Guest post by Chris Rockett of Music Marketing Classroom.
I know the title of this post may seem a little bit weird considering I have been banging on about fan capture for the past guzumteen years, but hear me out...
Something was buzzing around my head this morning that I probably stole from somewhere but let's pretend that's it my own original thought ;-). Here goes...
You need to stop building an email list...or in other words you need to stop thinking about it like a LIST.
Just to be clear...there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that having a way to connect with your fans instantly is your most important asset...but actually thinking about them like a LIST makes them sound like groceries and does not help you on your mission to entertain and delight them.
This "list building" approach kind of turns them into an abstract bunch of 1s and 0s who are only there to line your pockets with gold.
We need to think about each of those little Gmail accounts as another person who has a whole other life and is bored and waiting for you to come and add a little color. Each and every one represents a spark of interest in your creativity which is a very special thing.
It's hard to love a list...and you MUST love your fans because they are going to look after you when you're old and grey.
In traditional marketing the term for new potential customers who give you a way to follow up with them is...
But this term is not that helpful in the music business because it implies that the only positive thing that a fan can do for you is to buy your stuff.
This might be true if you're in the car insurance game but at the end of the day we're trying to give something of artistic value to the world, and it's my personal opinion that if someone listens to my stuff and it makes them happy then my mission is complete even if they never spend a penny.
Plus...there's more than one way to skin a beaver:
=> they might pass on your stuff to their friends
=> they may click on an ad that provides a little income
=> they might call their local radio station to request your music
Love your list!
The love you show them will come back to you by the truck full.
So if not an email list then what?
Let's play a little game for a minute and call this band of internet astronauts a FRIEND LIST.
By default you will treat a friend 100x better that icky DATA...
This simple little mindset shift will automatically change the way you think about marketing your music and mean that everything you do is more effective and powerful....
You need another why? well here are SEVEN...
...because you are honest with friends
you tell them about cool stuff
you send links to things you know they'll like
look out for them
you do them favors
you send them a happy birthday card
...and if you suggest something is worth buying they are much more likely to be interested.
The cool thing is that if you treat people that well then after a while the "friend" feeling will be mutual and they'll want to answer your emails and help you out if they see an opportunity.
This will set you apart from the crowd and draw even more people into your clan because they are used to being treated like online crap by crooks who have a...
..."buy my shit or you leave" attitude.
Most people can smell that stinky poo a mile off.
The friendly approach makes music marketing fun and something that you WANT to do everyday rather than just an endless mashing of buttons with a side order of disappointments.
There are many music marketing articles out there that will teach you how to get fans onto your list, so take all that stuff and put it into action... and then when you have those people, see each one as a new best friend.
That's the secret blend of spices that will make your music marketing unbelievably tasty and morish.
The internet is only a tool for building your career quickly, but the foundation of any successful artistic endeavor has always been building a solid base of followers who hang off your every word.
It's been the same for all of history and it's not going to change anytime soon, because who wants "New Coke" when the old one is still the most delicious way to rot your teeth?
Here's what you need to do now....
If you're ever stuck for what to send your fans in the future just think about what you've been talking about with friends over the last couple of weeks and start there.
This is one of those lessons that people told me when I first started learning marketing and I guess I was a little bit like "Oh yeah whoopee doo make friends blah blah!"...
So if this is a little bit conceptual and far out for you right now, try this:
Each time you send an email to your fans, ask yourself if you would send that same message to your best friend?...that will keep you on the straight and narrow, young Skywalker.
A big list don't mean a cool music career if you're the virtual stinky kid who nobody wants to talk to.
Your action point is just to think of your fans as friends...that's it, mission complete and time for pudding.
P.S If you enjoyed this and want to learn more check out my free Music Marketing Cheat Sheets.