Indie Music Promotion Strategy: Email List + Google Traffic
An article about how musicians how apply 2 simple internet marketing techniques in order to promote themselves online
Indie music promotion strategies are the same as the music promotion techniques used by major artists. The main difference, however, is that indie musicians do not have as much financial resources at their disposal as the major record labels do.
As an indie artist, you may not get your music advertised to millions via the various forms of offline media, such as in a TV, radio or magazine. You might not even be able to afford to be able to create your own CDs to sell at gigs. But the good news is that no-matter how limited your resources, you can still reach a large audience and make good money using indie music promotion strategies on the Internet.
Whether an indie musician or an artist with a major label behind you, the primary aim of the online music marketing techniques is the same: to develop a relationship with fans to help make sales. When you have developed a relationship with people, it is then much easier to make sales from them.
OK, so let's look at how indie musicians can promote their music on the Internet by using search engine traffic and an email list.
The Email List
The email list is the best way to make sales of your music. The email list is so powerful because the people that have joined your email list have an interest in your music - otherwise they would not have signed up! It is especially important for indie musicians who do not have all the promotional resources in the world at their disposal. Even with a small list of subscribers, you can make good sales if you handle your email list correctly.
The email list should be used to develop a relationship with your fans. You should be encouraging discussions of music in general with them, asking their thoughts, giving them cool members-only gifts and special offers, and announcing general news in the music world that is likely to interest them. When you have developed a relationship with the readers of your email list and gained their trust, then they will be so much more likely to buy your music and merchandise when you promote this to them.
Many bands just use the email list as a way of sending out the monthly newsletter. A monthly newsletter is very important (and you should have one), but I think the contact with your fans should be more frequent than just the monthly newsletter. Nor does the communication need to always be promoting something. Just sending out general emails to discuss interesting topics is a great way to develop a rapport.
OK, great, "but how exactly do I build my email list if no-one knows about my band in the first place?!" I hear you ask. Fear not, we will get on to this. But it is important for you to first understand that you should have a means to capture the email addresses of your fans before you start an indie music marketing campaign.
So presuming you have your own website with an email opt-in box in the sidebar, we can now get down to business with getting people to your website. This will be done by using search engine traffic.
Search Engine Traffic
Having your website rank highly on Google for certain keywords can do wonders for your exposure. The good news for musicians is that it does not cost any money to get a high Google ranking and it can be relatively easy to achieve high rankings for certain keywords.
I am sure if you type in your band or musician name into Google, your website will already appear on the first page if you already have a http://www.yourbandname.com domain and/or social networking page.
This is great, people who already know that your band exists can now click through to your website and learn more. But what if people don't know that you exist yet?
It can be very powerful to have your band website appear on the front page of Google for a wide range of search terms other than just your band name. You should try to get your website ranked highly for more generic terms such as the genre of your music, the geographical area of your band, the type of gigs you perform etc. This way people who are trying to find a new artist in a certain part of the world can find you with a generic search such as "New Jersey Punk Band' or 'Rock Music Gigs in Ontario'.
For certain keywords on the Internet, it can be very hard to rank for them. For example, it would be hard to rank highly on Google for terms related to the iPhone as many businesses are in competition for these terms. But music related keywords are much easier to rank for because they are not directly related to selling a certain product. Also, most musicians are not aware of the Internet-based indie music marketing techniques that can be used to help them to rank highly on Google.
Think of as many relevant keywords as possible that people could type into Google in order to help them stumble across your band. Then you can try to make your band website (or separate blog posts on your website) rank on the first page of Google for as many of these keywords as possible.
You may find it impossible to rank for very generic terms such as 'indie band' or 'rock music', but more specific terms such as 'indie band Pittsburgh' or 'wedding band Cambridge' or 'singer-songwriter similar to Nelly Furtado' will be more achievable.
In order to rank highly for a certain keyword term you need to have this keyword phrase appear a few times (or at least once) in the text of your website and you also need to have other websites on the Internet linking to your website using your keyword as the anchor text link.
The anchor text is the keyword you wish to rank for, and appears as a link that is highlighted in blue and underlined on a webpage. If many other web pages around the Internet link to your website with this keyword, then Google will rank your band or musician website highly for that term. The link to your website from another website on the Internet is known as a backlink. The more backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank.
Then as you get more and more traffic to your band website from Google, you will start to build you email list, develop a relationship with more fans, and make more sales.