Grow Your Actual Audience

Welcome back to lesson number 4, module 4 called “Grow Your Actual Audience”.

Why do you want to grow your actual audience?

Well, an email address of someone who listens to your music is great…but at the end of the day you need buyers, which I’m calling your “actual audience”, to sustain your career.

You need to attract them and find out who they are and you need to take action. You need to take consistent action to get results. Just to be able to tell if you’re heading in the right direction or not and you have to give them value…give them what they want and you have to make it easy for them to buy.

What is an actual audience?

Your actual audience are members who will actually pay money for your music, merchandise or performances.

Now if you remember back to the lesson number 1 on 1,000 True Fans, Kevin Kelly came up with the concept that a True Fan is worth about $100 or more per year.

So if you have 1,000 of them you’d earn 100,000/year. Now before we go any farther…I just want to say that I really don’t like the word “fan”.

In many ways it’s kind of a demeaning term and you know, some horrific things that have happened to famous musicians over the years have happened due to mentally unstable people who refer to themselves as fans.

So, I don’t really like using the word “fans”. That’s why I’m using the word “actual audience”, I like “audience” more than “fans” and your actual audience is sort of my equivalent of a true fan. So somebody who’s willing to pay money for what you do.

They’re not just saying nice things to you but not, you know, paying. An actual audience is someone who will pay for what you do.

The difference between an actual audience member versus a potential audience member.

So your potential audience is anyone who is potentially…who could potentially be interested in your music.

Like in the last instance where we were using the example of hanging out in say a Black Sabbath forum, then that would mean that potentially people who listen to Black Sabbath could become a potential audience for your band.

The way that you’re going to find out the difference between the potential audience member and the acutal audience member is the actual audience member will actually pay money.

So at some point you have to make an offer to a potential audience member where they can take that step to become an actual member and pay you some money.

Again, going back to the 1,000 True Fan concept, Kevin Kelly is saying that if you have 1,000 True Fans that you’ll have enough to earn a full time living as a musician. But he doesn’t come right out and spell out exactly what the proportion is between a True Fan and just someone who’s casually interested in your music.

I don’t have scientific numbers, but I would say that you want at least 10 times that amount, and possibly more…maybe even 100 times that amount.

So if you have 10,000 prospective audience members – people who came to your website and gave you their email address, then you may be able to convert 10% of those into true fans who are paying you $100/month.

But actually, even as I say that…I would tend to skew that more towards you may need closer to 100,000 people to get that 1,000 True Fans.

Not saying only 1,000 people out of 100,000 would buy your stuff…but just to get that core audience, that core group that’s going to really want everything that you offer, it would probably be about a 100:1 ratio.

So that can be pretty daunting but stick with me.

How are you going to distinguish between a potential audience member and a True Fan?

Again, the key metric here is that a True Fan or an Actual Audience Member will pay money.

They will buy your album, they will pay to come to your show, they will buy merchandise. That’s the first step.

So you want to get them to volunteer to become an actual audience member as soon as possible so, one way of doing this is that when they come to your website.

Remember…you’ve been hanging out on forums and posting and eventually somebody clicks on your signature link, they’re brought to your squeeze page and they sign up….so they just put in their email address, they click “yes I want this free download” and then they confirm their email address and they’re redirected to the thank you page which says, “thank you – here’s your free download” and then on this thank you page, either right above or right below where your free download is that they just signed up for, you can make an offer.

You can say look, I have this new subscriber bonus. If you click this button here you can get three of my best album downloads for…instead of it being $10 each for $30 bucks…you can get them all for $15.

It may feel kind of pushy to do that but you have to remember the psychology that when someone first signs up to your site and they just get the thing that you promised them which was your free download, there’s a higher degree of trust and interest at that point in time.

So if you make an offer right then and there then there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll take you up on that offer.

The other thing you’re going to want to do is once you have people who are paying this money, you want to clearly identify them.

So depending on what type of email service provider you’re using, you either need to create a “buyer’s list”, so all of the people who actually paid you money are on a different list.

This will be smaller than your prospect list, but it will be worth…any name on that list will be worth at least 10 times what a non-buyer list is worth to your band.

Depending on whether you use something like Active Campaign – you don’t have to manage them into lists. You can actually just tag them with say the products that they bought. If you have a discount product…that way you can see exactly who has paid and who hasn’t.

