In this article, we’ll explain the differences between push and pull marketing and suggest 10 ways independent artists can engage their fans to succeed with pull marketing in 2023.
Table of Contents
Understanding Push marketing
Push marketing is as the name sounds, it’s about the brand or band pushing content at their audience and hoping some of it sticks. Push marketing is most associated with broadcast channels like TV or outdoor advertising. EG. ‘We have something to tell you and you will listen’
Social media and pull marketing
Social media was designed to be different. It wasn’t designed for push marketing, it was designed to be engaging and it’s no surprise the influencers and companies that win on social media are those that use it as a pull-marketing channel. They put out messages that encourage people to come to them and engage.
The problem is 90% of the content on social media has become about passive push, and consequently, 99% of it becomes bland wallpaper that is ignored or skipped.
One of the biggest mistakes independent musicians make on social media is to naively assume their music is the pull.
We’re sorry to break it to you, but most people don’t know your name, let alone your music. Music might be the pull for Radiohead or Beyonce fans, but for the rest of us, we need more than another post about your new single release.
How independent artists can win in 2023
As an independent artist or band in 2023, success will be driven by reducing your reliance on push and start employing some pull marketing. Here is why…
A lot can happen in a year in music marketing. At the beginning of 2021 savvy artists were taking advantage of Facebook Conversion ads to drive people to listen to their latest release on Spotify. We were huge fans and advocates of this approach and we saw some great results. But when Apple changed their Privacy rules, Conversion ad effectiveness plummeted and the cost soared. While previously a conversion could have cost as little as 8p now it was averaging at more than £3. Overnight one of the most effective and sustainable ways to promote music had disappeared.
What’s driving the change?
Privacy! Rather than allowing advertisers to blindly target app users and website visitors, Apple ruled that consumers should have the right to opt in or out and decide for themselves. As a consequence many consumers decided to opt out, meaning that Facebook ads could no longer reach these audiences.
As an aside: Gartner Research now highlights a trend towards opt-out ambivalence. By 2023 they predict the opt-out rate for mobile app tracking will decline from 85% to 60% as consumers learn that untargeted ads increase their exposure to low-quality content.
What’s the alternative for independent artists?
Deloitte suggests 61% of high-growth brands are shifting to a 1st party data strategy. What does this mean… In simple terms, this means brands are inviting their website or app visitors to voluntarily hand over their email addresses or contact details in return for something of value.
But before you start inviting the world and his wife to your website, you need to identify and build your audience. While Facebook Conversion ads might not work, ads that drive awareness, and video views still work perfectly. So if you don’t know who is most likely to engage with your music run some advertising or promoted posts start with a broad audience and see who naturally engages the most. Is your music appealing to 18-25 or 35-55? Is it appealing to rock fans or people who like Nick Drake?
Facebook Ads allow you to retarget anyone who engages with your ads, content or social media content. So you can quickly ensure that the people who like your music are invited to see your latest post or offer.
Don’t Collect Followers, Collect Fans
It’s easy to fall into the trap of prioritising followers over existing fans. The next time someone follows you on Instagram, ensure you message them immediately to engage them, ask them a question, and ask them what they like, and what they want to see more of from you. The first challenge with social media is to stay in your fan’s news feeds so the more engagement you can create the better. Like their content, and comment on their posts it doesn’t just have to be a one-way street.
Once you have a clear understanding of who your audience is, think of ways to switch from push-to-pull marketing.
8 ways brands are capturing leads and email addresses
- Run a sweepstake or competition
- Offer coupons or discount codes
- Share personalised recommendations
- Earn loyalty points
- Provide VIP treatment
- Share valuable information or insight
- Entertain with a fun quiz or questionnaire
- Invite consumers to make content
- Create an NFT with rewards beyond music alone
- Talk to your fans!
But this is for brands, what does it mean for bands?
Whether you are a brand or a band, your goals are actually remarkably similar. Both want to attract consumers and encourage them to buy their products / stream their music. If we take the list above we can quickly find ways to bring this back to music.
1. Run a sweepstake or competition
While independent artists are unlikely to be able to offer holidays and cars as prizes, there are still ways to engage fans. Prizes could include limited edition vinyl, a guestlist at your next show, or an old instrument signed by the band that you are no longer using. It could even just be an unwanted Christmas gift, a bottle of unopened Jack Daniels or Champagne!
Independent duo The Daydream Club invited fans to provide childhood memories, the best-inspired improvisations that featured on their album Piano Project With You In Mind. How many people do you know that have their own song and thanks on an album sleeve?!
2. Offer coupons or discount codes
Website makers like Wix allow you to create discount codes. Why not email anyone who has bought your last vinyl with an offer to buy your latest release and save 20%.
3. Share personalised recommendations
Ask website visitors to complete an interactive personality quiz in return for providing them with a personalised playlist aligned to their personality. There are a variety of tools including Typeform that allow you to create online quizzes and stories. Anonymous music collective Porcelain used this approach to drive engagement in support of their debut release.
4. Earn loyalty points and rewards
Add the Smile app to your Wix website or WooCommerce Plugin to WordPress and allow fans to earn points each time they buy from you, then create a series of rewards. For example, once you reach 100 points we’ll play a private online gig just for you and your friends.
5. Provide VIP Treatment
Make a limited edition vinyl containing extra tracks only available to members of your mailing list or VIP programme.
6. Share valuable information or insight
Independent artist Penfriend recently recorded a video explaining how to make more engaging music videos and social media content. US musician Andrew Southworth runs a YouTube channel explaining effective ways to promote music using paid advertising.
7. Entertain with a fun quiz or questionnaire
Visit Buzzfeed for some ideas, they have built their brand by creating this type of content. ‘We can guess what type of person you are at a sleepover.’
Find some inspiration and modify it to suit your needs, make it fun and engaging – remember music doesn’t have to just be serious.
8. Invite fans to make content
Invite your fans or gig attendees to share their content. Birmingham band Broken Witt Rebels used user-generated content to make their music video for Georgia Pine.
9. Create an NFT with rewards beyond music alone
You have likely heard a lot of NFTs in the last 6 months. We’ll keep it simple. An NFT is a digital asset – think your latest album cover or a still from a music video. Fans can buy it so they own the original. But to make it more valuable artists are adding additional benefits including a share of royalties from the track, or a private gig with the artist. Independent artist and former RCM featured artist FIFI Rong is leading in this space.
10. Talk to your fans
Independent artist Tess Posner uses chatbot / Messenger ads on Facebook to engage new fans and guide them towards the most suitable content.
Read more on RCM
- What more help and advice with your music marketing? check out Major Labl
- Read why unsigned bands should stop wasting money on radio pluggers
Words Mark Knight