How to grow music fan club memberships

The concept of an official fan club is nothing new and, due to advancements in technology, building a modern fan club is fairly easy for an artist to do. Growing your membership, on the other hand, is a different story. Here, we offer some tips for how to do so successfully.

Guest post by Dayna Young of Fred & Augustus

The notion of a fan club dates back to the 1920’s and 1930’s where they quickly rose in popularity. The Shirley Temple Fan Club for example had nearly four million members. Fast forward to 2021 and fan clubs are rising in popularity again, in part due to advancements in technology which make opportunities for engaging with fans in real time much more accessible and appealing. 

Traditionally for the mega-fan, fan clubs offer a format for artists to allow their most engaged fans to support them via a membership, which is renewed either monthly, quarterly or yearly. While building a fan club with modern technology is relatively easy, growing your membership numbers can be another story. This said many of the tactics for developing and cultivating a community of your most loyal fans are just common sense. 

  1. Promote exclusivity by building an offering that fans can’t get anywhere else. This means providing new member and renewal packages, or access to limited edition items. Early access to hearing new songs, or pre-sale opportunities for tickets for performances. You might offer fans one-on-one meet ‘n’ greets or invite them to the recording of your new video. 
  2. Promote access. This means clearly letting fans know how they will be able to join you on your journey. This could be regular new content you’ll release, or ideas on how you’ll engage with your biggest fans. In order for your fan club to be successful you need to offer unique access to you that your fans will love. 
  3. Don’t forget about email! Share the news of your fan club’s existence in emails and on social media. Email subscribers and fans who follow you on social media have indicated that they’re prepared (to varying degrees) to pay for your products and services. Think of it like this: a mailing list helps with publicity and marketing for your merch or tours, but a fan club can generate regular, renewal based income. The latter is far more reliable than the often uncertain income gained from streaming, music sales, merch or touring. 
  4. Discover your ‘whales’. These are your biggest fans, and the ones who you should keep catering to top of mind. Why? Your biggest fans not only buy your product but more importantly they act as ambassadors for your brand, telling people they know about how they they love you as an artist. Your ‘whales’ are your word of mouth advocates who will help bring others down the path of discovery.
  5. Share your Fan Club on your store and website. Lastly, don’t forget these two important touch points. Not only can you integrate fan club membership as an option on your store but you should also ensure it’s included on the home page and navigation of your website, allowing for optimum traffic exposure.

Fan clubs offer a unique service which helps you build faster and more dynamic relationships with your fans. While mega-fans were traditionally those who signed up for your newsletter, purchased your merchandise and brought tickets to your shows, there’s now a new category of mega-fans: those who pay to join your fan club. Convey something which is new and exciting and you’ll reap the benefits of increased fan engagement.

Dayna Young has 15+ years global experience in music, entertainment and in leading creative teams to success. As the Founder of Fred & Augustus she provides strategic marketing resources for artists seeking to grow their online profile and engagement, with a focus on developing existing and new revenue streams. Ultimately, what gets her out of bed in the morning is the knowledge that she’s creating opportunities for artists.

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