Posted tagged ‘marketing’

3 Big Mistakes That Artists Make

November 8, 2010

The below suggestions have probably appeared on Grassrootsy in various posts, but last week I thought I’d loosely keep tabs on artist emails and FB messages and tweets  just to see what people are still doing these days.  Here are a few…

1. Falling off the map
What!?  Who are you?  Oh…I almost forgot because I haven’t heard from you in 3 months!  This might be a pet peeve of mine.  Don’t send your fans an email every 3 months and expect them to remember who you are. In the age of over-saturation, you’ll have a much greater shelf-life if you communicate too often as opposed to not enough. Falling off the map after having a successful run is like going 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Granted, everyone needs a break at some point. But occasionally touch base with your fans to remind them you still exist. See: Setting the Record Straight: Reminding People You Still Exist for more thoughts on the matter.

2. Launch a website with nothing on it.
This is aonther personal pet peeve of mine.  If you want people to be interested in your music, don’t send them a Facebook invite to your band’s page if there’s no music on it. Duh. And don’t send people a link to your new website if it’s completely blank. What is it you want them to see when they get there?

This is also equivalent to inviting your friends to an event via Facebook. Let’s say you want your friends to come see you and “John Doe” perform at club “XYZ”.  Make sure the Facebook invite has links to both your websites.  That way, folks can actually check out your music and make an informed decision about attending the show. An informed fan is an involved one. People will eat the information you give them so make sure you give them something worth digesting. See: Perception is Reality for more on this.

2. No email address?
Yea, you probably have one but if you don’t put it on your website, no one would ever know!  Have you noticed that you can’t  send messages to the administrator of a Facebook Page. Annoying. So if you don’t have your email address in the “Info” section (or better yet, in the information box on the home page), how can anyone reach you? Some things aren’t meant for the Facebook wall.

And, believe it or not, folks still use MySpace to check out new artists.  But at this point, you should know you can’t email someone on MySpace unless you have an account…and people aren’t really creating MS accounts these days.  SO if you don’t have your email address in a very visible location, you’re potentially missing out on bookings…etc.

Even worse is having a website with no email address on the contact page. Contact forms are great, but an email address will travel further, faster.

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It’s All In the Packaging

July 22, 2010

I watched this commercial  the other day and said “That is SO stupid! Why would Orbitz spend thousands of dollars of airtime to talk about the colorful boxes their gum comes in?!”  And then, when I was in Rite-Aid today I decided to buy a pack of Orbitz because I liked the packaging. It wasnt until after the cashier rung up the box that I realized I had been totally sold! And I don’t like to be sold 🙂

Orbitz’s marketing is spot-on! We’ve even written about their approach here on Grassrootsy before:  You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover, But You Can Buy One

Check out the aforementioned post but also consider these thoughts…

  1. There are too many musicians in the world. You cant afford not to stick out.
  2. If you look dull, people won’t even stick around to find out that you’re not.
  3. Make your CD the one people stop to take a second look at
  4. An interesting merch table can generate sales. You don’t have to hype it up or anything, but at least take time to arrange everything and make your music, CD, newsletter, business cards, and whatever else look  presentable.
  5. Number 4 also applies to your website(s) and marketing. When you make things appealing to the eye, people will take the time to give you their attention.
  6. Orbitz is right.

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An Interview with Amanda Duncan

July 14, 2010

Amanda Duncan

New Jersey artist, Amanda Duncan, is an artist who steals the show even before she gets on stage. She has a knack for grabbing the attention of music lovers because she really stands out!  She’s a a funny chick with a knack for transfering her comical personality into her online representation. Just like Allison Weiss, she’s got some wise words on social networking, online marketing, and image. Read and repeat.

1. What’s your story? How did you get into performing and touring? Are you doing this full time? Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be in the spotlight. I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer…I just didn’t know what form of entertainment. I kind of got into this whole singer/songwriter-ness by accident. For some reason when I was 17, I thought I was going to get a guitar from my aunt and uncle, but I was given a baseball signed by Wade Boggs. Haha! I was so excited to play guitar that I had to start learning so I borrowed a one and practiced every day so I could play and sing at the same time. Some horrible songs followed. Haha! But some years later I really started to hone my craft of songwriting. I’ve always felt comfortable in front of crowds. So, the performance aspect of my career has come naturally.

In all honesty, I haven’t been on too many tours. I’ve had a few stints here and there, but nothing to shake a stick at. That is all about to change with my upcoming college tour this fall. Once that happens I will be a full time musician. For years now, I have been juggling a web design business and my music career…and I’m sooooo excited that in a few months my job will solely be music!!!


