Are you having trouble trying to navigate digital marketing? Does it seem like everywhere you turn people are teaching tactics rather than strategy?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I expand on a strategy I call spiderweb marketing I briefly touched on in one of my books.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Effective digital marketing
  • 01:07 – Benefits of spiderweb marketing
  • 01:52 – What is spiderweb marketing?
  • 02:29 – Getting your website/home base set up
  • 03:14 – Building your email list
  • 04:15 – Creating content/content marketing
  • 05:22 – Set the trap on social media
  • 06:29 – Distribute your music
  • 07:52 – Get out there and share/network/collaborate
  • 08:52 – Final thoughts
  • 09:42 – Interview with yours truly

Transcription:

I think you’re going to love today’s episode, because essentially, it’s a mini course about effective digital marketing.

I’ve shared about the idea of spiderweb marketing in the past, and even talked about it in my book, The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship.

The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship: Making and Selling Your Neon Yellow Tiger

But as I’ve been finding out recently, it’s something that has been resonating with readers and listeners like you.

And, I couldn’t be more thrilled, because if you understand this one thing, you will generate better long-term results in your music career.

You may have heard of the concept before, and it’s essentially the same as “Octopus Marketing”, but here’s an overview of what to expect and how to implement it in your music career.

Benefits of Spiderweb Marketing

Before we get into the specifics, I’d like to share with you why you might want to take the spiderweb marketing approach:

  • It’s a strategy – not just a tactic. Much of what’s being taught out there in the music business right now is tactics, not a strategy. Spiderweb marketing, on the other hand, is a legitimate strategy.
  • You can benefit from it long-term. Social networks change rapidly, and so do other platforms, apps and websites you don’t own. With spiderweb marketing, you can rest easy at night knowing that you get to keep your content and followers.
  • You can protect yourself against risk. Nobody likes losing precious followers. If you take advantage of spiderweb marketing, you’ll never have this problem.

There are other benefits, but this is a good starting point.

Okay, so What is Spiderweb Marketing?

When a spider erects a web, it usually rests at the center. The web extends out in every direction and is set as a trap for its prey.

Now, we don’t need to – and probably shouldn’t be – thinking of our audience as our prey. But otherwise the metaphor works out quite nicely.

Think of the spider, at the center, as your home base. Think of the web as the groundwork you lay to capture the attention of people and turn them into engaged followers, subscribers and customers.

So, let’s get into the practical side of things. Here’s what you need to do to get your spiderweb set up.

#1 – It All Starts with Your Website

You need a website. This should be a dot com domain name. And, you should have a hosting plan.

We recommend the ultra-fast Cloudways (affiliate link), but there are other great hosts out there. We used to promote Bluehost, but no more. Once they got bought out by a bigger company, they started sucking. Hard.

Cloudways

I would also suggest setting up your website on WordPress and purchasing a premium theme such as the Divi Theme (affiliate link), created by Elegant Themes.

Elegant Themes

I personally have a lifetime membership to their site and use the Divi Theme for most website projects these days. It makes it super easy to customize your website.

Yes, some of this is technical, even uncomfortable. But it’s worth the effort. And, you will begin to understand the importance of it as you explore next steps.

#2 – Begin Building Your Email List Immediately

If you aren’t already using an Email Service Provider (ESP), sign up with Mailchimp immediately.

MailchimpAgain, there are other great alternatives out there, but since Mailchimp is free to start, and they’re constantly adding new marketing features, it’s easy to recommend. I still use Mailchimp myself.

Key point: This and the last step are truly the crux of the spiderweb strategy. You’ve got to set up your home base, and on your home base, you must have email signup forms.

You must encourage your audience to get on your list one way or another. The standard marketing term for this is an “opt-in bribe” or “lead magnet.” Not sure I’m crazy about either of those terms.

But the idea is to give something to your visitors to build your list. It could be a free video, song, T-shirt, or anything your audience might find valuable.

My favorite tool for building an email list is Leadpages (affiliate). It costs something, but if you have traffic coming to your website, it makes it super easy for you to begin building your list.

Leadpages

#3 – Create Content for Your Website

Publish something new at least once per week. This can help you grow your email list, which is critical.

I believe your email and social media strategies are going to suck if you don’t have content. Content gives you an excuse to reach out to your audience regularly. It engages your fans and even attracts new ones.

It’s time to embracing being a publisher and being a publisher requires a long-term commitment.

If you’re going to blog, don’t just publish one blog post. Publish 500.

If you’re going to podcast, don’t just make one episode. Make 200.

If you’re going to make videos, don’t just make one video. You get the idea.

There’s no ceiling on how high you should or could go.

