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How Much Is Your Music Worth?: Part 3 – Turning Casual Listeners Into Real Fans

So far in the How Much Is Your Music Worth? series we’ve determined that music has different values to different types of listeners, classified three kinds of listeners/fans, and examined how to get your music into the ears of people who haven’t heard you. Today, we’ll look at getting those casual listeners to be real fans.

There are three components that go into converting listeners into fans: Communication, Inclusion, and Incentive.

  • Communication: Ideally, after you make it easy for listeners to access your music for the first time (streaming, free downloads, etc. discussed in Part 2) they’ll give you permission to contact them via email or social network (i.e. Facebook or Twitter). Now’s the time to cash in on your database.  Use these communication tools to keep your fans informed about upcoming shows, music releases, and special events such as contests. Get into a routine of when and how often you’ll send updates, as well as what method you use to send particular updates.  For example, you might decide to send a weekly email newsletter that gives a general overview of upcoming events, make spontaneous and last minute announcements on Twitter, and send segmented messages via Facebook and text message (i.e. use the geographic filtering capabilities on tools like Facebook and Fanbridge [a great email and text messaging client for bands] to tell your fans in Atlanta, and ONLY your fans in Atlanta, that you have a show at Apache Cafe next week). The key here is to provide relevant information to fans so that they know what’s going on without engaging in information overkill.  I hate to get a Facebook message or text from a band saying they have a show 450 miles away from me that night.  If a band sends too many irrelevant messages, I unsubscribe from their fan list… I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
  • Inclusion: Make your casual listeners feel like they’re part of the family.  Get personal with them through live chats.  Answer their Twitter @ replies (make sure YOU answer them, not your rep).  Show them that you value the fact that they gave you permission to communicate with them and that you take the time to listen to them, just like they take the time to listen to you. A personal touch goes a long way.  When you’re in their area for a show, “personally” invite them by shouting them out on Twitter (hey, @myfan and @myfan2, and I have a show tonight at B.B. King’s. Let me know if you’re coming through!).  Note: If you want to do stuff based on geography, make sure you create ZIP Code, Area Code, City, and State fields on your email sign-up form.  A lot of email/text clients will let you filter specific fans based on that info. A couple of days before a show, run a filter on your database and make contact with your fans.
  • Incentive: Reward your casual listeners for engaging in “fan activity”.  As mentioned in Part 2, NoiseTrade offers fans a free copy of your music in exchange for submitting three of their friends’ email addresses to your list.  Create contests that offer some type of exclusive access (lunch/dinner with you and the band before a show, backstage pass, invitation to a recording session) or valuable prize (iPod, Flip camera, etc.).  Just get people engaged in your community.  They’ll start to connect with you and your music. Then the foundation will be set for a relationship that can lead to them being hardcore fans!

Check back tomorrow for tips on how to make the most of your relationship with your hardcore fan base!

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