February 29, 2008
This is my first official FanManager blog post. I will be doing semi-regular posts every month. I am the guy second to left in this picture.
Back in October 2007 I was invited to be a panelist at the NARIP LA Music Conference. These were some tips I offered aspiring artists. Hopefully these are helpful to you.
1- Play locally to develop a solid base. Many bands make the mistake of wanting to get out in a van and tour around the country before they have a local following.
- Play as many local gigs as you can in bars, opening for other local acts, in restaurants, college campuses, high schools and house parties.
- Establish a personal connection with your earliest adopters. They will stick with you through to the end.
- Identify who your most passionate fans are and make them your “band / brand ambassadors.”
2- Create a street team. Use your brand ambassadors and find new members with your email list and MySpace page and other social networks. Also expand your street team by using incentive-based programs (such as “refer 2 friends to the team and get a free ticket” etc.). Street teams will help increase your record and ticket sales.
- Create a FUN name for your team so more fans are encouraged to join.
- Street teams help pass out handbills, stickers and CD samplers as well as put up posters and host parties.
- Give your team a list of like-minded shows to target with handbills
- Street team members who pull through for you and send in reports of their work or pictures should get rewards such as free tickets for shows, free merchandise or backstage/VIP access.
- Street teams can help you promote your band’s tour, album release or even a performance time at a major festival.
- Make sure your teams are complying with local laws as some cities have strict rules about posting banners and could fine you.
- Use the street team (usually cute girls wearing your band’s T-shirt) to help walk around the show and gather email list entries.
- Use the street team to pass out extra goodies (stickers, CDs) before and after the show.
- Use the street team to help call in radio requests. This has to be done carefully though as most radio stations can easily identify a street team call-in campaign and this could do your band more harm than good.
3- Create an E-Team. Use your brand ambassadors and find new members with your email list and MySpace page and other social networks. Since mostly high school or college-aged fans spend countless hours surfing the internet and on social networks, find Web savvy fans to help spread the word about your band, tours and album releases online.
- Arm your E-Team with tools such as animated banners, AIM icons, wallpaper, links and other online tools.
- E-teams host banners on their own MySpace pages and other profiles which click through back to the band’s Web site, fan club ticket pages, or other purchase links.
- E-teams help spread the word about your band on other like-minded message boards, in chat rooms, local music lists, and other forums.
- E-teams post show advertisements on Craiglist.
- E-team helps write favorable reviews of your music on Amazon, I-tunes, and other E-commerce sites.
4- Make sure the band is accessible. Younger bands should be 100% accessible and even mid-level bands should be willing to take as much time as they can take to connect with their fan base.
- Band members should shake hands with fans in the front row and be willing to walk around afterwards and talk to people.
- Arrange meet & greets before the show during the day or if the band is in town a day early.
5- Connect with fans via blogs, bulletins, blasts, text messages and voicemails.
- Weekly or monthly MySpace (and other social network) blasts to a fan base with a road journal, studio updates, or funny backstage antics help fans feel closer to the action.
- If band members have time, have them respond to personal messages from fans on MySpace pages. This is the best way to connect with your fan base. Or if you are too busy, have your marketing team handle requests and messages. If you don’t have marketing help, appoint a hard core fan you can trust to help you moderate your page.
- Have a “fan of the week” or “fan of the month” profiled on your MySpace page or other online profiles.
- Text messages from the band to fans cell phones is another newer way to keep fans in the loop on cool events, meet and greets, or can be used as a thank you from the band for coming out to the show.
- Voicemail services are an even newer phenomenon where the band can leave a personal greeting for people.
6- Create incentives for buying music
- Create incentives such as: “Be one of the first 100 fans to buy our CD, and get a personally signed copy of the album and a free t-shirt” is another great way to stay close to your core supporters.
7- Start a fan club
- Let your core fans get access to cheaper tickets and pre-sales by setting up a fan club.
- Fan clubs also keeps your fans happy and wanting to buy your music and merchandise directly.
8- Offer as much free music as possible
- Download cards are a great way to give your fans access to live music or unreleased studio material. The fans pick up the cards at the merch booth and scratch off a code they can use to download music from your Web site when they get home.
- If your band has no label restrictions, encourage live taping of your concerts. Fans will trade live shows with each other and is a great way to get more of your music out there. This is a major reason bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish were such successful touring acts.
9- Make a YouTube page
- Make a YouTube page dedicated to your band and feature live performances, get fans involved with your recording process, make fun home movies and show backstage antics.
- Get your E-Team and street teams to comment on the videos and bring your band more traffic.
10- Create fun and exciting contests
- Make fun contests for fans to enter every few months and offer big rewards such as VIP access to a show, IPOD loaded with music, guitar lesson with band member, etc. This helps bring more traffic to your Web site or social networks and is a great way to drum up extra excitement around a tour or album release.