The Musician’s Guide to the Complete Marketing Plan, Part 2

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciancontinues his complete marketing plan for musicians in his latest article from SonicBids!

For the first three steps of your complete musician marketing plan, check out part one of this three-part series!

To many musicians, marketing is simply about promoting – setting up social media sites, buying Facebook ads, and/or creating YouTube videos. While these strategies are all important, they represent only a small part of the complete marketing process. In part one of this three-part series, I discussed everything from describing your vision to analyzing your customers. Now, in part two – steps four through six – I’ll present everything you need to know about learning from your competitors, getting feedback, and setting goals. Remember that these concepts are rather complex and covered only briefly below. For more detailed information, please check out my book, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician.

4. Learn from your competitors with a competitor analysis

Differentiation is crucial to your success, so the next step in the marketing process involves thoroughly conducting a competitor analysis. This involves picking two local artists and two national artists that have the ability to draw attention away from you, and then considering what these artists do well and where they might be lacking. 

To illustrate, if you notice that your competitors have interesting distribution techniques, like Radiohead’s recent release of their album on BitTorrent sites, then you might step up your own distribution game as well. More importantly, if you notice that your competitors are consistently weak in certain areas, such as in their live performance productions, then you might strive to really excel in this area by putting on a live performance that rivals no other. The idea is to really set yourself apart from the rest of the pack and thus gain a solid competitive advantage.

Make no mistake: in the over-flodded marketplace today, your strongest strategy for success is to be as good as the best, or to be “different while relevant” in everything you do.

5. Demo your products and get invaluable feedback

Step five in the marketing process deals with research and development. This involves developing, testing, interpreting, and refining your products and services to get invaluable feedback from your target fan. This can simply be done by writing and recording three to five songs inexpensively, asking for feedback via your social networks or your live performances, and then determining what changes and/or additional testing (if any) need to be conducted.

[Testing and Feedback: 5 Steps to Getting Approval From Your Fans Before Committing Your Valuable Resources]

As Edward McQuarrie explains in The Market Research Toolbox, market research can never provide guarantees, but it acts as an “uncertainty reducer.” It can help you predict the future and save you a significant amount of time and money, which might otherwise be spent on creating products or, in your case, songs that simply don’t sell.

Keep in mind that the key focus of this article is to help musicians like you turn your art into a more successful business. It’s about creating music that truly matters to you, but also music that gets heard, and music that sustains you and your family.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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Seven Tips to Getting Sponsors for Your Band

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides tips for getting sponsors for your band in his latest article from Hypebot!

Sponsorships are a mutually-beneficial relationship wherein two (or more) product-based companies market their products via the support and approval of the other. Are you networking with companies that could help you build your career?

Artists can develop relationships with local sellers and national manufacturers and get Live show promotion, Free merchandise, and Credibility in the eyes of the public, as well as in the eyes of club bookers who might be interested in having that artist perform.

Companies, on the other hand, can form relationships with artists and get Exposure to selective target markets, Public awareness and sales, and Coolness by associating themselves with hip and “in” music.

What follows are seven tips that can lead to arranging your very own sponsorships.

1. Make a detailed list of the local businesses and national corporations you wish to target. Log on to each company’s website for specific information including the businesses’s name, owner, brand manager, event coordinator, address, phone number, store hours, website URL, submission policies, and more.

2. Be prepared to show various companies how they can benefit by sponsoring you: show that you’re creating buzz in your community, that you’re reaching their target demographic fan, and that you have the right personality that matches and aligns with their brand.

3. Create a press kit (physical and electronic) that is specifically designed with sponsors in mind. Show pictures of you promoting the product, and include biographical information. Check out companies like Sonicbids to help create your electronic press kit if needed.

4. Remember to express absolute excitement in promoting a company’s products. Emphasize your work ethic and commitment to following through on the deal. Many bands flake out on hanging banners at shows, placing logos on posters, mentioning the company’s name in record liner notes, and keeping sponsors up-to-date with career news. Some bands even attempt to sell or pawn products that were given to them. These are all big mistakes. Paris Hilton has been sued more than once for not honoring her sponsorship agreements. But, that’s no surprise!

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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The Musician’s Guide to the Complete Marketing Plan, Part I

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandetails a complete marketing plan for musicians in his latest article from SonicBids!

The Musician’s Guide to the Complete Marketing Plan, Part I

Marketing is the complete process of innovating products and services to satisfy fans, build awareness, and make sales. This process involves a series of important building blocks including researching, goal setting, strategizing, and executing. While these concepts are covered in detail in my book, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, I’ve broken them down into 10 important steps over a three-part series. What follows are steps one through three, from describing your vision to analyzing your customers. So, which steps are you forgetting when marketing your music?

