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Branding 101

Artists MBA, Foundation ProgramWhat is branding?

Branding is a fundamental marketing concept that is often misunderstood by business owners.

According to Wikipedia:
“A brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”[1] Branding began as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp.”

What does it mean in terms of your career, your creativity and your fans?

In this overview of of Branding we will explore:

  • The 2 facets of Branding that you must consider when designing your brand
  • Expressing yourself authentically through your Brand
  • Using your BOP* to establish your BRAND

*BOP – Bold Outrageous Provocative statement of who you are and what you stand for – see Multiple Streams of Art/Music Income for more information about the BOP.

In order to create success in the music business, film industry, show biz, or visual arts, you must stand out from the competition.  The trick is to intentionally design a magnetic brand that attracts your fans/customers/clients to you.

And then make everything you do in your website, your social media, your live performance and your product packaging an expression of your brand.

What is your Brand?  Do you know?

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Websites and the Artist Entrepreneur

Internet Marketing Part Deux

In last month’s Newsletter, I talked about the importance of not only having a presence on the Internet but having a presence that would be easily discoverable by your prospective customers, clients and fans. And that the trick to being found is through the use of good key words and SEO principles.

But first you have to have a website. It amazes me that there are still people who think they can get away with a MySpace, Facebook, or ReverbNation profile as your primary internet presence.  Using your Facebook page, or whatever, as your landing page on the internet is a mistake for several reasons including:

  • You have no control over your content – because you don’t OWN Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation.
  • These sites can shut down with no notice or just shut down your profile/page with no notice and you will lose everything.

But beyond that – it communicates to the industry that you’re just not that serious. You aren’t willing to invest a few hundred dollars (or less) to set up your own website.

I also don’t recommend the template options that are abundant out there. For example, if you’re a musician or band, you can build a template website on Bandzoogle, Nimbit or Hostbaby to name a few. And it can be useful as a quick and dirty shortcut. But I don’t think you save money in the long run and you run the same risk as using Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation for your website – you don’t own it.

I recommend using WordPress to build a site that you host on a web host like Hostgator. This way, you own it. And using WordPress will allow you to update it, edit it, and even change the look and feel of the site as often as you need to without spending thousands of dollars to do it.

OK, now that I’ve convinced you that to grit your teeth and create your own website – what should you have on it? I recommend 5-6 main pages – some will have more, but I don’t think you want to have fewer:

  • Blog
  • Bio/About
  • Store
  • Calendar of Events (If you never play out or show your work – you can skip the Calendar/Tour page)
  • Press Kit
  • Contact

You can use either your Blog or the Bio/About page as the landing or home page (I hate the flash entry pages). The store can also have music samples, your art images, etc. as long as it also has a way to purchase those items. You can call that tab “Store” or you can call that tab “Music” or “Art”, it’s up to you.

Some websites have “Video” as a separate section – but you can also just build it into your blog – which becomes a vlog. Actually I would recommend posting the video’s first to YouTube and then using the YouTube code to pull it into your website – but I digress…

I recommend that the Contact page be a form rather than your email – it’s still too easy for bots to steal your email and flood you with spam. I also recommend using your website domain in your email address (name@namemusic.com or whatever). This promotes your domain with every email. If you don’t want to use your host’s server for email – and there’s a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t, you can create a Google Apps account for free with 7 Gigs of memory.

In addition, the Theme or Frame must be built with a sign-up for your mailing list and links to all your social media, so that they appear on every page and post.

If you are tech savvy – you can probably figure out WordPress in a few days.  Several of my private clients have done it in a weekend.  But if you’re like me, NOT tech savvy or with other things to do with your time, I recommend hiring a designer.  Then you can get them to give you a quick tutorial on WordPress (I learned the basics in an hour).  And you can add your copy and blog posts yourself.

“The confused mind doesn’t buy.”

