Converting Fans Into Buyers

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© 2009 Vinny Ribas

 Ok, so you’re getting a lot of visitors on MySpace or Facebook. You’ve got enough ‘friends’ to start your own fairly large city. Everyone is raving about your music. You’re being played on Internet radio stations worldwide. So why aren’t you making boatloads of money?

 Here are several questions to answer that will help you find the best way to convert your fans into buyers of your music and attendees at your shows. [private_pro]

  1. Visits to your website or social network page are not equal to fans. Stick around long enough and you’ll amass visitors. ‘Friends’ are also not the same as real fans if they never even listened to your music. Find those people in the masses that really love you and your music and cater to them. Get a few people to spend a lot of money each, rather than a lot of people tricking in a few cents here and there. It will add up quickly.
  2. You have lots of competition out there. What are you doing to keep people on your website or social network page long enough to make that crucial buying decision? 30-second or 2-minute samples of your songs often won’t do the trick. Stagnant pictures are often not enough. However, videos of you performing, being interviewed, living life off stage, for example, are all ways to keep people glued to your page or website. Interesting blogs, contests etc. can also do the trick. Engage your visitors long enough to move them from casual onlooker to dedicated fan.
  3. Who are your fans? Do they have money? Is it disposable income? Some demographics are not as wealthy as others, especially when the economy is depressed. Be sure you are marketing yourself to people who have the money to spend on both downloads and show tickets.  
  4. Do you cater to a demographic that buys music online? Some demographics are known to purchase a lot of music online, while others just don’t. Some purchase a lot of ring tones, while others do not. Know your fans and their buying habits.
  5. Do you make it easy for your fans to purchase your music? Is there a link on every one of your social network pages and on your website to purchase music on the spot, or do they have to try to find your music on another website to buy it?
  6. Where are your most ardent fans? If you know this, you can set up your tours to coincide with where your largest and most dedicated fan bases are. You can learn this with surveys and other fan-tracking widgets. Be sure to collect zip codes when your fans sign up for your newsletter, so that you can specifically market to them when you’re going to be performing in their region.
  7. People can listen to music for free all day long. Many are used to not paying for it. So, are you giving them a reason to buy your music? For example, does buying your music enter them in a contest for a grand prize? If they order your CD can they buy a free autographed picture, or a t-shirt for ½ price? How about offering a couple of free downloads if they buy your CD. You need to convince them that it is worth both their time and money to take their credit card out and spend their hard earned money on your music. Always give them more value than they are paying for!
  8. Are you building relationships with your fans, or are they just numbers to you? Do you have a newsletter that you send out monthly to your fans? Do they know more about you than just what you sound like? Are your communications robot-like, or do you actually carry on a dialogue with your fans? Do you have candid videos or photos or is everything ‘professional’? Fans want to get to know you. They want to feel like an ‘insider’ – a real friend – not just another email address. 
  9. Are you touring? People love to buy music from acts that they have seen. They buy a reminder of the experience. Touring helps you create a buzz! This is especially true if you perform a lot in just a few select regions rather than scattered all over. By returning to regions every few months, you give your new fans a chance to show off their ‘find’ and bring their friends to see you. The cycle repeats itself each time you return, to the point where eventually you have enough fans in each area to move up to bigger and higher-paying venues!
  10. Are you giving people reasons to buy now rather than later? For example, can you offer a limited pressing of a CD? An example would be, “We are only selling 500 copies of this CD with this cover and an autographed insert.” There’s a reason why infomercials have that famous line… “Order in the next 10 minutes and you’ll also get…”
  11. Is your music priced to sell? Would you rather sell 5,000 CDs at $10 each, or 1000 CDs at $15? Do you want 200 people to buy a $10 ticket to your show, or 50 people to buy a $25 ticket? Remember that 200 fans at a show will enable you to sell 4 times the CDs and merchandise after the show! Know your fans are willing and able to pay.
  12. Are you creating anticipation for your new music, or are you just putting it out there when the recording is done? Are you counting on your ‘friends’ to return to your site on their own to see if you’re released new music, or are you driving them there to hear something they’ve been anxiously waiting for? Are you feeding them ‘sneak peaks’ of your newest music? There is a reason why you see commercials for movies that won’t be in theaters for another month. It’s all about building the excitement and anticipation.[/private_pro]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.