Why I Built a Fan Base
Over the past 2 lessons, we’ve worked through some pretty heavy stuff in relation to building a fan base.
I told you about my epic failure with selling my first album.
I explained that it was only when I started analyzing the strategies of successful Indie artists that I was able to launch myself out of total obscurity and start building a fan base that would allow me to sell my album, both offline and online.
Once I did, I was able to sell out of my first 1,000 CDs, order more, make more albums, sell out of those, order more, and so on.
Even though I’m not actively touring and selling my music right now, to this day I still receive continuous payments for online sales.
The Crippling Mistakes to Avoid When Building A Fan Base
In lesson #2 I told you about the 5 crippling mistakes and gave you strategies to avoid them. Let’s review those really quickly:
- Mistake 1: Not clearly articulating your “why”.
- Mistake 2: Asking people what they think about your dream of a music career.
- Mistake 3: Using the right strategies, but in the wrong order.
- Mistake 4: Trying to do everything by yourself.
- Mistake 5: Not setting an easily trackable #1 goal.
If you missed that lesson on Episode #49 you definitely want to go back and listen to that so you won’t get caught up in those snares that can have a domino effect on your motivation, your focus, your confidence and your ability to move forward toward achieving your dream of a self-sustaining music career.
Can I Really Build A Fan Base?
After hearing from many of you over the past 2 lessons, I’ve found that most people believe they have to get lucky or get the attention of Industry “decision makers” in order to create a successful music career that brings in a steady income.
- We create all these justifications: Maybe I just don’t have what it takes.
- Maybe I’m too young.
- Maybe I’m too old.
- Maybe I don’t have the right look, the right sound, the right pedigree.
- Maybe Bree is just smarter than me…
All wrong. Those are all limiting beliefs.
Instead, I’ve discovered that building a platform to attract and engage an email list of fans who love your music and are eager to support your projects is the key to reaching your #1 goal.
Keep in mind – if I can do this, anyone can do this!
When I started I was just a middle-aged woman from California with small children and a part-time job. Although I had a business degree, it was in accounting. I had no marketing background; I had no online experience; I had no manager, no booking agent, no record label and no connections.
And I made a LOT of mistakes along the way. I started with all the misconceptions you may have: I assumed I needed a record deal, I thought I needed a manager, I was sure I needed a booking agent, and I certainly needed to be part of a band that was already established, and I couldn’t succeed without press……
I was crippled by those myths for 10 years. And I paid the price. By the time I started down the right path, I had small kids which made it hard to tour. Why couldn’t I have figured this out in my 20s?
The great news was, it didn’t matter that I was middle-aged and had small kids. I made it part of my story, my identify, and I attracted fans who loved me for that.
The thing is, there is a perfect audience for YOU out there too. It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 and still in high school, a middle-aged mom with a baby on one arm and spit-up on your blouse, or over 50 and just getting back into music after putting it on hold to raise a family or develop a different career (remember 50 is the new 30 and 60 is the new 40). In fact, some of my very BEST students are over 50 and extremely passionate about building their music career.
Let Your Fan Base Be Your Guide
Now that you have your #1 goal laid out and you know why you’re doing it, and you know what to avoid doing, I want to introduce the new framework.
In today’s lesson, I’m going to give you the framework, the step-by-step blueprint, to move you from point A, (I’m overwhelmed, I function in relative obscurity, I have a high level of frustration, my sales are few and I have little money) wherever you are today, to Point B – a confident artist with a well-established platform, a growing email list, a fanbase who are engaging with you to become super fans, attending your shows, buying your music and supporting your projects.
Going back to our first lesson, all those boxes full of CDs stored in your garage.You created that CD, and then you tried to find an audience to buy it. Instead, what you need to do is build your fanbase first, find out what they want from you, and then create that.
After I built my fan base, I found that one thing my fans loved was when I sang Broadway and Classical tunes. So I created a CD of many of the songs they requested plus my favorites. That thing sold like hot cakes. Even if I wasn’t doing a specifically themed program, my audience just loved buying it.
Now this isn’t to say that if all your fan base wants is cover tunes you have to give up on your original music. It just means giving them what they want and they will be more excited to support your original projects.
7 Step Process To Building And Monetizing A Fan Base
First you have to build a fan base to find out what they want.
So the steps in the framework go like this:
- Determine where you’re going in your career in detail. You don’t want to skip over this step. It’s vital, just like the blueprints for a house that tell you to build the foundation first, you need to build your career on a solid foundation before you jump to the next step. In this step you’ll also get a firm hold of your schedule, your priorities and your time-management so you know that everything you’re doing in your music career has purpose and forward motion.
- Setup your platform. Decide on your “branding” or the way you’re going to portray yourself as an artist. Create your website, your social media presence and your email “plan of attack.”
