Artist development is an ongoing process, but through effective marketing, you can skyrocket your artist development results quickly. Remember, developing an artist is similar to developing any other product or service in the marketplace. There are specific ways you can promote the artist to boost awareness and sales – including event ticket sales – using the proven methods of marketing.
Below are 10 marketing tips for explosive artist development, but this list is far from exhaustive. For artist development, you need to identify your target audience and then test marketing tactics to determine which resonate best with that audience. Most importantly, always works to build an emotional connection between the artist and the audience members, because this relationship transcends any short-term marketing tactic you might invest in.
Growing an artist brand is the first step for explosive artist development. A brand is a combination of tangible and intangible elements that create expectations in a consumer’s mind. A brand is a promise to consumers that they’ll receive a consistent experience based on their perceptions of that brand in every interaction they have with it. What does your artist promise to consumers? What should they expect to get from the artist every time they experience anything related to the brand?
Before you do anything else to promote an artist and start developing that artist, you must identify the artist’s brand promise and create any tangible elements that you want consumers to associate with the artist such as a brand name (which could be the artist’s real name), logo, color palette, and imagery. Don’t underestimate the importance of and value of an artist’s brand.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing available to you today. However, the key to content marketing success is to forget everything you think you know about marketing. You need to shift from thinking like a marketer to thinking like a publisher. That means the content you publish shouldn’t be self-promotional. Instead, it should be useful, meaningful, and relevant to your target audience.
The first step to leveraging content marketing for artist development is to launch the artist’s website and include a blog on that website. Start publishing useful, meaningful content at least three times per week. Make sure your content is high quality or no one will want to read it. In addition, you can publish and share content on social media and on other sites where your target audience is likely to spend time. I’ll discuss these opportunities in more detail later in this article.
For now, understand that everything should start at your core, branded online destination – the artist website and blog. From there, all other content publishing and sharing that you do should lead back to the artist’s website and blog. That’s how Google and other search engines will find the artist when people are searching for related information. And how do must people find information today? Google. The artist needs to be easy to find there.
3. Videos and Live Streams
Videos and live streams can help with artist development at any time – from launching a new song, creation, or product to selling more tickets to an event. That means your artist must be developing video content. Start by creating a YouTube channel for the artist, branding it with the artist’s brand, and uploading content that is consistent with that brand and helps to build audience expectations for it. It’s also important to note that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google. Suffice it to say, people are already looking for content and performers like your artist on YouTube.
Live streams through live streaming tools are popular for many artists and events, but you don’t need to hold a huge event to leverage live streams for artist development and marketing. If you have a Facebook account, you can use Facebook Live to get in front of the audience in real time. This works extremely well by promoting the Facebook Live event via social media marketing, email marketing, and even online ads. During the Facebook Live broadcast, the artist can talk to the audience and perform. It’s a great way to strengthen the relationship between the audience and the artist’s brand.
4. Social Media
Social media marketing is extremely popular because it works. By publishing content, sharing content, and communicating with other people via social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on, an artist can get in front of a targeted audience where they already spend time.
Where you spend your time depends on your audience. For example, if your audience is made up primarily of Millennials and younger people, Instagram, Snapshat, and Facebook (in that order) are the places to be. If your target audience is business people, you should be on LinkedIn. Of course, these are only guidelines, so research your audience and determine which social networks they use the most before you start investing time into them.
The trick to social media success is getting your audience to connect with you (see tips to get more Facebook Page likes) and engage with you (see tips to increase Facebook engagement). It’s rarely a quick-win tactic, but it can be a powerful long-term strategy.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing works when you build a list of email addresses from people who opt in to receive messages from you. They’ve already expressed interest in the artist brand by opting in on the artist’s website or by completing another opt-in step. The rest is up to you (or your email marketer).
First, learn what types of email marketing messages are most effective for artist development and event ticket sales. Next, understand who is on your list and where they are in the buying cycle. Who are they? What type of content are they interested in receiving from you? When you have this information, you can target email marketing messages to the right people at the right time and boost your conversion rates.
You can also use email marketing to drive sales of the artist’s products or services. Sales messages can be very effective, but don’t stop at promotional messages. To boost the return on your email marketing investment, send reminder messages and remarketing campaigns, particularly online shopping cart abandonment messages.
