Email Marketing for Musicians: It Starts With Knowing Your Audience

In our post The Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email Marketing, we offered tips on how Artists can start an email marketing strategy. We continued the conversation with Ferol Vernon, SVP of Artist Services at ReverbNation, to learn more about how musicians can get the most value out of emailing fans.

Experiment to Find Out What Works for You

For musicians, the prospect of creating an email campaign may seem intimidating. However, Ferol says it’s likely that most Artists will already have all the information they need to get started. Knowing how to market to your audience, means that first, you need to know your audience.

“You can read all the websites and papers out there on good marketing tactics, but at the end of the day, what works for your fanbase works for your fanbase,” says Ferol.

Watch to learn more about how you can take what you know about your fans and refine your email campaigns through continued experimentation:

SamEmail Marketing for Musicians: It Starts With Knowing Your Audience
read more

The Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email

A few months ago, ReverbNation surveyed artists and asked what digital tactics they use to promote their music.

Surprisingly, we found that Artists don’t think it’s important to use email marketing to communicate with fans. Why?

“I’m not a senior citizen, that’s why I don’t do email marketing.”

“Email is for old people.”

“Nobody cares about email anymore. They care more about social media.”

Ferol Vernon, SVP of Artist Services at ReverbNation (and our resident digital marketing expert) analyzed the survey results firsthand. I sat down with Ferol to learn where this perception of email came from and why he thinks it’s a dangerous view for artists to have.

SamThe Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email
read more

Top 3 things musicians need in 2013

Hey musicians, what are your resolutions for 2013? Want to release a new album? Find new fans? Help others? Make it big or just pay the bills? If you’re like a lot of Reverb artists, it’s probably all of the above.

Well, listening to you (and a couple of million other musicians around the world) we’ve boiled it down to three things:

  1. Get more fans
  2. Sell more music
  3. Save money

Am I right? In that case, ReverbNation’s got you covered. Follow our advice below to start the new year off right:

1. GET MORE FANS

Think about it. You already spend money on instruments, on food and gas when you’re touring, on beer when you’re gigging. You should be thinking of promotion as just as important as putting gas in the van, just as rewarding as a cold one after a show.

I have a friend who spent almost $10,000 on his new album, but then he didn’t do anything to promote it. Does it sound familiar?

Maybe it’s not the investment that’s holding you back. A lot of bands just don’t know where to begin. That’s precisely why we developed Promote It. We’ve made it drop dead simple to create custom ads to promote your music on all the sites music fans flock to:  Pandora, YouTube, Facebook, Billboard, MTV and hundreds of others. Trust me when I say, you WANT to be where they are. Plus, it’s completely affordable — campaigns start at just $5/day. And if you’ve never tried Promote It, we’ll even let you run your first campaign absolutely FREE.

“With Promote It, I can get the same type of promotion as a major label and still be on an indie budget. Promote It is such an easy and effective way to get new fans for my music.” 

Whatever you’ve got going on — a new album release, a new song or a new video (coming soon) — we know that Promote It is the best and easiest way to get the word out there, get heard and gather in new fans. If you can think of any better way, let us know in the comments!

Try Promote It now. Free trial available for first time Promote It customers >>

2. SELL MORE MUSIC… WHILE HELPING OTHERS

Have you heard? We’ve just launched a new program called Music for Good and we couldn’t be more excited! For the first time ever, you can now choose to sell your songs directly from your Reverb profile.

Artists choosing to participate select a charity they’d like to support and for every $1.29 song they sell, half the proceeds go to their new non-profit partner.

Music For Good is the new way to sell music.

We’ve never done anything like this before, but it’s really a natural. We know that musicians like to support good causes — whether it’s an indie band playing a local fundraiser or a major celebrity effort for disaster relief. Musicians have influence, they have power. Can you imagine what 2.5 million ReverbNation musicians can do?? Together we know you can have a huge impact fighting disease, hunger, poverty and more — all while spreading beautiful music.

PLUS — and this is very important — we believe this partnership will help every artist sell more music. It gives people a reason to pull out the credit card on music again. It kicks piracy in the butt!

The way we see it (and we think you’ll see it too), the Music For Good program accomplishes two things: it supports charities AND it gets fans to spend money on music again. It’s good for charities and it’s good for your wallet. As a bonus, it’s good for your soul.

