So, you’ve converted your casual listeners into fans. Great! You’re past the hard part. Now it’s time to get your fans to bring their friends along for the ride. As we mentioned in Part 1, your hardcore fans are your most valuable asset for a number of reasons. First of all, they’re a great sounding board and source of support for your artistic endeavors. Secondly, catering to your fans gives them the information and tools they need to be your biggest ambassadors. Here are a few tips on helping your fans become your word-of-mouth marketers. Try some of these ideas coupled with our communication tips from the last articles (Part 2, Part 3):
- Access, Access, Access!: Make sure you give your hardcore fans exclusive access to you creative world. Create behind-the-scenes footage and make it available to your online fan club. (With that in mind, make sure you create an online fan club! It’s a great way to communicate with your fans.) Giving your hardcore fans access to your creative process provides the backdrop to the story they’ll tell their friends while they play your latest record on a drive across town.
- Make an effort to connect in the “real world”: Social media is a great way to connect with fans, but nothing beats an actual, in-person meeting. Tools like foursquare and Meetup make it easier than ever to schedule a meet-and-greet with your fans. Consider doing a pre- or post-show meetup in each city on your next tour. The fact that you take the time out to get to know your fans will mean a lot and create memories they can share with others.
- Make the most of your merch: Make promotional material to give away/sell to fans. The artwork should include your logo and the fashion should fit your core fan base’s style. You want your merch to be a conversation piece. If it’s cool, your fans will wear it. If it’s catchy, their friends will want to wear it too.
- Start a movement: Everything you do should be centered around a movement that you create. When I say “movement”, I don’t mean a serious political campaign. I’m referring to a creative theme that your fans can relate to and get their friends interested in. Think about all of your favorite musicians: doesn’t their music match their lifestyle? Their fans are likely people who either share or have a desire to share that lifestyle. Make sure your music paints a picture of who you are and tells a story that people can relate to.
At the end of the day, you want to make your biggest fans feel special and tell stories that they can relay to their friends. The easier you make it for your fans to spread the word about your music, the more they’ll talk with you in everyday settings with their close friends and family. Having them spread the word is WAY better than you tweeting about why your new EP is the best album in town. Take the time to cultivate your fan base.