When was the last time you thought about music promotion and romance at the same time? Been a while? Well, by the time you finish reading this post, you may do it more often. (Thinking about the combination, that is. How often you “do it” is up to you :-)
This whole idea started when I ran across an article by Desiree Gullan called “The Kama Sutra of Marketing.” (In case you don’t know, the Kuma Sutra is an ancient Indian text widely considered to be the first manual on love and human sexuality.)
It reminded me of an analogy I’ve often used: Marketing is a lot like dating.
But most self-promoting musicians don’t think of it that way. And because of that, they struggle to get noticed, connect with fans, and make money with music.
So, here are some valuable lessons from the world of romance you can apply to your music promotion efforts:
1) Don’t settle for just anyone — search for your music fan soul mates
You’ve heard the jokes. “He’s not Mr. Right, but he’s Mr. Right Now.” When dating, especially if people feel desperate, they settle. Instead of finding the right match, they pursue relationships that have little long-term potential. “Well, it’s better than being alone,” they say.
Do you do the same with your music promotion? Are you out to catch the interest of anyone who will listen? Or are you more discerning? The best way to proceed with a music career is to first decide who your ideal fan is. Who is your music-related soul mate?
How old are they? Do they tend to be male or female? Where do they hang out online and off? Where do they shop? What magazines, blogs and websites do they read?
Get a handle on who you want to attract. Then focus on reaching only those types of people.
2) Get to know your fans first
What do you do on a first date with someone you really think has potential? Do you talk endlessly about yourself and how great you are? Or do you listen a lot and have a two-way dialogue?
Sadly, most people feel the need to impress others with how cool they are. So they launch into a laundry list of everything they’ve ever accomplished in their lives. Unfortunately, this approach leaves the other person feeling more neglected than impressed.
It’s the same with music promotion. It’s not all about you and your needs. Get to know your audience and what their interests and concerns are. Listen more than you talk. Share some of yourself and your story as you get to know them better. Give your fans a chance to know, like and trust you. It’s all part of your musical courtship.
3) Don’t forget foreplay
Okay. You’re excited. You met someone new who really likes you. You anticipate the potential pleasure you will both experience together so much, you can taste it. It’s time to move in for the grand finale, right?
Wait! Hold your horses, Carl Casanova (or Valerie Vixen). Ease into the blessed event. Warm each other up first.
From a marketing standpoint, that means you don’t have to be so quick to ask for the sale. Wine and dine your fans (figuratively) before you flash your “Buy Now” button. Tease them a little with samples and insights into your songs. Leave them wanting more!
Consumers generally need to be exposed to something they enjoy seven to ten times before they get out their wallet or credit card to make a purchase. So expect and allow for this delayed gratification as you promote yourself.
4) Be a great music lover
When the time comes to consummate the relationship, make sure you deliver the best goods you can. Make it a joyful and stimulating experience for all concerned — one your fans will remember (and maybe even tell many others about) for years to come.
That means you must create an unforgettable experience (be it a CD, music download or live show) filled with benefits that make each fan feel good. Make yours the best music in your genre. Thrill your fan partners so much, they’ll want to recreate the experience again and again.
That’s your goal as a self-promoting musician: Create moments your fans will want to duplicate over and over — all the while telling their friends about you and the great time they had.
That’s right: You want to have a colorful “reputation” that spreads!
5) Contact them and ask for another date
Finally, don’t leave your fans hanging after your first meaningful encounter. Get back in touch soon to thank them and let them know how much you enjoyed the experience.
This means you must follow up after the sale or the live show. Why? Because, if it was good for both of you, you want the relationship to continue. You want to interact more and enjoy more positive experiences (including music and merchandise sales) together.
Therefore, you must put a huge emphasis on building and using a fan mailing list. Capture the name and email address of everyone who has a positive experience with your music. Then input those details into a database and send messages to your fan list on a regular basis.
See, there is a connection between the Kama Sutra and music marketing.
So, from now on, when you’re engaged in music promotion activities, I encourage you to think about dating and making love.
But vice versa, thinking about music marketing while making love … you might think twice about that one :-)
P.S. What do you think about the Kama Sutra of Music Marketing? I welcome your comments.
Bob Baker helps musicians, authors and creative entrepreneurs use their talents and know-how to make a living and make a difference in the world!