Guest post by Eric Hahn, Fame House Marketing Mgr.
We’ve all seen how direct-to-fan principles have been successful for established artists, but not so much for artists that don't yet have a built-in fan base that is sizable and loyal enough to support a long independent career. Through a series of articles, our (Fame House's) aim is to document case studies that illustrate marketing initiatives for an artist going from the developing stage of their career to being an established act with a healthy, self-sufficient business in the new music industry.
In short, MiMOSA has all the key ingredients to build a successful career: music that fans love, a potential market big enough to support him, as well as a market that’s reactive enough to effectively monetize.
But the question is... what works to get him there?
The piece of content we had to work with was a remix of a track “Sun and Moon." To present the content and serve the download offer, we built out a microsite that would exist on a custom tab on MiMOSA’s Facebook page. Traffic to the tab was directed by generating a shortened URL on bit.ly. The application we used to host the microsite on a tab was the Static HTML: iFrames App.
Instead of giving the download away instantly for free, we decided to present fans with two options: enter their email address to download, or tweet a message to download. We chose these options because one was an opt-in to be communicated to in the future, while one is a bit more “lightweight” – where a fan only has to send out a pre-defined message to their own friend network on Twitter.
Some fans are weary of giving away personal information, such as an email address, so we definitely wanted to present options based on people’s personal preferences, or perhaps what level fan they were. It’s been well documented that email is one of the best converting marketing channels for artists, so it’s important to “capture” the more loyal and diehard fans that would be adept to receiving messaging in that way.
Here’s what the tab looked like:
Here’s what the user experience was like:
For the email…
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Easy and simple – enter your email, click the button and get the direct download link that starts instantly. No confirming in your inbox, or anything else fans don’t want to take the time to do on the Internet.
For the Tweet…
Click image to enlarge
Again very simple; they don’t even have to leave the page.
1) One of the most fundamental principles of the Direct-to-Fan business model is that an exchange between artist and fan doesn’t always have to be monetary to be of value – especially for a developing artist. The essential premise of a DTF business model is that you are building an infrastructure with your online assets that acts as a communication pipeline to your fans. Furthermore, you want to look at your fan base by segmenting them based on what level fan, or consumer, they are.
You have newly aware fans that are just starting to investigate your music and brand, all the way to your most diehard fans that shell out high ticket prices to festivals just to see your set and follow you on Twitter and Instagram. One of your goals is to build equity and loyalty with lesser fans by exposing them to your brand messaging, product, content, branding, engagement initiatives, etc. So, if you don’t focus on acquisition, or at least getting something in exchange (i.e. what some people call social currency), then you’re ultimately missing out on future revenue.
2) Another thing to note with this launch, is that we provided the song for streaming right there on the site. Too many times do I see artists only providing sketchy download links to Mediafire, or have only a track listing and a download button. There’s a lot of competition even in the free music space on blogs and social media, so showing fans what they’ll get will more than likely aid conversion (and add streams to Soundcloud or Spotify, or whatever streaming button you decide to use).
3) Keep the user experience really simple. No leaving the site. No more than a few clicks. Everything needs to be fast, easy and super obvious. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you’re thinking through the lenses of being a marketer. As a fan, I know that if it takes me more than a minute to figure out how to download something, I won’t do it.
After letting it sit for 5 days, this is what happened:
The download tab on MiMOSA's Facebook received approximately 5,000 unique visitors, with the majority of these users being from SoundCloud (44%). Also contributing to significant traffic was his own Facebook post, as well as the email blast we sent out. Worth noting, his email blast contributed almost 1,000 hits – which is from only sending it to a list of 1,900 Fans. Interestingly, despite there being over 1,300 Tweets, Twitter only contributed 2% to the total traffic.
There have been 2,608 total downloads as of this writing, almost exactly split 50/50 between the two options of Tweet for Download and Email for Download. We have increased the size of his email list by more than 50% from this one campaign alone.
41% of the traffic came on day 1
15% of the traffic came on day 2
8% of the traffic came on day 3
18% of the traffic came on day 4
16% of the traffic came on day 5
- 1) By simply publishing the track on his SoundCloud, we drove a massive amount of hits. In fact, over the course of three weeks, it has driven 46% of the total traffic to the download tab. SoundCloud is becoming increasingly effective as a communication tool, not just a place to host music. For MiMOSA and other electronic artists we work with, we have found that there is a highly reactive audience that can be tapped into on SoundCloud’s social network. The levels of engagement (commenting, sharing, etc) and its ability to drive traffic rival that of Facebook and even email blasts. The key takeaway here is that artists should consider building an audience on this platform, especially because it will become even more powerful with their newly announced social networking features that are now in beta.
- 2) After three weeks, the ratio shifted; the email blast ultimately drove 30% of the traffic and the Facebook wall post drove 15% of the traffic. The “life” of Facebook wall posts are short in nature in terms of the window of time a fan could potentially see the message, so obviously, artists need to focus on making their posts as engaging as possible, as to increase the potential reach of the message. Also, consider pinning important messages to the top of your timeline.
- 3) As previously mentioned, email is among the most powerful ways to deliver messages to fans, which is seen here. Interestingly, it took upwards of two weeks for fans to open the email, which explains why after only 5 days, the blast only accounted for 20% of the total traffic. However, after three weeks the blast drove about 30% of the total traffic to the tab.
- 4) The most revealing metric is the low amount of traffic Twitter drove (2%). Despite 1,310 fans tweeting in exchange for download, this only resulted in about 100 additional hits to the tab – so therefore, the return for this social exchange was extremely low for the artist. I can think of two factors explaining this: 1) this is simply the nature of Twitter. A fan tweeting out to a hundred or so followers in real-time is only going to be realistically seen by a few people in the midst of 100’s of other tweets filling their timeline every minute. 2) The messaging we used was very promotional, and I think that the modern-day fan is well-adjusted to social media and conditioned themselves to easily tune out such types of messaging.
- Eric Hahn, Marketing Manager at Fame House