MIKE KING’S BLOG: Online Marketing, Don’t Forget About The Personal Connection

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It takes about an hour for a musician to get started with basic online marketing. Setting up an account with MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, uStream, Flickr, Reverbnation, OurStage, Fanbridge, and the dozens of other options is simple, and an excellent first step. But I tend to think that some bands lose sight of the fact that online marketing is not an end on to itself.

It takes about an hour for a musician to get started with basic online marketing. Setting up an account with MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, uStream, Flickr, Reverbnation, OurStage, Fanbridge, and the dozens of other options is simple, and an excellent first step. But I tend to think that some bands lose sight of the fact that online marketing is not an end on to itself. The most effective online marketing campaigns support the physical marketing efforts as well.

Two examples from last week:

1) Don Bartlett, manager of Joe Pug (via the Lefsetz letter):

“We decided to put an offer up on Joe’s website and MySpace. We told any fan that if they knew anyone who might be interested in Joe’s music that they could send us an email and we send them as many copies of a two-song sampler CD as they wanted. Free. We even cover the postage. To keep costs down, we invested in a CD publishing system that burns and prints them robotically. Each CD has two songs, contact info, MySpace, and a reminder that the full CD was at iTunes. If someone lived near a place where a show was scheduled, we printed that show info on there as well. People requested as few as 2 and as many as 50. We sent all of them. Requests continued to pour in, and the more we sent out the faster the new requests came in. We’re at the point now where we get about 15 a day. Joe writes a thank you note in each and every one. And almost instantly, sales took off. [Show] attendance jumped noticeably and MySpace/website action began a steady upward arc. More importantly, we built an incredible database of his most hardcore fans. And after receiving a mailbox full of cds for free, they are willing to do anything to help forward the cause. And it is the ultimate in target marketing…you have people who already like your music passing it on to their friends, whose tastes they presumably know.”

2) Rock/Jam band Umphrey’s McGee

The band is organizing an online pre-sale campaign that gives their fans a reason to encourage others to buy the record pre-sale. They’re announcing it on their Website, as well as using banner ads on their social networking properties. Here are the details from their site:

Much like an Umphrey’s show, no one is exactly sure what will happen with Mantis, the upcoming release from Umphrey’s McGee. The more fans that pre-order the release, the more bonus content we’ll unlock for everyone. We are leaving the amount of additional content and the makeup of some of that content entirely up to you. There are 8 total levels of material that could be unlocked containing over 45 unique & unreleased audio tracks, including behind-the-scenes perspectives, videos, and plenty of quirky surprises. Bonus Material Part I available EXCLUSIVELY to those who pre-order.

Great to see both of these bands nailing the online campaign to affect tangible change offline and facilitate a personal connection directly with their fans.

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