Are you an artist, but not on Reverb?

Already on Reverb?

Music fans: Want to buy some music and help a charity?

3. SAVE MONEY

This one’s a no brainer. If you already use one of ReverbNation’s premium services (press kits, digital distributions, newsletters, etc), or even paid services from another site, the smart thing is to switch to the Pro Bundle.

For less than $20 a month, you get ALL of the core marketing services you need to manage your career and more. Yes — digital press kit, email templates, a mobile app, widgets, plus digital distribution that expands every year — while the price stays the same. Holy smokes. That’s less than topping off your gas tank, buying Starbucks lattes for your friends, or getting a large 3-topping pizza in New York!

The Pro Bundle costs less per month than a large 3-topping pizza from Domino’s in NYC.

You’ll save mega bucks AND because it’s all in one spot, you’ll save time. I mean, if you prefer, you could go to Sonicbids for your press kit, Tunecore for your digital distribution, and FanBridge for your newsletter, Mobile Roadie for your mobile app, etc etc… but why go through the trouble of logging in at eight sites different sites when you can use just one? Plus you’ll get the added bonus of having just one super great support team to answer any questions. Like I said, it’s a no brainer.

Start marketing your music now >>

That’s it, folks. We truly believe the tools mentioned above will help you achieve your marketing goals in 2013. Our mission is — and always has been — ARTISTS FIRST. Now go out and make some awesome music!

And let us know what your 2013 resolutions are in the comments below.

SamTop 3 things musicians need in 2013
read more

3 things musicians can learn from brands about Customer Relationship Management

This guest post from Mark Knight explores ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM) to show how the principles can help independent artists promote their music more effectively. As founder of Right Chord Music, a management and consultancy business, Mark calls upon his 12 years of experience working as a music marketing consultant to brands like Coca-Cola, Nokia & T-Mobile, plus his seven years as an artist manager for independent artists.

In the business world, a whole industry has been established around ‘customer relationship management’ or CRM. Fancy acronym, but what’s it really mean and how does it apply to you and your music career? In basic terms, CRM is a plan to understand and manage a brand’s relationship with customers. Using technology, this can get pretty complex, but really CRM efforts all stem from three goals:

  • Identify, attract and win new customers
  • Retain existing customers
  • Re-invigorate relationships with former customers

It doesn’t take a genius to realise there are clear parallels between the value of CRM for a brand or business and CRM for a band or artist. In order to have a successful music career (“business”) you need to have fans (“customers”). And those fans won’t come unless you work hard for it. Below are some details on just what I mean, but first I want you to keep in mind two widely accepted business principles:

  1. Pareto’s 80:20 rule suggests 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.
  2. Winning new business from existing customers is cheaper than winning new business from new customers.

Okay, that said, here is how a musician or a band can apply the 3 CRM goals to their music career to develop better relationships with their fans:

1.  Identify, attract and win new fans and supporters

Most independent artists don’t have money to spend on ‘push’ advertising or PR to reach a mass audience. Your best chance of success lies in ‘pull’ marketing where you supply your fans with compelling content and they promote you to their networks. Your ultimate audience is not your ‘Friends;’ it’s the ‘Friends of your friends.’ If you can burst out of your network into each of theirs, your potential audience will suddenly rocket. So encourage and incentivise them to share your posts. Reverb Tip: Online tools like Band Profile on Facebook and Promote It have built-in abilities for social expansion.

Remember the second principle: It’s cheaper to win new business from existing customers, than win new business from new customers. So use your existing ‘Friends’ as advocates.

2.  Successfully retain existing fans and supporters

On social media: Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself why you are growing a fanbase on Facebook or Twitter. Many bands seem to spend all their waking hours collecting new ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’ but never interact with any of them.

Facebook uses a system called Edgerank to prioritise the news in your feed. If you don’t interact with you fans you’ll become invisible very quickly. So when a new ‘Like’ or ‘Follower’ arrives, you have work to do. This is important: social media quantity should always go hand in hand with quality. Without engagement those ‘Likes’ quickly become meaningless.

