1) Fan Testimonials
Testimonials are not exclusively for infomercials and movie reviews—why not get your most loyal fans to write something they like about your music and then show it off on your fan page or website? If your fans show how much they love your music, you don’t have to do it for them. When someone visits your website or fan page, they will be greeted with what OTHERS say about you, rather than the other way around. I would be persuaded by your passionate fans more than your label or yourself showing off why you’re the next big thing.
BE cReaTiVE! Okay, you probably shouldn’t confuse people with weird fonts, misspellings, or other gimmicks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make more creative testimonials than the typical short written statements of praise. If your fans are willing to put themselves out there for you anyway, maybe they would do it through different forms of media to help attract more attention. When a fan makes a Youtube video passionately discussing your latest concert or CD, get their permission to embed it on your fan page and website. Your loyal fans will be rewarded for helping spread the word by having their video on display and potential new fans will be drawn in by the buzz around you as an artist. Instead of a static page, your showcase will come alive through your fans.
A fan of yours takes a picture of themselves wearing your T-shirt in an exotic location? Post that too! The metal news and blog site MetalSucks happily posts loyal readers showing off Metalsucks schwag in crazy locations all across the globe. Not only does it make the loyal fans feel rewarded, but it acts as social proof to outsiders. The outsider might think, “These people are such big fans, there must be something good going on here. I’m going to check this out.”
2) Limited Time Offer
Time is of the essence! Suddenly there’s a sense of urgency. I might not be able to come back tomorrow and get what is offered today. If I know my time is limited, I will probably work harder to get what it is that will soon disappear. When infomercials claim that they have a limited time offer, most people don’t believe them. They will probably offer the same two for one deal the next day, so the more astute television watchers disregard the exclamations in the commercials altogether. However, many people employ the limited time offer in an effective and believable way. For example, some famous artists offer autographed CDs, but only for people that buy the pre-sale album or come at a certain time for an in-person signing. The fan will know that they have to order the CD before it comes out or show up on a certain day, so they take action. If they know they can get the autographed CD at any point, they can take their time and maybe even lose interest before they ever make the CD purchase at all. Even though you might not have long lines of fans waiting for your autograph at this point, you can still employ the limited time offer technique. Those who join your mailing list may be offered limited time downloads or sale prices on CDs or merch. If the fans know these offers are time-sensitive, joining your mailing list will keep them in the loop so they don’t miss an opportunity for a freebie. Make sure to point all these things out clearly so your fans know that it’s in their best interest to keep in close contact with you rather than returning to your website months later.
3) Exclusive Rewards
Exclusive rewards work in a similar way to what I described in fan testimonials, but it applies more to the loyal fans who follow you consistently than a random passerby. Exclusive downloads, merch, and concert incentives should be reserved for the biggest fans, those that go out of their way to spread the word about you. If you have a street team, you need to give participants something you give NO ONE else. There needs to be something special about being on your street team and you should reward those who work hard for you by giving them something that you don’t just give away to anyone who’s willing to visit your site or give you a quick listen. Exclusivity and scarcity are highly valued commodities. When your free download or exclusive t-shirt is only available to a select few, it suddenly is perceived as a higher value item and might persuade some people to go the extra mile to join your street team, mailing list, or buy your album directly from your website.
Have any other tips to gain fans or reward the loyal ones? Please share them in the comments.