Here’s a thought to consider – funnel marketing is largely viewed as the single most important marketing strategy in the modern era. No matter who you are or what you are trying to sell, having a marketing funnel is crucial for anyone seeing to not only better their position as a relevant seller but also people generally trying to raise awareness. Funnel marketing, for the uninitiated is where you make a value proposition, usually a free product, with the hope that people will want to buy from you somewhere down the line. One of the big things in modern marketing is the notion of Intent Bound Branding, in other words giving people a product they want before ever making a sale. This is crucial for building your brand in a world where people see literally thousands of advertisements a day. Like, literally, I am currently playing a record from my PC while sitting at a table with my laptop. In my line of site I see three ads. It’s insane how much we are advertised too in this day and age. So how do you cut through?
Well again – let’s think about what a funnel is supposed to do at its finest. It’s supposed to give a taste of the benefits meaningful to the client. The two basic rules of business are that nobody cares about you and that they only care about themselves. Well if you can build around that then you are going to find a lot of long term success right? And after all, shows are a great way to get in front of people who haven’t previously heard you! So then we have to think, why do people go to shows? Well they go for three basic reasons. One is to enjoy music, another is to enjoy the performance and the third is to socialize. Well I want to talk about building a funnel that is going to not only embrace these three components but also teach you how to monetize them on every fucking level. Remember, nothing is free and nothing is easy, if it was then people would all be doing it. Sometimes you need to think for a minute and do some work if you want to show your potential fans that you ae bringing them actual value in them ponying up and paying.
So the first thing to remember, and something that it is easy to lose sight of is that the product we are trying to sell here is music .Sometimes because the music comes last in so many of these projections, plans and stories we forget that having good fucking music with real fucking songs is going to take us a lot further than anything else. This is just a key element that we need to approach. If the music isn’t great then your funnel is already screwed unfortunately, and that’s something we are all going to need to accept. While we are about to dig into the other key elements of a good funnel, realize that no matter how good you are live or how many friends you make, even if you find success, you will never be respected as an artist if you are a shitty musician with bad music. Some people can make it work, like hardcore bands. However, broadly speaking, it’s the talented ones who really make it, and you don’t want to be known as ‘just a good live band’ right?
Now you have to have a great live show, because this is another key part of the funnel. While good music is one way to get people to come into the room and away from the bar, you need to ensure that from the first second they are wowed and stoked to be watching you. This is somewhere a band like Earthless really succeeds because they just come at you with raw rock and roll energy from the first, so much so that Bill Burr raved about them on his podcast and it took them to a whole new level. This is what we need to be looking for if we are trying to optimize our funnel and get the most people interested in what we are doing. This is also a great way to get the actual conversions in. People are going to come up to you and tell you if they were impressed, people like to be impressed and they love the accessibility of club shows and the ability to talk to bands about how great they are. You might feel jaded, but that’s a cool thing.
As with all good funnels though you need the ‘squeeze’ the place where you actually make the sale happen. This is the tricky part because it requires a completely non musical skill. In fact it relies solely on your interpersonal skills. If you are able to interact with people though in a productive way then it is going to lead to sales. If you don’t hang out at your merch table your sales will dip, even if you have a merch person. Let them handle the actual selling, your job is to foster a sense of community, talk to people and then encourage them to pick something up. If you’re making some traction as a musician you might even be asked to sign something. You’re playing into one of the key reasons people go to shows after all. People need to feel like they are a part of something greater, if they are not then why should they invest in merch from a band they might never see again?
That’s basically all there is too it. I know you might be saying ‘No fucking shit Sherlock’ but you’d be amazed at how many bands have difficulty with these few basic steps. Remember your ABC’s, Always Be Closing. If you realize that every aspect of your live show involves you working on closing a deal then you aren’t going to be able to help but to succeed. This isn’t an industry for people who want to dilly dally, this is an industry for people who understand that the best way to get fans is to play in front of people and impress the shit out of them before befriending them and having that turn into a natural sales process. Try it sometime.