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Hey it's Mike from the Indie Band Alliance and welcome back to module 3 - Finding Your Prospective Audience.
So why do you need to find your audience?
Well you need to know who your audience is if you want to actually get paid, and you need to get paid if you want to sustain your music career, and the larger your audience is the more likely you're going to be able to earn enough to live on.
Lastly, the larger your audience is the more opportunities you have.
The easiest example of that is if you obviously can fill a stadium with your audience then you'll be able to play stadium shows.
You need to know who your prospective audience members are and be able to stay in touch with them and be able to grow that; that's what we're talking about this time around.
The way that you're going to do this initially...and a good way to get started that's free is to use online communities based on similar bands to yours or influential bands that had a big impact on your sound.
You're going to use these to grow your potential audience.
The goal is for you to go to these communities, go to these forums and become part of the community and siphon some of those audience members from there over to your website where they can now become part of your audience.
You're going to want them to come back to your website and then, before they have a chance to leave and never come back again...because that's typically what happens when we go to a website, you need to capture their details while they're at your website.
You're going to need an email service provider like Mailchimp or Aweber or Active Campaign; I would recommend that you use either a squeeze page initially to get people to sign up or your use
...there's different WordPress plugins you can use to collect email addresses so that way you can stay in touch with them.
Otherwise, once they leave your site they may completely forget about you and you'll never see them again.
Obviously, the way to get email addresses is to offer them something for free.
So how are we going to do this?
The first place I'd like you to go is to Amazon.com if you're not sure what kind of audience or where your audience is right now.
The reason why I say Amazon.com is you can do a search for, let's just say a band like Black Sabbath, if you're not sure where your audience is...if you feel that your sound is very similar to Black Sabbath...and that perhaps from the little bit that you do know so far that people who tend to like your music are also big fans of Black Sabbath, then you can go to Amazon.com, type in Black Sabbath - and...
...say there was a, even better is if you can narrow it down to say, say there's a particular era of Black Sabbath that, you know let's say the early Ozzy Osborne recordings or something like that.
You could then target one or more of those particular albums and if you scroll down to the bottom, so remember - we're on Amazon right now.
[I made a short video to illustrate the process described below, just in case I confused anyone with the explanation below]
You did a search for "Black Sabbath", say you landed on one of their albums like Sabotage or something like that and then you can scroll down and you can see the recommendations from Amazon and this is based off....I mean Amazon is a huge, huge, huge company worth billions of dollars.
They have all kinds of customer data and you know, sophisticated technology running in the background that's pulling this data that says, "the people who bought this album also bought these other albums"...
So what that does is that you can now scroll through that section and you can identify other bands that people who are fans of Black Sabbath and this particular album are also interested in.
Say it's Metallica, Guns N Roses, Van Halen....you can write these bands down and you have somewhere to go.
So you can say, I'm going to promote my band on Black Sabbath forums and communities and Metallica forums and communities and just say Motörhead forums and communities and Guns N Roses forums and communities.
So now you have a handful of bands that you can go and start promoting your band on. The first thing you'd do is look for forums on Facebook and Google Plus.
Those communities, groups on Facebook and when you check these out you want to look for a couple of things:
You want to make sure that they have lots of members and that these members are active.
So if you land on a forum and you see, wow there's 10,000 members but the last post was like five years ago, then that's not a good sign.
You want to see lots of members but you also want to see active members.
There should be multiple posts happening in a day...that just gives you an idea on whether there's any life in this forum or not.
The other thing you want to make sure too, is that you have the option of adding a custom link in your signature so that way...as you hang out here on this forum and you contribute and you ask questions and you become, a part of this community that....anyone who kind of sees what you're doing and likes what you're doing....inevitably they're kind of curious about the link that's in your signature that can then send them to your website.
Ideally, it would be a squeeze page or somewhere where you can capture their email address right away.
Those are basically the criteria that you want from any forum that you join.
You want to know that they have lots of members, the members are active and that you can add a custom signature link that you can send to people to get a free download of your music.
You're going to do this for, I'd recommend start with 3 different bands, 3 different forums...you know you don't want to go overboard on this.
It's better to go deep then to go very light and not make an impact. The goal here is not to spam.
You do not want to just post, you know, "listen to my band", "Check my band out" type stuff because nobody likes that stuff and it can get you kicked off of some places.
Let your signature do the work. Put "check out my music here" or try to write something that's kind of intriguing so people want to click on it.
You don't want to surprise them either...you just want (your signature) to be compelling but relevant. Otherwise people will come to your website and leave right away if they feel they were tricked.
The key is you just want to become a member of this community and ask questions and help other people out and you'll eventually start getting clicks through.
If you know your numbers and you set up your measurements, your web analytic tracking and all that stuff - you'll be able to start seeing things like, "which of the 3 forums that you joined are resulting in people staying on your site longer. Are they looking at more pages? Are they signing up for your free download?"
That's going to show you where the quality is happening.
The other cool tip that I recommend is that if you use the Google URL builder, what it will do is create a tracking link for you so you can add that to your signature link in each of the forums, and specify...the source will be different for each one of these forums.
