Planning for Marketing Success

Good marketing is not an accident. Plan your future by learning to market your music.

Do You Have the Consistency of an Insane Weimaraner?

Be consistent in your marketingMeet Striker. He’s our crazy, ten year old Weimaraner. I’m not picking on him. If you’ve ever met a Weimaraner you know they’re all crazy. Since he had his 10th birthday, he’s almost as calm as a Labrador puppy! :)

But as distracted and hyper as he is, Striker has one of the most important elements of marketing down cold – consistency.

His world is all about a schedule. He wakes at the same time every day. He can tell you what time it is based on how close it is to his dinner time. And he goes to bed at the same time each night whether we’re ready to or not.

He lives and dies by consistency. And if you’re messing with his schedule, he’s going to let you know. There will be tons of pacing, whining and nosing of crotches until he gets back on track! Consistency.

Consistency in Music Marketing

Striker could teach most musicians I know a thing or two about consistency.  Consistency is the key to most marketing programs. Unfortunately most artists don’t give their marketing enough time to get the job done.

In today’s instant gratification society, everyone’s looking for that quick hit. Put your song on iTunes and sell 5,000 downloads by bed time. And if it doesn’t happen that way, give up and quickly move on to the next ‘big thing.’

But most sales don’t work that way.

Every marketing plan needs time to work. Not everyone is going to see your Facebook post the first time.  They’re not all going to respond to the first email you send out.

Marketing is a process – Not an event

Pause – Rewind and read that last sentence again.

Marketing is  a process – Not an event.

Too many artists get labeled an ‘overnight success.’ It sets unrealistic expectations for everyone following in their footsteps. What the 30 minute episode of Behind The Music leaves out is all the doors they knocked on or all the shows they played to four people. You’re comparing your current situation to their greatest hits reel.

At one point they had their own current situation. They spent years building a following and growing a fan base until they reached the critical mass that ignited their ‘instant success.’ Consistency.

Marketing any business, not only music, is a numbers game. By taking consistent action over time, your numbers will grow. Play a show for 30 people, get 5 of them on your email list. Get an interview in the paper and get 21 extra people to your show. It’s a compounding effect.

But it’s when you are inconsistent with your marketing and don’t follow a system that you lose your momentum. By constantly swinging for the home-run you miss all the opportunities you had for a solid base hit. (Jeez, how many metaphors can I get in one article?)

That’s why it’s best to sit down and actually formulate a marketing plan. What are you going to do at every show to generate five new fans? What are you going to do on Facebook every week to strengthen relationships with eight fans?

These are the types of simple daily interactions and plans that can consistently over time build your fan base into a self-growing machine. Once you hit that critical mass of folks, they become your ambassadors and start bringing new fans into the fold. But that doesn’t happen in the first week. It takes time.

What consistent actions are you going to add to your music marketing plan?



Getting Your Music Noticed in a Noisy World

Get press coverage for musicOne thing I’ve noticed that separates struggling artists from up-and-coming artists is press.

It seems anyone that has some momentum behind them is using the power of newspapers, blogs, podcasts and television.

How can a struggling artist get press

The easiest way to get press is to pay for it. No, not paying the reporter, but paying a public relations firm to get your story in front of the right reporters.

A public relations firm has the experience that you don’t. They’ve done this before and they know what approach will work to best tell your story.

They also have connections. This is probably the most important thing they can offer you. If they can’t pick up the phone and talk to someone at Rolling Stone, they will at least know which reporter at Rolling Stone is interested in your story. Most likely, they are on a first name basis with a lot of reporters, bloggers or even television producers.

When you hire a PR firm you’re really buying their experience and access to their network.

But unfortunately, most Indie Artists I’ve met haven’t set aside a budget for PR. So now what?

Do it yourself PR

If you have no budget to hire someone then it looks like you’re on your own.

Running a PR campaign is no small task. So the best place to start is to get organized.

Begin by making a list of all the podcasts, newspapers, magazines and radio stations you want to contact. Don’t start with Rolling Stone. They won’t publish you without some history.

Start with local papers and radio stations. They are the most likely to share your story. And you must have a story. “We just released an album” isn’t a story. That’s a fact. — And it’s boring.

Everyone has an album, so what makes your band different than every other band out there? THAT’S your story!

After you’ve exhausted your local scene it’s time to move up to blogs, magazines, regional papers and television. Again, start with a list of possible media outlets.

