To be successful bands have to engage their fans. Fans bring recognition, of course, but they also bring financial success. The fans let the band to make money and succeed in one of the most highly competitive industries.
There are useful lessons that business can take from musicians. They’ll help you forge more meaningful relationships with your audience and keep them engaged with who you are and what you do, without a large budget.
Here are some top tips that you can use to engage your customers and make your business more successful:
- Be authentic
It starts with your core identity and aims, so stay grounded.
Marketing is increasingly story-led. Artists, brands and businesses need to show an authentic picture of who they are and what they stand for then take every opportunity to tell your story and promote what you do. And allow space for audiences to share their own stories and desires.
- Niche community
User generated content platforms are driving conversations between fans and artists/businesses. We’ve all seen how powerful fan communities can be on social media platforms such as Twitter. It is important to focus on creating your own niche community around your identity.
Take Lady Gaga her fans or ‘Little Monsters’ are made to feel like part of her entourage. They benefit from exclusive access to pre-release tracks, priority show tickets and more. In return she receives near unconditional loyalty.
Subba-Cultcha.com is one example of a music community that is following the model of TripAdvisor and others. Fans can upload their reviews, read others and have a place where they can buy tickets, all reviewed by like-minded peers whose opinions they know they can trust.
- Befriend data
There are many ways you can use technology to understand your audience’s online behaviours - and you don’t need to employ any shady or privacy invading tactics to do so. Remember, anything you or they publish digitally is a tool to discover what your target audience responds to, enabling you to anticipate future patterns trends in more granular detail.
Some tools that will help you measure and monitor audience behaviour include Google Analytics, and Amplitude, a platform that allows you to track user response trends in real time.
- Show generosity
You want to incentivise your following and give them rewards for their presence – for example, competitions, exclusive first samples of new products, follower discounts on merchandise, etc.
For example, Radiohead let their fans decide what to pay for their album ‘In Rainbows’ - showing fans that they cared about them, and their relationship wasn’t just about money.
Work out what is most appropriate for your business and this stage. To increase your email database, give them an incentive to sign up, if you want to encourage more word of mouth brand ambassadors, use merchandise.
- But don’t go wild
Don’t just give everything you’ve got in the hope that people will return the favour! Use restraint as there needs to be some benefit to you. Free content and services are powerful means of showcasing what you are about and giving people the feeling of being a valuable part of the club.
- Direct communication
In an instant message age, communications direct to a personal inbox have more resonance. Don’t bombard them daily with your latest offers. Keep in regular touch with well thought-out messages with something they will be interested in.
Where applicable direct mail, used thoughtfully and with a specific purpose, can be an effective tool for grabbing attention away from the digital noise. The conversation needs to continue offline, online, in store, at live events, and through product and service development.
It may not be possible to respond to every comment on your page but pay attention to them and take time to respond to as many as you can. If you are updating your site, or products on offer, share an update and explain how audience feedback and comments helped to drive your decision. Show your community you want to hear from them by conducting polls and asking questions – this can be easily done on social media channels, blog posts and via email campaigns.
Trailers and sneak previews are a great way of giving your fans a taste of what’s to come. If you leave them wanting more, make sure you’re responsive enough to follow up!
Your customers want to be engaged. An engaged fanbase will provide brand ambassadors and cheerleaders for your products and services and support your business growth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Jennings has worked in digital publishing and advertising his whole career. He previously worked in the US and UK for the Financial Times, he most recently launched the digital portfolio for Last Word Media. Mark Jennings set up Subba Media with the aim of disrupting the publishing market. Subba-cultcha.com is a fan generated music and festival reviews platform. Built from a strong loyal community, the content is produced by music fans and festival goers, enabling artists and brand sponsors to reach a new, more engaged audience.