Sales and Marketing

WordPress Websites for Musicians – An Interview with Middle Tennessee Music

artists-marketing-business-academy-interview-with-expertsI’ve been saying it for years, MySpace, Facebook, ReverbNation – I don’t care – If you are (or want to be) a Professional Musician or financially sustainable Band:

YOU MUST HAVE YOUR OWN WEBSITE!

Thanks to platforms like WordPress, building your own website or hiring someone to build it for you no longer has to cost thousands of dollars.

But whether you build it yourself, or you hire someone to do it, it is up to you to decide what goes in it, on it and how it looks and feels.  I’m thrilled to have 2 specialists in building websites for musicians, Josh and Bret, to help us figure out:

  • What must every Musician/Band website have?
  • To blog or Not to blog?
  • What are the best WordPress plugins for musicians’ websites?
  • How do you integrate and brand yourself from Social Media to your website?
  • And what about SEO?

We’ll be talking about this and more!

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C Bret Campbell and Joshua Smotherman

Middle Tennessee Music is comprised of C Bret Campbell and Joshua Smotherman:

Our Work

Joshua Smotherman, Bunks Media, Middle Tennessee MusicJoshua Smotherman‘s Bio:

Back in 1999, along with a childhood friend, I started writing, producing, and recording full-time as part of the hip hop duo, BUNKS.  With no desire to ever sign a recording contract with a big label, we decided to build our own label and to use the Internet to promote the music.

Back then, Social Media did not exist, but we had services such as MP3.com and Soundclick which allowed us to create profiles, upload music, and share it with listeners across the world.  Forums and Messages Boards were the go-to sites for interacting with the independent music community. Specifically in Hip Hop, large numbers of emcees, producers, and fans spent hours engaging in writing lyrics, sharing recordings, and collaborating on instrumentals.

When Myspace became the most popular social networking site in the U.S. in 2006, we dove head-first into Social Media and began sharing and promoting our music with the Myspace community.

Shortly after, it was YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, ReverbNation, and an ever growing list of social networking services.  It became hard to keep up with everything going on, but we quickly learned that the World Wide Web was changing, growing, and evolving on a daily basis.  It was necessary to learn and maintain flexibility as well as spend a few hours each day reading and researching the latest developments.

The more time we spent with Social Media, SEO, and all the research involved; the less time we had to focus on writing music, booking shows, and releasing albums, BUT…

Other bands, venues, and indie labels noticed our presence and began asking questions. Then they began asking for help. Then somewhere along the line people started paying us for our advice as well as asking us to oversee their Internet Presence (from the Website to all their Social Media accounts).  Things began taking off in unexpected directions but we rolled with the punches and soon realized the music community could use our help.

After years of learning, researching, and throwing ideas back and forth, Middle Tennessee Music was born.

Small Barn Sound, Middle Tennessee MusicC Bret Campbell‘s bio:

C Bret Campbell is owner of Small Barn Sound recording studio in Hillsboro, TN; known for it’s artistic vibe and down home feel. The philosophy at Small Barn is that beauty and integrity of performance comes first. The drive is a desire to see the underdog succeed.

He is also Vice President of Middle Tennessee Music. Founded in 2011 as a merging of Small Barn’s promotion services with those of BUNKS Multimedia, Mid Tenn focuses on independent musicians, labels, venues, publications and web partnerships. Along with free information and promotion services Mid-Tenn act as consultant, webmaster, and online marketing director for bands, artists, indie labels, radio promo companies, and others. We build, host and maintain websites, handle social media campaigns and help build the professional team that an artist on the rise needs.

Bret has been a musician for 35 years, and involved in the music community in some way or another all of that time. He is currently making music, and writing PR and reviews. He covers Social Media forThe Saturday Independent newspaper, the Tennessee music scene for 101 Distribution, and a multitude of topics on Mid Tn and Small Barn Sound. He also organizes and participates in charity concerts for several organizations.