Andrea J. Lee, Author of Multiple Streams of Coaching Income and Money Meaning and Beyond

Here’s the bottom line about your website.  Less is more.  The purpose of your website is to engage, entertain, and develop prospects into customers, clients and fan.  If it’s unreadable people won’t stay.  If it’s too cluttered, people won’t stay.  If they can’t easily and quickly find what they’re looking for, people won’t stay.  So:

  • Use larger font
  • Light type on a dark background is impossible to read – if you want a cool dark frame, that’s fine – but use a lighter color for the background of the text box and a dark font
  • Make the navigation easy and simple to follow
  • Don’t be mysterious about what you do – be ridiculously obvious – state it in the frame, so it appears on every page and post.

What are your biggest questions about your website and internet marketing?  What are your biggest pet peeves when you land on someone’s site?  Please share with us!

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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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If You Build It, They Will Come

Or Will They?

Many artists in the music industry believe that all they have to do is record a CD and their audience is sure to show up.  I believe that this mythology has had a detrimental impact on the DIY musicians’ success promoting their music.

So, let’s deconstruct this idea and really take a look at it.  One thing I think we can all agree on:

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Mining the Gold from Your Contacts

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramHave you ever noticed that some people are just good at networking?  They seem to take to it like ducks to water – and then there’s the rest of us who flounder like a fish out of water!

But we also know that success depends on who you know, right?  So we better get good at this networking stuff – sink or swim!

Here at the Artists Marketing & Business Academy, I teach you about relationship marketing.  This class will cover the heart of relationship marketing (pun intended).

Making that initial contact with a prospective client, customer or fan is just the beginning of a long and beautiful and hopefully productive relationship.  Knowing how to turn an initial contact into a relationship  is a key success skill.

In this class you’ll discover:

  • The 3 things to do in that initial contact to set up a successful relationship
  • How to nurture and grow a relationship into a fruitful partnership
  • How to handle rejection without losing your heart or your head

This class will provide you with the skills you need to go out into the world and build your connections and increase your opportunities.

Additional Resources for this Class:

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Top 5 Twitter Mistakes

I’ve been using Twitter for just over a year, now.  And I admit it, I’m hooked.  Twitter represents an unprecedented opportunity for connecting with your fans, creating new fans and promoting your music or business for little or no money.  But I see a lot of people making the same mistakes over and over.  And it’s such simple stuff to fix.  Here are the top 5 Mistakes and how to fix them:

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Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

Just read a great blog post with an overview of Do’s and Don’ts in the Social Media world.

The How To’s of Social Media

(Resource no longer available)

By Talia DeVault
Having just returned from a Bay Area Women in Film event on “Utilizing Social Media,” I felt compelled to share the knowledge of the creative professionals that spoke on the panel…

There’s a lot of great suggestions here and it gives a good overview of SoMe etiquette. I recommend reading it (resource no longer available).

I added a comment there and wanted to expand a bit here:

Excellent review! Thank you. I’d like to add a few do’s and don’ts:

DO automate your promotional and repetitive tweets (remember, the stream is moving so fast, that any message should be tweeted 2-3 times a day), AND be sure to personalize your connection with your friends/followers – respond, engage, be a resource. That CAN’T be automated and must be real and must be your voice.

DON’T be the same across the medium – DON’T automatically push your tweets to facebook to linkedin, etc. Different mediums require a different kind of interaction. I think of it this way:

Linkedin is the business networking event
Twitter is the cocktail party
Facebook is dinner with friends.

You wouldn’t wear the same out fit or have the same demeanor at the networking event as you would either at the cocktail party or dinner with friends.  What works and doesn’t work in real life works and doesn’t work on social media.

In addition, think of blogging and your email newsletter as an opportunity to build value and familiarity with your fans and clients – and both need to be different from each other as well. I don’t know about you, but I hate getting the exact same message from 5 different places – I’m likely to unfollow and unsubscribe so I only get the information once.  Blogging is like an ongoing conversation.  It doesn’t need to be long or drawn out, because you’ll be back again soon.

Your newsletter needs to be a bit more formal, very value driven as well as bringing your list deeper into relationship with you.

And the concept that underpins all of it, is that people buy from those they know, like and trust.  Your goal in Social Media should be to establish yourself as an expert, and allow your fans, followers, friends and customers/clients to get to know you, like you and trust you.

