3 ways to promote your music online (without annoying the crap out of people)

We've all received a message from that annoying band – "our album is AMAZING! BUY IT NOW!!!". You quickly keep scrolling through your news feed, mildly annoyed that this group's one and only communication with you for the past week has been to ask for your money.

Meanwhile, the band that posted the comment sits at home, wondering why more people don't support music. They know that we have a new CD out, right? Why aren't they buying it? Maybe we need to just keep posting on our wall, telling them to buy it- they're probably just not seeing it in their news stream.

Most musicians that I know are wonderful at making music, and horrible at self-promotion. I think it's a prerequisite of being a world-class musician- often times, great musicians spend so much time worrying about their craft, that they forget to learn the marketing side of the equation. Sadly, that's why so many of the famous musicians are not necessarily the best musicians.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can go about marketing yourself to fans, without sounding spammy. Here's my 3 best tips:

1. Make it personal

One of the most common problems that beginner marketers make is to generalize everything (I know- but it's true). For most musicians, you're reaching a very small, targeted group of people- Why are you talking to them like the CEO of Walmart talks to his employees in a group email? Make sure that you communicate with your audience the same way that you would communicate with a close friend, and don't be afraid to personalize (add first the fan's first name to your post on their wall).

2. Mix it up

Sending out the same email with the same wording 50 times, does not make your email 50 times more effective. If you feel like your audience is not understanding your message, change the wording, add a joke, or talk about your topic from a different perspective. Above all, make it interesting. People hate boring (I'm guessing you do, too).

Also, if you're not getting the response you want from your posts/email, you may not be saying the right stuff, or you may simply be sending out boring material that no amount of spicing up is going to change. Don't be afraid to take a cold, calculating look at your actual content.

3. Don't commercialize

People in the 21st-century have gotten so sensitive to marketing, that any time you use the words "buy", "order", "check out", or other common catchphrases that you might see on Amazon.com, they immediately tune you out. Work on building healthy communication that has nothing to do with monetary exchange. Then, when your audience really trusts you, give them opportunities to support you financially. Even then, be careful- you can lose your audience very quickly if you ask for money too often.

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