Musician Self-Promotion Dilemma #47
I recently received this question from the terrific pianist/composer Jeremy Siskind (thank you, Jeremy!). It’s a common concern for many musicians and Jeremy suggested it for a newsletter topic. So let’s tackle the Musician self-promotion dilemma #47.


Jeremy’s self-promotion dilemma:

“I’m having this issue that I feel like I’m promoting ‘too many things’ and I’m not sure what to do about it.
As I have a new album out, I’m trying to . . .
1) get people to listen,
2) sell related CDs,
3) get people to watch videos,
4) book house concerts for a tour, and then I’m always trying to
5) get people to buy the books I’ve already published,
6) get subscribers to my Youtube channel,
7) get people onto my mailing list,
8) get people to sign up for private lessons, classes, etc.”


His questions were:

“How do you know what to sell when?
Should I always have one single goal for each campaign/newsletter? Or is it okay to have multiple possible outcomes?

I know people talk about “funnel marketing” – should I be clear on what I’m funneling people towards or is just a “cloud” of promotion okay sometimes?”

This is such a juicy question that I thought we might also focus a bit on it in our next Beyond Talent Clinic but let’s take a first stab now . . .


The ONE call to action rule

As for the goal of each newsletter or social post, YES, you want just ONE offer, one call to action. If there are too many choices, we get overwhelmed and bail. As my business coach Dallas Travers always says, “A confused mind says ‘NO.’ ”

Think about it this way, if your new album out is the “main news” right now, you’d want a focused promotion campaign leading up to the release and then extending for maybe 2 weeks.

So this means that each newsletter and each social post would offer a different nugget about the album—so that there’s something fresh and relevant about each message (not just “Buy me!”). Think of it as delivering worthwhile content along with the invitation (the offer of what you’re promoting).


A sales campaign plan

What slice of life, memorable anecdote, piece of wisdom, or new insight can you offer that makes each newsletter or post share-worthy? For an album these might include a series of posts highlighting specific songs. In the posts you’d reveal the original inspiration and/or the unexpected crazy things that happened in the course of writing and recording the song and how it was transformed as a result.

After the release, you could then of course, highlight testimonials and exchanges you’ve had with fans and what these brought to mind about why you do what you do. So there’d be a value to the newsletter or post even for those who’ve already purchased the album.

You can use this same approach with all your self-promotion (a course, a score, etc.)


The golden ratio

Over the course of a year, you want the majority of your posts and newsletters to NOT be sales invitations. Aim for a 10 to 1 ratio of high-value content delivered to every one sales pitch. So yes, you’ll have concentrated campaigns for projects (like the album), but outside of that you want to be delivering high-value content.What do I mean? Think what your fans, students, concert presenters, and customers would want.

Post and newsletter topics might include:

  • What you puzzle over about the creative process
  • A performance or arranging tip in a video
  • Sharing an inspiration from something you read / heard / watched—highlighting other artists or recordings
  • Describing what you learned from one of your students

Over the course of a year subscribers would receive on average 9 of these “high value content” newsletters/posts to every 1 sales pitch. Even though these value-oriented posts aren’t part of a concentrated sales campaign, they’d do something more important: they cultivate the “know, like, and trust” factor with your readers.

In short, the ultimate goal of your communication needs to be bigger than simply selling any one of your offers.


Clarify the real goal

The real goal is to cultivate relationships with your readers who may become super fans—the people who eagerly come to your concerts, tell others, share your posts, and buy whatever the next item you offer is. (Super Fans are described in Kevin Kelly’s classic 1000 True Fans).

The way to cultivate such fans is by delivering thought-provoking material and being real, human, and open—about why you make music and what the challenges have been.

And of course, along the way, when you periodically highlight a story about one of your scores, albums, or courses—and share some of the testimonials you’ve received and how much these meant to you, that will pique more interest and spark more sales.


What about that Funnel?

In terms of the sales funnel, think of how people might first hear about you and when they go to your site, what’s the call to action—what’s there for them?

If the “gateway” to your world is your newsletter, then I’d suggest making that the prominent call to action on your home page and consider offering a lead magnet—a freebie people get by signing up for your list. This might be a free download, a PDF of your creative listening list of recordings for improvisers, or sheet music to one of your latest songs. People need to be in your world for a while before buying anything and becoming super fans.

The exception to this newsletter first idea, of course, is when you’re in the midst of a campaign for one project. In that case, many people use a pop-up or a splash page for that time-specific offer.


What to promote and when

Work backwards from your release and map out in advance when and what topics you want to focus on. Plan your campaigns in advance and then make sure in between campaigns, that your “everyday” posts and newsletters always have the relevant link to whatever of your offerings is most related to the topic you discuss.

So, if you write about an inspiring performance experience you had and the surprising exchange with audience members, for instance, then at the end of the post, you might include a link to one of your performances on your YouTube channel and a sentence about your House Concerts and how people can bring one to their friends and family soon.

You can take that same approach with your teaching studio, or anything else in your world of offerings. Give value first and then remind people how they can access more.

There’s my response to the self-promotion dilemma #47: Thanks again for the terrific question, Jeremy!

And speaking of reminders, please join us for the next Beyond Talent Clinic—these are the first Monday of each month at 1 pm ET and are exclusive for subscribers to the newsletter (they receive the invites via email.) Let’s tackle your questions live in conversation!

And if you’re curious about receiving coaching from me, find the details here.

Looking forward,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

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