Social Media Marketing – Part 1

This past week has been all about Social Media Marketing for me.  On Tuesday, I interviewed the fabulous Ariel Hyatt from Cyberpr for the Artist’s EDGE Membership “Interview With an Expert” Series.  She answered very clearly the question:

Social Media Marketing – Why?

And then on Thursday, I attended an in depth seminar with Ann Evanston from Warrior-Preneur.com called Twitter Technology Training (or T3 for short!).  In this event Ann answered very clearly the question:

Twitter Marketing – How?

How serendipitous to do these to trainings back to back.  Because now, I’m completely fired up about doing the social media thing the right way – and I no longer feel completely overwhelmed by it.  And so, of course, I want to help you feel the same way.

Around the turn of our new century it became clear to most small business owners that they were going to have to have a web presence if they wanted to create success doing what they loved.  I believe that we are experiencing a similar tipping point around social media marketing.  You’re just going to have to have a presence in the social media world in order to create a successful business doing what you love.  Not doing it means leaving a lot of money on the table and giving your competition, who is using social media, a huge edge.

So the question then becomes – how do you build this into your marketing strategy in a way that makes sense for your business and for your sanity?

The short answer is to choose the top three social media sites to focus on and then create a system using the tools and techniques to make the most powerful impact with your presence and best use of your time.

Ariel gave us her top 5 and I have to agree.  They are:

If you are in the music industry, you absolutely must have a presence on MySpace.  If you’re not in the music industry, I recommend against it.  I think everybody should be on Twitter and Linkedin.  Twitter will help you build a relationship with your clients/customers as well as your colleagues.  Twitter is also amazing at increasing your presence across the search engines.

Linkedin will help you build relationships with your colleagues and can be a great source of joint venture opportunities, and an opportunity to build credibility and buzz about who you are and what you do.

I believe the jury’s still out on Facebook and the best way to do business on what is for most people, primarily a social medium.  I see a lot of people making some major mistakes on Facebook – such as inviting people to a local event 3000 miles away from where they live.  Event invites are becoming the scourge of Facebook – and I think you can do a lot more harm than good there.  But I believe, if used correctly, Facebook can be a great way to deepen your relationship with your fans, clients and customers – Step 7 in the Multiple Streams of Business Income concept.

The power of YouTube has been well established – just take the brilliant “Will It Blend?” campaign created by Blendtec®. The best piece of advice I’ve heard about YouTube is to worry less about the quality of the video and more about the quality of the message.

If it’s too slick, it won’t stick on YouTube!

In addition, there may be other social media sites unique to your target market.  There are tons of sites and new ones being added by the day.  I recommend picking your top 3 and get things up and running there, before adding more or you will just get overwhelmed.  In order for Social Media Marketing to work for you, you must create a winning strategy and work it consistently over time.  Remember the old marketing adage 7-15 touches before you exist in a new customer’s mind.  You can’t do that if you start something and don’t maintain it with consistency.  And with 17,148 new messages/minute on Twitter (according to Tweetspeed.com (resource no longer available) – a number that changes depending on the day and time of day – but you get the point), consistency is going to be key to your marketing effectiveness.

In Part 2, I’ll talk about the culture and mindset of the social media world as well as some really cool tools that I’ve discovered.

How to Create Buzz and Stimulate Word-of-Mouth Marketing, An Interview with Bob Baker

artists-marketing-business-academy-interview-with-expertsCreate Buzz

On this call, author and speaker Bob Baker dissected and examined buzz and the elusive qualities that create ideas that spread.

Here are just some of the topics Debra and Bob discussed:

  • The four stages of successful viral marketing
  • Lesson from the book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”
  • The 3 things an effective brand identity must communicate to cut through the clutter
  • The role of innovators and early adopters
  • Buzz marketing secrets from “The Secret”
  • How to make your talents and creativity “spreadable”

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Bob Baker

marketing, word of mouthBob Baker is an author, musician, and workshop leader who is dedicated to helping musicians, authors, and creative people of all kinds get exposure, connect with fans, and increase their incomes through their artistic passions. Bob’s books include “Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook,” “Unleash the Artist Within,” “Branding Yourself Online,” “The Newbie’s Guide to Book Marketing and Self-Publishing,” and more.

For hundreds of music marketing tips, visit Bob’s Website