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Music Success in Nine Weeks, Week 8: Creating a Continuum Program

Creating a Continuum Program…alternatively titled, Getting your Fans to Buy from You Over and Over Again

Ariel provides a quick recap of tasks accomplished to date in the Music Success Project

1.  Your Newsletter/ Communication is going out 1-2 times per month

2.  Your Email List is steadily growing and building

3.  The Band is taking time to build the email list and online networking, 1 hour/week

4.  The Band has surveyed core fans and knows what it is they want (in process, slated for April 2010 for True North)

Ariel poses the question, “What can you offer your fans on an ongoing basis which entices them and makes them willing to buy?”  She addresses the Marketing Funnel, a basic marketing principle companies utilize to build client bases, create new communication strategies and generate brand loyalty with new prospective consumers.  The concept is one which a business fills the consumer pipeline, identifies repeat buyers and then has continuous offerings of product for consumer use or purchase.  Unfortunately, in the digital download of Music Success I purchased, the images that went along with the text and diagram exercises were not available, which was a bit of a bummer.

Even though the images did not populate in the Music Success PDF, thought I would share a few concepts from another text which the band resonated with.  Several years ago a few band members and I purchased Jim Collin’s Good to Great audio CD and listened to the content while we were on the road for our day jobs, going to gigs or otherwise.  The first line of Good to Great is “Good is the enemy of great.  And that is the one of the key reasons WHY we have so little that becomes great.”  If that line does not slap you upside the head and challenge an artist to live very day, make every connection count or create unique possibilities when stumbled upon, then he must be dead….and none of us crazy musicians are dead, we are emotional, neurotic, crazy, yet calmly disguised wrecks!  Can True North be a good band, absolutely; it takes passion, economic drive, being the best in the world at what we do and a ton of commitment (pushing the flywheel) to get to a place of GREAT.

If Ariel and her team have not realized it, they are working not only to make bands good, but truly GREAT.  I see the Music Success ideology in a whole new light and how it is positioned to continuously promote artist greatness to a wide and diverse audience…whether the artist gets that concept or participates in his own greatness or not!  The Flywheel and Hedgehog Concepts were the predominant take-away from the Good to Great text and spawned various discussions about how True North could continue to propagate the band’s networking, our music projects and generally, keep the proverbial flywheel moving along.  More information about these concepts and detailed explanations of the ideas are at Jim Collin’s website.   Purchase the audio book on iTunes, is a great listen albeit a bit business and data technical.

There were also suggestions of a Continuum of Program ideas listed in Music Success; several raised a good chuckle, but very novel ideas as well; some I believe we can incorporate into the band schedule.  Heck, members have lake-houses, snow ski-condos and a few other vacations spots, maybe we plan an adventure, party and have a little fun too!

Ariel recommends taking a few of these ideas, setting them into motion to engage and entice more fans.

Monthly Fan Club—Record a unique track/ video once/ month and charge fans a small fee ($2)

Special Event with the Band Club—Create a fan club that hosts 4-6 special events/ year…wine tasting, pub crawl, going to a concert venue, etc.

Artist Critique & Feedback—Invite your biggest fans to come listen to songs you have written for a new album, online release or pitch (Taxi) and give feedback.  I really dig this concept, several True North members participate in songwriters events in Kansas City.  We certainly could utilize (and have in the past) the Café Acoustic as a launch for tunes in progress.  Historically, we like to bring an fairly polished, arranged and compete tune to an acoustic performance, but maybe trying something a little different might be healthy, get other artists opinion…could promote an event as a feedback session exclusively for fans.

Private Gigs—play a dinner party, BBQ or coffee shop gig that’s private, invite only.  We do a few private parties (big events) per year, have identified several coffee houses (Classic Bean, Artichoke Sandwich Bar) which cater to acoustic settings, and do play for wedding receptions of fans.  We perform 4-5 of these type of special events, which seems to be more than enough for our group.

Monthly Gifts—Conduct a special promotion each month, continuing to propagate the program.

An Event Each Season—A concert for each season, maybe themed, Halloween, Valentines Day, April Fools, etc.  We have tried out a few of these ideas, some have been decent, others, not so much.  It is hard to get people to spend monies on a individual band planned event.  Can we pull it off, yes, do we have the time with careers and life…well, remains to be seen.

Annual Camping Festival—I like the idea in theory, but again, pulling off this type of event well requires a big time commitment and PR.  If we participated at Winfield, KS Bluegrass Festival or Country Stampede, then that would be an ideal setting to play, and go camping.

Be the Belle of the Ball—Throw a theme party, create an event that everyone will dig…maybe a Toga Party for spring?

Charity Affiliation—Affiliate with a charity or organization, donate a portion of proceeds to that chosen charity, make fans feel they are giving something back.  After this last week’s UCP benefit, an organization we could consider getting behind!

Private VIP Fan Website—Create a special fan page website only fans can access…populate with wallpaper, screen savers and other bonus gifts.  Maybe create a special for purchase podcast 1x month which fans can access also.  Again, never enough hours in the day, need to get another web techie on board!

Item of the Month Club—ski hat, tank top, coaster, beer-stein or pocket protector….more items to sell and create!

OK, I hope yet another chapter has provided insight for readers and the CyberTeam, onto Week 9 and project completion!  If you have comments or feedback, welcome your input and suggestions for True North!  —Will Gladhart

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