By Dexter "Tefman" Patterson
Recently I posted a question on my Facebook page that captured my attention. I asked my friends; “When you hear the word “Rapper” what’s the first thing you think about?” The post sparked quite the debate, and the comments ranged from; “Tupac,” “Eazy E,” “Biggie,” “Chief Keef Bang Bang LOL,” “Artist,” “cellophane” and my favorite “here we go with this shit again.” However, not a single person mentioned the word business throughout the entire thread.
I mean why aren’t more rappers and musicians viewed as good business people? Why can’t the majority of independent musicians survive off their talents? The simple answer is most artists haven’t learned the business side of the music industry.
At Warm Glow Studios, we are determined to help the average artist become more efficient with the marketing of their music. We want to help turn more musicians into savvy business owners. Can we keep it real for a minute? If you truly love your music, then you should treat your music with as much respect as possible. Learn how to survive as a businessperson first, and you will be able to turn your passion for music into a viable and potentially lucrative career.
Tef's Tips for Marketing Success
- Make things as easy as possible for your supporters. Do not tell them to check out your new song, and you haven’t even attached a proper link. No one should have to work harder just to help you.
- Remember always to try to collect as many emails as possible from your fans. Be creative, offer exclusive downloads and new band merchandise. Hold weekly contests via email to encourage active participation. An email service provider like MailChimp is an excellent tool for artists attempting to create a professional email exchange with their fans. The MONEY is in the LIST!
- Stop trying to sell something to people all the time. First, you have to try to build their trust. Engage with your audience as much as possible. Engagement will create a connection, and then you will have more than enough opportunities to sell them something in the future.
- Don’t expect overnight success with your online marketing efforts. The most important thing for you to do is to remain patient, consistent and make the best music possible. Don't fall into the trap of instant gratification.
- It takes time to build a genuine relationship with fans online. So when you engage with your fans remember to keep it real with them at all times. There are way too many fake and robotic marketers in the music industry. They do everything with auto-responder robots and think they are doing something innovative. I'll admit automation can help save you some time, but eventually, you will start to lose touch with your audience.
- I know a lot of marketing experts use the word target audience; however, most musicians have no idea what this phrase means. They just add as many people they can on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram without any rhyme or reason. The worst thing you can do is market your music without a strategy or waste your time and resources on people who could care less about you or your music.
- It is essential that you work with industry professionals on all your marketing materials. Everything should be top quality including your EPK, One Sheet, photographs, graphics, and videos. If you can’t do these things in-house, then outsource the work to a designer within your budget. Sites like Fiverr, Canva, and Pixabay provide industry quality services for minimal fees. I have said this before, but I want to remind you again, how your brand looks online will impact your reputation in the real world.
- When you start marketing your project, don’t ever stop thinking about your audience. It’s easy for musicians to get so caught up in what we want that we forget who matters the most, the FANS. Remember crowdsourced ideas are useful ideas. Listen to the masses.
- Always keep your promises. If you offer something to a fan, you must deliver. That is a breach of trust and an easy way to lose supporters.
- Always remind your supporters that you appreciate them. Take your fans behind the scenes more often and strengthen the connection they have with you as an artist by sharing your story. Show your fans the real you.