If you want to cut corners and have someone research a list for you, start with The Indie Bible. They have put together a list of about 7,000 places that feature independent musicians. Wow! That’s a lot of leg-work.

Their 2014 edition was just released, so you know all the data is up-to-date. Great resource. imho 🙂

Run the numbers

After you’ve made your lists, it all comes down to the numbers. The more places you submit a story idea, the more places you’ll get published or played.

So create a goal for yourself to reach out to X number of outlets per week. Put all their names in an Excel (or Google, or whatever you prefer) spreadsheet. Create columns for publication name, contact name, contact email, day you sent, day you heard back, day you followed up, etc.

Having a spreadsheet will keep you organized and moving through your list. It will also be extremely valuable when someone contacts you 6 weeks later and you can’t remember who they are or what you sent them. It’s the same system I use with our own PR for Only Sky Artist. Trust me on this one – it works.

Be relentless. The more you can consistently push out requests, the more you will get featured. It’s just a law of numbers.

Not everyone will respond. But if you can get 10% or 15% of outlets to listen to you, then you’re doing great. So if you want to be in 10 papers or blogs, then you’re going to need to send out 100 requests. That’s a lot of work!

Hopefully, you’ll have a story everyone will want to share and your percentages will be much higher. 😉

If you want a jump start, remember to check out The Indie Bible. Or we also have a list of 11 places you can submit your music for review. It’s a short list, but it’s free and it will get you started.

What Starbucks Can Teach You About Selling Merch

Selling high end merchandiseDid you know you can walk into Starbucks and buy a $3 cup of coffee or a $2700 espresso machine? Who in their right mind would buy a $2700 piece of equipment from Starbucks? I sure wouldn’t.

But here’s the point…someone will.

That’s why it’s there. Taking up valuable shelf space at your local Starbucks. Because once a month or so, someone will walk out with a very expensive cup of coffee and an espresso machine. And more often someone will purchase the $275 espresso machine they also stock.

Starbucks knows how to sell and market

Starbucks understands there are always customers willing to spend more. Thousands of people each month buy the coffee, hundreds buy the Christmas CD, hundreds by the coffee mugs, but there are some people that so trust Starbucks they will buy those espresso machines. So there they sit on Starbucks’ valuable shelf space.

I learned about Starbucks and their espresso machines recently while listening to an interview with marketer Perry Marshall. I actually took this Starbucks example from his new book 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it’s on my short list of new books to read. (Fair warning, the link is an affiliate link so we’ll get a small commission if you buy one. But we’d love you for it!)

Give your fans more

But the interview got me thinking, what products do independent musicians have to sell that are more than a $20 CD or $25 t-shirt? Someone in your fan base is willing and able to spend more. They want to spend more on you!

If you only have two $15 CDs, the most even your biggest fanatical fan can spend on you is $30! You’ll need to find a bunch of fanatical fans at $30 each to make a living.

I bet you can name at least a dozen fans who own every piece of merchandise you’ve ever offered for sale. Pause a moment…. Got ’em? What else would they buy from you if you offered them the opportunity?

Recently I wrote about Keith Urban getting into the guitar business. This is exactly why he did it. To give his fans an opportunity to buy more. Currently the most expensive item in his online store is a framed print for $200. The guitars give Keith the ability to offer a higher priced item. And if you remember, he sold over $2 million worth the first day! Obviously, his fans wanted to spend some money.

High end merchandise ideas

So what can you offer? Here are some ideas you could incorporate into your merchandise program:

  • Wall art – seems to be a very popular option and it’s a very high-profit item
  • Vinyl record – making a major comeback
  • Leather jacket or other valuable wearables
  • A hobby related item you’re passionate about –  fishing poles or a cookbook
  • Your time – fans want to spend time with you. How can you creatively offer up a piece of you?
  • Instruments – maybe you’re not Keith Urban, but can you personalize a guitar?
  • DVDs – a collection of all your YouTube videos in one place or a live concert
  • Arcade Game – Andrew Apanov over at Dotted Music recently shared a Zombie video game based on a band
  • MP3 player – Mr Billy told me about an MP3 player he sold with all his music pre-loaded on it
  • House Concert – a great way to find new fans and get paid for gigs

Ask your fans

Once you have some ideas don’t run out and buy $5,000 worth of items to sell. Start by asking your fans what they like.

Jennine and I are currently working on a survey for one of our clients. We sent out a one question survey (use Survey Monkey – it’s free!) to his top 300 fans asking them what items they were excited about. The results are just starting to come in, but they’re interesting. Of course t-shirts are popular, but autographed pictures and smartphone covers are also topping the list. And people are showing interest in the highest priced items like a signed ukelele and a walking tour of Nashville.