1. Describe your band’s vision and set your career on course

The first step in the marketing process involves identifying your “vision” and creating a vision statement – a declaration of where you’d like your career to be in seven to ten years down the road. A vision statement summarizes what you’re truly passionate about and includes everything from the type of music you’d like to create, the products you might release, and the overall brand image you might like to impart on your intended audience. With a clear vision statement, it’s far easier to map out the directions for how you’re going to get to your desired destination.

Long before Marilyn Manson hit the scene, he envisioned himself as being a pop star who would shock the world. According to one source in Ft. Lauderdale who knew him early on, Manson kept drawings of costumes and stage set designs along with other business and creative details in a personal notebook. This was Manson’s “North Star,” his guiding light. Several platinum albums later, he truly succeeded at bringing his vision to fruition.

As the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you can surely fall for everything.” So what’s guiding your music career? If you haven’t thought about it before, now is a good time.

2. Identify opportunities or “needs” by conducting a SWOT analysis

While keeping your vision at heart, it’s time to examine what’s going on in the world around you to ensure that your vision actually fills a need and represents a true marketing opportunity. As previously stated, Marilyn Manson had a clear vision of being a pop star who shocked the world. But he also identified and filled a specific societal need and void in the marketplace for an entertaining and horrifically dramatic “new” stage personality, similar only to what a now aging Alice Cooper had done 23 years before. In other words, the marketplace was ripe for an artist like Marilyn Manson, and he capitalized on the opportunity unlike any other artist.

A valuable tool to help you examine the external (and internal) environments of the marketplace is called a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The idea is to identify external needs and opportunities that match your internal strengths (skills, etc.), but while also considering your internal weaknesses (finances, etc.) and external risks (competition, etc.) that could impede your ability to succeed. While all this might sound like business school jargon, the most successful companies, both big and small, use the SWOT model. With a little training, so can you!

Click here to view the rest of the article!

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Robert Willey chats about his upcoming book!

Author Robert Willey recently sat down for an interview with the Education Market Manager of PreSonus Audio Electronics, John Mlynczak, to talk about his upcoming book for up-and-coming music producers, Getting Started with Music Production.

>>LISTEN HERE<<

Getting Started with Music Production is for anyone interested in developing a more efficient and creative approach to music production, and it’s structured so thoughtfully that it can be used as a textbook for a modular, activity-oriented course presented in any learning environment. As an added bonus, the text and accompanying examples are built around the free version of Studio One from PreSonus, so no matter what their musical or technical experience level, students don’t need to purchase expensive recording software to benefit from the presented material. The fundamental concepts and techniques delivered in this book apply seamlessly to any modern DAW.

The author includes several supporting video tutorials that help further explain and expand on the instruction in the text. All supporting media is provided exclusively online, so whether you’re using a desktop computer or a mobile device, you’ll have easy access to all of the supporting content.

Getting Started with Music Production is intended for college music majors, high school students, and independent learners. The first ten chapters can be used by schools on the quarter system, with an additional five chapters provided for those on the semester system.

Career killing execution mistakes musicians make

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides a list of career killing mistakes many musicians make in his latest article from DiscMakers!

Career killing execution mistakes musicians make

When trying to take their career to the next level, there are common mistakes many musicians make. Keep these missteps in mind and you’ll stay on the path to success.

Execution is the art of getting things done. It involves adopting the right policies to help you close the gap between what you want to achieve and what you deliver. But many musicians fail to get to that next level of their careers. They create master plans to rule the world with ease, but they fall short with seeing these plans through effectively. What an unfortunate waste! As Ralph S. Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, said, “The best-thought-out plans in the world are worthless if you can’t pull them off.” What follows are five mistakes musicians make when executing their master plan.

1. Failure to use reminder marketing techniques and multiple mediums

Many artists send out one marketing communication before their show (e.g. an email two or three weeks before) and expect their fans to remember to show up. The result: they experience poorly-attended shows, which equals unhappy promoters, which equals missed opportunities. Look gang, you’ll get nowhere by believing that you’re at the front of your fans’ minds 24/7. To be successful, you must send out several notices, spaced-out evenly over two to three weeks before your gigs, and use a variety of mediums (postcards, phone calls, face-to-face selling techniques, etc.) to get the job done right!

2. Failure to follow up

It takes a lot more than just one email to that blogger to get a review of your album, or to a booking agent you’ve never met to secure that hot gig. Sometimes it takes calling back at a specific date and time as requested by a certain contact. Tenacity and patience in this regard are extremely important! No follow-up equals no gigs or reviews, which equals zero new fans and sales. That said, after sending off your initial correspondence (email, tweet, or whatever), follow up in a week if the intended receiver has not replied. Repeat this technique or attempt to use another means of communication (phone, letter, etc.) if necessary. Keep notes of your attempts in a spread sheet. And remember to always be nice in your correspondences – the world owes you nothing.