Bonus tip, if you’re using something like Active Campaign, you can do lead scoring and triggered response sequences that can help your fans to self-identify so you know exactly who they are.

So you can set a trigger to happen if a certain page is visited more than a certain number of times or something is purchased, then you can automate the task to have that person put into a dedicated list or given a specific tag so that way you know exactly who they are.

And you can also do that to find out who the best of the best audience members are. The people who spend more than $100/year. You could put them in a special category, or the people who are most interested in house concerts because, say you make more money off house concerts…

So you can do a lot of different things, this is what’s call “segmentation” so that you can keep your best audience members identified. You can speak to them directly and give them more of what they want.

What if you’re doing this stuff and you grow a list but nobody buys?

It basically comes down to double checking the offers that you’re making. So if you’re growing your list that means that people are signing up for your free thing and it is pretty common that you’ll get freebie seekers who just, they’ll sign up and they just get their free thing and that’s all they really want.

So you never want to promote your offer as “hey – get a free song”, it’s like, okay – free song, I mean the whole value there is basically that it’s free.

You want to always promote the style of music that you do…it’s like the saying that if you fish with free then you’re going to just get a bunch of people who want free and nothing else.

Yes, I mean starting with a free offer is great but you don’t want to make just the fact that it’s free the central element of the offer.

You want to really talk about the quality of the music or the quality of the performance or the message behind the music or the lyrics so that way you’re making sure that the people who are signing up resonate with that, they’re not just signing up for the free side of it.

The other thing is, make better music. If people are signing up but they don’t buy – maybe they’re just not impressed with the music?

Make better offers.

So, you know maybe people aren’t interested in buying one download or two downloads. Maybe you need to package up an entire album or multiple albums or maybe even have a package where they get a cool tshirt plus they get the download or they get a download plus a free CD mailed to them. Come up with different offers and see if you can get more people to buy.

The other thing you could do is you could also weave in some affiliate offers.

If you’re growing a big audience but you’re not able to sell a lot of music, you can sign up for Amazon associates.

Amazon is banned in a couple of different states (their affiliate program) so depending on where you are, you may not be able to do this…but if you are growing a big audience you could reference things like books, courses and things like this that you checked out and provide good value. And when they sign up through your link you can get a small commission.

[su_highlight]This won’t replace your day job but you could in theory, earn enough money each month to, at the very least pay for your web expenses [/su_highlight]and then they’re effectively costing you nothing while you’re growing your audience and you’re building your online music career. So I think it’s something definitely worth checking out.

Another thing you can do, again if you’re growing a list but you’re not really seeing a lot of sales, is you can just come right out and ask them.

You can create a small little survey using Google forms, it’s free and you can let them do it pretty much anonymously and you can also…if people unsubscribe you can have what’s called an “exit survey” that says, “why are you leaving?” and you can find out if they don’t like the music, if they don’t like the band…maybe they just want the free download…?

Nobody likes to face rejection and it can be kind of hard at times but it’s better to know.

Once you know you have the choice to do something about it. Where as if you don’t know the reason you’re just going to be guessing.

Action steps from this lesson

You’ve got your web analytics in place, you should be doing regular posts on the different forums, so keep track, you know check your web analytics. Take a look and see…is there a forum that’s sending you more visitors of the ones you’re participating on?

If so, instead of spending more time you can start taking time away from the forums that have less response and focus that time where it’s getting more accomplished.

Also, look for the weak link. If you find that you’re getting sign ups but nobody is buying, take a look at your offer. See if you can change things up to make them more enticing.

If you’re getting a lot of visits to your website but nobody’s even signing up then look at your free offer. You know if you’re only offering one song…you may have to offer more than that.

Like i said earlier you don’t want to emphasize the free aspect as much as you want to emphasize the coolness of the song or the lyrics, otherwise you’ll just get freebie seekers.

So this is the end of this lesson about growing your actual audience. It’s about identifying who your actual audience is by making offers to your prospective audience and the ones who take you up on that are the ones raising their hands to say “Look I really like this stuff, I’m willing to pay for it”, so that way you can focus on those fans, those audience members and start making an income so you can do more of this.

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for the next lesson.

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