I spent some time over the holidays really thinking about what it takes to build a successful artist campaign. The music business has changed quickly. Artists stuck in the new year doing things the same way they did in past years, are not guaranteed to make an impact. Here is a short list of action items I believe you and your team can do to really excite fans in 2017.

Build Genuine Connections

Last year I was introduced to Ryan Leslie’s Superphone and it…is …genius. Superphone allows artists to create and share a special phone number connected to their personal account. Any time a fan calls or texts that number, buys something from the online store, or fills out a purchase form, they get a “welcome message” prompting them to provide some personal information. This includes location, a brief bio, or any other data the artists wants to categorize their audience by. The Superphone dashboard then allows artists to view data of who is paying for what so they can hone in on their most important fans. Guess what? You now own the relationship with your fans.
When releasing future projects, you can now address them personally by name and tell them about it directly. Imagine what that does for your fans! Their favorite artist just sent them a personalized good morning message with a motivational quote to jump-start their day. Your connection just got deeper. That same fan just screenshot the text thread and posted it to their 5,032 followers.
As an artist, imagine building a network of 1000 fans in your (Super)phone book, then get each of them to spend 100 dollars with you in a year (purchasing items such as CD’s, clothing, concert tickets, etc). You have now made $100,000 from building a deeper connection with a small group of devoted followers.

Jab Jab Hook

Of course, the objective is to make money, but stop selling to your fans all the time. If you are not familiar with Gary Vee, I’d suggest you check out his YouTube videos. Your fans are people too, remember that. The key to winning them over is to not always make it about a monetary transaction.
Think about how dope it is to receive an unexpected gift. This is called, “surprise and delight”. Frankly, fans love free stuff. Build up your buzz by developing really dope FREE content. Have people tune into and believe in your message before you try selling them something. Build your story first. Give them a reason to spend with you.
6lack is a new Atlanta artist who did a great job at this. He and his LVRN team, Tunde and Sean, released a new project right before the end of 2016. They did a free show right after the release and they completely packed it out. Imagine how that looked for social media? A week later , they announced a US tour. They got us (the fans) tuned in with the project, sold out a free show, and then hit us with the hook, The US Tour.

Create A Customer Journey & Enhance the Experience

After your listener streams one of your songs for the last 30 days, what’s next? What else can they engage with and champion for you?
Think about the products in the grocery store. In any given isle you will see promotions such as: Buy 1 Get 1 deals, various mail in rebates, an extra donut in the Krispy Kreme box, etc. All of these things typically bring you joy right? Try doing the same for your fan by locking them into something else. Re-release your latest project and add some remixes or new features. Streaming is THE wave right now. It’s essential that you continue to create more quality content that your listeners can check you out on.

Cultivate A Community

When Barack Obama first ran for President, he had a grassroots campaign much like a Bad Boy Entertainment street team. He had normal folks going door to door, spreading the message and registering people to vote. More importantly the people were engaging with others within their own community. He built a tribe of evangelists for his brand.
Now it’s time for you do the same. Think about what influencer marketing is? By definition, influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on targeting key industry leaders to drive brand message and awareness to a specific market of consumers.
Take it one step further by looking at all of your fans and followers as potential influencers. You should be building a community of people who love your music and then offer them incentives & rewards for spreading your gospel. Not only will you create this advocate group, you will now be able to push out your campaign directly through your fans, who will become your personal micro-influencers. Keep your message organic and always measure the engagement. It’s time to activate your presidential campaign!

Keep in mind, times are changing in the music business, and if you don’t focus on connecting with your audience you’ll be displaced and forgotten. Focus on exciting your fans and keeping them engaged going for war for you, and you’re guaranteed to hold their attention.