When launching a band, it’s very easy to forget about the business side of it all. Initially, most set off on a conquest to create killer music that they will love and hopefully along the way, music that others will also. That second part is extremely important to the success of your music career, that others will enjoy it. It’s fine and well if you are making music for fun, but if you have any aspiration of creating some form of income from it, you need to think about how you are going to market your music. For that you will need a Seven Sentence Music Marketing Plan.
Recently I listened to this great presentation from Jay Conrad Levinson, who is regarded as the father of Guerrilla Marketing. A marketing strategy where unconventional methods are used, typically low cost, that draw the attention of your potential market. In essence, this is at the heart of what music marketing is about, boot strapping DIY methods, that will not break the bank, but will cause some level of disruption to gain the attention of potential new fans. In Jay’s presentation he spoke about his seven sentence marketing plan, a simple to the point marketing plan, which will not take that long to complete.
So you are probably thinking wicked, this sounds pretty easy and any band or musician that takes their music seriously, has no excuse to not have one of these. A simple plan to lay out what you plan to achieve and how you are going to get there. As you go through this list you will be tempted to start writing, but please it’s best if you read through the whole process to understand how it works and then return to the top to commence your new music marketing plan. The below is an adaptation of Jay Conrad Levison’s original plan.
The Seven Sentence Music Marketing Plan
The first sentence tells the purpose of your marketing.
What specific action do you want a potential new fan to take? Be quite specific here, it could be things like, get people to listen to our music on our webpage, get people to purchase entry to our live shows, get someone to purchase merchandise at a live show. What you need to consider in this process is deciding on that specific thing that you want a new fan to do right after they have been exposed to the choice of marketing you present them.
Also do not be vague by saying something like ‘to get some fans to a show’. Be specific and give a precise outcome from what you want your marketing initiatives to achieve. It’s always best to consider by setting what is known as SMART goals: sensible, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (a deadline). You might want to phrase it for example, we would like to sell 100 new copies of our new album by the end of 2015 or we would like to get 50 views a day of our new track on youtube by x.
At this stage remove the how, just focus on what you want to achieve.
The second sentence states the competitive advantage you’ll emphasise.
This is the point where you demonstrate how you are going to achieve the goal you wrote for your first sentence. Simply, why will anyone do what you stated above? You’ve obviously got something unique to offer the potential fans, but so do all the other bands out there. But what do you offer over and above any other band or musician out there? These are your competitive advantages. If you have several of these be sure to pick the one thing that makes you stand out from the crowd.
At this point some of you might be wondering what exactly is your competitive advantage and thinking, we make music, we get on stage and we play it, hopefully someone will like it. If that’s all you’ve got, well you’re going to have to start thinking about something that sets you apart. It is very different to traditional products and services, but you are still in essence a service, providing entertainment for people, whether thats live, recorded or videos. I mean, that is what you are there to do, right? But what makes you different to the rest of the crowd? Discover and market this and essentially this is your first step to success. Most musicians don’t think about it that way unfortunately and now is your chance to get a competitive advantage over them.
If you are struggling, think about a musician or band that you like and think about why you like their music and is there anything that makes them stand out from other music.
The third sentence explains who your target audience is.
Who is going to listen to your music? Again this plan is about being very specific. This will allow your marketing to be more focussed and efficient. Remember your goal shouldn’t be to appeal to everyone. Just be focussed that the message you are sending is to a specific group of people. At this stage it is not a matter of having large numbers it’s more about directing this message to the right fans, who will be interested in your music. In some cases your music may appeal to several audiences and be sure to set your sights on each individual target market, more than likely someone else is.
The fourth sentence lists the marketing weapons you’ll be using
This is simply choosing from a huge list of specific marketing weapons you can use to boost your music career. Here is a list of the Guerilla Marketing Arsenal. While reading over this list you may think some of them seem ridiculous for music, but this list is created for any kind of business, it is about choosing the ones you can use. So choose the ones you can afford, understand and use properly.
As you will see there are 200 on this list, which gives you plenty of options, which have all been demonstrated to work in times past and modern marketing battles. Whilst the music world has proliferated due to technology, this technology has also made it much more affordable than any other time in history. Equip yourself with the right weapons and blow shit up. Not literally of course.
The fifth sentence explains your niche in the marketplace
Now that all the hard part is done, you have clearly identified the purpose of your music or band, it’s benefits to people and your specific target market. Now you need to define what your marketing niche is. Think of your marketing niche as, what do people think of when they hear your name, what is the first thing that pops into their minds?
A serious musician will understand that the music industry is cluttered with other artists, so its is beneficial to be a leader in a small pond. As a guerilla you will carve out a position where you can establish and differentiate yourselves from others. Now that you have established your niche, this is the moment where you allow it to be shown through all things you execute in your marketing. Your target market probably has a tough time already figuring out why they should listen and take notice of you. So be clear.
The sixth sentence sets forth your identity
Remembering that your identity is very different from your image, as your identity is based on the truth. An image is just a facade, something that is not real. The word which is far better to use is identity. Your music or band identity should automatically be honest. When you communicate a real identity, people will feel a sense of comfort when they are to interact with your band. What they see in your marketing is basically what they will get from your music. This in essence will build a sense of like and a rapport for your band.
A band’s personality also forms part of your identity. Unfortunately not many musicians have given it much thought. People are attracted to other people who have exciting personalities. Be great at your music, but don’t be all about the music. If anything let your identity shine through strong. Write it down and make it form part of you marketing plan and be sure to apply this to all of your marketing efforts.
The seventh sentence states your marketing budget, expressed as a percentage of your projected gross sales.
One of the best parts of guerilla marketing is that most of the marketing weapons are free. This is the crucial point though, remember there are important reasons why you should be spending on marketing. Not many musicians value this for some reason.
The most important part to spend your money is on the presentations of your music, meaning, the quality of your website, the quality of your music, the quality of your videos and the quality of your artwork. People will genuinely get a sense of how serious your take your music through the materials you produce for your band, so be sure to make a strong impression. This will most definitely cost you money, but you have to look at it as an investment into the bands future.
This is time to figure out where to spend your money, where you believe you will get the best bang for buck on your marketing dollars. Calculate how much you are going to spend on your marketing budget based on what you believe your musical efforts could produce in income. Don’t plan off what you are doing now, plan off what you are projecting to do, if you choose now figures, you will continue to linger in the now.
Now Do It!
Yep, go back to the top and start your plan.
While some of you may be unfamiliar on unsure about what I have written, feel free to ask questions in the comments section below. I am happy to provide you with any guidance and advice that I have knowledge on.