Building a fanbase, a group of loyal listeners who purchase from your music brand as well as act as brand ambassadors for your music brand is the ultimate goal most artist brands set out to achieve. That’s why I created this ultimate guide on how to build a fanbase for artists, musicians, producers, and brands.
How to be successful in music
If you read our post on marketing funnels (which you can find here) you would know the key to building a fanbase is fostering a relationship with your listeners and guiding them through a predetermined listener journey that you have mapped out.
This guide is meant to give you the tools to teach you how to build a fanbase by further exploring the individual steps you are taking your ideal listener through.
Introducing cold audiences to your music brand
There are several methods to introduce potential listeners to your brand, most of which we cover in the direct traffic method. A lot of artists nowadays are focused on content marketing and playlisting.
Content marketing can be effective it is only going to have a positive impact on your music brand if you are actually creating relevant for your ideal listener. I have met many artists who have created viral content and grown large social media accounts that have had little to no impact on their music brand. When they ask me how come, I take one look at their content and realize it has nothing to do with their music brand. So when creating content ask yourself, is this something my ideal listener can connect with?
Playlisting will help you grow on music store platforms through algorithms, streams, and listeners, but it will not help you drive significant new traffic into your marketing funnel. This means playlists will not help you build a fanbase efficiently.
What should you be doing instead?
Create content for your ideal listener. It doesn’t matter if it gets lots of views or performs well on Tik Tok or YouTube. The entire point of your content is to build a relationship with your ideal listener.
What you can do from there is take your best performing, relevant content and utilize paid media or influencer marketing to show that piece of content to relevant cold audiences.
In this way, you can reach relevant cold audiences in a sustainable scaleable way. You are not relying on algorithms, and you will be reaching the right people.
Fostering a relationship with your listeners
Once you have introduced cold audiences to your brand you must continue to “warm” that audience up.
At this stage, these listeners may have seen your content, listened to your music on Spotify, or engaged with your music brand in some way shape, or form.
Your job now is to move these listeners into your owned traffic sources.
Owned Traffic Sources
Building owned traffic sources is essential if you want to learn how to build a fanbase.
Owned traffic sources can be defined as traffic sources that you are in control over and you can utilize for free. It is important to guide your listeners and audience towards owned traffic sources so you can grow your brand sustainably and continue to foster a relationship without spending more money on advertising.
Here are some examples of owned traffic sources
- Email lists (See our blog post on growing an email list here) – This is my personal favorite as you are in control and your list will last as long as email is around. We use GetResponse and it has worked wonders for our brand!
- SMS lists – similar to email lists but you can text your audience directly. This is very powerful as most everyone opens their text messages nowadays.
- Content Platform Following – I hesitate to include this option as an “owned traffic source” as content platforms like YouTube, Insatgram, and Tik Tok can limit your reach to your own followers and you are really not in control, but I digress, content platforms still give you the power to reach your listeners for free.
Remarketing to your warm audiences
Once you have landed your audience on an owned traffic source you can begin showing them relevant valuable content. This could be an email newsletter or you just sharing your story.
But if you want to know how to grow a fanbase you must remarket to your warm audiences to stay at the top of mind and continue to foster a relationship.
You can do this by showing content to your warm audiences through all mediums possible. This means retargeting your active email subscribers with ads containing your content on Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, etc.
You want to be reaching your audience everywhere at this point showcasing your offers (see how to grow a music brand for more in-depth on this topic), sharing valuable relevant content, and continuing to foster a relationship.
Creating super fans
At this point, you have gone through the steps of learning how to grow a fanbase. You may have lots of fans who engage with your brand and listen to your music, but ideally, you want to have super fans who purchase your offers.
Your offers are your higher ticket products that you can offer to your fans in order to produce revenue for your music business. This can include anything from merch (see how to sell merch here), live shows, products both physical or digital, etc.
If you have been remarketing to your warm audiences then you already have a sales system in place and just need high-quality offers that your audience would gain value from. If you want to learn to sell online and create high-quality offers, I would highly recommend the OFA challenge which you can find here.
As always if you would like to continue learning about how to grow a fanbase, music marketing, and business-building be on the lookout here! We are always creating new guides, courses, and articles like this one focused on educating independent artists!