclusivity.
Exclusive ‘Gifts’ For Mailing List Subscribers
One thing we preach here at Cyber PR® is the importance of your mailing list, in terms of engagement as well as sales.
Be it a video gift card, an exclusive invitation to a networking party/ hangout (or even a show!) or exclusive holiday music, giving a holiday gift to your newsletter subscribers is a great opportunity for you to not only give back to your already loyal fans, but to also build upon the desirability of joining your mailing list; something that will be of the utmost importance as your continue to advance your career.