With mailing lists: Mailing lists are another key tool for retaining fans, but only if you use them in a smart way. Lazy mail-outs containing a summary of old news are pointless. Set rules for your mail-outs: “I will only ever contact fans when I can reward them, or offer them something exclusive.” “I will never just repeat news I’ve posted on Facebook.” Reverb Tip: The tool FanReach has made it very easy for emerging artists to grow their fanbase through newsletters. Check it out >>

Always be critical of the communication you send. If it doesn’t genuinely interest or excite you, why would anyone else care? You don’t build relationships by spamming people.

Finally, don’t forget to ‘Surprise’ & ‘Delight’ your fans; it’s a proven brand tactic to retain interest. How about you surprise the next three fans that contact you on Twitter with a free t-shirt or free remix?

Also, you should be able to personally name your biggest fans. Who are the people that engage with you the most on Facebook? Who are the people that come to all of your shows? Who buys your music? By identifying these advocates you can start to create tailored rewards to encourage continued support. You could offer exclusive previews for a select group of top fans.

3.  Reinvigorate relationships with former fans and supporters

Make full use of the analytics provided to you by Facebook and YouTube. If you don’t already know, take time to find out (learn more about Facebook Insights and YouTube Analytics):

Picard engage meme

Do like Capt. Picard: engage.

Find out which 10 Facebook posts had:

  • The greatest ‘Reach’ in the past three months
  • The most ‘Engaged Users’
  • Were the ‘Most talked about’
  • The highest levels of ‘Virality’

What are your most engaging (based on % of video watched) videos on YouTube?

Next, note down the commonalities to identify what an engaging post looks like. E.g.,

  • Posted on a Monday morning
  • Personal, warm friendly style
  • Contain a question
  • Include a good quality photo
  • Contains a video

Once you understand the rules of engagement you can repeat the trick, and hopefully win back some of the people who have switched off in response to your less engaging posts.

Bonus tip: Get organised.

Create a basic Excel database, to collect and manage your relationships. Start with a separate tab for:

  • Artists
  • Blogs
  • Labels
  • Promoters
  • Publishers
  • Radio stations

Then whenever you come across a new contact, add their key details: Name, Company, Job Title, Email, Phone.

These 3 additional details take this from being a flat database into an active, useful CRM tool:

  • When: Date last contacted
  • Why: Reason for last contact
  • What: Outcome of last contact

Keeping a track of when, why and what ensures you can tailor your response and follow up in the most appropriate way, only sharing information which is relevant to them.

Don’t be afraid to follow up. If someone really has no interest they will tell you so. Don’t assume a non-reply is a no; it is often just a sign they are busy or disorganized. As a blogger I welcome reminders “Have you had a chance to check out our track yet?” Often a reminder will be enough to guarantee you a review (if the music is great).

A little thought and planning can really help improve the effectiveness of your fan communication, so don’t be in a rush to promote until you are ready. How about you? Have you tried any of these goals before? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Mark Knight can be reached at his Twitter account @RightChordMusic.

Sam3 things musicians can learn from brands about Customer Relationship Management
read more

Crowdfunding campaign fail? 5 key tips to get the money flowing fast

This guest post is written by Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq., a former vocalist and songwriter and a solo practitioner with her own firm in New York, J.A. Williams Law – The Artist Empowerment Firm.

You’ve finally decided to finish your album. Congratulations! This is a monumental step in your career. Only problem, you’ve got more creativity than money. Solution? Crowdfund your music! Sites like Kickstarter, PledgeMusic and IndieGoGo are popular amongst musicians.

So then you make a video, come up with prizes, send it out and sit anxiously at the computer waiting for donations from your fans to pour in. Problem is, they don’t. Day after day, you promote on your social media and even send a few messages to your email list (since they haven’t heard from you in a while, they are sure to support, right?), but nothing. What happened? Why didn’t your fans help you out? Why didn’t yours make it when you’ve heard people making thousands of dollars in their campaigns? Truth be told, it takes time and dedication, but more importantly, strategic planning. To get you started, here are 5 key tips to get the money flowing in your crowdfunding campaign:

1. Build a dedicated fanbase beforehand

I want you to be real with me: every time you speak to your fans via social media or your newsletter, is your dialogue consistently, “Retweet this,” “Buy this,” “Come to my show,” “Support me here,”? Me, me, me.

Think about it, are you motivated to support anyone that constantly talks this way? No one likes a selfish person.

