If you’re a musician (or any artist), you’re likely not that knowledgable in marketing- unless that’s your day job. But today, it is a must for artists to do everything on their own including promoting your band page in Social Media, writing newsletters, designing merch…the whole shebang. Before you do a thousand things for marketing, make sure you read some basics on marketing psychology so you can be more scientific in your approach. Here are some psych basics and how you can help you market your band or business more:
The principle of reciprocity means that when someone gives us something we feel compelled to give something back in return. Have you ever gone to the grocery store and ended up with an unplanned sausage purchase in your cart because you felt a nagging obligation to buy because you tried a free sample? Well, that was the principle of reciprocity in action. [via]
They say that there’s no such thing as a free meal (or free stuff) and that is so true. Once we get something for free, we are in a trap. We feel obliged to give something in return or else we’d be like total cheap assholes.
How can you make reciprocity work for you?
Give free stuff. If you’re a musician, you may give your fans download cards at your gigs, free music, or even a free gig. In return, ask them if they’d be interested to purchase your Limited Edition CD or merch. You may also give them free e-books or music online in exchange for their e-mail address (which you will use later for further marketing your music).
If we have a connection with the person asking us to do a favor (buying our products, liking our latest video), we’re more likely to do it without much thought. It’s also why brands hire celebrities to endorse their products – so that people will transfer their love for the celebrities to the products they’re endorsing.
How can you make connection work for you?
- Tell stories. We are all made up of the same stuff that’s why talking about your life, your experiences- especially the universal ones like motherhood, your insomnia, or your demanding cat, will draw you even closer to the people you want to be connected with. In return, they’d feel like you’re an old friend they can rely on. This intimacy is a must if you want long-term support from great people ( and who doesn’t want that?).
- Don’t just be a musician. Be known for the other things you do. Are you an advocate for animal right? It won’t hurt to let people know of your cause. Do you crochet on your free time? Post your creations! Don’t be scared that they’d get turned off or that your posts are completely out of your “musician” persona. Trust me, the more you show them about your complexity and interests, the more they’d like you. Just make sure you’re not annoying in Social Media.
Have you ever noticed someone wearing the same shoes or shirt as you and mentally saluted their fine taste? You probably felt a quick connection with that person based solely on that one data point. We want to belong to a certain group of people to affirm just how cool we are. We automatically think this way: If person X is cool and he listens to Band Y, then you’re as cool as X because you also listen to Band Y. That might not necessarily be the case. He could be cool and you could be the uncoolest person in the world who just happen to like some things. But thanks to the way our brains work, we are delusional. This delusion makes us want to be a part of a big tribe to prove that we are indeed as cool as the people we look up to.
How can you make this work for you?
Post about people wearing your stuff or buying your stuff or attending your gigs. This will eventually make them loyal followers and turn them into superfans. As we know, this is much precious than having ten new followers.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.