I have loads of books related to the music business. Songwriting, recording, touring, getting fans, legal stuff, and of course… marketing.
And I love those books. I think a lot of them are great.
But as I started to study direct response marketing more, I started to have a theory crystallize in my mind.
Part of that theory is that marketing principles are essentially the same across a lot of industries. Sure the product and the specific tactics will change if you’re trying to sell music rather than insurance or vacuum cleaners or something, but it’s all still marketing.
Then I started to think that if you wanted to stand out in your industry, maybe you shouldn’t do exactly the same thing that everyone else is doing to get noticed.
Otherwise you just become part of the noise and can be easily overlooked.
*Sidebar: I had this reinforced by a genius real estate marketing coach. Pretty much all real estate agents promote the same way… And no one wants to see a real estate agent coming toward them!
And if you only read books on music marketing, chances are you’ll follow the advice and do the same stuff that pretty much all musicians do.
It’s not even that any of this stuff is particularly bad, it probably even works! It’s just that it’s not the best way to distinguish yourself from the pack and be memorable.
So how do we start doing stuff in a different way?
Enter Russell Brunson
Russell is the founder of Click Funnels and has had the opportunity to learn directly from some of the biggest names in marketing.
He’s a pretty sharp guy and he wrote a book called DotCom Secrets. It’s a great, great introduction to direct response marketing that you can get for only the cost of shipping. I highly recommend it. There’s so much awesome info in there.
But today, I want to focus on one specific concept that I think is particularly relevant to musicians, the concept of The Attractive Character.
He defines the Attractive Character as “a persona that attracts clients or customers and helps you build your following to eventually make sales.”
The reason this is necessary is that people aren’t really going to pay attention to your marketing message if they aren’t interested or attracted to the person delivering the message.
He used this concept to stand out in the online marketing space, one that’s filled with competitors (and a lot of shady people too).
The Attractive Character for Musicians
So how does this apply to you as a musician?
Well, think about this. You probably have good music. Maybe even great music. But guess what?
So do millions of other guys and gals out there competing with you for people’s earbuds.
What makes you stand out? What makes you different?
I’m going to argue in almost all cases (with rare exceptions) that it’s not your music…
It’s your back story. It’s your current story. It’s the story behind your most recent song. It’s your look. It’s your sound.
All of these things contribute to what makes you unique as an artist. Good music is pretty much a given. It is the cost of entry now.
Besides, people that aren’t musicians are often fascinated by musicians. This is an industry where you can talk about your craft and there will be people who are interested in what you have to say.
This doesn’t happen everywhere. Believe me when I say that no one wants to read about a real estate agent or insurance agent’s work on a daily basis! But a musician… That’s a different story.
How To Do It
There are a number of possible ways to go about this. Social media is one. It’s valuable to bring your fans inside your world using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Videos are great because people can get a feel for your personality, how you look, how you sound and more.
There’s another way that a lot of people go about doing this, and that is with an email newsletter. As you know, I’m a firm believer that musicians absolutely need to be using email marketing to communicate with fans.
So you can and should use one of those routes, but now let’s take it a step further.
But first, some background.
The Millward Brown Study
In the Millward Brown study, researchers used MRI technology to study differences in the brains of people looking at print materials and digital materials.
You can read the linked PDF, but here are 3 of their takeaways from the study:
- Tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain.
- Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
- Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of the ads
Even the researchers say that this is in no way to say you should stop using virtual communications, they absolutely have a place.
I know this recommendation is going to come across as bizarre, but what if you sent out a print version of your newsletter to fans?
We already have evidence that print materials affect the brain more deeply than digital/virtual materials. So would a greater emotional attachment to your Attractive Character that you built up in your newsletter benefit your career?
Maybe it would get you more gigs if you sent it to someone who books a venue. Maybe your fans would support your new release or crowdfunding project. Fans could have a paper calendar of your gigs to supplement your website and emails.
Again, I know this idea is probably a lot to process, but think on it for a little bit.
In a future post I’ll lay out how I envision putting this process into play.
What do you think? Crazy? Interesting? Have you ever tried it?
Let me know in the comments.