However, if you’ve built an awesome, nurturing relationship with your fans even when you don’t have something to promote, they will be thrilled to support you when you do. The key ingredient to a successful crowdfunding campaign is having a dedicated crop of fans that will truly promote anything you’re doing — we’ve seen that happen in Amanda Palmer’s and Murder By Death’s projects. But if you think you can start building your mailing list the day before you launch your project, you’re wrong.

You need to build your list months or even YEARS before your campaign can really take off! With a dedicated fanbase, you can create a buzz about your upcoming project and have a better chance of making it go viral. It’s what you would do before releasing an album, isn’t it? 

Tip: Your email sign-up should be front and center on your website, “above the fold”  — meaning, at the top of the site so someone doesn’t have to scroll down to see it. Add your website and sign-up links to all social media and make sure you always have your mailing-list at every show. Reverb Tip: Place your customized fan collector widgets on your site and blog.

2. Explain with your heart

This is your life, your art, your passion, your everything! Do your fans know this? Have you explained how much this means to you and the greater mission you have for your music? Do people know what your message is behind this new material?

People are more motivated to support causes that have a greater mission. It’s important to connect with your fans because they will get behind your project when they see the REAL you.

Tip: Listen to your music and start to ask yourself why. Why do I want this? What does this music mean to me? Why do people need to hear this music? What is my message? Connect to your passion and others will do the same. Bonus Tip: Explain this point in a stellar high-quality video.

Amanda Palmer reached 1,192% of her Kickstarter campaign goal earlier this year. In her video she said that this project is proof that “major-label refugees” can go outside of the label system to fund their work.

3. Arm your tribe

Did you make it easy for your backers to share your campaign? Did you compose easy social media posts for them or provide shortened links to your campaign?

Your fans get a million bits of info thrown at them a day — as much as they love your stuff, I hate to break it to you, they love other people’s stuff too.

Tip: Make your campaign easily shareable by creating tweets, Facebook posts, links, etc. and attach them to your campaign and all your auto responders. Not only will your fan base grow, but so will your contributions.

4. Partner with a pro

Have you looked at the successful campaigns of other artists to see what THEY did? Have you reached out to anyone with successful campaigns for feedback on yours, asked them to be a part of your video or help spread the word?

Just like you offer gifts to your fans, approach a successful campaigner and exchange something valuable.

Tip: Do a collab, feature others in your video, or have them promote your campaign to their list in exchange to promote THEIR music to your audience. When you partner, everyone wins!

5. Connect with media mavens or product pushers

Let’s talk about promotion. Did you offer influential bloggers or websites the exclusive to cover your campaign? Did you try to get major sponsors to feature their products in your campaign rewards in exchange for promotion? You’re a creative person right?

Take that good right-brained resource and get to work on seeing what YOU can offer influencers for their support!

Tip: Start by taking a look at what’s unique about your campaign, how can you position it as something that would be attractive to an influencer? Who are your fans? What’s your demographic? Think what’s juicy about your goods and promote it!

Although creating a campaign can be a lot of work, if you get creative, do a little research, and  have a plan, it will be worth it in the end when you have the money for your project and more to invest in your career! Anything worth having is worth working for. Dont forget this: there is a human behind every donation. Treat your audience with value and you’ll get even more in return. Ok, get out there and start planning. 

Do you have extra tips on crowdfunding? We’d love to hear it! Please share them in the comments below!

Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq. can be reached at jo-na@jawilliamslaw.com and on Twitter. For a FREE copy of her guide “Blueprint: The Insider’s Guide to Empowering Your Career as an Artist and Ditching your 9-5 for Good” Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/iOqe1.

(Legal stuff: this article is for information purposes only. It does NOT replace the advice administered by a licensed attorney in YOUR state based on your specific situation. I know you wouldn’t assume I was your lawyer cause your mama “didn’t raise no fool.” But mine didn’t either, hence the disclaimer!)

SamCrowdfunding campaign fail? 5 key tips to get the money flowing fast
read more

Video: How to get fans to open and respond to emails

This is the first-ever guest vblog by Chris Rockett at Music Marketing Classroom.

Chris is a very animated speaker from the U.K. whose mission is to uncover the dark secrets of music marketing and share them with everyone who is interested. Warning: he talks faster than you could probably keep up with, but don’t worry about taking notes as he’s included them below. Enjoy!