- Setup your “ethical bribe” or value exchange to attract new fans. This should be in the form of a free download. It’s important to set it up right so you get real fans and not just freebie-seekers.
- Build your email list. This includes getting your first 100 email subscribers. There are several strategies for getting new fans for free online, tactics for getting tons of new signups at shows, and many other great ways to get new fans onto your email list.
- Engage with your fans. This includes specially crafted welcome emails, automatic emails designed to sell your music, what to write about and when to send them, and more. On the social media side, you need to know what to post and how often to post specific kinds of content. You also want to use tools that help you find great stuff to post that your fans will love and that make your life easier so you don’t have to spend all your time online.
- Make some money. Here’s where you start to drill down on optimization strategies for getting quality bookings, selling out your inventory at the merch table, and creating subscription plans that will bring in steady income.
- Finally, you want to explore the world of crowdfunding. This will allow you to finance future projects instead of using your savings to create an album you’re not sure if anyone will buy.
Getting Your First 100 True Fans
I want to give you a head start on this. I realize that you may not have a finished website, or you haven’t signed onto social media yet, or, you don’t have any way to collect email subscribers. That’s OK. You’ll get there.
But here’s something you can do right now.
Reach out to 10 of your friends.
- Tell them that you’re creating an easy way for fans of your music to find out what’s going on with you, when and where you’re playing a show, when you’re releasing new music, when you come out with a new video.
- And, tell them that you’ll also be giving away some cool prizes to your fans.
- Then ask them if it would be OK to include them on the list and could they provide their best email address.
- Reassure them this is only for purposes of fan updates and that you won’t share their information with anyone.
Collect those emails in a document or even on a piece of paper (at least for now, until you’ve setup an email service provider like MailChimp, BandZoogle or ConvertKit.
Go through your email contacts, Facebook messages, Twitter, your texts, anywhere you interface with friends on a regular basis. Send the request to 10 at a time until you’ve reached 100.
And if you finish the exercise and get to your first 100 true fans…Congratulations! You now have a bigger email list than over 50% of Indie Artists!
From 100 True Fans to a Self-Sustaining Music Career
100 fans is a huge milestone.
Once you do that, you’re going to be excited, and you’re going to have a lot more questions: How do I set up my email service provider so my emails get delivered and are in compliance with the spam laws?
- What do I do with them once I have them on my list?
- How do I get them to invite their friends?
- How do I attract people I don’t know and get them on my list?
- How to I lead my new fans down a path, in the most effective and non-sales-y way possible, to buy my music?
- What other ways are there for me to increase my revenue through my fans?
- How can I get them to get excited about supporting my new projects?
And that’s why I created the Indie Music Profit Plan.
If you’re ready for answers to these questions, if you’re ready to be taken by the hand and shown the exact process, I can help.
I’m just about to release a new, 12 week course that will walk you through the proven, step-by-step system for building a powerful and profitable fan base.
It’s called The Indie Music Profit Plan. We open up enrollment to the course twice a year, just like a college class.
The next enrollment is coming up in a few days. And if you’d like to get on the VIP list to be the first to have a chance to enroll and receive special VIP bonuses,
I want you to go to www.IndieMusicProfitPlan.com right now to sign up as a VIP. On Friday May 13, we’ll send you special links to enroll before anyone else so you can grab the VIP only bonuses.
If you’re reading this after the official launch on Monday May 16, simply go to www.IndieMusicProfitPlan.com to enroll and get the action-takers bonuses before they expire. I promise, these are going to be amazing!
For now, keep working on getting your first 100 true fans. I know the achievement will not only encourage you and build momentum, but it will put you on the path to building an engaged, raving fan base that will help you create a self-sustaining music career.
RESOURCESEmail your questions for Bree to answer on the show: Bree@FEMusician.comLeave your audio questions for Bree to play on the air and answer (you can promote yourself too): SpeakPipeSubscribe to the show on iTunesGive us a review on iTunes to be entered to win a month of Female Musician Academy.Listen onSoundcloudShow Editing by Jen Edds at 317 Sound DesignMusic by Stella Ronson
ABOUT HOST BREE NOBLEBree Noble is an entrepreneur, musician and speaker. She founded Women of Substance Radio, an online radio station that promotes quality female artists in all genres, in 2007. She launched the Women of Substance Music Podcast in November 2014, a 5 day per week show which promotes Independent female artists. Her podcast has hit #1 in New & Noteworthy for the Music, Arts and Society & Culture categories and #4 Audio Podcast on all of iTunes. She draws on her extensive experience running her own music business, both as a solo musician and as an Industry professional, to train and mentor other female musicians. Learn more about the station, the show and the artists atwww.wosradio.com. Connect with Bree on Twitter @BreeNoble or on Facebook or on Instagram @breenoblemusic