Independent artists have to be very strategic and smart when deciding where to spend their money on marketing, as they don’t have the benefit of having a big budget from a major label. Even if you did have a huge budget, there are still many ways to market your brand and music for free. Most artists already use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networks to market their music, but here a list of often overlooked mediums for marketing your music:
Many artists are surprisingly not considering the effect SEO has on their brand and website in their marketing. When talking about SEO, it is often thought of as being a marketing tool used by corporations and small businesses, but artist should also consider using SEO. For example, if someone is searching for your name on Google, you want to make sure that your name comes up, and your fans and people wanting to know more about you can find you. Even though I could write an entire article on SEO, here are a couple basic tips to improve your sites SEO:
- Know Your Keywords. One of the most important aspects of SEO is knowing your keywords. You want to know what people are going to search for on Google in order to find you. How would someone looking for you search for you?
- Avoid flash websites. Yes Flash may look cool to you and your readers, but Google doesn’t think so. Google is unable to read sites that use Flash, so try and avoid using Flash for building your website.
- Use Image Descriptions. Though search engine spiders are improving every day, and able to read more than they used to, they really only search text. When you have an image on your website, you want to be able to tell Google what it is, so you want to make sure to use an “ALT” tag with your image, and describe what the image is using one of the keywords.
2. Email Marketing
I believe that email marketing is one of the most important tools that an artist can use to market to their fans. Not enough artists correctly utilize email marketing, and the artists who do understand how to utilize it have been extremely successful in selling merchandise and getting fans to their shows. You can collect emails through your website, Facebook page, and shows along with other areas that you have contact with your fans. Once you have a good amount of emails, you should use a service like Mailchimp which is free as long as you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. Here a couple of tips in using email marketing effectively to reach your fans:
- Send out only useful emails. Now “useful” is probably going to vary for different people. Basically I’m saying that you don’t want to send out too many emails. You want to only send something out if you have something exclusive, new merchandise, or anything that would give your fans value for being subscribed to their list. When they sign-up for your mailing list, it’s as if they are joining an exclusive club, so make sure the content you are sending out appeals to this.
- Test your emails. With email marketing, you want as many people to open your emails as possible. So in order to test what works for you, you can send half of your subscribers an email with one subject line and another half an email with another subject line. By doing this, you can continuously improve on what subject line that your subscribers are most likely to open. After all if your subscribers aren’t opening your emails, you can’t communicate with them.
3. Reach out to Bloggers
There are hundreds of blogs on the internet that are constantly searching for new content, and if they like what your music they will usually post it on their website. Here are some tips to get coverage on blogs:
Research Blogs. You want to create a list of blogs that are relevant to your music. The best way to go about finding these blog is by doing a google search on an artist that has a similar sound or audience as you, and creating a list of blogs that have covered their work.
- Personalize your message. Many artists go out and send out mass emails to bloggers, and basically spam them. Spamming a blogger, will only get you on their bad side. When sending out message to bloggers, you want to personalize the message and show that you have done research on their blog by putting something relevant to their blog in your message telling why you’re your music would be a great fit for their blog.
- Follow Up. Keep in mind that many of these bloggers have lives outside of just blogging and get very busy that they may accidentally overlook your email, or forget to get back to you. Simply send a follow up email, and see if they had a chance to view your content. You still might not get a response, and this will likely happen a lot. Getting coverage with bloggers is essentially a numbers game.
- Build Relationships. One of the best ways I’ve seen for building relationships with bloggers is by first commenting on their posts using your artist name. By doing this, you are automatically putting yourself on their radar. Another way that is very effective is by following them on Twitter and responding to their tweets.
One of the most important things in marketing is to track the effectiveness of your campaigns, so before you do any marketing you want to make sure that you have goals set and a way to track the effectiveness of your marketing. There are many programs available that allow you to track different things depending on what you’re using to market. Google analytics is a great program to track web traffic for your website, and the effectiveness of campaigns that are directed to your website. Facebook has its own analytics systems, and there are many paid analytics systems available, but this post is all about free.
Hopefully after reading this, you’ll realize that marketing doesn’t have to cost money, its more about being creative with what you have. There are plenty of examples of artists who have built a buzz for themselves and gotten signed with the buzz they built for themselves just by using a lot of free marketing tools.