He is blessed to be a happily married father of 3 beautiful children who constantly give him inspiration to be the best he can be.

How to Manage Your Marketing – The Contact Management System

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramMarketing is creating an environment in which people feel comfortable enough to buy from you,  over and over again.

Sounds like a great idea, right? But what exactly does that mean in terms of day to day actions?  And how do you systematize creating that environment?

Does this sound familiar?

  • You’ve got a pile of business cards on your desk, but you don’t really know what to do with them.
  • Picking up the phone to make marketing calls is terrifying because you don’t really know who to call or what to say when you get them on the phone
  • You know you promised somebody something, but don’t remember who or what or when
  • A prospective customer/client/fan tells you to call back in three months and you promise to, but you know you won’t remember

These are all symptoms of a poor contact management system (or CRM – Customer Relations Management System)!  There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s the system that is lacking!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • Why you need a Contact Management System (and why your memory isn’t enough!)
  • The Key Components of an effective Contact Management System
  • How your Contact Management System feeds into and energizes your larger Marketing Plan
  • A review of some of the 3rd party apps out there and how to choose the right one for you

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Social Media – The Art of Engagement

Artists MBA, Foundation ProgramTwitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube – OH MY!

Social Media is everywhere and it’s clear that there are some Artists and business owners in the Arts & Entertainment Industry (including the Music Business, Film Industry and Publishing) who are using it to build real world success.  But there are a lot of people who are overwhelmed and confused by it, and whatever they’re doing isn’t working.

I believe that Social Media Marketing offers you an enormous opportunity never before seen.  For the people using it correctly, their success is no accident.  So, how do you apply it to your business?

In this class, we’ll explore:

  • What is Social Media and why do we care?
  • How to use Social Media Marketing as part of your overall marketing plan
  • The Do’s and DON’Ts of Social Media Marketing
  • The differences between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube and why it matters
  • How to wisely use your time on Social Media

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Multiple Streams Step 8: BOP Positioning

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramThe final step of the Multiple Streams of Art / Music Income process, establishing your BOP (Bold, Outrageous, Provocative) Positioning, is bigger than your Branding, or your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

Your BOP Position is about who you are and what you stand for as an artist, as a business and as a human being.
 

What is Your Purpose?

In this Class, we’ll discover:

  • What is a BOP?
  • How some artists are using their BOP to make a difference in the world
  • 3 Key questions to help you identify your BOP
  • How do you use your BOP to build your Multiple Streams of Art / Music Business?

Your BOP is your BOLD OUTRAGEOUS PROVOCATIVE statement of who you are and what you stand for.  What is your BOP?

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Marketing 101

Artists MBA, Foundation ProgramMarketing is fundamental to your success. If you’re out to make a prosperous living doing what you love, it just won’t happen without marketing.

Yet few artists spend much time learning this foundational set of skills. And many people (not just artists) have a serious misunderstanding about marketing and sales, what it is, how it works and how to do it ethically and artfully.

In this class you’ll discover:

  • The 3 biggest misconceptions about Marketing
  • How to use marketing to create lifetime fans and a sustainable career
  • What it takes to create a Marketing Plan and implement it in a systematic and repeatable way.

Without promotion something terrible happens … nothing!
P.T. Barnum

You can create the most brilliant product, but if nobody knows about it, you will not succeed.

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How to Embrace Your Unique Voice as an Artist

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramAs children we are taught, by our parents, our teachers, our siblings and our peers, that in order to be loved, we must blend in. We must conform our uniqueness to be “appropriate”. And its an important skill to have – to know society’s rules and be able to act accordingly with volition.

But as artists, as business owners, as entrepreneurs, expressing your unique voice is critical to your success in business and in life.

