Marketing is a critical piece to the success of any business. If you can get your marketing figured out, a lot of other pieces tend to fall into place.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share two dangerous mistakes musicians and music entrepreneurs make in their marketing, and how to mitigate them…

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Critical mistakes musicians and music entrepreneurs make in their marketing
  • 00:19 – Mistake #1: building entirely on rented land
  • 00:35 – The dangers of building on rented land
  • 01:43 – The critical importance of building your own website
  • 03:19 – Mistake #2: single source dependence
  • 04:17 – How I’ve mitigated the risk of single-source dependence
  • 06:03 – The solution to single-source dependence

Transcription:

There are a couple of critical mistakes many musicians and music entrepreneurs make in their marketing.

The first mistake is building their business entirely on rented land.

Rented land includes sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t utilize social networks in your marketing. I use social media to promote The Music Entrepreneur HQ in a variety of capacities.

But the problem is that you have no control over whether your account gets shut down.

Some people have built entire businesses using Facebook groups. And, while Facebook groups are fantastic tools for creating community and engagement, if Facebook decides to shut you down, there’s nothing you can do about it.

Furthermore, it may not be as result of you doing anything wrong. Someone in your community could end up violating Facebook’s terms, leading to your group’s termination. You have no control over that, and if your group was monetized, you instantly lose all that money.

What happens to your community then? Do you have everyone’s contact information? Are they on your email list?

Unfortunately, all too often, the answer I hear back is “no”.

It’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t anything new. As MySpace started declining in popularity around 2009, and Facebook became the default social network for social networkers, no one got to keep their friend’s list they’d worked so hard to build.

We need to learn from history and not repeat it. If you want to build your business and keep your business, you can’t build entirely on rented land.

We need to learn from history and not repeat it. If you want to build your business and keep your business, you can’t build entirely on rented land. Click To Tweet

I feel like I’ve harped on this issue for years, but it’s why I’ve been saying you need to build your own website. By the way, no, I don’t recommend using Wix or Squarespace.

There are only two ways of going about it that I recommend:

  1. Set up a hosting account with Cloudways and use WordPress to build your site.
  2. Set up an account with Bandzoogle and build your website there. Their tools are incredibly easy to use.

Why do you need to build a website?

Because your website is not rented land. You own it.

You can direct people to your website to buy your products and sign up for your email list. Your email list, like your website, is also yours – nobody else owns it.

I’ve heard people say email is dead, but that idea is entirely unfounded. You can get a much better response rate from your email list than your social media followers, guaranteed.

I don’t understand why there is so much resistance to going through these steps. It makes perfect sense from a business perspective. You should prioritize what you own over what someone else owns.

Yes, you should partner with powerful allies such as Facebook, but at the end of the day they will never be as invested in you as you are. They could care less if you lose your business overnight.

Many people tend to think of their most popular social media account as the central hub for their content. Stop that. Instead, build a website, and use that as your central hub. Then, extend your arm out into different directions, such as Facebook and YouTube, and get the people who are on those websites to visit your website, so you can build a relationship with them.

The second critical mistake musicians and music entrepreneurs tend to make in their marketing is single-source dependence.

Someone recently commented on one of my YouTube videos. This comment is no longer visible, but essentially what it said was, “30 views and 40 subscribers? Who are you to talk to me about getting my music heard?”

I basically replied by stating that one should not judge another’s online presence by their following on one platform alone.

This concept seems lost on a lot of people. If you’re actively building on rented land, of course you would think this way.

“Once a YouTuber, always a YouTuber.” That’s how a lot of people think.

That’s not a great way to think about marketing. As we’ve learned from mistake #1, your account could get suspended or shut down. I’ve seen this happen on various social networks.

What happens to your thousands of YouTube subscribers when YouTube decides to delete your channel? They’re gone for good!

I’m not worried about that because I’m not dependent on YouTube for my traffic.

So, what’s the alternative? Let me share with you some numbers. I don’t share these numbers to brag, because there are plenty of businesses, blogs, and YouTubers with a bigger following. I share these numbers, so you can see how I’ve mitigated the risk of single-source dependence.

First, my website gets an average of about 500 views per day. It’s taken a long time to build up to that point, but the content we publish on a weekly basis helps us achieve that

That traffic helps us build our email list, which is currently up to 1,132 subscribers.

My podcast gets an average of about 900 downloads per month, but at times I’ve seen as much as 2,100 downloads.

I have over 1,800 followers on my primary Twitter account, but if I added up all my Twitter properties, that number would be 2,608 followers.

My primary Facebook page only has 224 likes, but if I added up all of the Facebook pages I use to promote The Music Entrepreneur HQ, you would see that I have 325 likes total.

I have 496 followers on Instagram.

My YouTube channel currently has 40 subscribers.

Are you beginning to see how this is anything but single-source dependence?

I don’t necessarily have a lot of time to dedicate to social media, and it’s not my focus. But I still get regular traffic from it, so I don’t discount it. I just keep publishing where I expect to see the greatest return from.

If Google decided to de-rank my website, that would suck, and I could lose a lot of organic traffic. But organic traffic isn’t my only source. I have traffic coming from a variety of sources, and I know how to build that traffic on other platforms if I ever end up needing to.

Being single-source dependent leaves you and your business vulnerable, because you never know if you’re going to be de-ranked or shut down.

Being single-source dependent leaves you and your business vulnerable, because you never know if you’re going to be de-ranked or shut down. Click To Tweet

The solution is simple: Once you’ve built one source of traffic, begin branching out and build other traffic sources.

I’m not saying you should spread yourself thin trying to increase traffic from every source available, so don’t get carried away trying to do everything. You can gradually increase your online footprint over time, by focusing on one traffic source at a time.

Are you ready to unlock your potential?

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David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe

Founder & CEO at The Music Entrepreneur HQ
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a performance schedule with Long Jon Lev and Adrenalize. If you'd like to be notified whenever the blog is updated, click here to subscribe.
David Andrew Wiebe
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