When you do it, leave your survey open-ended. In our survey we created an “other ideas” option and asked fans to give us their best idea. License plate frames and bobbleheads? I don’t know that we’ll use the ideas, but they certainly make me think.

Bottom line – whatever you have available, someone will always want more! Give your fans options.

What is the most creative piece of merch you’ve ever sold to a fan? Leave a comment…

What The Heck Is Direct-to-Fan Music Marketing?

Direct-to-Fan Music MarketingDirect-to-fan is probably a term you’ve heard thrown around online by many sources in music marketing. But what’s the essence of direct-to-fan (DTF) marketing and how do you know if it’s right for you?

What is direct-to-fan marketing?

Using the word ‘marketing’ when talking about DTF is probably misleading. DTF is much more than a marketing system. DTF is a mindset and a business model.

I think of a direct-to-fan musician as a true entrepreneur. Someone who understands the value of a fan (customer) and knows how to leverage every encounter to further their career.

Most people casually define DTF as cutting out the record companies and radio stations while taking your music straight to the fans. That may be a start. But I don’t think relying on iTunes, CD Baby, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation or any other platform makes you any more of a DTF artist than if you had a label. Not that I believe these platforms are bad. In fact, they all can be a significant part of a DTF strategy.

No, the real key for me is that a direct-to-fan artist is self-reliant. They have a direct line of communication and relationship with their fans. And the single biggest factor – the DTF artist collects a database of their customers/fans.

Direct-to-Fan Equals Database

Any entrepreneur will tell you “the money is in the list.” Large corporations spend millions of dollars per year developing their CRM (customer relationship management) software. Companies selling CRM software and data management solutions are some of the fastest growing organizations in business today. Why? Because businesses understand the importance of being able to communicate with their customers without relying on a third-party.

I believe this same concept applies to DTF musicians. Relying on Facebook or Twitter to reach your fans is not a sustainable business model. As Twitter becomes a publicly traded company today, they will be forced to make money for their shareholders, just like Facebook. And we all know how Facebook is making money – by forcing you to pay each time you want to reach all of your fans.

Building a database of fans is essential to being self-reliant. Most commonly, artists build an email list, but beyond that, having someone’s physical address is even more powerful. Having multiple forms of contact for your fans ensures you can reach out to them when necessary.

Even if you’re on a record label or have a management company handling your career, please do yourself a HUGE favor and insist on building a database. I’ve met multiple artists who used to have a major label deal or were with a large agency and when the ride ended they had nothing to show for it. It’s so sad to me that an artist could tour the country doing dozens of shows per year and walk away with only the short-term rewards of ticket and merch sales. Being a DTF artist means thinking for the long-haul.

A Database Puts the Power in Your Hands

Once you’ve built a list, that’s when the marketing can begin. A list of fans allows you to do something the major labels can’t do – reach your strongest customers with the least amount of marketing dollars.

Spray'n'Pray MarketingSee, the major labels and most large corporations (Coke, Pepsi, etc.), use what I refer to as the “spray’n’pray” approach to marketing. They have the marketing budget to allow them to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of advertising each year. By flooding the market with ads they will eventually reach their target audience. As my friend JW used to say, “Even a blind squirrel will eventually find a nut!”

But the direct-to-fan marketer is smarter; they know that their best customers are current fans and friends of current fans. By building a list of fans, the DTF approach lets you spend your marketing dollars reaching the people most likely to buy your show tickets or new album.

Instead of buying ad space in newspapers announcing their upcoming show, the DTF artist can simply mail postcards to fans living within 50 miles of the show. That’s the power of a well-built database. It allows you to segment your list of fans by geography, age, purchasing habits, anything that will let you marketer strategically. A strong database gives you the power to get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars.

Develop an Attitude

As I stated before, the direct-to-fan model is not for everyone. In fact, just reading this article may have made you uncomfortable. Referring to your fans as customers or clients is not something every artist wants to hear. Being a direct-to-fan artist requires you to become an entrepreneur. Not everyone wants to do that.

But I think being a DTF artist will actually make you a better artist. Or maybe I should say a more marketable artist. Don’t be the next Vincent Van Gogh -only revered after you’re gone. By building a relationship with your fans, you can create art they are sure to like and share.

Again, that statement might make you cringe. But I think that’s part of direct-to-fan marketing. And that’s why I’m sure its not for all.

