9 Music Marketing Strategies That No Longer Work In 2020 - Supreme {PR} Organic SoundCloud Promotion | Supreme {PR} Organic SoundCloud Promotion
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Once you get the hang of it, marketing can be a lot of fun.

After all, marketing is tied directly the results you want as a musician – ticket sales, streams, merch sales, contest votes and so on.

But there are marketing strategies that don’t work, especially now that search engines and social media platforms have had time to evolve and adapt their algorithms.

So, we need to ensure we’re going about this the right way. Here are nine music marketing strategies that no longer work in 2020.

P.S. This is a follow up to my popular MTT post on music marketing strategies that work, so check that out too if you haven’t already.

Marketing Without A Plan

Today, there are more websites and niche interests than ever. People can’t possibly keep up with everything, even if they wanted to.

You used to be able to take a scattershot, shotgun approach to marketing and still get eyeballs on your music (i.e. by posting to LiveJournal or sharing a bulletin to MySpace – remember those days?).

That’s becoming a tougher and tougher proposition by the day.

You need to create a presence on platforms where your fans like to hang out, not where you spend your time.

By using tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Alexa and SimilarWeb, you can learn a lot about your target audience, their demographics and even their psychographics.

As you look to target an audience with your ads, this data will come in especially handy.

You’re not The Beatles, and even if you were, not everyone would like your music.

Your music is for a specific type of person. You may not know what kind of person that is now, but as you grow your online following and spy on the data of similar artists and bands, you should start to form a clearer picture.

I would not advise marketing without a plan. You should identify your audience, narrow your focus on specific marketing channels and share relevant and engaging content.

Shouting Into The Void

It’s not just that this strategy doesn’t work now. It’s more so that it has never been terribly effective.

Sure, there was a time when you could get more eyeballs on your social media posts. And, maybe the occasional fan or prospect could be triggered with, “Here’s our new song – check it out!”

But this approach is so impersonal and so self-serving, that it’s unlikely to pique anyone’s curiosity.

And, because of changes to social media algorithms, you can’t get many eyeballs on your posts anymore.

And yet, these types of posts continue to pop up on social media all the time:

  • “Vote for our song.”
  • “Come to our show.”
  • “Buy our music. Please!”

Don’t even think about trying to solve this problem with advertising because you’ll just end up wasting your money. Not ideal if you’re trying to promote your music on a budget.

Now, you should be posting to social media. But the more personal and interactive you are, the better. If all your social media posts are call to actions, you need to start changing things up fast.

All Sizzle, No Steak

Gone are the days when it was all about the marketing and not about the product.

Consumers aren’t afraid to criticize and complain if they don’t feel like they’ve received what they’ve been promised.

That doesn’t mean your pitch doesn’t need an angle and your headline doesn’t need a hook. Far from it.

But you should be mindful of what you’re drawing people into. The music you’re promoting should be genuinely good.

If a bunch of people check it out and some of them decide they don’t like it, no harm no foul. You’re not going to please everyone.

Meanwhile, if everyone coming to check out your work thinks it’s awful, you’re going to have a hard time winning them back. You may never win them back.

Write great music. I understand that this is highly subjective advice.

But don’t be afraid to put more money into your home studio and gear, spend more time on your overdubs, smooth out your mixes and so on.

You win them to what you win them with. So, don’t just rely on the sizzle. Deliver the steak.

Spamming & Blasting

Again, this falls under the category of what has never been all that effective.

When you spam and blast your product, it has the potential to get in front of a lot of people, And, you might generate a few listens or sales.

But you’ll also lose a lot of credibility and trust with your prospective audience in the process.

I often receive newsletters I’ve never opted in for.

It sounds funny, but today there are serious repercussions for abusing email lists. You could end up facing some hefty fines and other charges.

There are also internet marketing tools that either encourage or enable blasting to dozens if not hundreds of platforms at the same time.

While I do encourage musicians to share their content on a variety of platforms, I don’t encourage shouting into the void.

So, just because you’re posting “buy our music” everywhere doesn’t mean you’re going to reap the rewards of expanded results.

In general, avoid sending updates or emails to those who’ve never asked to receive them or have already opted out. Don’t blast Messenger or WhatsApp with copy and paste messages.

If you’re going to interact and engage, do it on a personal level.

Blackhat SEO

Content spinning used to be a popular tactic for increasing one’s site’s rank in search. Even some musicians got in on it.

I understand why. Internet marketers tend to make a lot of alluring, big promises in flashy red headlines, and some their products even work. It’s hard not to be drawn in.

But with search engine algorithms getting smarter, you probably don’t want to tempt fate.

Once your site has been de-ranked, recovering your rank can prove a major uphill battle.

Not that musicians are entirely reliant on their website for expanding their careers.

