Do You Have A Fan Journey For Your Music?
Do I Have What? A Fan Journey?
If you don't, that's okay. Every person is on a journey in life. Your fans are on a journey with your music.
On that journey, they experience your music. This is true for any style of music.
They will either exist stagnant in the shadows or enthusiastic in the light.
They could be a wallflower sitting by on the sideline.
Or, they will be dancing the night away to your songs as their life anthems.
You want them to end up super fans. Any person you see in life, is possibly a person who will turn into a super fan of your music - crazy right? Superfans walk through life, and they serve as fan examples, bold billboards of you and your brand. You'll see them rocking your merchandise when you pull up to the venues early. They'll be there, at every event you do. Their advocacy of your brand is what is so crucial. The music industry is tough enough alone, but their advocacy can help you gain that consistent mega-support to attract other fans with their enthusiasm.
There is strength in numbers. This is long-term strategic marketing, in a way. You are literally thinking lifetime supporters here, who will always speak highly of you to others. It will pay to make that deeper connection, so let's explore that more. We need to think about your fan experience - what will your fans be encountering as they interact with you and your music?
Millions Of Fans, Millions Of Fan Journeys
At this moment, there are millions of potential fans of your music in this world. If they have never experienced you and your music, they are ready to begin their fan journey.
As harsh as it may seem on the surface, for those strangers who have never heard of you:
- There's no reason for them to care.
- There's no history between them and you.
- There's no trust or familiarity.
- There are no steps they have taken on their fan journey, but that doesn't have to be the end of it.
The purpose of a fan journey is to move your music fans forward. Move them down a path. There are tools we can use to help them make that progress. Some of these tools will seem foreign and some tools will even feel obsolete, but trust the process. Brands don't just succeed, an emotional connection needs to be forged, and that takes time. But that's how fan advocacy happens, from building relationships. They will learn more about you and your music, get to know you, and build trust. As their experiences grow in quality and quantity, it brings them further along. They separate your music brand from other brands and draw closer to yours.
The goal is for them to go from cold stranger to scorching hot super fan. You want them to celebrate your music. They celebrate as they buy your merchandise, and come to every show AND invite friends. Help them continue to move from one place to another. That's the whole idea here.
Touchpoints Inside Your Fan Journey
You need many touchpoints with potential fans. What are touchpoints? They are an interaction between the fan and you. They might need 6 to 12 touchpoints with you to buy-in and go from stranger to superfan. From “I don't see” to VIP.
Create A Fan Magnet
You also need to create a fan magnet. A fan magnet is a barrier. It separates your active and engaged fans, from your passive and uninterested fans. It's an invitation for your fans to take a step deeper into your world. It can come in the form of a special offer, free content, or VIP content. Your fan magnet should be separate from your social platforms. There needs to be some kind of hoop they jump through. This sets them apart from other passive fans. Those passive fans are not interested in moving further along with you and your music. No worries, find the ones who are! A fan magnet will help you find out.
Get On My Level
It's a good thing to point out that not all fans are at the same level of interest towards you. You need to have various levels for your products. These levels are product tiers. They give opportunities for dedicated fans to spend more money. Some are willing to spend a lot more money than an average fan.
Some insider advice, don't cap other people's wallets based on your self-belief or your wallet. Everyone is different, and you need to give them the opportunity to pay for high ticket items.
Let's Touch More On Touchpoints
Touchpoints are essential to developing deeper relationships and getting your fan from stranger to VIP. They are when your message and your music reach your fan. It's a way to captivate and get them immersed in your music and getting to know you. Let's explore the different types.
1) Organic TouchPoints (are free and public)
Social media platforms are an example of free and public touchpoints. From Instagram to Facebook to Tiktok and others, you can, in public, share quality content here. It's a good place to start, but you will need to be moving these interactions and fans from your social media profiles to your email list.
Email broadcasts are another example of a free and public touchpoint. Build your email list. It's one of your most reliable and powerful tools. Through email, you get to communicate with your fans in a direct and free way.
The third example of organic tough points is blog content. People can read your blog and interact with you and your content. That blog can point to your email list or other offers. I would recommend an email list. This can lead them into a deeper interaction down the road.
2) Paid Touchpoints (Facebook Ads, TikTok, Instagram, Spotify)
Paid touchpoints online like this are great at targeting people who don't know you well. You can also be retargeting those who have interacted with you before. These avenues are worth the investment. You can get people to your email list landing page, where they will opt-in via your fan magnet.
Live Concerts and Events are also great but are often not thought of in this light. Yes, it might take time and money to set up a concert, but it's a direct way for you to gather fans to a live experience with you. There's no substitute for those types of encounters. In a live performance setting, it's possible to even turn a stranger, into an instant superfan. Because they are essentially experiencing you and your music to the fullest, it's all in!
Before you freak out, think about the return on investment. Concerts can be a paid touch point to get fans in front of you and your music. It could provide you with the power to persuade more than any other touchpoint. They say you gotta pay to play. Drake has a lyric that's iconic. It's the type of confidence you need to rock with: “Point the biggest skeptic out, and I'll make them a believer”
3) VIP TouchPoint
Your VIP followers are your super fans I've been talking about. Use people as a megaphone for you and your music. These types of VIPs will actually be honored and overjoyed to promote you!! I know, don't let it get to your head, but it's a real thing. One artist who has mastered this idea is the independent rapper and king of the indie come-up in modern hip-hop, is Tech N9ne. He has his “technicians” (the name given to any VIP/Superfans of his) show up to his concerts and pass out fliers and get people excited for merchandise and future shows. If it works, don't fix it. He has the career and millions to prove it.
Maintain excitement for your VIP fans. To do this, you can create VIP experiences, products, and subscriptions, and call them to action. VIP fans can be like a street team to set the example for future fans.
You need to lead them, and equip them to support you, and also share you enthusiastically with the world. If you build it they will come.
What I'm trying to say is if they are your soldiers, you are the general. Make sure they have their needed weapons, supplies, and marching orders. We are trying to win the war of monetizing your music to make a sustainable career. Building and maintaining and growing an army of VIP fans is a great way to do this.
Fan Magnets: Opt-in and Attract
Pivot your music marketing strategy to use a fan magnet. It's an attractive offer or piece of content that invites fans to jump through this hoop. It shows they have an interest. The goal of this fan magnet is to get them to opt into your mailing list.
Offer something of value, and make it at the center of your marketing strategy. I can't stress this enough. Email creates a free communication channel. No one can touch that ecosystem of communication. Once you do this, you'll know where your fans are on their fan journey. Then you'll know what to do, to get them to move further along.
It's just like knowing your audience at a show. You need to have a pulse on your fans and know how to treat each one, based on where they are now.
Email List: The importance of collecting emails as a musician
It's a powerful way to communicate your music and message to your fans.
An email list is essential at any stage of your music career.
The landscape of the industry is fickle and changes over time.
Myspace to Vine to now, those two major platforms died, but email doesn't change all that much over time.
Plus people don't change their email addresses very often in life.
Email marketing is so important for long-term, sustainable success. An email list will still be used for the foreseeable future. You need to do yourself, your music, your wallet, and your fans a favor, and start building it. Built-in social media algorithms hold your content back from your followers. If you have their email, it will get delivered. That direct marketability is powerful.
An email has perks built-in, too - like fans can reply to you, and you can build trust over time. It's a private platform (versus your online social profiles) and you can get to the true thoughts of your fans. Fan feedback will help you build even more valuable experiences, items, and products. And it will raise the stock of all you offer. This growth year by year is crucial to winning this war. So march onward, and know that I've got your six.