If it is for you, then start building a list, start studying direct-response marketing, and start thinking of your music as a business. Don’t leave your music sales to chance – be intentional.




Use the Power of the Written Word to Make Your Music Safe

Let people know about your musicMost people don’t like to be first to anything. I hate being first to the party. I wasn’t the first to buy an iPhone. And I don’t like to buy products from Amazon with very few reviews.

I guess I like to have a few people there ahead of me to say “it’s okay, come on over!”

And I’m not alone. When new potential fans land on your website they want to know if anyone else likes your music. It’s a way for them to quickly filter out what’s worth their time and what isn’t. They also want to know that they won’t be ridiculed for going against the grain and liking something uncool.

One powerful method to let new listeners know it’s okay to stick around is to display a quote from someone of authority. If Rolling Stone said your music is “the second coming of Elvis Costello” then people are going to be drawn in. They want to hear for themselves and see if they agree with Rolling Stone. The authoritative quote will get them to stop and listen.

But it doesn’t need to be Rolling Stone; and probably won’t be. Honestly, the chances you’ll land a Rolling Stone interview the week after your first show is as close to zero as you can get. But you do need some quotes from someone of authority. A quote from a local paper or blogger can be just as powerful if presented correctly.

So start with platforms that are looking for content. Local papers and magazines have trouble finding content to fill their publications each week. If you can make it easy for them, you can get some free PR. A well-written press release could get printed as-is, or it might land you an in-depth interview.

Another great source for quotes is online review sites and blogs. Again, some of the smaller, newer sites are starving for content. Search through Google for ‘free music reviews.’ It will take some doing, but after wading through a few pages of results you’ll find a few gems.

If you’d like a shortcut, we did some of the work for you. Download our PDF of 11 Free Music Review sites.

Or if you want the ultimate collection of newspapers, magazines, websites and more that will review your music, try The Indie Bible. A great collection of resources for Indie Artists. It’s not free, but it packs a ton of great information.

Once you have some great reviews prominently post them on the home page of your website. Next time a new fan lands there, they’ll be assured you’re worth a listen.

If you find some great places to review your music, let us know. We love to share!

The Fifth Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing

Yesterday I promised to give you the most over-looked key to marketing music. And I’m going to get there, but first…

I never was much of a musician myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love music, I’m just not very good at playing it. I’ll leave that to you. smiley But one thing I do love is to dance!

I recently went to a friend’s wedding. Her fiancé hired a buddy to be the DJ for the reception. The guy thought he was the life of the party. He talked up the crowd and then he played some great music and the dance floor filled up. Of course, I was out there leading the charge.

turntableBut as we started to get in a groove and everyone was moving to the beat he decided to become DJ Jazzy Jeff. He tried mixing. Ugh… What a train wreck! He started scratching and stutter-stepping the song. I clearly remember the song, too. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses. I love that song! And he ruined it!

As we were dancing away (and he was scratching away) he messed up the most important thing for dancing. The beat! He couldn’t find it with both hands. We all began to dance like sporadic monkeys. Frantically looking for the consistent beat we relied on to keep the rhythm. And it wasn’t there. Being a musician, I’m sure you know how important it is to keep a consistent beat in a song. Drummers are rated on how well they can keep the beat without a metronome. Why? Because everyone craves consistency. As humans we like predictability. That’s why Step #5 To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing is…

Turn On Images To See Fun Stuff!BE CONSISTENT

There are hundreds of marketing topics I could write about for you. But I’m going to give you THE golden nugget right here. Amazingly it’s so simple it’s often overlooked. THE ONE THING most people, even highly paid professionals, miss…

Like life, 80% of marketing is just showing up!

disco ballThat’s right, consistency. If you can master this ONE simple point about marketing you will be light years ahead of your friends. Heck, you’ll even be ahead of most marketing agencies. But the sad truth is, most people flit from shiny object to shiny object. They’re constantly looking for that next social media shortcut to superstardom and fame. They abandon one strategy for the next get-rich-quick scheme. And it just doesn’t exist.

There is no easy button in marketing. Or life for that matter. You must possess a ‘don’t quit’ attitude.

When your latest song seems to be going nowhere you must find the strength to reach down and keep pushing. It’s all about tenacity.

