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So you have formed a band, written some tunes, played a few small venues and acquired a handful of die-hard fans. Now what? You want to push it to the next level and start earning some money from all this gigging and writing.
So How Do You Promote Your Music Online? Online marketing seems to be the way forwards but it’s a minefield of do’s and don’ts and you what results quickly!
Oddly if you are engaging in anyway online within your niche, such as networking with promoters and venue owners you are starting down the right road. Here I will set out some tips on online activities to help promote your band or music online and get that extra push that you need. As with most things in life, there are few shortcuts just the right way and the wrong way of doing things.
GET A WEBSITE!!!
First thing’s first, get yourself a website, even if your mate who is “good with computers” has to do it for you in exchange for some guitar or synth lessons. Get a website up there. Ideally your website should be a creative expression of your music and branding but failing that, a simple site will do. Get some professional photography done and some high quality recordings of your music and populate the website with this material.
The important thing is that you have a central online resource which can be actively promoted; this will give you an edge over anyone without a website.
1. Get a good URL with your band name in it if possible
2. Provide material on your website that is not available on other social media platforms
3. Keep it simple to use and easy to navigate
4. If you cannot code then look to use 3rd party software for selling merchandise, albums, tickets, etc
Get on www.soundcloud.com – this is a great site getting people to listen to your music and a great way to get constructive criticism from other musicians. It is also a very good way of meeting people in your game, producers, musicians, promoters etc. Another benefit of using Soundcloud is that you can use their music player for free on your own website and essentially track and count visits in Soundcloud.
Soundcloud’s music player allows annotations to be made at points during the timeline of a track meaning that when you get feedback it is usually highly targeted. So Soundcloud is a great channel for Promoting Your Music Online and for networking.
This could be a blog post all on its own, and promoting your music on iTunes properly can have a massive impact on both how many people listen to your music and how much money you make.
Creating an iMix / playlist or selling music on iTunes are great ways to promote your music online. iMixes (now called playlists) are essentially user generated playlists available for others to listen to. After creating a number of playlists with your tunes in them over a few months you should start to see your album or songs show up as “people also bought”.
Everyone likes a good YouTube video and if your music is good then people will like it, share it and link to it. YouTube allows you to create your own channel, post all of your music videos, gigs and tunes on your channel. Also use this channel to like and share content from other bands which you like and are in a similar genre. This will mean that people could find your music by looking at your uploads.
It is also important to promote this through social media sites; I will cover this more in the “Social Media” section of this post.
Another advantage of YouTube is that you can embed the videos into your website and still clock up views, which helps to promote the video on YouTube even more. Send out emails to all of your existing fans and friends / family asking them to view and like your latest video. The more views it has and the more likes, the more likely it is to be suggested in the search results.
Allow comments on the videos and always try and respond to them where appropriate or possible.
When gigging, be sure to gather as many names, email addresses and phone numbers from the audience. Over time this list will grow and eventually you will have hundreds or thousands of email addresses, names and numbers.
Use the email addresses to promote your latest videos, songs, album releases and gigs. Use some proper email marketing software to monitor the response to this properly. Use a mix of emails to promote your YouTube channel or your website.
Use the phone numbers to let people know about upcoming gigs or where to get tickets from in order to promote your music online.
Proper engagement on social media platforms is very important especially in the early stages of your band’s development. Create a Facebook page and band member profiles and post to your friend’s walls instead of just on your own wall. This will mean that all of friend A’s friends will see the post as well, furthering your reach by multiples of hundreds / thousands.
This can take time and there are tools available which will speed this process up significantly which will be covered in the “Tools” section below.
MySpace is still a very good place to promote music, more so even than Facebook to some degree. Create a band page and get all of your artwork and music uploaded.
Google + now allows business pages to be created, so go ahead and upload a band page as a business on Google +, upload all of your artwork and music and keep the profile updated regularly.
Twitter has always been a nice way of engaging your audience and should not be ignored; follow record labels, promoters, bands and nights which are relevant to your music. Try to actually engage with these people and companies. Also try and get your fans to follow you, use this as a method of keeping them up to date with gigs and releases etc.
Link up your social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter so that when you post on one it automatically posts to the other accounts. This can help to reduce time spent on each site and ensures all platforms are being reached. With this in place when a new video is launched or a new song released, you can promote this through all other social media accounts.
Today there are too many social media sites to be able to effectively manage profiles for all of them without giving up the music! There are tools which can help with this which are listed below in the tools section, but I would advise picking the most popular sites and using them well. The alternative is to use 50 social media sites badly.
I would clearly advise a strong SEO strategy as the primary way to promote your website online. However if you can’t afford an agency or don’t know anyone that can help, stick to the basics of SEO. Get the on page elements in place, do a little keyword research and then use the natural method of producing great content that people will want to link to… In this case good music and videos!
Another great way to get links to your website which will help to improve its rankings is to film or write guides, tips or how to’s. These will attract other musicians or people wanting to learn, if the information is useful, people will link to it.
I create music on my computer and some time ago created a basic website and uploaded a few tunes to it… With only a little promotion it started gaining collectively hundreds of visits. I never have any time for this particular side project but even without trying over the last year over 1000 people have listened to my music. This is an example of how a little effort can go a long way.
Monetising Your Website
Websites are cash machines just waiting for you to enter the right pin number before spitting out money! As a new band you will likely give away your music for free, especially through downloads. Clearly this is not going to make you any money, so in order to turn a free download into cash, follow these simple steps…
Get AdSense on your website.
That is it! Get adverts on your site and the visitors that your free album download will attract are converted directly into money. Let me explain. Advertisers will pay per 1000 impressions (views) of an advert or they will pay each time it is clicked. So if your free album attracts a few thousand people, you will be paid a small amount per visitor to your own website.
In the early stages of a band this extra income is crucial and can be used for more advertising or promotion.
Once your website is experiencing a reasonable level of visitors, something in the order of a few thousand per month, it is time to start approaching companies that manufacture instruments or music kit. Offer to review, endorse and advertise their products on your site, boasting about your traffic in exchange for free kit.
Tools to Make Life Easier
The following Social Media Tools can help increase the speed and efficiency of your online music promotion:
Tweet Deck – Used to post to a few select social media sites at once, great for monitoring those you follow and who follow you.
OnlyWire – Again used to post to multiple sites, but has more functionality for time delaying posts and has access to around 50 social media / bookmarking sites
Rank Book – This can be used to post to your friend’s wall on Facebook and can automate the whole process.
Google Analytics – This will enable you to track all website traffic and its sources
Headphones via BigStock