‘Tis the Season! I have to admit, the holiday season is a special time of year for me. Not only am I a sucker for all the holiday festivities like the sparkly lights, ice skating and hot cocoa, gift-giving, and time with family, but it’s also such a fruitful time for creativity.
While the winter is naturally a slower time for the music industry, that doesn’t mean it’s all halting to a stop. And, if you plan it right, it can actually be a really good time to use some of that creative energy you have and put it into making something special for your fans, and doing things a bit differently.
After all, marketing is best when it’s creative, innovative, and accurately reflects the brand (or band in this case) it’s coming from. So, take a scroll through our 5 holiday marketing ideas for independent musicians and see which one strikes you the most. Or, feel free to give them all a try!
Release a holiday song or music video
Let’s start with the easiest—releasing a holiday song or music video. This is an obvious choice to connect with your fans and get into the holiday spirit. The best part is, it really doesn’t have to be super time-consuming, expensive, or complicated. You can create an original song or high-quality music video if you want to, but you can just as easily do a cover song of a popular holiday classic or create an animated music video. It’s surprisingly inexpensive to create, and you can even make it a tradition that your fans look forward to each year.
A Spotify Playlist With Other Bands
Even though we love to complain about hearing the same 10 songs on repeat inside retail stores come November, the truth is that most of us really do enjoy a little holiday music from time to time, and if it’s a new one from one of our favorite bands, or a holiday classic with a creative twist (like a rock and roll version of “Silent Night” perhaps), we love it even more.
And what’s even better than one holiday song by an indie artist? A bunch of them! You can partner up with a few other indie musicians to create a holiday playlist in your genre and start sharing it with fans both new and old. You can include your own holiday songs, along with those of other indie bands. Don’t forget to throw in a few more popular songs to help with reach, and then ask the other artists on the playlist to share it.
This is a great way to get your music a wider reach because not only will you be sharing, but so will the other artists, giving you access to an entirely new audience.
Create custom holiday merch
There are so many fun directions to go with this one. Instead of releasing another t-shirt or set of stickers, embrace the holiday spirit by creating something that’s very specifically designed for the season.
For instance, you could create custom DIY stockings, ornaments, decorations, or other knick-knacks that are tailored to your fans. Or, you could do an ugly sweater. Either custom-made for each fan that orders one (even better if you make this limited edition, as in you’ll only make 25) or you can order a set of them through your usual apparel company.
Make an Advent Calendar
I would LOVE to see a band do this, but it hasn’t happened yet. Create an advent calendar that either counts down to the holidays or if you have a big show or event coming up (like a new single) you can also have it count down to that. (or all of the above!)
Every day that they open it, there could be something traditional like a piece of candy waiting for them, but you can also get a lot more creative with it. You could make it a puzzle (that leads them to receive an unreleased bonus track) or include things that have to do with your band like guitar picks, exclusive stickers, coupons that give them a free ticket to an upcoming show, or even handwritten notes thanking them for being such an amazing fan.
Create a DIY Gift Basket
You can really have fun with this one. It doesn’t even have to be actually holiday-themed, but even winter-themed will do. For instance, a hot cocoa kit that includes a mug with your logo. A S’mores kit that is wrapped in packaging with your favorite lyrics. Think about what makes you who you are, outside the music, and how that can translate to a gift basket. I’m telling you, if my favorite band did this, everyone would be getting it as a Christmas gift!
Offer a gift guide
This is a great way to not only show your fans some of your favorite things, but make a little money on the side. Think about the things you use and love on a regular basis and think about how that translates to your fans. For instance, if your fan base includes a lot of musicians, you might include gear. If it includes a lot of college students, you might include favorite notebooks or pens or water bottles. If your fan base has a lot of avid readers, include your favorite books.
You can then use affiliate links so that when your fans buy something from your gift guide, you get a percentage. It’s a really fun way to help your fans learn more about you and the things you love while earning a little extra for the holidays yourself!
There are SO many more things you could do to creatively market to your fans—it really comes down to knowing who you are, who your audience is (and what they want), and then making it happen. And after all, this is the season of making dreams come true, so what do you have to lose?
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves ice cream, reality TV, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.