Not to sound like a New Age self-help guru, but if you’re trying to get your fans to spread the word about your music, ask and you shall receive. It’s really that simple. If you want help, ask for it. This is the kind of promotion you shouldn’t spend money on. Since they’re already your fans, it’s just a matter of reminding, tempting, challenging and coaxing them into doing something. Here are some ideas to help get you and your fan base going.
Send a fan-only email
When you send out an email you probably hit one button to send it to your entire list, which includes industry folks like journalists, producers and others. Take the time to figure out who on your list is an actual fan who willingly and eagerly signed up for your email list, rather than music biz people, and send them an email detailing the promo help you’re seeking.
Start a street team
Record labels do this and so should you. Ask your most ardent fans to join your street team. Traditionally, members of a street team hit the streets to hang flyers for upcoming shows and place other promo materials in targeted spots, such as record stores, clubs and coffee shops, but these days it also includes social networking and other internet avenues. In exchange, the street team receives perks such as free merch and admission to shows.
Kick start them
Kickstarter and other fan funding sites can help you raise money for your next recording project, but they are also a good way to get your existing fan base to spread the word. These sites make it easy for those contributing to your project to share its fund raising progress through social networking sites and email campaigns. People like to be a part of something, especially when’s it’s a team of like-minded music lovers helping a financially struggling artist to reach a goal. A fund raising campaign like this gets your fans out there enlisting new “recruits.”
Engage them in non-typical ways they are sure to tell others about
Instead of over-posting and sending out too many generic promotional emails that are likely to turn people off, try engaging your fans in more personal and creative ways that are sure to get them talking about your act to others. Send thank you emails after encountering them at shows. If you have mailing addresses and really want to blow their minds, send a handwritten note (who does that anymore?). Let them pick the songs on your next CD. Start a contest that rewards existing fans who drive the most new fans your way. Promise the winners you’ll write or dedicate songs to them on your next album. The ways of non-typical fan promo are endless. Think outside the box and get creative beyond your music.