To get results quickly, you can use online advertising to increase artist development. Ads are generally a short-term marketing investment that you’d use when you want to move the needle for something specific right now. For example, if you’re promoting a new artist and want to build awareness of the artist’s brand quickly or you’re promoting the upcoming release of an artist’s new album or tour, ads can be extremely effective.
Consider investing in paid search advertising through Google AdWords or social media advertising through Facebook ads or Instagram advertising. Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn advertising can also work very well for certain audiences. In addition, you could target specific sites where your audience spends time and place ads directly on those sites. Do your research, come up with a list of sites to contact, and start inquiring about advertising opportunities. Be sure to confirm that the site gets decent traffic before you invest a lot of money into direct placement ads.
7. Forums, Groups, and Communications
Where does your target audience spend time online – not just reading and consuming content but engaging with other people? Yes, social media sites are an obvious answer, but what other sites do they use? Are there online forums or communities where the artist’s target audience engages with each other?
When you find these sites, create an account and join the conversation. However, don’t just promote! Most of these online communities won’t tolerate excessive promotion. Instead, use these sites to build relationships with the target audience that lead to interest in the artist’s brand and what the artist is creating.
You can also look for active groups (this includes Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups) where people come together to share and discuss topics related to your artist. These groups could be industry-related, genre-related, and so on. In other words, groups and communities where you spend time don’t have to be directly related to exactly what your artist is doing. Think outside the box and look for creative ways to engage with and build relationships between the target audience and the artist’s brand.
8. Brand Ambassadors and Online Influencers
Brand ambassadors and online influencers may or may not be paid to talk about an artist and share content about the artist or by the artist with their audiences. They have established audiences who listen to what the ambassador or influencer says, so your goal is to find ambassadors and influencers whose audiences match your artist’s target audience.
Another strategy is to turn the artist’s existing fans into brand ambassadors. Look for people who already engage with the artist and research how many social media followers they have, if they run a successful website or blog, and if their audiences are the right match for the artist. If their online reach and their audiences are a good match for your artist, then reach out to them and ask if they’d like to help spread the word about what the artist is doing. It’s a great way for fans to feel even more involved with the artist, which strengthens their relationship with the artist’s brand even more. Since word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, creating brand ambassadors is essential for artist development.
9. Publicity and Outreach
Generating publicity for an artist can be done offline and online. Offline opportunities include reaching out to radio stations, local news affiliates, and print publications to pitch the artist for appearances and interviews.
To increase mentions of the artist online, you need to develop an outreach plan. First, you have to create a list of sites to reach out to. These should be sites where the artist’s target audience spends time and sites that can help the artist’s website, not hurt it. This requires a bit of search engine optimization knowledge to understand.
In simplest terms, every incoming link to the artist’s website can help it by creating more entry points for people and Google (and other search engines) to find it. That’s usually a good thing, but in the online world, there are times when certain doorways could be bad for the artist’s website. This happens when links come from low quality sites that Google has flagged as bad. Without getting into the details of why Google might not like certain websites, suffice it to say that you should limit your outreach to reputable sites with good traffic and good content quality.
You can use the same criteria when you reach out to people on social media and ask them to share your content to generate publicity. Look for people who have a large following of people in your target audience, but make sure they publish new content at least every few days and that other people actively engage with them and retweet their content. Otherwise, that large following might just be a lot of bots and fake accounts!
10. Guerrilla Marketing
Guerrilla marketing for artist development can include a wide variety of tactics that help you get the artist in front of more people quickly without having to invest a lot of money to compete against other artists with bigger marketing budgets. Using street teams that hand out flyers and hang posters are a perfect example of an effective guerrilla marketing tactic.
Online guerrilla marketing includes the outreach discussed above as well as marketing through social media contests, blog contests, user-generated content, and webinars. Basically, any way you find to get in front of the target audience online without spending a lot of money can be considered a guerrilla marketing technique, so don’t be afraid to get creative!
Your Next Steps to Use Marketing Tips for Artist Development
Artist development can happen quickly if you use the marketing tips discussed above. While you don’t have to spend a lot of money to build an artist brand, generate sales for the artist’s creations, and sell tickets to the artist’s events, you will need to commit time. It’s up to you to determine how quickly you want to build the artist and how much time and/or money you need to invest to do it.
One thing is certain, artist development is an ongoing process, so your efforts to increase awareness and recognition, boost loyalty, and increase sales are dependent on your efforts today and in the future to spread the word about the artist and build the relationship between the artist brand and the audience.