Far too often I notice musicians market in spurts. They have a new project they’re excited about so they send out 23 emails and 79 Facebook posts. But two weeks later they’re gone. Not to be heard from for six months until their next project is ready to push. In the meantime everyone has forgotten who they are. Have you ever gotten an email and said “Who is that from?” “I don’t remember them.” And then hit the SPAM button. Sure. I’ve done it. But if you are consistently sending out updates and putting up Facebook posts no one will forget who you are.

Even if you don’t have something to promote it’s important to stay on your fans’ radar. That’s why you should make marketing a habit. Promoting your music for one hour a day is far more effective (and easier) than spending 12 hours on Monday cramming.

Get moving


Remember the goals you set for yourself in step #2? Now it’s time to turn those goals into action! Over the next couple of days spend some time turning your goals into a timeline. What do you need to do first to accomplish your goals? Break each goal down into actions. Make sure the steps are easily digestible chunks you can finish in one hour’s time. Now map out each step on a calendar. By planning out your days you will make your marketing more consistent and effective.



Now for the special surprise I mentioned at the top. I advertised The 5 Steps To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing as 5 steps. But… Tomorrow I’m going to send you a BONUS SIXTH STEP! I had so many great ideas to share with you I just couldn’t fit it all into five steps. So I’m sending you one last step tomorrow. You’re going to love the sixth step. It fits right in with being a musician. See you then!

Peace, Love, Happiness, Always

~ Jennine

You won’t find the sixth step on our website. If you’d like me to send you all five steps, plus our bonus sixth step, just fill out the form below and I’ll send you the whole enchilada!


The Fourth Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing

When you go to a concert, what makes it memorable for you? For me, it’s when I’m up out of my seat, dancing, clapping and singing along. Every sense is alive. Obviously, I can hear the music. But I can also smell the room around me, the popcorn, the beer…the wacky weed. I see the lights and the band. I can feel the energy of the room. But when the band shifts to the AP –Audience Participation – section of the show, that’s when I’m totally 100% ENGAGED! And that’s Step #4 To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing .. Turn On Images To See Fun Stuff!


Thirty Seconds To Mars is one band that does an excellent job of engaging their fans. At their shows, they make all your senses come alive. I went to see them at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago a couple years ago. The theme of the night was Blood Ball. They asked their fans to dress the part, taking costume ideas from one of their music videos. Many fans did. Thirty Seconds To Mars provided fake blood in the lobby and Jared Leto even threw gallons of it on the crowd from the stage. It was QUITE intense! During the show Jared constantly engaged the crowd. He challenged us to sing along, to get closer, to be a part of the show.  And you know what? It was one of my favorite concerts ever! Because I was part of it.

That’s the challenge for you and your music marketing…Make your fans part of the experience.

You should think of marketing your music as a conversation. So many bands, and businesses for that matter, think of marketing as a one-way flow of information. But really good marketing is a two-way conversation between you and your fans, or potential fans. But even beyond that, your fans want to know you’re a real person. They are buying so much more than your music. They are buying you. And it’s hard to buy ‘you’ if they don’t know anything ABOUT you. fanHow can you make each of your fans feel special? How can you make them feel like they are your number one fan? Have you ever been to a networking event? I work for a Chamber of Commerce so I’ve been to WAY more than my fair share. The people I connect with at those events are the ones I have a real conversation with. The ones that tell me about their family. Maybe about their dreams or goals. Or just a fun story from their day. I don’t connect with the people who are constantly trying to sell me something. Have you met ‘that guy?’ “Hey, nice to see you. I improve peoples’ lives by helping them..blah…blah…blah.”


In today’s marketing world it’s important your message isn’t just about you. You can’t constantly tell everyone about all the ways they can spend money with you. Shows, CDs, tshirts. You can’t even drone on about all the radio stations playing your new song. The sad truth is they just don’t care. What they really want is to be a part of this grand vision that is YOU. So if you only take every opportunity to tell them how awesome YOU are, they will lose interest…quickly. Instead, take every opportunity to tell them how awesome THEY are. You’ll come across as a real, connectable human being. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all places you can share behind-the-scenes content. But anytime you can single out a fan and talk with them one-on-one, you are building something! That’s a conversation they will remember and tell their friends about. You can do this through @ replies on Twitter or tagging them on Facebook. Or you could put your new email database from Step 3 to use! Email is an amazing way to connect one-on-one.

MicHere are some tips to engage your fans through email:

1. Make it personal – When writing emails for your fans, remember on the other end is A person. That’s right – A person. Not 29 people, 376 people or the 3,498 people that are on your mailing list. Each email needs to be written like it’s going to your best friend.

