Marketing Strategies for Musicians

Marketing Strategies for Musicians: Building Fan Connections

In today's digital world, people are constantly bombarded with content, especially in the music business. This makes breaking through all that noise and reaching new fans a very difficult task for aspiring musicians looking to grow their music career. Sadly, great music and talent alone isn't enough to gain recognition. To succeed as a musician, you need effective marketing strategies that elevate your brand, are engaging and that drive growth. Whether you're an independent music artist or part of a band, mastering the art of music marketing can make all the difference in building a loyal fanbase and advancing your career.

Before diving into the our recommended marketing strategies, you need to understand the difference between music marketing and music promotion.

Music Marketing: Nurtures your relationship with fans and provides them with reasons for 'WHY' the should support your career.

Music Promotion: Tells fans 'WHAT' you're selling and where and when they can buy it.

In short, if you don't have an effective music marketing strategy, when it comes time for you to start promoting your music, it will fall on deaf ears - which is exactly what happens to the majority of independent artists. You can read more about Music Marketing vs Music Promotion: The Reason Behind Why Fans Do Or Don’t Care About Your Music, where we explain this difference in more detail.

With that in mind, in this article, we'll be focusing on both digital marketing and in person strategies that apply to musicians. Additionally, we'll cover the nurturing process that builds online relationships and real world connections with fans and best practices for making them care about you and your music. However, before you can start marketing, there's one thing you need to do first.

Develop Your Music Niche and Brand (N+B):

Before we you can begin marketing you and your music, you first need to develop your N+B. Your niche encompasses what sets you apart from other musicians in your genre or you can also think of it as the things that stand out about you as an artist. Johnny Cash was know as the Man in Black. Now, wearing black is extremely common, yet it's something that stood out about him. On the flip side, your brand represents the music and personal traits you want to showcase to your fans. Meaning, What values do you stand for? What are your beliefs? What story do you want to tell through your music? And overall, what do you have in common with your fans?

Why is this important? Because all these things represent what we call 'Emotional Hooks'. And just like a song has a hook, these emotional hooks are responsible for capturing people's attention and transforming them from followers to fans and from fans to followers. As a result, you will use these emotional hooks in all your marketing content and messaging, as they will help you connect with your target audience on a deeper level.

If you want to learn more: Click Here to Enroll in our Signature Sales Story (Brand Creation) program for FREE.

Here's a list of our recommended music marketing strategies for musicians:

Get to know your fans 

Marketing is all about building personal relationships, so musicians that are developing a marketing strategy need to first figure out what music and personal topics they are going to use to engage with fans. That means, your first job is to learn about your fans' interests. How do you do that? By talking to them and sharing content on your social media accounts. Meaning, if you're at a live show and share a personal story about a recent break up and people respond that may be a topic of interest to focus on. Likewise, if you share a video on YouTube or Instagram about the type or music gear you own and no one responds, you may want to look for other topics to talk about. I always equate this experimental process to having a conversation with a stranger. When meeting anyone new, to have a good conversation, you need to find common interests to talk about. That may include music, your dog, your job, political beliefs, family stuff, places you've traveled, etc. Depending on who you're talking to, you may have nothing in common or everything in common, but the more in common you have with someone, the stronger your relationship will be. Same is true with new fans .

Live Show Marketing:

The best marketing opportunities are in person during live performances because you can share stories about your music and personal interests and get immediate feedback from fans. So when you plan any live show, don't just think about your setlist and testing out new songs, also think about how you're going to engage with fans. As a starting point, you can share stories about the meaning behind your songs, tell them about your family, fun thinks you've recently done, etc. and then reverse the process. Instead of sharing, ask questions because questions are powerful tools for building relationships. This could include prompts like, Has anyone here dated the wrong person?, Who here is a morning person?, Has anyone heard so and so's new album?, etc. Every piece of info you learn, teaches you something about the people interested in your music and career and helps you interact with them by giving you topics to talk and write about. It's just like making friends.

Video Content Marketing (Social Media):

We live in a video world, so whether you like being on screen or not, you need a way to communicate with people on social media platforms via video, so it's worth the spending the extra time to create. There are countless ways to market your music using videos, but let's discuss the best places to include a personal message and ideas for generating unique content. When sharing reels, don't just share a clip of a song, include a personal story with it or share a reel of about one of your daily activities. Research your musical influences that share your sound and see the type of content they're creating - can you put your own spin on it to reach a wider audience? You can also work with another indie artist and do a collaboration swap where you cover each other's song. Include an endnote with a personal message at the end of all your music videos. Tell fans why you love music, your goal, how much their support means, etc. - anything that will grow your relationship, but be genuine. Share vlogs on your artist website or with your mailing list about your creative process or that depict a typical day for you. The skies the limit here, but your goal is to find a way to communicate that truly makes you happy and that fans respond to.

Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience. Yet, so many people hate on email because they believe social media is where you get all the attention. Your social media presence is of course important, but for musicians two of the most important transformation happen via email marketing. First, when someone gives their email address that represents the moment when a follower becomes a fan. Why? Because when someone gives you their email they are saying they want to be more involved in your music career. It's almost as personal as getting someone's phone number. Then once someone becomes a fan, you continue to nurture your relationship with them sending both private messages and email newsletters until you can convince them to make their first small purchase. When they do the second transformation happens. You've transformed a fan into a supporter, so don't discount email. Build an email list of true fans who are interested in your music and send out newsletters with updates, exclusive content and announcements about new releases or upcoming shows. Personalize your emails, share stories and common interests. We have a member that share a recipe a month, in addition to their music updates and fans love it. It doesn't matter how you keep your fans engaged, it just matters that they stay engaged.

Influencer Marketing

Collaborating with influencers can help you reach new people and expand your fan base. Identify artists and bloggers in your genre, as well as influencers that align with your music and values and explore potential partnerships or sponsored content opportunities. Collaborate on social media campaigns, product launches or live events to increase your visibility. You can also reach out to press outlets for press coverage and music reviews then share those press links on your artist website, across social media platforms and in your electronic press kit. Think of influencer marketing as getting professional referral. And another benefit of influencer marketing is when you do it right, not only will you grow your fanbase, but you'll also grow your professional network.

Engage with Your Fanbase:

We already talked about your fans, but they're important and we didn't discuss some of the basic engagement techniques, so here we go! Engage with your fans on social media by responding to comments, messages and mentions promptly. Host live Q&A sessions, virtual concerts or listening parties to interact with your fans in real-time and show appreciation for their support. Reward your most loyal fans with exclusive content, merchandise and experiences. Offer limited-edition vinyl records, signed posters or VIP packages for special events like album releases or live performances. Create a membership or subscription service that provides access to exclusive music, behind-the-scenes content and discounts on merchandise.

Stay Consistent and Persistent:

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a successful music career. Music marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The strategies we've given you are effective, but they take time to work because building strong relationships takes time. So stay consistent with your marketing efforts, keep experimenting, continue to learn and be patient. Remember that success in the music industry requires patience and resilience.

In conclusion, effective marketing is essential for musicians looking to build a successful and sustainable career in the music industry. By developing your N+B along with the marketing strategies we've provided, you can build a loyal fanbase and grow your music career, but it takes time, so again be patient.

And if you want to learn how to build a sustainable music career then I encourage you to check out our online artist development program.

Suggested Articles:

Digital Marketing for Musicians Marketing Ideas for Musicians 

Promoting Your Music