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The Art Of Selling Music With Words

1With the acknowledgment that selling music is hard and there are no silver bullets, this article helps to outline what some of the challenges are in selling music with your writing, and the steps which must be taken for someone to become a music buying fan.

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Guest post by John Oszajca of Music Marketing Manifesto

I’m not going to beat around the bush… Making it in the music business is hard.

We sell a very cheap product, which is expensive to produce and manufacture, and our market is inundated with competition. Moreover, the product we sell (music) does not overtly solve any clear or specific problem and therefore the old problem/solution marketing tricks don’t work for us.

It’s a tough business…

But I don’t think any of us signed up to be musicians because we thought it was an easy way to get rich. We became musicians because we felt “the calling”. At some point in our lives some aspect of music made us think to ourselves… that is what I want to do with my life!

At some point a little further down that track we asked ourselves, ok… how exactly am I going to be able to make a living doing this?

It used to be fairly straight forward: Record, perform, sell music from shows, rinse and repeat. Hoping all the while, that some record executive would take notice and give you a million dollars to sign with their label. While that still does happen from time to time, that’s just not the way it works anymore.

The bad news first: Record Labels can’t afford to develop artists anymore. If you’re not already attracting millions of fans on your own, or you’re not 16 years old and attached to a Grammy winning producer, most record labels just can’t afford to take the chance and invest in your career. And when they do, the money is not what it used to be. Moreover, streaming has killed the “curiosity sale” and for many independent artists, revenue has plummeted.

Now the good news: On the positive side of things, the internet has (to a large extent), decentralized the music industry. The major label distribution channels as well as mainstream radio, just doesn’t matter like it used to. Anyone with good music and some drive, now has access to the market. If you employ smart direct to fan marketing strategiesanyone can make a living as a musician.

It’s really not that complicated… Instead of the old “If you build it they will come” strategies, today’s successful independent artists need simply:

  1. Drive traffic.
  2. Turn that traffic into a mailing list and/or social media following (usually by giving away a little free music to new subscribers).
  3. Build an authentic relationship with your subscribers.
  4. Ask your subscribers to spend a bit of money with you from time to time on music, tickets, and merch.
  5. Your income will be in direct proportion to the size of your list.

 

So why does it seem so hard and why doesn’t this work for everyone?

The reality is that there are a lot of little nuances behind each one of those steps outlines above. Get something wrong and it can throw everything off. If your marketing is not completely optimized it can be VERY difficult to make paid advertising profitable (remember… cheap product, small profit margins, competitive market). And it’s very hard to scale your fan base up to where it needs to be without advertising.

So… success with direct to fan marketing means that every step in the process really needs to be on target. If your ads are not performing well, subscribers will be too expensive. If subscribers are too expensive then you won’t profit on your sales. Every single aspect of your marketing needs to be “optimized”.

Successfully optimizing a campaign boils down to one, not-very-sexy word, that few musicians really understand…

That word is “COPYWRITING”.

Copywriting is a term that gets thrown around a lot in marketing circles. It often gets confused with writing product descriptions, brochures, or traditional advertisements. Those are forms of copywriting as well, but the kind of copywriting we marketers refer to is the art of using words to motivate people to take action. Aka, “direct response copywriting”.

It’s all about the “Fan Journey”…

To visualize how copywriting can help you build your fan base and sell more music, start by imagining a total stranger who has never heard of you on one end of an arc. On the other end of that arc you have a raving fan who shares your music with others and regularly spends money on your music, merchandise, and tickets to your shows.

But people don’t just go from total stranger to true fan in a single click. There are many steps in between those two points.

The key 7 steps on the true fan journey include…

  1. Awareness (prospect sees a post about your music).
  2. Interest (prospect identifies with the sound and experience that you claim your music offers and becomes intrigued.
  3. Engagement (prospect listens to your music, comments on blog post, engages with you on social media).
  4. Purchase (prospect makes their first small purchase or – if streaming your music – ads your music to a playlist).
  5. Becomes fan (prospect gets value from their purchase).
  6. Becomes true fan (your fan becomes a true fan and continues to support your creative endeavors by making additional purchases).
  7. Endorsement (fan shares your music with others).

Occasionally a person will complete this arc all on their own. But there is much that can be done to influence the masses to take this “fan journey” each and every day.

…this is where COPYWRITING comes in.

By mastering the art of using words to motivate people you can pique the interest of strangers, build relationships with fans, and convince people to spend money with you and help support your career.

One doesn’t need to be the world’s greatest writer (in fact many successful copywriters are not), one simply needs to understand the fundamental dynamics at play and the triggers that actually motivate people. Beyond that, it’s simply a matter of testing.

As someone who has been working as a marketing consultant for over a decade, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a total dud of a campaign get turned around by simply changing the words in a headline.

While “copywriting” may not be the sexiest of topics. It is, in my humble opinion, the single most important skill you can master if you want to learn how to sell your music (or anything for that matter) online.

One tweak of a sentence might mean a 500% increase in income. It can make that huge of a difference.

Because it’s so important, and also misunderstood, I’m going to be holding a FREE Copywriting Q & A webinar this coming Thursday, June 28th.

During the webinar I will share some of my favorite strategies for writing great copy, and answer any questions you might have about the art of using words to generate fans and sell music.

On the call we will discuss writing better ad copy, social media posts, blog posts, and emails, in a way that is natural, and doesn’t make you feel like a cheese ball. You know who you are J

Again, this free copywriting webinar will take place this coming Thursday June 28th at Noon Pacific.

To take part you need only:

  1. Click here.
  2. Enter your name and email address so I can send you the webinar login info.
  3. Go to the webinar broadcast page on Thursday the 28th.

You’ll have the ability to listen in via the web or call in via your phone.

That’s about it for today…

I’ll be honest, this is probably NOT for the average musician who is new to marketing. This is an advanced subject for musicians who really want to take their marketing to the next level.

If that’s you, sign up now.

See you in the webinar broadcast room.

If you have any questions just leave them below in the comments.

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