Photo by Samuel Zeller

Advice Inspired By The Music Industry Blueprint Podcast With Rick Barker

(Listen to the episode of The Music Industry Blueprint Podcast with Rick Barker that inspired this post here]

You may expect that the best promo hacks for musicians are more or less the most expensive advertising techniques. Yet, at the end of the day, relationships are your greatest tool for growing your listener base and selling your back end products.

Promo hacks are the underground actions you can take to ensure your above-ground popularity is authentic and your reach is real.

Keep reading to learn the 10 best promo hacks for musicians.

1. Use Social Media To Build Relationships

The original intent of every social media platform was facilitating relationship-building. If you find which platform(s) your potential listeners is/are on, then speak the language they’re already speaking to participate in the conversations they’re already having. You’ll gain a more interactive, profitable audience than you could otherwise buy.

2. Manage Your Expectations About Your Organic Reach

Just because someone has 1,000,000 followers doesn’t mean that 1,000,000 people see their posts. Social media platforms only show people what they want to see, so your chances of reaching any particular listener diminish every time they don’t look at or engage with something you post.

3. But Ads, Not Followers

Artists overestimate the impact of follower numbers, believing followers are a more organic fan base than ad-targeted listeners. These are known as vanity metrics. Buying ads to broaden your reach isn’t shameful; your social media marketing goal should be to get people to sign up for your email list. Well-targeted ads can do that just fine by offering something of value.

4. Use Your Email List To Cater To Your Custom Audience

Your email list is your reach; everyone on it gets your emails. Whether or not they open them depends on good relationship-building. You should regularly reengage people with emails that give them something — a connection, story, or coupon — instead of ignoring them until it’s time to buy something.

5. Build Segmented Email Lists To Have Targeted Email Conversations With People

Meet your people where they’re at by having different conversations with them depending on the strength of your relationship with them. New fans need on boarding support, already-on boarded fans need to be courted to maintain the strength and authenticity of your relationship, strongly-connected fans need to be empowered to make purchases.

6. Develop an “all buyers” email list and use it to build a lookalike audience of purchase-prone listeners

There’s an ad-targeting tool on Facebook for building email-list-based “lookalike” audiences. Create a segmented list of people who have purchased from you, then use it to create a lookalike audience and target ads selling back end products to people who share interests and purchasing habits with your paying audience.

7. Market first, advertise second

Marketing is the practice of storytelling and relationship-building. Advertising is selling something. Many artists jump into trying to sell to people before they build relationships with them. Try to never make a point (like “buy my album!”) without telling a story, and never tell a story without making a point.

8. Learn From People Who Are Good At Marketing And Re-Engagement

Learn from other successful marketers. Create a “no” email address and use it to almost-but-not-fully make purchases through online stores (especially other artists’ stores). This will be an email account that you will use for testing without cluttering up your main inbox. You’ll receive (and can mimic the best practices of) the different targeted emails they send to strengthen relationships with and re-engage distracted members of their audience.

9. Follow the 31-Second-Rule To Train Your Audience

Music is a time-based business: if someone watches your video for 31 seconds, you make money on streams. Post short (30-40 second) videos and use Google Analytics and Facebook insights to see who watches for 31 seconds, then increase the length of the videos shown to longer-watching populations to identify listeners likely to make purchases. Think small pieces of content and work up to longer form content.

10. Keep Your Google Ads Campaigns Going for $1/Day

Google’s machine-learning algorithms are built so that the longer an ad campaign runs, the more you can learn about the audience who sees and engages with it. Leave your ad campaigns running — even if it’s only for $1/day — to max out your understanding of your fan base.

Let me know in the comments if you are already utilizing any of these hacks and how they are working for you.