“Amateurs don’t have coaches. Professionals do.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’
There’s no denying you need to have a DIY approach to your music marketing. Building a team is a lot tougher than it used to be, with good artist managers in short supply, and label and distribution deals harder to come by. You’re probably doing the bulk of sales and marketing yourself, which cuts into your songwriting and practice time. Ultimately, it’s your career and it’s up to you to put in the time and manage it effectively. However, just like athletes do most of the work themselves, they often need to hire personal trainers to take things to the next level. Here are a few things to consider when you’re deciding whether to keep doing it yourself, or work with a marketing coach.
I can’t even count the number of bands whose email newsletters I’ve subscribed to that I’ve never heard from. Or, I followed them on Twitter and have never seen a tweet. They may be saving money by doing it themselves, but they aren’t making any, either. If you join a gym and never go, you won’t get results, but you will if you work with a personal trainer to motivate you to stick to your routine. Your email list and social media networks are your assets. These are people that want to hear from you, and buy your latest release or your new t-shirt. You have to honour that relationship by staying consistent (and entertaining) with your communication.
How far into the future does your marketing plan stretch? Are you fumbling month to month, distracted by touring or recording, and missing the long-term picture? If you’re an athlete training for a marathon, a coach will map out a plan that will include weekly and monthly goals in order to prepare you for the big day. A marketing coach will do the same, whether preparing for a tour, an album launch, or just regular maintenance in between big projects to ensure you keep momentum. It’s much easier to successfully launch an album if you have been keeping in regular contact with your fans– just like it’s easier to run a marathon if you stay active throughout the year.
Learning new techniques
Keeping up with new marketing technologies and trends is extremely time consuming. Your reaction may be to just tune out and keep doing things the way you always have, even if what you’re doing is no longer working. Like an athlete who does the same fitness routine eventually plateaus, those who work with a coach to learn new techniques increase results. A coach will tell you what you’re doing well, and what you need to change to reach your goals.
It may seem expensive to hire a personal trainer when you’re struggling to pay your bills, but what you should be focusing on is the return on your investment, and hiring the professional that’s right for this stage in your career. Unless you’re about to star in a Hollywood action film, it’s probably a waste of resources to hire Gunnar Peterson. But there will be a highly skilled trainer out there that fits your budget. If you’re in early stages of your music career, it may not make sense to spend $4,000 on a publicist, when your website needs work and you don’t have a mailing list or any YouTube videos. A marketing coach can help you set a realistic budget, and make sure you’re spending your money in the places that you will see the best return. It’s challenging to measure what 1 Facebook ‘like’ is worth, but there’s no denying that connecting with more people is valuable to your long-term career.
Measuring your results
Hopefully you have a system in place to tell whether you’re making progress with your marketing efforts. This could be measuring new Facebook likes, online sales, or newsletter subscribers. Just like a coach can track an athlete’s weight and measurements, a marketing coach can create a system for measuring your success. This will keep you motivated with your plan, and help you save time and money by cutting out things that aren’t working.
Take Action Now!
What could you do today to improve your marketing? Try creating a 12 month plan, and setting some measurable goals to track your results. Or look at someone you admire that’s achieving success with their career: what are they are doing that you could learn from?