In previous articles we have said how the music business in general is continuing to pound the drum of how you need to be “discovered” so you can get the mass exposure that is needed to sell more music and fulfill your dreams of a career in music. Unfortunately that works great for everyone around the musician making money, but not the musicians themselves...far from it.
To cut to the chase, the best way for a Christian musician to build a great consistent income is through building a strong Super Fan base. Build that Super Fan base and you can build a great income that you can count on month after month. Unlike relying on your music to sustain you.
Once you have decided to focus on building this group of your Super Fans, then the next question is probably, “how do I go about building this base of fans?” That’s what our focus will be in this article. How to separate your Super Fans from your regular fans.
Start Your Email List
If you do not have an email list you need to start one immediately. Email is one of the last marketing channels that cannot be taken away from you. Your fans on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc could be gone overnight. You may be building your fanbase on Instagram, but make no mistake, Instagram owns all the data.
The email list will be the first filter for narrowing down our fan list. I would recommend using Mailchimp as your first 2000 contacts are free, and after that the rate is very affordable still. Email is not our final destination for our Super Fans but it will be one of the steps to segment them out. Once you have signed up for Mailchimp follow these steps.
- Create an audience - the fans you have sign up to be on your email list will be known as an audience. You are able to create several audiences in mailchimp, but to keep things real simple we will only create one. Follow these steps to create your audience in Mailchimp.
- Create a landing page - This is the page you will drive traffic to for your fans to sign up to be on your list. Name your landing page “Super Fans” or something like that. I recommend using a template with a picture on it. Use a large high resolution image of you or your band that conveys excitement. As far as the form goes, all you need to ask for is their first name and email address. Nothing more. Follow these steps.
- Create an automated ‘Welcome’ email - This is an email that will automatically be sent to fans after they have subscribed to your email list, confirming their subscription and welcoming them. Create it here.
Once we have an email list created we can start inviting fans to subscribe to the list. This is where the change in thinking needs to happen for musicians. Now the focus is not about selling more music, but building this list. Now you can actually have fun writing, creating, recording and performing your music without the pressure of moving more music. This may be the hardest part of this whole process for some musicians. Asking. Everyone around your music and ministry will be concentrating on running the numbers to get more streams, but think list first, music second, it will be well worth it. The different ways to ask are on your website, social media, at your gigs, interviews, etc..
The first and easiest step to begin growing your email list is to create a form on your homepage that invites your fans to subscribe to your email list to get regular updates on your music and ministry. I suggest using a pop up form as these tend to work better than just dropping a form on a page.
Instagram, Facebook and other social channels are incredibly inefficient about getting any message whatsoever out to your fanbase, but you will always have some Super Fans there that read everything you post, watch all your videos, and stream your new music when it is announced. This will be a small percentage of your overall fans on social media, but again we do not need huge numbers to accomplish our goal of a good, steady income stream.
As you post on your social media platforms begin offering “more” to your fans that want more of you. Invite them to subscribe to your email list to receive regular updates on what you are up to.
Live Events & Interviews
It is common at live events to invite your fans to follow you on Facebook, Instagram, etc. but as crowded as everyone's feeds are, it is entirely possible that someone may follow you on Instagram, for instance, and never ever see a post of yours simply because you never show up in their overcrowded feed.
The best way is to encourage people to visit your website. Give them a reason to visit your site. Offer them a discount code on merch for the next 5 days, offer limited edition signed vinyl, CD’s, posters, and so on. Go ahead and mention your social accounts, but I would emphasize and reward people for going to your website.
Pretty simple right? But a major shift in thinking from what everyone is telling you to do. There are alot of details and tips to each of these areas that I will get into more, but this is a quick, high level view to get anyone started in the right direction to generate a good, steady income, and more importantly, the freedom to focus on ministry instead of the pressure to run more numbers.