Notes from the video

Email Marketing in a Nutshell

  • Get fans on the email list, entertain them on a regular basis, and then link to something they can buy. (0:15)
    • Start off with low priced products (downloadable songs, for example) and move people up the ladder to higher priced items. (0:26)

When to Send Your Emails?

  • Use your email service provider to schedule your emails to go out at 4:30am, so that you’re there when people first check their messages in the morning. (0:47)
  • If you want to send two emails per week Tuesday and Thursday are good because Monday is a busy email day and people are a little bit distracted on Friday. (1:14)

Ideas for Your Subject Line

  • Use odd looking numbers – “Why did this video get 53,345 views?” (2:38)
  • Ask a question – “Did You See This?” (3:03)
  • Stack the value with brackets – “My Guitar Got Set On Fire! [Video Inside]” (3:30)
  • If you send two messages in a week send the second with the same subject line as a reply – “RE: Why did this video get 53,345 views?” (4:28)
  • Use the words YOU and YOUR in the subject line – “Your F’REE Tickets…” (5:20)
  • Old favorites: Try out “Thank You” and “I’m in love…” (6:04)

Increasing the Clickthrough Rate in Your Emails

  • Keep your emails short and sweet – people may get bored and hit delete if you send something massive. (7:05)
  • Have three links per email. One after the first line, one in the middle and the last one after the PS. (7:30)
  • Including an image in your email that looks like a video increases the chance of a click. (7:43)
  • Make sure that you include a PS because people sometimes skip the rest of the message and just read that. (8:26)
  • Make each email about one topic to keep your fans focused on the message. (8:38)
  • If you want to send people to a blog post then consider pasting the text into the email itself because it skips the step of fans having to click through. (8:50)

Creating Customer Happiness

  • Instantly send fans an email after they pay with detailed instructions on how to get their thing. Make it “Homer Simpson” simple and give them your email address to contact you if they have any problems. (Also consider making a ScreenR video to show them how to access the product) (9:44)
  • Surprise and delight your fans with bonuses and freebies they did not expect. (Remember my favourite FRENCH CHEF who delights his customer with unexpected treats!) (10:23)
  • Set up Survey Monkey to get an idea of how your fans found their experience with you and continue to improve your customer happiness based on the feedback you get. (11:18)

16 bonus tips

 

Let’s look at a few more things you can do to improve the effectiveness of the email messages you send to your fans.

By the way, if you have not already set up a mailing list signup form on your website, then I’m going to use the power of my mind to chain you to your computer until you do it. It’s that important.

Good ol’ ReverbNation actually runs a killer service called Fan Reach Pro which is one of the most powerful services seen for serious musicians to collect fan data. You can get started with your first 500 subscribers for FREE. (Ain’t no better deal than that :))

Do it today, people, not tomorrow, or the next day… your website is a leaky bucket if you don’t have a way to follow up with your fans directly.

So anyway, let’s dig into this… I have personally tested this stuff and have only included the things that have shown a positive result.

