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Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Artists Make

The music industry is constantly evolving and with this, artists are presented with new opportunities and challenges.

In the age where album sales are increasingly lower, it can be overwhelming to break through the industry and get your music in front of the right audience.

Avoiding these 10 common marketing mistakes that artists make will set you and your brand up for long term success.

First, before we begin, I want you to understand what it means to be a music artist in 2018. If you don’t understand the opportunities in your business, it’ll be difficult to learn how to market yourself as an artist successfully.

There are virtually endless amounts of possibilities on how you could monetize your brand as an artist, but we literally can’t cover every single possibility (there isn’t enough time!).

Here are the 5 most important ways to make money as an artist that you need to know about!

1. Digital Sales
2. Shows and Tour
3. Music Streams
4. Sponsorship/ Endorsement
5. Selling Features, Instrumental, Artist Merchandise

Here Are The Top 10 Mistakes Artists Make And Tips On How To Fix Them!

Targeting the wrong audience is a problem most artists make when trying to market their music.

Targeting the wrong audience isn’t just exposing your music to an audience that isn’t interested.
Targeting the wrong audience is also interacting with them the wrong way.

A lot of artists use instagram to post flyers about their shows or mixtape, and that is a good use of social media marketing.

However, I’m sure we have all seen the artists who MOSTLY post flyers and cd covers on their instagram. Let me ask you a question, is that feed interesting? Is the feed unique enough that you would like to follow them for their content? No. Even if their music is great, instagram is a platform for pictures (and now videos), where you connect with your fans by showing your lifestyle and your brand.

Artists who just post flyers, low quality pictures and cd covers are NOT delivering value to their fans on instagram (remember, instagram is a visual (pictures/videos) platform, where Spotify and Soundcloud are platforms for music(sound)).

That type of content will not interest new people to follow that artist, and they would probably lose the interest of their existing fans if they keep that type of content for an extended period of time.

So when targeting your audience, be aware of who your audience is and what do you want to get out of them? Do you want them to like your facebook page? Do you want them to go watch your live show? Do you want them to show your music video? Buy your music or stream?

There is a way to get that done, but DON’T act like some artists who behave as if people should become their fan just because they released content or dropped a song.

Making a song is the basic part of being a music artist.

Targeting the right audience, building a successful marketing strategy, defining set objectives and creating a campaign to deliver the expected results and than building on that success to reach the next objectives; that is a winning recipe.

1. Not having a marketing plan and defined marketing goals

One of the important reasons why you must know the top 5 ways artists make money is so that you can make an actionable marketing plan.

Without defined marketing goals, you will be lost. You won’t just “get it right” by putting out your music. You need to understand the different ways you can make money with your music, understand your audience and your brand and finally, have a well defined marketing goal.

2. Targeting the wrong audience

Targeting the wrong audience is a problem most artists make when trying to market their music.

Targeting the wrong audience isn’t just exposing your music to an audience that isn’t interested.
Targeting the wrong audience is also interacting with them the wrong way.

A lot of artists use instagram to post flyers about their shows or mixtape, and that is a good use of social media marketing.

However, I’m sure we have all seen the artists who MOSTLY post flyers and cd covers on their instagram. Let me ask you a question, is that feed interesting? Is the feed unique enough that you would like to follow them for their content? No. Even if their music is great, instagram is a platform for pictures (and now videos), where you connect with your fans by showing your lifestyle and your brand.

Artists who just post flyers, low quality pictures and cd covers are NOT delivering value to their fans on instagram (remember, instagram is a visual (pictures/videos) platform, where Spotify and Soundcloud are platforms for music(sound)).

That type of content will not interest new people to follow that artist, and they would probably lose the interest of their existing fans if they keep that type of content for an extended period of time.

So when targeting your audience, be aware of who your audience is and what do you want to get out of them? Do you want them to like your facebook page? Do you want them to go watch your live show? Do you want them to show your music video? Buy your music or stream?

There is a way to get that done, but DON’T act like some artists who behave as if people should become their fan just because they released content or dropped a song.

Making a song is the basic part of being a music artist.

Targeting the right audience, building a successful marketing strategy, defining set objectives and creating a campaign to deliver the expected results and than building on that success to reach the next objectives; that is a winning recipe.

3. No Website

Now, this one should be a no brainer.

But nope, a lot of artists miss the basics. Listen, wake up.

