5 Essential Tools to Grow an Insanely Loyal Fan Base

If you’re like most artists, the uphill battle to gain true fans is exceptionally difficult, to put it mildly. Everywhere you turn there’s a new somebody promoting their new music, asking you to pre-save or download. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. New music constantly flowing through my social media feeds by the hour – I barely have to search for new music anymore. It’s spoon-fed to us all like babies.

But what if you’re on the other side of the music promotion battlefield? What if you’ve spent the last 6 months to a year working on your latest project and all you want is for people to hear it and understand that you’ve put your heart and soul into it? Is it so hard to just get streams? Should it be near impossible to break through the noise?

The sad truth; yes, it is. But the coin has two sides and you can’t take for granted that just over a decade ago you couldn’t make music and release it on your own. Not until Soundcloud came along in 2007.

Now you have the ability to not only release your own music through distribution platforms to hundreds of streaming services, but you can create elaborate campaigns to promote it across every single social media platform. You’re lucky, but the trade of is that when things are easy, everyone does it. Hence the current state of music.

Look on the bright side, there are still some hidden gems to get attention and hold onto your true fans for dear life. You can nurture them into superfans and build a real audience. It just takes some creativity and patience.

Here are 5 ways to get some ears and eyes on your content and keep them coming back for more.

Superphone

Category: Text marketing

Website: superfphone.io

When I first heard of this platform it seemed a bit strange to me. When I talk about it with artists, or even businesses, they look at me like I’m crazy.

“Why would I want to give my number to a musician so they can text me directly?” Well, the more I educate myself on this platform, the more I love the idea.

The premise of this application is to gather your fan’s phone numbers and text them directly. Pretty simple right? The superpowers of this app really come into play when you consider that you can categorize your fans by area code, gender, even who’s downloaded your last album or purchased your merch.

Think of the power this could have if you get creative. What if you want to send a text to invite your top 100 fans to an exclusive pop up release of your new mech? You can even surprise them with a listening party for your new album? If my favourite artist sent me that invite via text, I wouldn’t hesitate to go.

Not to mention the open rates would be upwards of 80%. This platform really turns your "smart" phone into a Superphone.

ToneDen

Category: Social marketing

Website: toneden.io

When you think about creating social media campaigns it’s easy to get discouraged and want to pull your hair out. But do some digging and you’ll find that there are tools to help streamline this process. Tools like ToneDen that allow you to create campaigns for multiple platforms in one place.

The features of this platform are specifically designed for musicians and event marketers. You can even create campaigns targeted to people who purchased tickets to your last show through Eventbrite. How awesome is that!?

This marketing tool even has pre-made playbooks that are essentially campaign templates for releases, contests, and pre-saves. It consolidates all of (most of) your music marketing into one place, making it easy to track downloads, ticket sales, and even message your fans.

It integrates Facebook, Instagram, messenger, and Eventbrite together to create massively impactful and simplified marketing campaigns.

Spotify for Artists

Category: Streaming service

Website: artists.spotify.com

This seems like a no brainer, but I’m always surprised when artists don’t leverage this to its full potential. There are a lot of benefits that the artist dashboard offers, from submitting to playlists to listener demographics.

Even if your audience isn’t that big, you can still leverage this tool to your advantage and see who your biggest fans are, what cities your songs are streamed in the most to plan your next show, and even check out what playlists your tracks ore performing best on.

They also have a blog that offers an insane amount of useful information on it. From clearing samples to release checklists, their guide section provides insights you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s platform specific so you know the advice you get here will help you out immensely.

When you have tools like this at your disposal, you should be capturing all of this data and analyzing it to see what your next move is. Couple this with your social analytics, Superphone data, and marketing campaign analytics and you’re on your way to growing exponentially.

Mailchimp

Category: Email marketing

Website: mailchimp.com

Read any blog about marketing and mailing lists are one of the top of the list when it comes to digital marketing techniques. There’s a good reason for this – it works! There’s really no better way to get your message in front of your fans and have them actually see it (except Superphone). Social algorithms are down to around 10% organic exposure to your followers, so even if your content is amazing, people just aren’t seeing it. Yet people still put exponentially more effort into their social content than email content.

The misconception is that emails are not as effective, but that’s where you’d be wrong. The average open rate for emails is 25% (compared to 10% on social media), and what you should keep in mind here, is you can tell who’s not opening your emails. By trimming the fat, i.e. people who don't open your emails, you can get your open rate upwards of 50% + if you pay attention.

Couple this with texting, direct messaging on Facebook, and all your other efforts, and your true fans will feel like best friends.

SubmitHub

Category: Playlist and blog placement

Website: submithub.com

One of the main questions I receive from almost every artist I have conversations with is “how do I get my songs on playlists and blogs?” As if that’s the only thing that matters… We can discuss that another time.

You can battle to get the attention of the curators, or you can use a tool to put your music in front of playlist and blog moderators where they will actually see it.

Enter SubmitHub, a way to make the process of sending music to curators easy. It essentially works by allowing you to selectively submit your music to relevant playlists and blogs, which is where a lot of the labels and Spotify curators look first to decide where they will get their next picks from.

Finding ways to leverage this aspect of discovery is a massive asset to any artist. If done right and you don’t spam the curators, you can develop relationships with them and make it more likely that your music will get paced in their lists or on their blogs.

So what does all of this mean?

Needless to say, that to become successful you have to gain leverage and build something people pay attention to. There’s little to no difference between being an artist and owning a successful business. There are so many tools to use that will help you gain that leverage over the artist who’swaitingto be discovered. We all know that narrative.

Putting tools like these into practice, mastering them, and seeing what works and what doesn’t will inevitably provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to build something meaningful. To have a leg up on the competition and break through the noise of a saturated music market.

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Image provided by Unsplash - Miguel Angel Hernandez

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