2. Ask questions – A great way to start a conversation is to ask a question. I do this all the time at networking events. It lets me focus on the other person and get to know them. What better way to show you care? 3. Tell a story – Share something that has happened in your life. It doesn’t always need to be about music or your career. Try sharing things about your likes or dislikes. Or maybe just what you’re doing this week. Make it real.

4. Give a peek – Give your fans a glimpse into the world of music creation, or touring or the music biz in general. Remember, you’re living the life they all wish they could. Show them what it’s like to be a rockstar!

5. Ask for input – Everybody likes to be appreciated. Show your fans you love them by asking for their help with something. Maybe it’s help picking the songs for your next album or what outfit you should wear to the show on Friday. Receiving a personal email from you asking for help is something they just won’t expect!

6. Add pictures/video – Email isn’t just about text. Adding some visual punch to your note will put your fans right there with you. It doesn’t need to be fancy or slick. Just having a picture or video message from you will grab and hold their attention longer than just plain text.

7. Above all – Entertain Them! Always leave them wanting more. So your big takeaway today is to remember to make your fans feel special. Giving them personal attention will go a long way in turning them from a casual spectator to an evangelist for your musical cause!



Tonight try sending a personal email message to a handful of your fans. Test the waters and see how it feels. What kind of response do you get? Just shoot out a quick note to six fans. Ask what the top song on their iPod is this week. Start a conversation.

Tomorrow I’m going to share with you the most important, yet most-overlooked, key to marketing music. You don’t want to miss out on Step #5 To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing, so keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow. Talk tomorrow, Peace, Love, Happiness, Always ~ Jennine


The Third Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing

What’s the biggest crowd you’ve ever played for? 30 people? 500 people? 10,000 people? Have you ever played for more people than that? You rock!

What does it feel like to stand on stage and connect with that many people? I bet it makes you feel alive. The adrenalin is flowing and your heart is pounding.

While you’re on stage you can say anything to the audience and get instant feedback. You can tell them how much the song you wrote means to you – and why. You can tell them about your new release coming out soon. You can even tell them to buy your new t-shirts. But what happens when the show is over?

Don’t you wish you could take tonight’s crowd home with you? And the crowd tomorrow night? And the night after that? If you could you would soon amass a crowd of tens of thousands of people! And you could talk with them anytime you wanted. Instead of asking 100 people at a time to buy your album you could ask 53,752 people. That would be awesome!

That’s why the Third Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing is…


Turn On Images To See Fun Stuff!BUILD A FAN DATABASE

A database, or list as I like to call it, is the great equalizer. If you’re marketing your music on a limited budget – and who isn’t? – then a fan list gives you the power to reach fans far more effectively than any newspaper ad or radio spot ever could.

When you’re an independent artist you need to be conscious of every penny you spend. You need to make every dollar work for you. And having a list is one of the most cost effective ways of reaching your fans. And one of the best lists you can have is a list of your fans’ email addresses.

But, Jennine, email is so old school! Everybody’s on Facebook now.

And Twitter.

And Instagram.


And there is the problem with social media. In today’s world we’re flooded with options for sending and receiving messages.

FanHere are some of the options available for you to communicate with fans…

Facebook – Do you look at EVERY Facebook post? I know I don’t. Did you know Facebook doesn’t even show your posts to all of your fans? Facebook only shows your posts to about 16% of your fans! If you want your post to show up in every fan’s news feed you have to pay! And even if it showed up in their stream most people do not use Facebook on a daily basis.

Twitter – I currently “follow” 768 people on Twitter. Wow! Even with my semi-reasonable number of follows my stream is completely overwhelming. If I wanted to look at each tweet it would take HOURS out of my day. Even your most devoted fans aren’t going to spend that kind of time on you.

MySpace – What? Is anybody on MySpace anymore? I know there’s a lot of hype since JT bought into the company, but I’m not sure it’s going anywhere soon. But my real point is MySpace used to be the King of social media. If you had relied on MySpace to be your primary communication system then you were in real trouble when everyone went away.

Phone Call – Your fans would probably answer the phone if you called them. You might need to leave a message, but I’m sure they would call you back. But you just don’t have the hours in your life to call each fan individually to tell them about the show you’re playing this week. You need a system that’s one (you) to many (your fans).

Snail Mail – Who doesn’t LOVE getting real mail? By real I mean something that’s not a bill. smileyIf you have the budget, snail mail is an awesome way to reach people. But most musicians I know don’t have the marketing budget to mail a letter, or even a postcard, to all of their fans. Not only is postage constantly increasing but there’s also the cost of printing and paper.