3. Failure to delegate

Many independent artists complain that pursuing a career in music is an overly daunting task and so they focus on looking for a manager to help. But remember that managers get paid a percentage of the money you make, and the last time I studied math, 20 percent of zero was zero. What incentive does a manager have to come on board? You must first learn how to delegate responsibilities across all band members. The drummer can be in charge of booking, the bass player might do all the social media, and the guitarist can be the one that seeks out music placements. If you’re a solo artist and don’t have other members to depend on, then you can enlist your super fans – those passionate fans who are willing to kill for you (everyone has at least one). So for the sake of clarity, to be successful, treat your music career as if it were a company with several departments all working toward a goal.

Click here to view the rest of the article!

Also, check out these other articles recently written by Bobby Borg:

The Musician’s Guide to the Complete Marketing Plan, Part 1

Seven Tips To Getting Sponsors For Your Band

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12 Radio Promotion Tips To Help Build Awareness For Your Band

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides promotion tips to help build band awareness in his latest article from Hypebot!

12 Radio Promotion Tips to Help Build Awareness For Your Band

Radio promotion is the process of soliciting your music to radio stations to get airplay, to build professional relationships, and to make fans. Are you getting the most out of your radio promotion campaigns?

College radio stations, web radio stations, satellite radio stations, and commercial specialty shows (the “locals only” type shows on commercial stations at the end of the week) are all great places to promote your music—especially when the Internet is overflowing with millions of other independent artists competing for attention.

12 tips to maximize your next radio promo campaign

1. Create a target station list of all radio mediums by using Radio-Locator (www.radio-locator.com), Indie Bible (www.indiebible.com), and Live365 (www.live365.com). Write down the station name, show name, DJ, contact information, submission policy, and “call time” (the time the DJ accepts calls). This should pretty much do it.

2. Prepare the proper materials for your campaign including a broadcast quality master (CD or MP3), a “one sheet” that includes important information (such as your name, picture, brief bio, and your accomplishments), and a short note or cover letter or email indicating your objectives for sending your music.

3. Call the station one week after sending your music to see if they received it and ask for feedback. Be prepared to call-back repeatedly to reach the DJ or music director. Also be patient and be extremely nice. This is a very important step in the process.

4. If your music gets played, send the DJ a ‘Thank You’ card for adding your music and let him/her know that you really appreciate his/her support.

5. Request positive quotes from the DJ about your music to use in your promotional packets and websites.

6. Schedule live station interviews and station performances.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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6 Types of Music Promotion You Might Be Overlooking

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandescribes types of music promotion you might be overlooking in his latest article from SonicBids!

6 Types of Music Promotion You Might Be Overlooking

You’ve probably been told a million times by now that internet marketing (i.e., social networking, posting videos, getting reviews on blogs) is one of the most convenient and low-cost methods of promotion today. But it’s also a highly competitive space, filled to the brim with artists fighting for even the tiniest sliver of attention. Therefore, if you want to actually get seen and heard, it’s wise to even out your promotional campaign with a blend of both offline and online strategies. Are you overlooking these six effective methods of marketing your music?

1. Personal selling

Personal selling is the process of getting eye-to-eye with target customers and influencing them to act. It’s used when you have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with fans or business contacts to communicate the benefits of your products and ultimately make sales. Setting up “meet and greets” with your fans at local retail stores to promote your album or inviting a music supervisor out to lunch to discuss possible placements can produce tremendous results, especially if you’re charming, witty, talented, and a good salesperson.

2. Direct marketing

Direct marketing is a system by which organizations bypass intermediaries and communicate directly with end users to generate sales. It’s used when you have a well-targeted database of names and your target audience responds well to one-on-one communications. Snail mail, texting, and even telemarketing are all methods of direct marketing. On the latter note, when is the last time you went through your database of fans and personally called people to remind them about an upcoming show? You probably haven’t, and neither have many other bands – and that’s precisely why this method can potentially work well for you.

3. Radio promotion

Radio promotion is the process of soliciting your music to radio stations to get airplay, build professional relationships, and make fans. It’s used when you have master quality recordings, want to form solid relationships with DJs who are well-connected in your geographic area, and want to be broadcasted to potentially thousands of people in one spin. While regular-rotation commercial radio stations are a tough nut to crack, more viable mediums include college radio, National Public Radio (NPR), satellite radio, and commercial specialty shows (i.e., “locals only” type shows that air late night on weekends on commercial stations). Not only will the DJs play your music, but they can also arrange interviews, invite you to perform live on-air, and even announce your local gigs, contests, and news updates.

Read the rest of the article here!

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