Having (very) recently experienced the birth of my first child, I think I can say, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that humans have a pretty primal desire for care and attention. In fact, I can’t put down my son for more than a few minutes before his cries announce a desperate need for these very things.
What does this have to do with websites, music, or the price of tea in China? Well, we’re all kinda like my newborn son deep-down. Right? We’re all still in need of attention and care. Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond uncontrollable crying (for the most part) as a means to acquiring these things. But it’s still rather important to most of us that we feel others value our existence and are willing to go out of their way to make us feel valued.
As simple as this information is to grasp, it can be difficult to apply in real life. But it’s important for us musicians. After all, it’s not all about us. Music success can’t exist without devoted fans.
Turn the Spotlight Around
One of the best ways to create a rabid fanbase is to continually put the spotlight on your audience. A truly grateful audience is the most powerful marketing tool you’ll ever encounter. Yes, in a sense, music is a gift we give to our fans, but music is just the product. When you buy a product at a store it’s usually the customer experience that has the power to make you a lifelong customer—a fan. Likewise for musicians, it’s the truly personal things you do that have the power to turn a casual listener into a super-fan.
We give because we get back. Don’t get me wrong: there is a deep satisfaction in “giving” in and of itself. That’s part of the package. My newborn can’t thank me for the care I give him now, but if I do this father thing right, I’ll be reaping rewards for years to come. When you truly give something to your fans (not something you value—something they value) you will be rewarded in more ways than one.
So how do we give to our fans in a personal way? Giving away a free track to everyone who lands on your website is great, but it’s not super personal. Giving away a free track to a fan with a personalized email will have a more profound effect.
But what else can we do to really tap into the care and attention that our fans crave?
Flattery will get you everywhere
While a personal email to a fan is something we should all do as often as we can, what about public recognition of one of your fans? What about a blog post that features one of your fans? A post that talks about who they are and what they are about? Not only does this tap into the appreciation and care that humans crave, it amplifies that attention to include an audience comprised of all visitors to your website.
Wouldn’t you be thrilled if one of your favorite bands wrote a blog post about you? Wouldn’t you kinda be thrilled even if you didn’t care for the band that wrote about you? After all, it’s your name and face in print! Wouldn’t you be inclined to give the band a better listen?
Create a weekly fan-feature on your website
How about this? Every week (or every other week) interview one of your fans. It could be at a show or it could be via email or on Facebook–whichever is easiest for you. It doesn’t need to be a long interview. Ask 5 questions. Ask them about why they connect with your music, but more importantly, ask them about themselves. Ask them about their dreams and passions.
Publish your interviews on your website/blog and make sure that your interviewees see the post you wrote for them. (Be sure to use a photograph of your interviewees if possible.)
Chances are, the fans you interview will share your blog post with their friends and family, and if you’re lucky you may get a few new fans out of the deal.
I’d love to hear from other musicians who go out of their way to put the focus on their fans. What results have you seen? What works and what doesn’t? Please share in the comments below.