That brings me back around to email. Email combines some of the best features from all of the other messaging systems.

Here are the biggest benefits to email:

  • It’s cheap – Most mass emailing services only cost about $20/month. If you’re on an even tighter budget there are free options like MailChimp or even Outlook (though I wouldn’t recommend using your own system).
  • People open email – If someone gives you their email address there’s a good chance they’re interested in hearing what you have to say. I know I don’t give out my email to just anybody! At the very least, every one of your email messages will be scanned. Most people look at every FROM and SUBJECT line.
  • People check email – Statistically speaking most people check there email daily. The same can’t be said for Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site.
  • People have email accounts – Not everyone is on Facebook. Even less people are on Twitter. By only having a Facebook page you’re missing out on a large part of the population.
  • You control the list – If for some reason your email service went out of business you could take your list of names to another service and never miss a beat. Not the same for Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. If Facebook goes away, you’re done.
  • One complaint won’t shut down your account – Did you know Facebook can shut down your account? Ouch! It happens every day. Accounts are shut down many times for reasons not under the user’s control. Someone can file a complaint about you and then YOU must do the defending. Not a good place to be. With email if one person complains about you then they are removed from your list but the remaining fans will still get your messages.

These are just some of the reasons Neil & I think building an email database is the best thing you can do for your music career.

Email is essential to building a grass-roots movement around your music. It’s really the cornerstone of the new music marketing economy.



If you don’t have an email list already, spend some time today looking at the different email service options. Here is a review Neil wrote about some email services to help you get started.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you some things you can do with your fans once you have an email database.

Until then,

Peace, Love, Happiness, Always

~ Jennine


The Second Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing

Yesterday I shared with you the importance of knowing your fan. I’m sure you spent some time over the last 24 hours thinking about your biggest fans and what they have in common. What did you learn about them? Do you have a solid picture in mind of your ideal fan?

One of your greatest assets as a musician is your ability to improvise. Whether it’s riffing on a major scale or pulling lyrics out of the air, music is all about creativity. The greatest musicians in history have been those who could break the rules of music and start their own thing.

DrumingBo Diddley created the beat. Led Zeppelin discovered American blues and added that crunch and some beastly drums. Bob Dylan took poetry and rhymes to a whole new level. Each of them was able to create something new by improvising.

But like so many things in life, your greatest asset in one area is your Achilles’ heel in another. When it comes to marketing it’s great to be creative and think outside the box, but it’s even more important to…

Turn On Images To See Fun Stuff!HAVE A PLAN

And that’s Step #2 To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing.

I know, I know. Having a plan is boring. It’s much more fun to flit through life and ‘go where the spirit moves.’ But without a plan, there is no organized action.

That’s why I’m going to shy away from the term “marketing plan” and instead use the term MARKETING ACTION PLAN.

Just like an action movie involves numerous fight scenes and car chases, a marketing action plan also sparks visions of movement. Nothing grows without movement. And nothing moves without you first taking organized action.

No matter what your immediate goal, a marketing action plan is an important step. Whether you’re looking to release a new CD, start a Midwest Tour or increase the number of followers on Twitter, the Marketing Action Plan is the place to start. Your plan should rally and motivate, AND MOVE, your fans into taking their own action.

You can’t start you musical revolution by accident. And your Marketing Action Plan gives you the roadmap.

Here are 5 Useful Tips for creating a Marketing Action Plan:

cat1. Define your goal – Alice: Which road do I take?  –   Cheshire Cat: Where do you want to go?  –  Alice: I don’t know.  –  Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t matter.  This immortal exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat could summarize many a musical career. The purpose of a Marketing Action Plan is to put a goal into motion. It’s impossible to create a plan if there is no goal.

2. Educate yourself – Just like there are very few new chord progressions, there are very few new marketing techniques. Spend some time online to educate yourself about marketing. Follow your favorite bands online. What are they doing to find new fans? Marketing is all around you everyday. Keep your eyes open and learn.

3. Set a budget – How much money you have to work with will greatly affect your Marketing Action Plan. Generally the less money you have to spend, the more time it will take you to accomplish your goal. But having a limited budget will help you to be creative. You’ll look at marketing from a different perspective than a major label with mega-dollars to burn.

4. Set deadlines! – Nothing happens without deadlines. And even with them life can get in the way. It’s a good idea to plot out your Marketing Action Plan on a calendar so you can track your progress and hold yourself accountable.