If you’re a business, you’re a business; start acting like it. It’s 2018, there is no excuse why any artist doesn’t have a website. And I mean a .com, not a free domain. Look, hosting and domain names are really cheap and it does set you apart from those who don’t have a website. If you are serious about your career, you need your own website and email address. Not only is this better for your artist/business image but this is actually one of the steps to get your social media account verified (yes, the blue check!).

Other opportunities to having your own website is that it enables you to sell your music, instruments, sell merchandise, book shows, build an emailing list and more. Depending on your websites traffic, sponso

4. No Mailing list

 

Again, a huge mistake artists make is that they don’t understand the process of making money online, which is a big portion of how musicians make their money today!

Remember, making music is part of your job. But hey, you signed up to be in Show Business. The show is only half of it.

Artists NEED to understand the business part of show business.

And if you rely on the Internet to sell, gain followers and interact with your fans (everyone does in 2018!) than you need to understand how online business works.

You should leverage the Internet to your advantage!

Unless you plan to get lucky and drop a hit song that goes viral and have a major record label to finance everything, you’re going to need to learn some new concepts to maximize your fanbase reach when you drop that next project!

Building a mailing list should be a priority!

Mailing lists are like your online real estate. When you start building your targeted mailing list, you will quickly build a community around your brand. It’s been proven that mailing lists increase sales, conversion and long term profit.

Think about this for a moment:

Someone looks at your social media profile. They find you interesting and click on your website. Now, let’s say they made no purchase and also didn’t follow you social media. In this scenario, you basically lost contact with the potential customer/fan.

If they decide to come back later on and follow you or make a purchase you’re lucky, but you have no way of influencing that.

However, here is the solution, build a mailing list!

This way you are able to deliver value to your fans and build a relationship, that if done right, over time will build customer trust and loyalty.

That way, if the customer doesn’t follow you or make a purchase immediately, the money, time and content invested to reach that audience hasn’t gone to waste.

You’d still have captured their email addresses that later on you can use to send them updates about your upcoming shows and links to your music release. Now can you begin to see how this will help increase the digital sales and streams on your music? Let’s move on!

5. #HASHTAGS

Wait, what? Yeah, you know #hashtags we use on instagram, facebook, twitter and probably everywhere else too… That’s a huge mistake that not just artists but most people make.

Either you don’t use hashtags at all (horrible idea) or you use the wrong ones (good try, but it’s as bad as no hashtags).

Now, why is it bad not to use hashtags? Well, first let me tell you the #1 reason I’ve seen why artists don’t use hashtags – Ego.

Yup, artists think they’re too good, it’ll make them look bad and it looks like you’re trying too hard. Let me tell you this, if you’re getting 200-500 likes, heck even 3,000 likes – you should be using hashtags.

Hashtags are great way to gain exposure, new followers and hopefully go viral and hit top post. Now, targeting the right hashtag is easier than what you may think. First of all, don’t put 30 hashtags. With all the new instagram updates, that’s only going to get you shadowbanned (you don’t want to be shadowbanned!).

So, use between 7-10 hashtags. Okay, but which hashtag to use?! The answer is kind of simple. There is no exactly solution but there are guidelines.

Here is the formula:

Look for hashtags that have top posts with similar amount of engagement that your post gets.

If you try ranking for a hashtag with 1 million posts but you only get 50 likes and 2 comments, mostlikely thats not going to work. So look for smaller posts that you can rank for, that will bring you more exposure and new targeted followers.

As your account grows, so will the amount of engagement your account receives and that will lead you to rank for more competitive hashtags.

6. Not Engaging with your audience

Have you followed an upcoming artist? If you have, you will notice a lot of them make the same mistake.

They don’t engage with their audience! They expect people to follow them and become fans (without having a hit record) and that really doesn’t make sense.

Now, think, people want respect and to feel special. Use every chance you get to connect and build a deeper connection with your fanbase. If you’re going live on IG or dropping a video, make sure there is a purpose for that content.

That’s another reason why understanding these 5 ways to monetize your music is important.

3 Things to consider: What is your target audience, which opportunities you have available in your career right now and how your marketing strategy will aid you in reaching your marketing goal.

Thinking about these steps before engaging with your fans will help you effectively engage with them. Look at the biggest artists in the world. They are coached very well on how to reply to media questions, how to handle fan criticism and what to say and how to say it.

Why? Because as an artist, your business is your image and brand. So not engaging with your audience is as bad as targeting the wrong audience. Except here, if the right audience starts to dislike you because you don’t engage, you may find yourself having a hard time regaining their trust and money.

One of the best ways to help you engage best with your audience is to define who you are as an artist. What message are you wanting to deliver to your fans?

