A Practical Approach to an Old Marketing Model

I found this blog post on Hypebot. It is a guest post by Seamus Anthony, a Melbourne-based musician. I see many similarities between what he is doing and what I’m trying to do. His approach sounds very simple, but at the same time, I don’t see all that many artists doing it. I see a striking resemblance to Kanye’s marketing campaign for his upcoming album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

I haven’t seen the numbers from that campaign but I’m sure it was quite successful. For a long time his site was very basic with access to free downloads if you provided your email. Each Friday was dubbed “G.O.O.D. Friday” and Kanye would release another huge track, collaborating with artists like Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Swizz Beats, Pusha T, Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, Lloyd Banks and RZA. He released an artsy, experimental, somewhat controversial 45 minute video called “Runaway” and got an hour-long slot on MTV. Now when I return to Kanye’s site, there is a link to pre-order the album on iTunes, and when it releases on Nov 22 it will have a link to buy the album.

Very few people have access to the resources that Kanye does. Seamus Anthony is one of the people that don’t and he has provided a simple model that even the most resource challenged artists can follow. Release free mixtape songs in exchange for email addresses to promote your album. Distribute video content and other promotional content to the best of your abilities. Then hit ’em with the paid content and make it worth the price.

Seamus’ article in full is below.

image from www.onlinespecialists.com.auWhile music is my first love, I actually currently make more money as a website geek and, to a lesser extent, a writer. So I know how Internet marketing “squeeze pages” work, and how to write and build them.

Meanwhile, I have been going on my merry way making music but not exactly setting the Interwebs on fire.

Then, recently, I was casually watching a music marketing video (by Greg Rollett) and was immediately very familiar with the marketing model he was describing – and that’s when I had my giant D’OH! moment.

Basically Greg was advising musicians to use the very same squeeze page techniques that I get paid to implement for others.

It’s so obvious but I just never thought for one minute to try and use these techniques to sell and give away more of my music.

So I decided to roll out some classic Internet marketing techniques to see if it increased the consumption of my music. 

The Classic Internet Marketing Model

Here’s how your typical online marketing system works:

  • Drive leads (otherwise known as people) to your squeeze page.
  • Use effective sales copy to get their name and email address in exchange for a freebie
  • Send the freebie to their inbox
  • After that the barrage of emails begins. The clever marketers will start by offering you some further free value, before starting to slip in the hard sell.
  • Once a prospect buys something cheap, you then target them to buy increasingly expensive products.

For the purposes of this experiment, I am simplifying this model. In my case the strategy is as such:

  1. Send people to the squeeze page
  2. Get them to opt-in to get their free music download
  3. Send them a little bit more free stuff, like Youtube links, more free music downloads, maybe a short e-book or something.
  4. Then hit them to buy a CD or download of something totally new
  5. Send them some more free stuff
  6. Ask for a second purchase, can be of something old, seeing as *cough* this abounds.

Might not sound all that groundbreaking but contained within that little plan is a LOT of work.

For example: the squeeze page…

Firstly, I had a look at my existing website and knew straight away that I needed to build a new one. Why? Because squeeze pages by design have one single focus – getting visitors to fill in the opt-in form.

Next I needed a third party digital goods transaction and delivery provider that would enable me to allow some free downloads as well as easily hook into my mailing list management program. I eventually settled on DPD (http://getdpd.com) who provide you with the ability to sell or give away up to 10 digital products for a monthly payment of US$5 and have great integration with various mailing list management providers.

And so the page is up and working:www.SeamusMusic.com [pictured right]

Here’s a list of things I plan to do next:

  • Improve the look of the page
  • Improve the copy (words)
  • Add a video to the page for those who don’t like to read
  • Construct a sequence of auto-responder emails offering both paid and free content (music)
  • Get as many links to the page as possible (social media, article marketing, online advertising)
  • Send people who dig my live shows to the site
  • Website optimization via A/B split testing

And that’s just the start; there is so much you can do – website optimization via A/B split testing anyone?

One thing I did already was stick the button up the top of a very stripped –down version of my MySpace page – www.myspace.com/seamusanthony – it will be interesting to see if that converts.

Fishing for Fans in the Great Sea of Content

Classic Internet marketing is not usually the kind of thing that musicians tend to consider appropriate for promoting their art. Yet to me, giving it a go makes perfect sense because getting more Facebook “likes” or YouTube views is one thing, and an important thing, but it’s not a sale.

Look at it this way: Once you send someone to look at your YouTube video – then what?

Mostly, after looking at your video for a bit, people just drift back off into an endless sea of content. Sometimes they spread the word for you, but then what? Not much, that’s what.

The thing that is inherently flawed about the way musicians in general (myself included) approach the whole music business palaver is that they only really expect to ever start making money once they are getting hundreds of thousands, if not millions of YouTube views and Facebook “likes”.

If your average small businessman had to get the attention of millions of people just to start making some $1 sales, forget it! They wouldn’t bother. Most small businesses survive due to their ability to make a decent wad of cash out of a manageable amount of customers.

For most musicians, the music-dollar is stuck under a big, heavy, inverted pyramid. How are they going to get the cash unstuck and into their pocket?? Possibly by putting some tried and tested Internet marketing techniques to work for them. The jury is out but I can report that I have had some encouraging results already. I’ll let you know how I go in a few months.

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