But all things being equal, I think it’s better to maintain your site’s rank in search, and even improve upon it if you want to build an enduring and sustainable music career.

And, let’s be honest – just because you have coverage across the internet doesn’t mean anyone is going to care. Your articles may not get any views or click-throughs, and that means wasting your hard-earned resources.

Of course, there are other questionable SEO tactics, whether it’s buying links, private blog networks or otherwise. I wouldn’t recommend going down these rabbit holes, at least not without good reason.

Not Personalizing Communication

I’m amazed how many emails I receive every single day.

And, then I’m surprised by the complete lack of etiquette demonstrated by most senders.

Let me give you a hint. If your email doesn’t:

  • Begin with the recipient’s name.
  • Acknowledge why the recipient should be interested.
  • Get to the point.
  • Have a clear focus.

There’s a good chance it will get deleted or ignored.

Now, some people who contact me even want to enforce their own deadlines on my work. I’m sorry, what? I’m in control of my time, not you.

Let’s get back to the basics. Manners are important. We should always say “please” and “thank you”.

Spending time in research and seeing things from the other person’s perspective is also critical.

How do they want to be contacted? Is there anything they’ve asked not to be contacted about? What challenge might they be experiencing now, can I help them with it, and is there anything that might stop them from getting back to me right away?

I know it’s easy to forget. But there is a human being on the other end of your communication. They’re not a robot. They’re busy. They have a life. They’re up to something. They have real emotions.

So, if you’re serious about receiving a response to your communication, personalize it. Step into the recipient’s shoes and make it easy for them to respond.

Marketing Without An Online Presence

Let me be clear here – most musicians have a social media presence.

But there are many more that haven’t set up a complete infrastructure to support their ambitions.

Most importantly, a “complete infrastructure” would include a website (your own dot-com domain name) and an email list.

I understand that there are some well-known artists that don’t have these assets. But that’s no excuse for you to keep putting it off.

Some artists say a website is a good booking tool and not much else. Some say it’s just a way to get the word out about their forthcoming shows.

And, I say, it’s all about how you use it!

Let’s not forget that your website is your own platform to do with as you please.

If you want to highlight your latest releases, you can do that. If you want to draw attention to your forthcoming tour, you can do that. If you place email opt-in boxes at strategic locations on your website, you can encourage your list to grow.

Do you see how your website can end up being one of your most important marketing assets?

As for an email list, ideally, you should be building from day one. If you haven’t gotten started yet, and you’ve been around a while, don’t wait any longer.

An email list is a surer measure of the size and quality of your fan base than your social media following.

Reading Outdated Posts About Music Marketing

We all need to study music marketing and get our information from somewhere.

The internet is rife with information, but unfortunately much of it is outdated, inaccurate or self-serving.

Every publication wants traffic coming to their website, people joining their email list and buying their products. And, the best way to do that is to draw you in with a compelling or controversial headline.

Marketers often say content is king on the internet, but it isn’t. Headline are, because they generate clicks and visits.

Further, content isn’t king because many people can’t separate the wheat from the chaff. They give everything the same level of attention and credit, regardless of whether it’s deserving of it.

Now we can’t blame any blogger, marketer or publication for luring you in.

But you must develop the skills to sift through the information critically and quickly to find the golden nuggets.

But you shouldn’t rely on outdated posts to give you the information you need. Stick to recent, detailed posts coming from credible sources.

Focusing On Tactics Rather Than Strategy

There are some unfortunate online trends that are forcing musicians down the road of studying landing page development, copywriting and ad optimization.

Don’t get me wrong – these things are all worth learning. And, from a tactical standpoint, they can be quite effective.

What’s missing a lot of the time is an overarching strategy that outlines how the tactics are connected to the whole.

There’s a difference between strategy and tactics. A strategy is a high-level view of your career. It includes information on your target audience, the customer journey, the platforms and methods you’ll be using to connect with them and so on.

A tactic describes the step-by-step of how you use this information to reach and connect with your audience.

For instance, if you know a lot of your audience uses Facebook, you can incorporate it into your marketing mix and regularly run contests on the platform. That’s tactical.

The funny thing about strategy is that once it’s been well-defined, it will rarely if ever need to be updated. Tactics, on the other hand, are constantly changing and will need to be adapted regularly, especially in this fast-changing world.

Always remember to fit your tactics around your strategy – not the other way around.

Final Thoughts

Music marketing plans should always be customized to the individual or the band.

If you aren’t sure what to do yet, or how to inject your personality into your marketing, then maybe a paint by numbers approach would work for now.

But eventually, you’ll want to get to the point where you’re talking directly to your fans and serving them in such a way that consistently surprises and delights them.

Getting fans can be hard enough. If you don’t have a plan for retaining them, all your hard work will be for naught.

Creating a great experience for them is a surefire way to keep them engaged.

·         “Buy our music. Please!”

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