  1. You should collect subscribers on every page of your site. (Reverb Tip: Our new HTML5 Fan Collector widget can help you while making you look cool. Well, it will at least try.)
  2. Make sure that your fans don’t have to scroll down to see your signup form. There will be people who won’t scroll down when they hit your web page which means they will never see your free music offer.
  3. Create an irresistible offer for your fans to join your list and make it very clear. Try something like “Signup to Download 7 FREE TRACKS and our latest music video”. (An offer like that will set you apart from everyone else because you’re stacking the value)
  4. Test different versions of your free offer to see what your fans respond to the best.
  5. It’s a good idea to sign up for your own mailing list so that you can get an idea of how your messages are looking from the fans point of view. If you start to annoy yourself then it’s time to rethink your communications.
  6. Whatever you offer your fans in exchange for their email address, make sure you give it to them on the “thank you page,” or in the confirmation email. This will build trust right away. If they don’t get what they signed up for within a few minutes you’re dead to them.
  7. Good email marketing is like a bank – the more you put in, the more “interest” you will receive. Every morning ask yourself, “What can I do to be cool to my fans today?”.
  8. Whenever somebody emails you through the contact form on your website, make sure that you offer them the chance to join your fan list as well.
  9. Go around personally after every show and offer to send enthusiastic people some free music. Then collect their email address so you can keep your promise. (Reverb Tip: You can easily do this with your smartphone or iPad. Just download the free Control Room app and use the Fan Collector feature. BOOM.)
  10. Whenever you connect with a new contact in the music industry ask if you can add them to your list. This is like networking on autopilot and having influential music people in your gang can be very powerful as they watch your progress and become fans.
  11. In every email you send you need to let people know what you want them to do next. This is known as a “call-to-action” and it does not have to be about buying your music, it could be “liking” your Facebook page or listening to your newly recorded tune on YouTube. Every connection with your fans should have a call-to-action.
  12. Split test the subject lines of your emails to see what your fans respond to the most. (Reverb Tip: FanReach can help. It proves open rates for each email you send and make it easy for you to resend a previous email, possibly changing the subject line, or tweaking the styling of the content.)
  13. To come up with catchy subject lines, go through your own email inbox and look for the emails you always open first. Ask yourself why that is and then use what you learn to make your own headlines POP!
  14. Set up a series of auto-responders to introduce new fans to your musical world. You want to get them engaged in your story and ultimately lead them towards financially supporting your work. My favorite way to do this is something called the “7 day sales funnel.” In a nutshell, you’ll deliver a song a day for 7 days and a video to go along with it that gives the fans part of your story (think of it as your own little rockumentary). It’s a good way to make a connection fast and at the end of it, you might offer a special deal for one of your products to break the ice. Even if you just make simple videos the results from this approach work so much better than the common way which can often be just “BUY MY STUFF” in every email.

Great example of a well positioned email signup box Iras World’s homepage. See tip #2.

What should you write in your emails?

 

Rather than getting bogged down in a load of weird sales tactics, I want to share a simple formula for updating your people with regular content and always giving yourself the chance of picking up a new paid customer as well.

All you have to do is send people a golden nugget of free content and then link off to something they can buy.

This boils down music marketing into its simplest form.

With that in mind you can use the ideas below to make sure that you never run out of things to talk about:

  1. Let them listen to your new music. (Don’t worry, it gets better!)
  2. Videos of gigs, backstage, practice sessions, tour diaries and recording sessions.
  3. Get fans involved with designing your merch.
  4. Ask people to send in their artwork or photos for your blog, Facebook page and even your album covers.
  5. Interviews – with key players in your music scene, band members, fans, your producer, manager, agent and anyone else who works on the business side of things.
  6. Updates about live shows NEAR THEM! (To do this segment your list by location)
  7. Schedule an hour to connect with your fans personally and send bulletin alerts for Facebook and Twitter chats.
  8. Keep a songwriting diary and send updates via email.
  9. Deconstruct one of your songs, the lyrics and meaning.
  10. Ask fans to send in their own lyric ideas and write a song with them.
  11. Have people send in questions then do a Q+A video.
  12. Run a special limited time discount on one of your music products. This can get people off the fence and buying something, but you’ve also set them up with a sweet deal which builds the bond.
  13. Let them know about any press or radio play you get. This is interesting content and great social proof that other people are excited about your music too.
  14. Send links to new blog posts and ask for feedback and comments, then respond personally to each one.
  15. Giveaway re-mixed and acoustic versions of your songs.

Phew! My fingers are tired so I’m going to stop there ;-)

But just remember each time you send an email to your fans, ask yourself if you would send that same message to your best friend?…that will keep you on the straight and narrow.

Hope this post kind of sparks off a few ideas for you. As ever, I’d love to hear any suggestions for things that have been working with your own fanbase.

P.S. If you enjoyed this and want to learn more check out my free Music Marketing Cheat Sheets.

If you have any thoughts or questions about this video, Chris will be available to chat with you in the comments area below. Follow him on Twitter.

SamVideo: How to get fans to open and respond to emails
read more

7 Ways to Build Music Business Contacts

This guest blog post was written by Marcus Taylor, founder of The Musician’s Guidea website that helps DIY musicians learn about the insides of the music industry, and download useful resources including music business contracts and contact lists.

We all know that “who you know” and “being in the right place at the right time” play an important role in attaining success as an artist. What we often forget, though, is that we’re the ones responsible for building those connections.

