Regardless of your advancement in the music industry, if you are a musician or an independent band, you need to refine the marketing of your music.
While I agree that the mere mention of the term “marketing” can cool three-quarters of artists who want to pursue a career, it is really what will make the difference in the long run for you.
After all, marketing is everything that will help you attract more fans and attention around your music: your branding, your online presence, your content strategy, advertising, press relations, your monetization strategy, your fan-artist relationship, etc.
To help you formulate your marketing strategy, today I propose that we go further in the development of your marketing plan for musicians.
What is a marketing plan?
According to Wikipedia, it is “a plan that identifies concrete operational actions planned for a given period (e. g. a year)”
In short, it allows you to visualize your strategy for the coming months (for example for the launch of an album, a participative fundraising campaign, a PR campaign), allowing you to unite more fans, sell more tickets, supplement your income, get more press and/or have more subscribers, depending on your objectives.
In this article, we will come back to the essential points to consider when developing your artist marketing plan.
The assessment of your musical project
First of all, it is vital to start from scratch and put words to your music and your career:
- Briefly describe your career (name, style, city of origin, etc.)
- List some of your accomplishments
- Name a few artists or groups similar to your music
- Give the strengths and weaknesses of your musical project
- Mention the contacts, media and assets you can use for your promotion
You can also add your electronic press kit (EPK) to this section.
Analysis of your musical niche
Before going any further, it is crucial to have a good understanding of the market in which you operate.
You need to analyze what is happening in your musical niche, that is, both in your local scene and in your musical style in general.
By seeing what works and what doesn’t, you can better differentiate yourself and meet the expectations of your ideal fans.
Here is a list of points to study in relation to your market:
- Who are the most well-known artists in your musical style at the local, regional, national and global levels?
- What are these musicians doing to engage their fanbase and develop their careers on a daily basis?
- What do musicians who struggle to break through do wrong?
- What are the standards of the music niche in terms of concert, merchandising and online presence?
- What is the content strategy of artists focusing on webmarketing ?
- Who are the influencers in your musical style?
By doing so, you improve your understanding of the market in which you operate, both locally (in your region) and globally (on the Web), which will help greatly in the future.
Your targeted audience
We can never repeat it enough, but you need to know your audience. You must know who you are talking to. You must know your ideal fan.
Because it is by knowing your target audience by heart that your communication will evolve and that it will be much easier for it to identify with your musical project.
You will know which media to focus on, which tone to adopt, which offers to offer, etc.
However, don’t make the mistake of targeting a typical fan. If he is not involved with your musical project, he is not your ideal fan. So focus on your great fan, the one who makes word of mouth work, comes to your concerts and buys your music.
- How old is your ideal fan? Is it a man or a woman? Where does he live?
- Is he more introverted or extroverted? What is it that fascinates him besides music?
- What would he like to buy from you? What other artists similar to your music do they like?
- On which sites and social networks does he spend his time online? How does he discover new artists? How does he listen to music?
We could go on for a while, but you see where I’m going with this.
Don’t go into too much detail either, to the point of getting stuck on this step. The main goal is to have a global understanding of your ideal fan to whom you want to address.
In the end, what differentiates the marketing plan from the marketing strategy is that the plan revolves around a single sales campaign over a given period. It has a clearly established mission.
Thus, you must be able to define concrete objectives for this promotional campaign.
If you release a new album, what is your real goal? Knowing that it must be a SMART objective, i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
For example, it can be to sell XXX albums within X months of the launch.
By defining your objectives in this way, you will be able to easily measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan. In addition, we can also formulate objectives related to streaming or views on your clips.
In addition, in this example the number of albums sold is our key performance indicator (or KPI). It is this indicator that we will monitor on a daily basis to see if everything is going well.
But we can also add other more secondary indicators, allowing you to better analyze the results, such as the conversion rate or the size of your fanbase.
It is nice to have objectives, but if your budget does not allow you to achieve them, then they are not realistic and should not be considered in this form.
One thing many musicians don’t realize is that they need to budget. The main goal is not to end up with an overdraft in the middle of your campaign. That’s better.
This serves to minimize risks, but also to consider all sources of income to finance your project at the right time.
So, it is best to determine your budget beforehand in order to know what you can afford.
Consider all alternatives to get the best value for money, but make sure your plan is realistic or you will never achieve your objectives.
Your provisional schedule
Now that you know who you are talking to, have estimated your budget and have defined specific objectives, you can review your action plan.
In short, we are talking here about all the operational actions you will take to achieve your objectives.
And this can include many areas depending on the objective: advertising, networking, booking, press relations, community management, content creation, branding, distribution, etc.
First define the points you will prioritize over the weeks and how. If your marketing plan is for a long enough period (6 months to 1 year), spend more time in the first quarter, even if it means updating your marketing plan after several months.
Indeed, you would risk wasting too much time planning everything in advance, since there is a good chance that the situation will change and affect your planning.
The easiest way to do this is to create a back-planning in a spreadsheet, i. e. a kind of calendar, with the main categories of tasks to be performed in the abscissa and the coming months or weeks in the ordinate. At the intersection you can detail the specific type of task to be performed at that time.
This retroplanning will allow you to have a global vision of the work to be done over this period.
A promotion campaign can be quite cumbersome and laborious, the more simple it can be, the easier it will be to take action effectively.
Then, your role will be to analyze the results of your efforts in relation to the objectives you had defined. It may then be necessary to adjust the formula to remove what works worst and amplify what works best.
You can also possibly divide your marketing plan into several phases according to the nature of the campaign (example: pre-launch, exit, promotion).
Example of a music group marketing plan
On this page, you will find the marketing plan of the English alternative rock band alt-J (∆)
This plan describes how the group went about making itself known on the US market, after having conquered the United Kingdom. To read!
Of course, artists do not have the reflex to create marketing plans when they really need them, that is, to design promotional campaigns worthy of the name.
However, trust me, all the efforts you put into producing such a document will pay off in the long run, if you follow these various tips.
This will save you time, money and peace of mind. Nothing beats a prepared musician.