OK, when did February end and the first week of March 2010 begin? Thank you to all friends, fans and new listeners who came to the Missouri State Chili Cook Off & United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) benefit Sunday, March 07. The event was an amazing afternoon for a charitable cause, the chili was fantastic and True North had the opportunity to showcase tunes and talent at a large venue. The band had numerous performance compliments, attendees enjoyed the quality music, fantastic sound (props to Special K on soundboard) and thanks from the organizers for the band for donating time, merchandise proceeds and gig fees back to the UCP. Was it a long day, yes, but in the end, the event was extremely rewarding both for our group and funds raised for individuals living with Cerebral Palsy. Photos from the venue are online at True North’s Facebook page and Flickr Photstream.
I had an extremely entertaining and enlightening conversation with Phil Putnam, Sales Director for Ariel Publicity this past Friday, 03.05. True North is investigating making a commitment to further our online goals and outreach by investing in either the Headliner or Rockstar packages. What I took away from the conversation with Phil was his participation with CyberPR garnered him new markets in unlooked for areas such as Europe and Australia as well as putting his music in touch with 10+ contacts per day, for 3-4 months…qualified contacts, who were interested in his writing and music, something he might not have been able to accomplish on his own. Of course, as a marketer, I want to nail down quantifiable results, but recognize in the world of online marketing and independent music, it can be difficult to gauge what results will happen for our group or any other artists. As when I met Ariel, I clicked with Phil during the conversation and similar marketing ideologies converged. Definitely am looking forward to further discussions with the Ariel Publicity team about creating online marketing possibilities for True North! Confident the band will have many discussions about this endeavor, should we accept the challenge to participate or not.
I am going to preface this section with a quote from one of my favorite books, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael Gelb. Gelb describes a da Vincian principle, Sfumato, literally meaning going up in smoke, as a willingness to embrace Ambiguity, Paradox and Uncertainty. Gelb states “Poise in the face of paradox is a key not only to effectiveness, but to sanity in a rapidly changing world.” Who would have thought when I read and highlighted that singular quote in graduate school it would come back so vividly present day to describe this Music Success adventure. Recognize in this journey I (nor the band) agree with all the tactics, ideas or philosophies, but we have to be willing to embrace uncertainty every day and try on new ideas.
Music Success in Nine Weeks, Week 6: Chapter 6, How to Build Your Mailing List
I like how Ariel encourages artists to begin equating the size of a band’s (or business) email as proportionate to the size of one’s income. I agree with Ariel and am a big proponent of regularly and consistently communicating with fans in the online realm. As I stated a few weeks ago, it can get tricky attempting to generate unique messages every email, fan update or newsletter; occasionally inspiration comes, sometimes it does not. True North received the Constant Contact Email Marketing All Star Award for 2009, so maybe we are doing something right!
Without further digression, moving on to Ariel’s 5 Tips for Getting More Fans onto Your List
1. Add Family & Friends Easy suggestion, mine Inbox/ Outbox for individuals who may not be on the band email list. Ariel included a sample form letter to use when requesting emails from other individuals. I like this idea and was thinking, I have 2,500+ contacts in my MS Outlook database, probably should be paying more attention to those business contacts, individuals and friends. Collectively, between all the band members, we know a vast number of individuals who might be interested in our band and music. I have connected a few True North items into LinkedIn, probably need to investigate that social business platform further as well.
MySpace: I have been thinking about attempting to migrate individuals who are on MySpace over to the True North email list using the personal/ brief form notice Ariel provided. I threw this idea out to Phil, he stated he had done the same, was able to transfer a majority of MySpace fans over to his email list and keep those individuals informed of his happenings.
2. Create a Separate Inbox for Potential Email Sign-ups Ariel suggests creating an Inbox entitled “Potential Newsletter Reader” and populating that Inbox with individuals who you think might make a nice addition to the email list. Makes sense, will have to give it a whirl, see how the idea works out.
3. Bribe Them into your List—Give Away a FREE Exclusive MP3 or Video We’ve been trying this tactic at shows (signing up for email, get free something) and online. It seems to be having a decent effect, we receive a few new sign ups at shows and at the online Reberb Site. I struggle a little gauging the effectiveness and impact of our communication efforts, but little by little, it is happening.
4. List Trade with another Band While this idea is great in theory, not sure how it would work in practice. I get the feeling of ‘your info was just sold off to someone else’ similar to the practices which phone companies or telemarketers before it became illegal to trade one’s personal information without permission. While I recognize sharing list or requesting fans of another band is in the spirit of “Hey, if you like us, you’ll like our friends (or band X),” it makes me a little hesitant. Might be a trial by fire attempt, figuring out a good sharing partner/ band will be the first step, TBD!
5. Get Mobile, Start a Text Messaging List Ohhh, have no idea how badly I want to start this gem of technology for True North! Requires a little more research and investigating on my part, seeing which texting data platform will work and integrate into our current online sites (capturing data). Ariel suggests Broadtexter or Mozes as a place to start for building a text messaging list, as well as adding a place to get on the “text messaging” list on the website homepage. This can be a really powerful tool, if kept simplistic for fans to text email or contact info to True North! I am a text fiend; I would do it in a heartbeat at a show if a band asked me to text my email!
All for this week, anticipate Week 7 Tuesday AM, turning in an attempt to overcome the cold am getting after a very long, super busy, two charity event weekend! –Will Gladhart