Not just in your lyrics, but you as a person, what is your contribution to their lives, to the world and to your music genre?

The answer to these questions will help you form a clear picture of who you are and how you can deliver value to your fans through engagement.

7. Poor Quality Logos and Single/Album Covers

As an artist, you should take the time to get a logo for your name, brand and single/album covers.

Artists spend a lot of time writing lyrics, find the right beat, recording etc. However, often times, artists forget basic steps to branding themselves and their business.

A logo is a statement. Your logo should look be professional and make you look as such.

Single and album covers are 2 areas where artists have major problems. If you release a single or an album cover with low resolution, or just not aestetically appealing – your work will look like a mess.

Even worse, you will look like an amateur. Odds are, a poor quality logo and album cover will turn away a lot of people from listening to your music and becoming fans.

8. No Video Promotion

Artists need to focus their energies on video promotion!

Instagram is a great place for music artists, considering instagram sells 30% more music related products than any other social media platform.

However, Youtube, Vimeo, Metacafe and other video distribution channels are an extremely effective and necessary tool to get your conent to the right audience.

How many of us heard a song at first and didn’t feel it at all? Probably happens more often than not. Then, when we go on Youtube and watch the music video for that song everything just “clicks” and we begin to like the song.

Why does that happen? There are a lot of reasons why videos help you connect with the audience.

For starters, it helps shape the perception of how the audience takes in the song. Videos provide a visual aid that helps build an emotional connection with the audience.

In addition, videos are another platform to gain exposure. You can use SEO to rank your videos on search engines like Google, post links on your videos to iTunes, Stream services, social media profiles or website.

That alone adds enough benefits that if integrated properly it could have a powerful impact in your fan base and reach.

On instagram for example, an average video gets more impressions and views than picture posts.

This means that videos have a higher chance of going viral and reaching the explore page. That’s something to think about when building your marketing strategy!

Which hashtags are you going to use this week?

Are you performing or releasing music this week?

Or is your content about your life as an artist?

Is the image your putting out of your life as an artist congruent with the image you put out in your music?

The answer to these questions will help you target your audience and plan your content, that way the content creation process will be easier and the success rate of your social media presence will be higher and your posts more effective.

9. Quality Over Quantity

This one is self explanatory.

Artists often feel like the more content they put out, the better their chances are of success. That’s not always the case!

There are many reasons why less is more. It takes time to make a good song.

You got to get the right beat, write a good song, go through the process of engineering and mastering and possibly a music video if you’re following advice #8.

All this costs! You see, if you’re not doing the steps above before you release a song, virtually the quality of the song may not be as good as it could have been.

And since music is subjective, you can’t afford to release projects with sound quality lower than industry standards! (It’s like selling a bad tasting pizza, but promising to deliver good pizza when you get the money to open up a real pizzeria! It doesn’t make sense!!)

Now, to do all this for one song takes time and money.

That’s why if you’re focused on releasing a lot of songs constantly, you may be sacrificing the quality of your music.

After the song is done and ready to be released, you should have a marketing budget for that song. You are a business. Think, what business gets things done for free? None.

Music artists often forget they are a business. When companies release products, they already have a seperate budget to market that product. As an artist, your product is your music.

That’s why building a mailing list, connecting with your fans on social media and shows are important! But that’s not all!

Depending on your marketing strategy and marketing goal, you may set a budget for Facebook Ads or Youtube promotion, Press Releases, SEO and other channels depending on the objective.

Keep in mind: You need the right song to make it, not 100 songs.

 

10. Consistency

They say consistency is key. That’s because it is!

You need to post consistently on social media in order to build up a fan base. This takes content planning.

Ideally you should post 2-3 times a day on instagram as an artist. Posting consistently enables your audience to create the habit of checking for your content. That also increases engagement, which in turn increases the exposure instagram gives your post and your chances of going viral and hitting the explore page.

The synergy with consistent quality posting and the correct targeting of hashtags will increase your audience reach and fan base. So remember, plan your content.

What story will you tell your followers?

What’s the intention of your social media?

Are you telling a story?

Does the story have different chapters?

If this week is a chapter, what type of content will you be releasing this week?

What kind of pictures/videos of that content will interest your audience the most?

Which hashtags are you going to use this week?

Are you performing or releasing music this week?

Or is your content about your life as an artist?

Is the image your putting out of your life as an artist congruent with the image you put out in your music?

The answer to these questions will help you target your audience and plan your content, that way the content creation process will be easier and the success rate of your social media presence will be higher and your posts more effective.

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