2. You’ve do have quite a calendar with alot of college shows. Are you part of NACA? If so, what are you thoughts on becoming a member and going to regional showcases.  For those who aren’t part of NACA, what do you suggest is the best method for college booking & touring.
NACA (National Association of Campus Activities)! Yes, I am a part of it. Let me explain it to those who don’t know what it is. NACA is an organization that holds regional conferences for college student activity boards across the country. The conferences consist of showcases, exhibit halls and educational sessions. The showcases can be anything from singer/songwriters to magicians, bands, jugglers, comedians, etc. The exhibit hall (which is called the Market Place) is where everyone has booths and the students can walk around and get info from the various entertainers.  More on NACA.

The NACA world can be fickle. One can get easily discouraged by the push and shove of it all. It’s hard to get selected to showcase because there are hundreds of applicants. And it’s hard to get booked if you don’t showcase. Attending regional conferences without showcasing might score you a few gigs, but not enough for a full calendar year. You also have to have music that actually appeals to college students…that is probably the most important thing! Haha!

Booking your own college shows is definitely an option. You have to be super organized, motivated and have college fans. If you have college fans you are one step closer to the student activities board. I did this for a while with some success.

3. Your self promotion is spot-on! Do you have someone handling your marketing? Your songs are bitter-sweet, sentimental, yet playful all at the same time. And your marketing seems to reflects that. What are your thoughts on consistency and uniformity as an artists? I actually do all my marketing. I do my own graphic work and I come up with the ideas for my photo shoots. I have a real vision of how I want to come across to people. I want people to see me as a fun approachable artist. I think that comes through. I feel like we are all swimming in a sea full of musicians and I need to stick out at face value. People may chuckle when they see my photos and think I’m some sort of comedian/weirdo, but once they take a listen to my music they tend to get it. The marketing really comes together at my live shows when they get to see me play and listen to my ridiculous banter.

As far as consistency and uniformity goes, that is a great question. I think being consistently YOU as an artist is important, but I think being an ORIGINAL artist is what will put you above the rest. You can write songs that run the gamete as long as it’s “your sound”. Basically you have to see yourself as a brand. If I say “Pepsi” or “McDonalds” you picture their logo instantly. Obviously, those companies have spent billions of dollars on advertising…but you can do the same thing for yourself as an artist. I have a logo. It’s a lawn chair. And in the beginning, people were asking “Why the chair?” And my response would be “When people listen to my music I want them to think of summer time. And to me summer time reminds me of backyard barbeques with lawn chairs.” Now people just accept it and say “I love the chair!”

4. I see that you really make use of social networking and social networking widgets. Which network(s) do you think you’ve benefited from the most? I think it’s a combination of everything. At first I used MySpace (now apparently only dinosaurs use it). And that got me by for a long time. I use facebook to stay in touch with people and let people know what I’m up to. I am not gonna lie…I obsess over Twitter. Although, that seems to be dying out as well. As an artist, you have to keep up with the moving trends of social networking. If there is a new networking site that comes out…sign up for it right away so you can claim your artist name before anyone else of the same name gets it. If you use the account, cool…if you don’t…don’t worry about it. I keep a spreadsheet of all my accounts/usernames/passwords. There is so much to keep track of these days, but it’s all important!


5. This is a question Grassrootsy asks each of its Interviewees
: What do you think is the single most important thing an artist should do to promote themselves better? I know that there are a lot of artists who don’t want to spend time on the internet/computer. To me, this is a huge mistake. If you want to sustain a long career in music you need to spend at least 1 hour a day making sure you are keeping up with your social networking. My general rule is to respond as much as possible to the people who post stuff on my facebook wall or twitter. I think we all know what it’s like to respond to a tweet of someone we really look up to and yet they never respond to ours. I never want people to feel that way with me. And when you have interactions online make sure they are positive. No one wants to see cryptic emo messages from a musician they idolize. Post funny things, things about your music, things that will provoke people to comment.

“You have to remember music is a business! You can be a genius and write the world’s best songs, but if you make bad business decisions those songs won’t see the light of day.”

