Maybe the words “Getting People Interested” could be initialized as the GPI ingredient. “Getting People Interested” is one of the toughest elements of doing business. You can have awesome products, services, customer service, promo, etc. and still be wondering : “Where are my customers/ fans?”. In this post I will discuss some of my experiences regarding building a fan/ customer base and what has and hasn’t worked for me.
If we are spending time and energy trying to create some kind of product or consumable for the public to purchase or at the very least appreciate we have to get them interested in it. I’m going to call the factor “GPI” for brevity’s sake. GPI can be really tough. GPI is the make or break of a business. If no one purchases your product or service you have no business. So how do we Get People Interested?
With all the new options brought about by the advent of widely-available broadband internet business owners (and musicians) have access to a whole new set of ways to access the public. Not only that but the internet is an ever-changing frontier of advertising and social-networking opportunity. The most popular sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and so forth can offer opportunities to connect with new fans and customers but how do we Get People Interested?
My personal experience has been that Facebook has not been a very good way to generate new fans or customers. It *has* been a good way to keep already-established relationships warm and informed. YouTube gives us the opportunity to present ourselves more creatively and as a musician we can couple or music with compelling images to try to hold a potential fans interest. Using the internet to generate customers is different than trying to speak directly to people in the “real” world. Though it may be easier in some ways in that you don’t have to actually engage another human being face-to-face the relationships and connections online tend to be much more superficial than making real life contact.
I’m currently struggling to figure out how to generate new fans and grown my fan base as a musician. My first inclination is always to question the quality or validity of my work. Is it good enough? Do I look cool enough? Do people like me? Do people think my music is any good? Do I look stupid? These kinds of doubts and more crop up when I start wondering why my promotional efforts seem to fall on deaf ears. I believe that in order to be successful at business we need to be able to be as objective as possible about who we are and what we’re doing while taking the reality of our skills and products and finding an audience who would appreciate what we do. The fact is that unless you just literally give away free money there will always be a more-or-less specific audience that will be interested in what you do. The trick is to find the audience and cater your efforts to nurture and grow your base.
I am a musician. I sing, play a variety of instruments and write songs. I have released two full albums of original material on my own since 1998 as well as a couple of singles. I have also been featured on a few minor artist’s recordings besides my own. I have a website with a URL that matches my band name- Smokstik.com. I have a FB fan page, Twitter user, YouTube channel, MySpace page, profiles on many of the music services that feature my music including iTunes, Amazon.com, etc. and I’m fairly active in keeping my websites up to date. I also have my individual website- Kingvegas.org- that features more of a variety of things that I do and also have a Facebook profile, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
I have also set up free offers to get people to sign up for my mailing list by offering a free sampler of my music featuring several tunes. I have even created what’s called a “squeeze page” which is a page intended solely for the purchase of getting people to sign up for my emailing list. For a while I used an email service that helps to acquire legitimate addresses as well as send out emails that are tailored for each customer, allow for multiple campaigns, etc. but I found that it wasn’t worth the expense for me at the moment as it wasn’t really helping generate email addresses or sales.
They say that advertising online- and in the “real” world- is a numbers game. The process of working these numbers is called “driving traffic”. The theory is that a certain percentage of people that are exposed to your ads, products, etc. will actually be interested in what you are doing and take some action to learn more about your product or service or maybe even make a purchase. Since the kinds of percentages that we’re talking about here (and online statistics are pretty easy to come by) are often in the single digits of return that means to build a business you need to reach A LOT of people hoping that some of them may be interested in your product. We can further narrow our focus to those who may actually be interested or have the capacity to consume our products but we still have to reach a lot of people hoping that some of them may be interested.
So there are a few factors here that will dictate our success:
- How many people we reach in promoting our product
- The kind of people that we reach in promoting our product
- How well we present our product
- The actual quality of our product
- Our consistency in maintaining our customer (fan) base
These are all kind of technical considerations for building and promoting a business but there are “X” factors that can make a huge impact on whether any of the above makes any difference at all. In the next installment I’m going to go more in depth regarding my own personal efforts in promoting and selling my music, “GPI” and making a living as a musician.
What do you think?