 

“Self-censorship is not just self-betrayal and self-abandonment (which would be bad enough), but soul-betrayal and betrayal of our Muse, our inner voice, our highest self.”
Ralf Waldo Emerson

In this class we’ll explore:

  • How to listen to yourself in an empowering way – so you learn to know your true voice
  • How (and when) to express your true voice
  • How these skills serve in your creativity, your marketing and your business and personal relationships

Standing up and standing out takes true courage in a society that encourages conformity. And if you study the truly successful in our world, as I have, you will see that they all had a heaping measure of that courage – the ability and the willingness to take a stand for what they believed and to embrace and celebrate their unique voice.

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Facebook Promotion Etiquette

In the last week, 2 people have gone onto my Facebook Pages – Debra Russell and Artists Marketing & Business Academy – and posted that I should check out their Facebook Page or ReverbNation Page.  And my first reaction was – wow, that’s rude.  But then I thought to myself – what if it’s not?  What if, in the world of Social Media, that would be OK?  So, I went on my profile and asked the question, and the unanimous response was – yes, that’s just rude.

Think about it this way – if you were a store owner looking for a way to promote your store, would you go into someone else’s store (even if they weren’t in direct competition with you) and hand out flyers inviting people to your store?  Without at the very least asking permission?  I mean, wouldn’t that just be rude?

So, why do people think it’s OK to do that on my Facebook Page – which is the online equivalent of a storefront?

There are two marketing principles that apply:

  1. If you wouldn’t do it in the real world, don’t do it online.
  2. People buy from the people they know, like and trust.

So use social media to initiate, create and deepen your relationships with your prospects, customers, clients and colleagues.  It’s called relationship marketing.  Sure,  get to know me, even invite me to like your page.  I’m easy to contact on Facebook – I allow n0n-friends to message me.  But don’t do it by advertising on my page.  That’s just rude.

 

Multiple Streams Step 7: Strengthen Relationships

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramAll the principles you’ve put into practice and hard work that you’ve done in the previous steps come together in this 7th Step of the Multiple Streams of Income business model.

Your pink spoon and product funnel draw them deeper into relationship with you.

The research you’ve done on your niche, their language and preferences and your contribution of solutions to their problems, needs and desires, draw them deeper into relationship with you.

It is in this step that you turn them from prospects and customers into clients and lifetime fans.  It is here, that you transition them from fans into your greatest street and sales team.  It is in this step that you create your community.

And it is through your community that you really make an impact on the world.

In this class, you’ll discover:

  • How to synthesize all the work you’ve done
  • How to deepen your relationship through your email newsletter and social media
  • And what to do with them once you’ve got them on board!

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Multiple Streams Step 6: Convert Prospects

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramA lot of marketing and sales programs talk about how to Drive Traffic – and we cover that critical area in Step 5.  But if all you do is get people to “Like” your Fan Page or even sign up on your email list – you will not succeed.

The key to success in your business is to engage with your prospects.  You must convert them into customers and from there into clients and fans.  So how do you convert prospects into customers, clients and fans?

In this class you’ll learn:

  • The importance of WIIFM
  • How to build rapport to create a buying environment
  • How to overcome your resistance to asking for the sale

Having big numbers on your Facebook Fanpage, Twitter followers, Instagram or even your email list won’t fill the seats, pay the bills or create your successful career.  You have to convert prospects into customers.

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An Open Letter to LunarPages

or Why I Recommend Against Using LunarPages to Host Your Website

The last 2 months have been a virtual hell for me (pun completely intended).  Sometime in the middle of May, I started noticing real problems with my website.  I was in the midst of doing a lot of content creation and tweeking to the big overhaul I’d done in February.  But everything was taking so long.  It was hard.  It was frustrating.  But then it got worse.

I started getting complaints from clients, customers and paying Members that they couldn’t access my website.  That it was timing out, locking up, going down.  And so, I filed a ticket with Lunarpages customer service.

Their initial response was to blame my website.  There must be a bad plugin or script causing the problem, because Our server is just fine.  So, I spent time and money, spoke to multiple web programmers familiar with both WordPress and Wishlist Member (the wordpress plugin that runs my ArtistsMBA Program).  And while we did find one bad plugin and deleted it, instead of things getting better, they actually got worse.

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