6. Any additional advice, lessons learned, or thoughts on independent musicatry (fake word), that you can pass on to readers? My biggest pet peeve is when a really talented artist doesn’t have their ducks in a row. I think the reason I’ve come as far as I have is because I am very business oriented when it comes to my career. I’m organized, not to mention I have a lot of techie skills to help me promote my music. As a musician, you need to know your strengths and your weaknesses. I’m not saying to have a complex about it. Haha! For instance…I am pretty confident in my songwriting skills, but I know I couldn’t produce my songs to their fullest potential. That is when I bring in a professional. I went through that whole phase of wanting to do EVERYTHING myself. It’s great to have that kind of motivation, but it can lead to some really bad career moves if you keep convincing yourself you are good at something you truly are not. If you aren’t organized…get management or someone to help you organize yourself. You have to remember music is a business! You can be a genius and write the world’s best songs, but if you make bad business decisions those songs won’t see the light of day. I have a whole binder separated by tabs (yes, I’m that dorky) to keep me organized. I won’t get into those crazy details, but if you want to know how I have it split up, feel free to email me.

Amanda Duncan Online:
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/amandaduncan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Duncan/8542291310
Twitter: http://twitter.com/amandaduncan
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/amandaduncan
Blog: http://amandaduncan.wordpress.com
iLike: http://www.ilike.com/artist/Amanda+Duncan
Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/amandaduncan

The Artist and The Image

February 1, 2010

Daft Punk

I’m currently watching Independence Day and realizing that Will Smith really isn’t the greatest actor in the world…at least not back in the 90’s and probably not even now. Truthfully, there are much better male actors BUT everyone seems to love him. And here’s why.

As an artists, we don’t necessarily have an obligation to put ourselves into our music but I strongly believe that no one can sell YOU better than YOU and that an artist truly connects with his/her fans when fully engaged in the communication process that is promotion. Does that mean that you cant be on a label or can’t have a manager or agent? No. It simply means that you should never be hands off.

Your fans are excited about you; not an automated email response or someone else responding to your messages. Think about the group Daft Punk. I have always LOVED their music but at the same time have always felt disconnected because they never show their face.

With that said, here are some reasons why Will Smith is as good as he is without really being that good.

Personality
He’s got a good personality. He’s got character. Most people think of him as the young, charming, well-spoken, sharply dressed, married father of two.  Google him or check out his Facebook fanpage, and you’ll notice that his image is consistent on all fronts. As a musician, are you consistent? Does your image change depending on your setting? If your music has a target audience, consistency is especially important.

Role
You’ll likely never see Smith playing a serial killer or a deranged individual unless there is some type of redemptive resolution by the end of the movie. If you’ve noticed, Smith always plays the hero – Independence Day, Men in Black, I Am Legend, 7 Pounds. In  fact he’s definitely been typecast. But being typecast isn’t so bad if that’s what you’re going for. Do you want to be typecast or not. Figure that out.

Marketing
Think of marketing as a way to connect personality with role. If your work is a product of the image you’re trying to create, your work will reflect your image. If you market yourself correctly you’ll be performing shows that work for your personality, your image, and your target audience. Playing in the atmosphere that works for your and your music has alot to do with have a successful show and taking home new fans at the end of the night.


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Are You A Brand Name?

December 14, 2009

Yesterday, a friend of mine says I was a brand name.  First I was confused, then I laughed a bit, and then I started to put two-and-two together.  Now…by no means do I think that my music and image have reached brand name status, but i started thinking about what it really means to be a brand name and decided this might be something worth writing about.

So what makes a product a “brand name”?  These are my thoughts on the matter.  Feel free to add your own below as a comment.

A Good Product
First Your product must be good. It doesn’t matter how much marketing you do if your product sucks. People wont buy it. And if they do, they won’t come back for more, and they won’t recommend it to their friends.

Good Marketing
Brand names are most often recognized by their marketing. If you think about, we eat what we’re fed.  It’s not the first time that’s been said in this blog.  We wouldn’t give products like the Swiffer Sweeper a second glance if not for its commercials.  Just two years ago, no one had ever heard of Swiffer. Sure, word-of-mouth has probably helped sales tremendously, but Swiffer’s responsibility was to start the conversation…and then let the consumers keep it going.

Another thought: Starbucks is not just a store that sells coffee, it’s a store that sells an experience. And can you believe, they are so good at marketing themselves, that they’re one of the only coffee shop that still doesn’t offer free wi-fi.  People are actually willing to pay additional to use their wi-fi though there’s free internet down the street. That’s how you know you’ve got your customers wrapped around your finger.

Good Relationships
No one wants to support a cause that doesn’t support them.  No one likes to go into a store where the cashier treats them like trash.  No one wants to buy a product from a company with bad customer service…especially when there are so many options these days.  On occasion we’ll all break this rule.  But you and I would both rather buy a product from a company that treats us like they appreciate our business.
This goes for your music. Can you back your product and marketing with good communication? Do you actually care about the people who care about your music?

