First Steps in Online Music Marketing

I just received an email from a friend of mine. It was a well-crafted, professional looking email that she created in MailChimp.

She was promoting a new song that she had just released on iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby. I knew she was an instrumentalist, but I wasn’t even aware that she was doing her own song writing, so her email came as quite a surprise. She admitted in her email that she was finally pushing past her fears and putting her stuff out there.

I say “Bravo!” It is always tremendously exciting when you release your first single, isn’t it? You want the whole world to know about it!

In this email she was taking her first steps in online music marketing. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had to learn how to walk at some point. There comes a time when you just have to push past and take that risk, no matter how awkward it may feel.

Of course, one of the things that’s quite common when you’re first learning to walk is…falling down.

As a parent, I know from experience that you don’t want your child to fall. You want them to succeed quickly. When your child is first learning to walk, you are there for them, their tiny little hands grasping on to your fingers as they take their first upright steps. Soon they learn to let go, but they would never take those first steps without holding on the fingers of their guiding parents.

I don’t want to see my friend fall. I want to see her succeed. So, I’m going to share some suggestions for anyone that is considering marketing their first release.

1. Build a Website

When people first hear about you, they want to know your story. They want to connect with a human being. A website gives them, and you, a home base from which to operate and connect.

A website is a powerful tool for interacting in a myriad of ways. Without it, you’ll be missing out on a lot of opportunities.

It can also makes you look much more professional. It can lend a great deal of credibility to your image. I say it “can” because I’ve seen some pretty bad websites that do just the opposite.

2. Offer Your Song For Free

I know, you’ve worked very hard to get that song produced. It may have cost you more than a little bit of hard-earned cash. Unless this is the only song you think you will ever write and share with the world, be patient. There are better ways of getting people to be your fan that asking them to buy your music – especially if no one has ever even heard of you.

This is the goose and the golden egg paradigm. Selling a song is like getting a golden egg. Getting a new fan is getting the goose. You want to make it as easy as possible to attract that goose to you. Asking people to pay for music when they’ve never even heard of you before is putting a barrier up that most people won’t bother to cross.

Back to the baby analogy for a minute. I know this may sound harsh, but it’s reality. When a baby takes its first steps, it is tremendously exciting news…but only to a few. Obviously family and a few close friends will be excited and share your enthusiasm, but beyond that…it’s just another baby walking. So what?

You have to overcome that barrier of apathy. When you offer your first song or two for free, you establish trust and reciprocity. People will feel indebted to you. They will be your biggest fan. You won’t have to beg or plead for them to share about your song with their social network. They will do it gladly and automatically.

3. Build an Email Following

Once you have gained people’s trust and support by giving away your song(s) for free, you can use that social currency to build for yourself a massive email list of enthusiastic supporters. It is this list of email followers that will be your bread and butter down the road. When you continue to release new material, they will be there for you, anxiously awaiting to give you money for your next release.

Here’s to your success!

For more information on how to build an email list, check out my ebook The Musician’s Guide to Email Marketing – How to Fill Shows and Sell Songs in 3 Clicks. Also available as an audiobook.

For information on how I can be of help with your website, check out my other services.