5. Stick to it – I’ll get into this more in Step 5, but for now remember marketing is all about repetition. Few people will remember you the first time they hear your music. It might take a few times hearing your song before you create a hard-core fan. The first time I heard Consequence by Incubus I didn’t like it. In fact it took a few turns on the CD player before I didn’t skip it completely. But by the end of that summer it was one of my favorite songs.



I certainly covered a lot of material today. So what do you say we keep this simple?

Let’s start with goal setting.

Spend the next day thinking about your music business goals. Here are some possible questions you might answer. Be specific with your answers.

How many albums do you want to sell this year?

How many live performances do you want to give?

How many new fans do you want on Facebook?

How much money do you want to make?

What day do you want to leave your 9-5 and make music your full-time career?

It all begins with goals!

To make them even more powerful, attach the ‘why’ to each goal.

I find it helps me to achieve a goal if I know why I want it. Do you want to make more money? Do you want more people to hear your music? Do you want to be famous? Whatever it is, write down three goals and WHY you want to achieve each of them.

Tomorrow I’m going to tell you about the system at the heart of any marketing program. It’s Step #3 To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing.

Most small businesses would kill to have this system in place. You won’t want to miss it.

See you tomorrow,

Peace, Love, Happiness, Always

~ Jennine


The First Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing

Have you ever lost something and tried to find it? Maybe a notebook or a shirt? Have you enlisted a friend to help you find it?

I’m sure it’s something you can relate to. We’ve all been there. I recently lost a notebook in the house and asked Neil to help me find it. What’s the first thing he asked me?

What does it look like? Of course. *slaps head

So I went on to describe the notebook. It’s black. It’s about five by seven inches. It has a spiral binding. It’s about half an inch thick. After about twenty minutes of searching we were able to find the missing notebook. But if I hadn’t given Neil a complete description of my notebook he wouldn’t have been any use to me in looking. Because he wouldn’t know what he was looking for.

That’s why the First Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing is –

Turn On Images To See Fun Stuff!KNOW YOUR FAN

In order to find new fans you must know what you’re looking for. And the best place to start is with your existing fans. More than likely they have something in common. There is a reason they are YOUR fans. Because the honest truth is, not everyone can be your fan.

Many musicians tell me “My music is for everyone.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth. Not even Michael Jackson had 7 billion fans (the population of the world). He didn’t even have 300 million fans (population of the United States). So I’m fairly certain that your music won’t appeal to everyone.

Most musicians make the mistake of trying to appeal to everyone.  In the process they appeal to no one.

It’s only natural. You’re a performer because you like to be in the spotlight. You thrive on people telling you how much they love your music. How much they love YOU. It’s hard to hear that some people just don’t like you. And never will.

But if you want to connect with new fans, I mean REALLY connect, you have to give them something to connect with. Chances are your existing fans have already found something about you they connect with. The trick is to identify what that thing is. And then find more people that identify with that same thing.


Turn On Images To See Fun Stuff!

The Beatles vs The Rolling Stones

The Beatles and The Rolling Stones both came up at the same time in the English music scene. They were all young kids from hard-working towns in England. They both emulated American music. In fact, The Beatles named themselves after Buddy Holly and the Crickets while The Stones named themselves after a Muddy Waters song.

On the surface you might think they would have the same fans. But no. I’ve never met someone that said they LOVED The Beatles AND The Stones.

Now me, I LIKE The Rolling Stones, but I LOVE The Beatles. Why? Because I identify with The Beatles’ message of peace and love far more than I identify with The Rolling Stones’ message of self-satisfaction.

So if you were The Beatles and you were trying to find new fans you would look for someone like me. You see, the key to finding new fans is to know what your fans have in common.

Some things your fans might have in common:

    • Gen X or Gen Y
    • Cowboy boots or high heels
    • High & tight or Emo
    • Treehugger or headbanger
    • Ford Fiesta or Jaguar X-type
    • Photographer or wind-surfer
    • Plumber or stock broker
    • PC or Mac

Get moving


Over the next 24 hours I’d like you to write down all the things you can think of that your fans have in common.  The more specific the better. Do they all wear TOMS shoes? Do they drink Absinth? Do they work as bankers? Do they drive a GMC 4×4?

I’ll get back to you tomorrow with some ideas of how you can use the description of your ideal fan to reach even more people!

Until then,
Peace, Love, Happiness, Always
~ Jennine