Your Fans Are Your Life-Blood, But…
by Draven Grey
Do you know who your fans are?
Many artists love the roar of the crowd. The more fans at a show, the better, right? It makes you feel good. It makes you look good to the venues. It helps sell merchandise. In fact, catering to your fans, and making yourself their best friend can boost your career like nothing else in the industry. But if you don’t know your fans, you will never grow that audience, you will not build that reputation, and you will not sell merchandise.
Have you ever tried to offer a hamburger to a Vegan?
It didn’t go over very well did it? In fact, they were probably very offended. So why do so many bands constantly do this to their audience? Are you offering your fans something they don’t really want? Are you sure?
If you want to develop a bond with your newfound Vegan friend, you probably want to find out a lot more about them first. Then the embarrassing and sometimes bridge-burning moment of offering them a hamburger could be avoided. More so, in all likelihood you would be offering them something they really want instead, and putting a big smile on their face.
If you want to develop a bond with your newfound fans, you probably want to find out a lot more about them first. Then you can avoid the embarrassing and sometimes bridge-burning moment of offering them pink kitten buttons and give them the black, logo-driven t-shirt they really want, making them want to buy more from you.
What is an” ideal fan”?
Let’s take a moment to examine your ideal fan, that person (however real or make-believe) that you wish all your fans were like. Top marketing experts agree that to focus your efforts towards this sort of “super fan,” you will immediately attract the attention of every person that fits 70% of the ideal fan’s description. Can you imagine how many fans you will have when you easily begin attracting everyone that fits 70% of your ideal fan’s description? That’s a LOT of people! Maybe you can’t imagine that yet. And that’s because you have yet to describe your ideal fan.
Often, our ideal fan is an extension of ourselves. Think about it… you are your #1 fan. Anyone else can claim to be your #1 fan, but when it comes down to it, no one is a fan of your band more than you are. So take a deep look at each of you in the band, and ask yourself what it would be like if you could combine all your likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies, and habits into one single, super human.
Describe your audience.
Take a few minutes to describe your ideal fan in writing. Don’t fret; it can take some time to get used to examining your fans in this way. Think about who you want to surround yourself with. What are the types of people that you love to have backstage hanging out with you? Get specific. Get very specific. The more detailed you can describe your ideal fan, the easier it will be to find them and turn them from fans into fanatics.
What does a day in the life of your ideal fan look like? What’s his or her name? How old is he? Does she go to school? High school, college, something else? What does he do during the day, from waking up to going to bed? Is she religious? An Atheist? What hobbies does he have? What about movies she likes? Books? TV shows? Video games? What type of work does he do? What other types of music does she listen to? What about specific bands? What are his friends like? Where does she like to hang out? What websites does he go to the most?
This person is your band’s life-blood. They are the person that will buy every piece of merchandise you put out, listen to all your music, tell everyone they can about you, and ultimately put food on your table and give you a long-lasting career in music. Know them.
Why it’s important.
If you want to sell a hamburger to a Vegan, you better make sure that it’s a Vegetarian burger. If your fans are mostly high-school age, would you be getting college sponsorships for your shows? Why not make a good friend of a high-schooler, who will build your street team in the right place? Or how about a house party? What if ideal fans are college-age church-goers? And what avenues do you have for reaching them if they’re middle-aged businessmen?
What about the coffee shop they like to hang out at? Or was it tea? Would that be a good place to promote your shows, or possibly sell your CD? How about the place most of them buy their clothes?
Shows, promotions, sales, image, sound, performance, you name it; Your marketing and direction will become very clear once you know who exactly it is that you’re catering to, where to find them, and what they would like from you.
So now you have a bunch of Vegan high-schoolers having house parties that the police have to shut down because there are way too many people and way too much noise. Isn’t it great?!
If you know your fans well, you will be offering them things they want to buy from you. You will be giving them exactly the music and story they want and expect to hear from you. You will be making friends, and gaining a following, instead of the left-overs from the band that played before you. People will fall in love with you. You will be experiencing what many bands never get to experience… a clear, well-informed knowing of who your audience is and what you have to offer them. Most of all, you will have a whole lot of friends, who all want to reciprocate what you’ve done for them. That beats just having nameless fans, any day.
What can you do to reach your fans, now that you know who and where they are, and what they’re looking for?
On the tough and often dangerous path to “making it” in the music industry, Draven Grey has been described as a friend, guide, and schoolmaster. Draven is a professional musician, producer, and artist development specialist for Rockstar Mindset. To find out more, visit Rockstar Mindset, or sign up for our FREE 12-day mini-course on how to turn your rock band into a success.