While researching the intricacies of how successful people network for my book last year, my co-writer Rob and I noticed that for two people to meet, they must go through a 3-stage process.

First of all, they must be aligned in the same space at the same time, either geographically (e.g. in the same room) or virtually (e.g. on Twitter). Secondly, they must connect through some form of introduction, and finally they must engage in deeper conversation to create a long-term relationship.

In this post I want to focus on those first two points, and share with you seven tips to help you meet more music business contacts (I’d write a post on how to engage in deeper conversation but I figured you already know how to do that ;)). 

1. Know who you want to meet but remain open to meeting others

The first step to meeting more of the right people is knowing who you’re trying to meet. Are you looking to meet publishers, record label managers, or music venue promoters?

When you know who it is you’re trying to meet, you can start to think about where they spend their time (both geographically and virtually), and what opportunities exist for you to be in the right place and time to meet them. If, for example, your band could really do with a more gigs in New York City, you can begin to identify the places where New York venue promoters hang out online and in the real world.

That said, never be afraid to go off course and meet people who may not seem to bear obvious opportunity right now. They might be of great use to you in the future.

“Build your network before you need it” – Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone 

2. Make an effort to meet other bands & ask for introductions

Let’s say that you did want to meet music venue promoters in New York City. In my experience, one of the best ways to meet venue promoters is to simply turn up to music venues and ask the bands performing to introduce you to the promoter. You may have to prearrange meeting up with the performers before their set, but this approach is incredibly effective as it differs to how most bands approach venue promoters, and the introduction from the performer acts as a recommendation.

If you went to two or three gigs a week you’d be surprised at how quickly you could fill up your gig calendar.

3. Attend music business conferences

When I’ve attended music business conferences in the past, I’ve been surprised by how few bands choose to attend. Sure, the entry fees are generally quite steep, but if you take into account the fact that these events are usually swarming with label managers, publishers, and music promotion companies, it’s almost certainly worth the investment if you’re willing to get out and build those connections.

4. Join local music business Meetups

If you’re not already using Meetup.com to build connections, I thoroughly recommend giving it a shot. In most major cities you’ll find various musician Meetups that offer great networking opportunities. If you can’t find anything nearby, consider creating a music industry Meetup in your area and inviting local music companies to come and share ideas over a coffee or beer.

5. Use Twitter to break the ice

Twitter is one of the most efficient and effective ways to break the ice with music business professionals. Almost every serious record label, booking agent, and music companies will have a presence on Twitter, so it’s a great platform to start building these relationships.

Familiarize yourself with the advanced search operators on search.twitter.com and create separate lists to keep track of which companies you’re trying to meet (click on image for help on how to create Twitter lists)

6. Show your gratitude

This may seem like a slightly strange tip, but bear with me. If you pick a music company, radio station, music blog, or website that you enjoy once a day and send them a quick email to say thanks for doing what they do, you will build contacts very quickly.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” - William Arthur Ward

In the music business, selfless gratitude is rare. When I receive an email from an artist thanking me for writing my blog posts, for some reason I’m far more compelled to respond and listen to their music, than if they had just emailed me a link to check out their music.

7. Build 3 new contacts a week

I have to give Derek Sivers full credit for this last tip. Set yourself a goal of building three new music business connections a week, and in twelve months time you’ll know 156 new people in the music business!

Using all of the tips in this post, see if you can go and build three new music business contacts this week. If you have any thoughts or questions about this post, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or you can send me a tweet at @TheMusicGuide or drop me an email (marcus@themusiciansguide.co.uk). Tell me what you’re working on or what you need help with and I’ll do my best to help out.

Sam7 Ways to Build Music Business Contacts
read more

Collect Fans Everywhere with Our New HTML5 Widget

Following our update to the new music player widget, we are now introducing the Fan Collector widget in all its HTML5 glory.  What does this mean?  It means that it works everywhere.  iPhone, iPad, Android, laptops and web enabled coffee makers* will all work beautifully with the FanCollector.

We have also simplified the Fan Collector’s look and feel, and as always it is fully skinnable.  Go ahead and get started using the HTML5 Fan Collector by going to your Control Room → Widgets & Apps → Widgets.

*we have never seen a web enabled coffee maker, but we bet it will work on one.
  
ShellyCollect Fans Everywhere with Our New HTML5 Widget
read more