Marketing is an essential piece for the success of anyone trying to make a living in the dance music world, unfortunately the term “Marketing” has gotten a bad rap. We all know of DJs and festivals that are more about hype than substance. We have all seen DJ NoName’s photos with stacks of money posing with well known DJs, usually at a Meet-n-Greet, pretending to be the next big thing. Marketing used to be about fitting into a mainstream box and pushing that message at all cost. Luckily the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way and dance music fans are increasingly in search of authenticity.
Understanding how to market to the dance music audience is important. We are not talking about media budgets or advertising guidelines. In part 1 of this series, we start with how to speak to dance music fans. You must know what your audience wants to see/hear before you start pushing out a message if you want it to be received. You don’t start a journey around the world without first looking at a map.
Be Authentically You
One of the reasons people think so negatively about marketing in general is because they have the misconception that it means they need to try to be something other than themselves. This might have been the case in years past, but social media has caused a major shift in how you approach marketing, 2017 will only continue that shift further away from Marketing’s dark past. Now more than ever it’s vitally important to be yourself, because as the famous quote goes, everyone else is already taken. You do not need to try to be the next anything, whether as a DJ, brand, blog, business, influencer, the absolute best thing you can do is show your audience your true self. I have noticed that DJs who post about struggles get the best engagement, when trusted brands share about needing help their followers lead the way, and when blogs give personal accounts and opinions instead of regurgitating press releases, they’re more easily trusted. People want to connect with you, so let them. Show them who you truly are and they will follow you for that reason.
Quality of your product is an obvious key. If you put out bad music, cheap products or badly written blog posts, your chances of sustainable success are minimal. Marketing in 2017 is going to be very much word of mouth, which can either help you or hurt you. As you continue to grow, there will be a conversation about you, and whether that conversation is good or bad will ultimately depend on quality. Quality of social media posts are also very important. With the resolution of smartphone cameras getting better every day, you have no excuse for putting out low quality media. Anyone can get a decent shot these days, but a professional photographer will do a better job of capturing images that resonate with your audience. Consider this as an investment and that having the right shots can mean the difference between success and struggle.
Advertising has consistently put out false or misleading information for decades. The average person trusts ads and marketing messages less and less each day. This is why building trust with your audience is more important than ever. How can you build trust? That’s the million dollar question. Building trust amongst your audience is a combination of authenticity and consistency. Every social media post shouldn’t be trying to get a sale. Treat your audience as you would friends. Would a friend constantly push things on you saying “you should buy this” or “you have to try this”. If they did, you would be less likely to trust their recommendation. Are you constantly trying to get your followers to make a purchase, download a new track or buy a ticket? If so, they have probably tuned you out by now and you’re not seeing many conversions.
No matter where your message is being received, your audience is looking for consistency. This helps to build what we in marketing call “Brand Equity.” When your message is consistent in look, feel, sound etc, your audience automatically recognizes it and you have to spend less time re-introducing yourself. This message should be something that uniquely and authentically represents you. Finding that voice isn’t always easy, but understanding its importance is the first step. It’s also much easier to be consistent with your true image than it is to be consistent with something you are pretending to be. We are speaking more about messaging and marketing, but the end product should also have some consistency. Consistent in quality, consistent in its delivery method, consistent in its schedule. Find something that your audience can count on and maintain that consistency.
The dance music audience is constantly being exposed to stimuli, not just on the dance floor, we now seek this on our social media accounts as well. This is why exposure is so important. Even if the audience resonates with you, they will soon forget that connection if you haven’t come across their eyes in several weeks. Consistency is key but exposure takes it a step further. Work with influencers or find a way to get people to post about you. Fans don’t want to hear directly from you several times a day, because this message can get tiring. However, they wouldn’t mind hearing about you from another source. Not only will this expand your audience and expose you to a new fan base, it will also get you more exposure to your current followers. Exposure that won’t lead to them feeling like they hear from you too much. There is a fine line to exposure, but the important thing to remember is there are other ways of getting exposure than your own outlets.
Once you understand these 5 keys you are going to be well on your way to successfully creating a loyal fan base and brand ambassadors. Now that you know how to speak to the dance music audience you can start to craft your messaging. The upcoming part 2 of Dance Music Marketing will give you some tools and insights about where you can reach this audience.