Again, when you're reviewing your web analytics in 30 days out - you'll be able to see where you're getting the most interest from these forums.
That will be important later on when we talk about refining and optimizing our actions.
So the whole point here is you're becoming a part of a different community and you're sending them back to your website; ideally a specific free offer page where they can sign up to get a free download or free demo or EP.
When you get their email address and once you get their email address they should automatically be sent their free download or they should be sent an email that sends them to the thank you page, which then tracks as a goal and that's when they get their free download.
Once you have this information, you want to stay in touch because there will be, ifyou don't email people for six months at a time, they'll forget who you are and just unsubscribe or flag you as spam.
So having a monthly email that goes out or something like that would be, weekly...I would endorse weekly but some people feel that's way too much. So even just once a month is an option to stay in touch so they (your audience) know who you are.
Questions About Finding Your Prospective Audience
What if people don't come to your website after you start hanging out at these communities and participating?
The first thing I want to say is, be patient.
Most of these strategies take longer than we expect and most of us always over estimate what we can do in the short term and we underestimate the long term. So just be patient.
The other thing you can do is, if you've been hanging out for a week or for a while and you're kind of feeling like, "maybe this forum isn't as engaged as I thought it was", you can look for another forum.
You can also take a look at your self and just determine if you're really bringing some value to the table? Are you offering...are you asking good questions? Are you answering people or helping people out whenever you can?
Are you contributing to the conversation or are you just kind of, saying one-word or two-word responses that people just don't really engage with?
What if you don't have any money?
You know, you don't have money to sign up for an autoresponder or an email service provider or you don't have the money for your own website.
My very first piece of advice I'm going to give is that nothing life is free. You're either going to be paying money or you're going to be paying time or you're going to be paying energy...or the absolute worst case, you're going to be paying all three.
You need to make a decision. If this is something that you're serious about and you don't have a lot of money, are you going to put a lot more time and energy in?
If you don't have a lot of time, do you have more money to boost...to at least pay for your website and maybe pay for some paid traffic? These are questions that you need to ask yourself.
Having said that....Mailchimp has a forever free option which is a great place to start for an email service provider. That's who I started out with, I now use Active Campaign but they don't have any free options, but if you're really tight for cash you can still go with Mailchimp.
The other thing is, this technique, aside from having to have your own website...which is going to cost you a little bit, $15 bucks a year for a domain and $5 - $10/month for webhosting - it's pretty inexpensive.
If you want to build anything you're going to have to make some kind of investment. Having said all that, this strategy we're starting with is free. I'm not asking you to join paid forums, we're talking about free forums online, free Google+ or Facebook communities.
So money shouldn't be a problem for that.
What if you can't find your audience?
Well keep trying, practice makes perfect. Again, we kind of under estimate how much time this stuff is going to take us, but generally we end up having to spend you know maybe 20% of your time creating new music and writing music initially and about 80% of your time promoting if you want people to find you.
The other thing is, don't think of it as failure if you don't get the results that you want right away; it's basically just feedback.
Maybe you need to spend time on a different forum or maybe you're in the wrong...you're asking the wrong kinds of questions. Just tweak what you're doing, change your actions if you want to change your results.
In the end, I want to challenge you - if things aren't happening as fast as you would like, I would challenge you to do more not less.
Our tendency is to say..."oh this isn't working I'm going to stop" and the number one key to success I would say is to not give up. People tend to fail because they just quit too early. They say, "ah this isn't working, I'll stop".
Well, doing nothing...it's harder to do nothing and succeed.
You may not fail but you're not going to succeed either; that's like playing not to lose instead of playing to win.
There's the saying that you can't steer a parked car, and as you'll notice when the car is moving...the faster it moves the easier it is to steer.
When you're going full blast down the highway, if you move the steering wheel a fraction of an inch you can be in the ditch in no time. Whereas if the car is barely even moving...you can crank the wheel and you're going to have an hour before it hits the ditch because it's barely moving.
The best way to succeed is to take action.
You know initially when you're just trying to figure out what works, doing more is going to help you because you're going to get more feedback that can help you adjust your strategy and figure out where to focus on to get more results.
Finding Your Prospective Audience Action Steps
I want you to go to Amazon and type in either an influential band or one that sounds similar to your music. Dive down to a particular album and see what Amazon recommends, what other people are buying when they buy that record.
Take note of at least three bands that you think are a good fit for your sound and that people who would probably like that band would also like what you do.
Then go to Google and Facebook and search for that band name plus either "forum" or "community" and check out those communities.
Look for ideally, hundreds of active members, lots of posts...the most important piece is you need to have that signature so you can link back to your website or squeeze page.
Then after this, don't give up. I'd like you to dedicate 15 to 30 minutes a day to add value to these communities by asking and answering questions and just being cool. Commit to this for at least a month.
This is what we need you to do starting with this lesson and just keep going as we apply what we're going to be showing you in the next lessons. You'll be able to refine your actions and get more results.
That's it for this lesson on finding your prospective audience, thanks for listening.
Photo Credit (Modified)