For more on this topic, check out: Putting Ideas in Their Heads

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Statistics Rule the World

August 24, 2009
Melody Gardot

Melody Gardot

Its true. Mass media is governed by statistics. Why are commercials for electronic devices and video games more likely to run during sports games? Why do so many grocery and makeup product commercials run during Oprah? How come a network like BET is more likely to show a black family in a car commercial than CMT?  Do I really need to answer those questions? 🙂

It’s all about knowing your target demographic and using the information to your advantage. You’re not going to hear an ad to buy tickets for the symphony on your local hard rock station. So, with that said, here are some thoughts on statistics.

 
Statcounter
First, I highly recommend that everyone reading this start an account with Statcounter.

Statcounter is…
“A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. Insert a simple piece of our code on your web page or blog and you will be able to analyse and monitor all the visitors to your website in real-time!”

Website owners copy/paste the html code provided by Statcounter into each page of their website. This allows them to track what pages are most frequented, what time of the day most people visit thier site, what day of the week generates the most traffic…etc. Last year Iwrote an extremely detailed blog about Statcounter. Check it out: Drawing Traffic to your Website(s)  

Using Statistics to your advantage:

  • See who’s talking about you. One of the great advantages of having statcounter or a similar data retriever is that it lets you know who’s linking to your website.  For example if XYZ music blog has written about you, and someone links to your site from their page, statcounter will tell you.   Use this information to contact XYZ. Thank them for the write-up.  Or hold onto their information and contact them for a full write-up when you’re promoting a big event or CD release.
  • Find out what people care most about. What links are people clicking the most? Are they going to your iTunes? Are they going to your YouTube? As a YMLP.com user (for sending weekly music emails), I use their stats service to see what type of events generate the most interest to my readership. At this point, I’ve nailed down that my fans frequent art festivals, coffeeshops, and listening rooms more than bars.  This tells me to push these types of events harder. This tells me to go after these types of venues/events.
  • Keywords.  You might be surprised at what keywords in google cause your website to pop up.  WordPress stats for this particular blog tell me that  “Melody Gardot” and “Meiko” generate the most traffic for this blog…because Grassrootsy featured both artist earlier in the year. Go figure! 

In short, statistics are powerful, because they help you direct your efforts and find the most effective way of reaching your target audience. Don’t take them for granted. 

Other Statistic-related Grassrootsy posts…

 

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Creating a Music Community #2

August 17, 2009
Tom Waits

Tom Waits

 
Creating a music community is vital to sustaining the life of your music career.  Here are a few ways to begin opening up the conversation between yourself and your audience.  And check out this previous post on Creating a Music Community #1.

 On-stage Banter
I went to a concert last year where the headliner didn’t speak to the audience for his hour-long set. It was the most dissapointing concert I’ve every been to.  This might just be an opinion, but people go to concerts to experience what they can’t experience by listening to a CD.  Every fan wants to know their favorite artist better.  They want to get a sneak-peak into who the artist really is.  I’m of the opinion that this can only be accomplished through candid on-stage storytelling, song introductions, and/or random comments.  Check out this excellent article at Music Think Tank (MTT):  Do most fans really want anything from you other than your music?

I’m also realizing that people love independent music b/c indie artists are so accessible.  People love accessibility and artists who will return their emails and actually spend time talking with them at shows.

Allow your audience to chime in
Don’t do all the talking. Let your audience chime in from time to time. Let them pick the songs occasionally or ask questions that require an answer. For example, if you’re about to do a song about a girl, ask  if anyoe has ever had a song written about them. Why not?  Even if the communication is “pointless”, having a conversation with your audience does loosen the air, make you more comfortable on stage, and make them feel like they know you better.  

This guy says it best
Here’s an excellent comment by some guy named Justin, in response to the MTT article…

When a fan hears/sees your music and materials, is there a coherent and intriguing message? Are you exporting a worldview that listeners can understand and be interested by, or are you just playing notes?Industry parlance has created terms like your “brand” or “image” to describe the totality of an artist’s presentation to their fanbase. But terms like that encourage people to think that that sort of stuff is just marketing – a flashy gimmick that is unconnected to your true art, which is just the music. This is to rigid a way to look at things. Artists need to realize that their “music” encompasses more than the notes they play and record; they need to craft an assortment of artistic materials and moments that give CONTEXT to your music.

A good, though somewhat extreme example, would be Tom Waits. His ridiculous image perfectly matches his music, and the guy never breaks character. Who knows if he’s even acting? Whatever. He’s weird, he’s cool, he’s consistent. You can go to a show expecting a new experience with that same twisted personality as there is in his records, or whatever strange media appearances he does. If it relates to the music, then it is PART of the music…[read article and reader comments]

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