[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]
What do you think of when you hear the word “marketing”?
If you’re anything like most people, the first things that come to mind are Mad Men era suits, slicked back hair, and a whole lot of sleazy selling.
But times have changed and marketing now is a whole lot different than marketing in the 60s or even what it was ten years ago. In fact, when it’s done right, marketing can not only bring your fans together and create a deeper connection, but it’s actually pretty fun.
These are just a few ideas to get you started—don’t be afraid to use them as inspiration and then really make it your own, putting your own branded flair on it. Your fans will thank you for it!
An Online Scavenger Hunt
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could send your fans on a scavenger hunt that took them through the collaborative pages of other artists, industry, and influencers to lead them to the ultimate prize?
We’re starting off the list with one that’s a little more intricate but hear me out, because this one can be a win on so many levels if you have the resources to make it happen.
First, here’s the idea: your fans go on a short scavenger hunt across the internet collecting clues or virtual puzzle pieces that, when finished, lead them to a prize. You can have one small prize for everyone that completes it (such as a digital download or early stream of a new song) or enter them to win a grand prize (merch pack + virtual hang with you) or both! You could also do something like a $100 Amazon Card, which is more likely to entice people who don’t know you to play along, getting you more exposure + more fans.
Next, you have to set it up. This is where the collaboration comes in. You partner with other bands or industry that you’re wanting to strengthen your relationship with, and ask them if they’d be down to participate, This is an awesome idea, so they’ll say yes, and all they have to do is place a clue on their website or social media that leads fans to the next clue, eventually taking them to the final clue/puzzle, which, if and when they solve, gets them entered.
The reason this idea is awesome: #1 it gives your fans something to do that’s totally unique and will keep their interest. #2 you’ll ask them to share each step of the way on social media for extra entries to win, so you’re getting more eyes and ears on you. and #3 you’re building relationships with the bands collaborating with you, and they’re getting more eyes on their music. Win-win.
This idea is SO fun, but don’t overcomplicate it. I would suggest keeping it to 3-5 clues/steps max, so the whole thing only takes them an hour or so. You don’t want them to lose interest.
But, you can see how this would be really awesome, right?!
Speaking of fans, what better way to get them excited for a new release than by asking them to be a part of it? You can do this through asking them to submit themselves for one of your upcoming music videos, as Sunny State did in his video “Human”, or you can ask them to create their own….
-cover of one of your songs
-merch design for a new line of merch
The idea is to get them involved in the process. This will no doubt build the bond between you and your fans and keep them invested as they’re now part of the process (and it also makes them way more likely to share something they’ve been a part of)
Email marketing is not just for big companies whose emails you want to ignore. When done well, it is the #1 way to drive profits. Yes, I’m serious. More than your Instagram followers, your show attendees, or anything else, if you have a healthy (IE engaged) email list, you will make more money, get more streams, and build more of a following, period.
If you don’t already, get yourself set up with an email provider ASAP. (I recommend MailerLite, but people like Mailchimp too). Then, get yourself on a schedule. Once a week is ideal. Then, it’s time to start brainstorming content that’s going to get fans interested and keep them engaged. We actually did a whole series on this that you can check out here.
DIY Hand-Numbered Merch
Honestly, the more homemade something feels, the better. I would rather buy a CD that a band made on their computer and drew on in Sharpie than a polished factory made CD any day.
Especially in the early days, this is one of the most cost effective ways to create merch, and as it turns out, it’s also one of the best ways to make fans feel a part of something. I can tell you personally I have lost so many CDs, tshirts, and stickers that bands have given me, but the hand numbered comic book one band made as part of their release, or the poster for one band’s album that they wrote personalized notes on as they sold them, and hand numbered—that I got in 2009—I still have those things. And it’s because there was a rawness to it that I treasure.
Experiment with Twitch (and other social media)
I will admit I had no idea what Twitch was until The Front Bottoms started using it to do weekly broadcasts that rotated between live performances and pre-recorded behind the scenes videos. But now that I know about it, I am obsessed with bands using it for their own marketing.
Not only that, but there are SO many ways you can be experimenting with various forms of social media—be it TikTok, Reels, Twitch, or simply going Live, there is something for everyone and it’s just a matter of figuring out what your platform is. Wherever you feel the most natural, the most excited to go, that’s what I want you to focus on.
And remember, it’s all just an experiment. There is no right and wrong, it’s just a matter of trying things out and seeing what sticks. That’s all marketing really is anyway.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR and THRIVE mentorship community. Grab her workshop ‘How to Make Money Online in the Music Industry’ for even more money-making strategies.