The point is that you must build up your catalog of content. Experiment and test often. Once you’ve built up your archives, you’ll have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t.

Then, you can adapt your strategy to suit what your fans are genuinely interested in.

Most people just give up after a few posts. Don’t let that be you. You can do this, and the result is worth the effort, even if your hard work is met with crickets in the first two to three years.

#4 – Extend Your Reach into Social Media

With your home base established, you’re ready to “set the trap” on social media.

Can you see how most people have it backwards? They start with social media and then attempt to send people elsewhere (and, usually not their home base).

Is there truly any value in sending a stranger on Instagram over to Spotify to follow you? Will they even follow through on what you ask them to do? How can you be sure?

But what if you sent them from social media to your website to download your latest track in exchange for their email address? I think the return on investment (ROI) is self-explanatory. Overall, you’re going to get a much better result.

What’s great is that you can control what your users see first on your website and that’s a huge advantage. You can’t do that on your Facebook page.

I get it, this is a counterintuitive strategy. But it’s how I’ve continually built up my traffic and email list over time, as seen in an image you’ll be able to view in the show notes:

The Music Entrepreneur HQ traffic

It takes time and effort, but it works. If you’re consistent, and you keep with it, the effort pays off. Honestly, the ROI is ridiculous if you have all the right pieces in place.

#5 – Distribute Your Singles, EPs & Albums

If you haven’t already gotten your music out to popular streaming sites and online platforms using a service like Ditto Music (affiliate), then do so now.

Ditto Music - Record Label in a BoxThese services will automatically get your music out to all the biggies, whether it’s Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Pandora, YouTube, TikTok, Deezer, Shazam, TIDAL, Napster, iHeartRADIO or otherwise.

This is where the users are, so you might as well get your music to them.

But don’t forget – the biggest money is still going to come from offers you make on your own website. You can sell individual merch items, bundles and even performance packages.

You aren’t limited to selling 99 cent songs or $15 T-shirts. You can make offers that go from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars!

Making $3,000 in one go, for example, is much easier if you have a $3,000 performance package that someone buys once, versus a 99-cent song you try to sell 3,000 times.

I wouldn’t get too carried away with getting your music into playlists, but you can certainly take advantage of services like SubmitHub. Throw some spare change at it and see what happens.

SubmitHubI’d say content is more important than playlists, but I will never deter anyone from putting a solid 15 to 30 minutes per day into playlisting.

#6 – Get Out There & Share

Don’t stop now! Now that you’ve laid all the groundwork, you’re ready to get yourself and your music out there. And, again, this is critical to building your music career.

Network, play gigs, go to conferences… do whatever it is you do to connect with people.

And, put your website address everywhere, on your business cards, on your posters, on your banners, on your merch.

Get people to go to your website and sign up for your email list. Better yet, ask people on the spot. Even better, give them something for free so they are 100% compelled to join your email list.

Now that you’ve got your home base, you can share it with the world.

And, the cumulative effect of “setting the trap” everywhere you go, with the intention of sending people to your home base, is that you will have built an audience that you can monetize and create a sustainable career on the back of.

And, you will have done it in a way that honors the customer, not in a way that leaves them feeling like a number in a system.

Final Thoughts

I sometimes take it for granted that musicians know this stuff, but I know that’s not the case. So, it’s always good to cover it.

Plus, I’m constantly testing and refreshing the strategy, but I can honestly say it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the last four years. The same things are still working.

I think getting too fixated on social media is the wrong move, as your ROI will suffer big time. Again, use it to showcase your home and welcome people in.

If you have any questions regarding the spiderweb marketing strategy, do let me know. I look forward to seeing your comments in the show notes at MusicEntrepreneurHQ.com/182. You will find all the links and a full transcription of the episode there too.

Of course, you’re welcome to send an email to musicentrepreneurhq@gmail.com with your comments as well.

Closing

So, you might recall that I interviewed Robonzo from The Unstarving Musician in episode 164 of the podcast. That was a great episode, wasn’t it?

But did you know that I also appeared on The Unstarving Musician podcast?

Robonzo came at me with some awesome questions, and I absolutely loved doing this interview.

So, you can check out this episode at UnstarvingMusician.com titled Do The Hard Thing First and of course, you can find the link in the show notes too.

David Andrew Wiebe interview on Unstarving Musician

And, while you’re there, why not leave a comment thanking Robonzo for his time? In this age of smartphones and social media, we don’t connect much, so let’s get back to the basics of communicating.

If you want to improve your music career, improve your communication. This is a big picture skill that will make a huge difference for every area of your life.

So, again, check out UnstarvingMusician.com and leave a comment while you’re there.

I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

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