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Music marketing handbook: a guide for indie record labels

Indie label promotion guide

Successful promotional campaigns drive traffic and sales for independent record labels. Whereas majors have big budgets, resources and time, a smaller record company faces challenges. We have analyzed our campaigns to give indie labels an easy guide to successful promotions of your products or services. Our guide will help you to promote your music.

Let’s start defining key elements of a good marketing campaign:

Brand awareness, social media presence, connection with Digital Selling Points (DSP’s) and finding and using the right data.

The value of a brand: the Coca Cola example

Having a strong brand is of the utmost importance. Brands as Coca Cola, Apple or McDonalds all have one thing in common: their brand value is higher than the combined value of all their physical assets. What would be worse? Coca Cola losing all their warehouses overnight, or by some miracle all people in the world who know Coca Cola suddenly forget what Coca Cola is?

Let’s start by building a strong brand.

Here are a few tips:

  • Be consistent in brand image
  • Quality over quantity
  • Overwhelm your customer

Brand consistency

An easy one to guess, but so important. Make sure all online impressions of your label are consistent with your brand policy. Same font,  images and tone of voice.

Tip: use Kwettr Reports to determine the tone of voice that best fits your target group. It also provides you with valuable targeting tips for Facebook ads.

The importance of corporate identity

A good way to guarantee brand consistency is to create a corporate identity manual. Make sure all employees have a copy of this and make sure all moderators of your social media channels know how to follow the guidelines set out in the corporate identity manual.

Quality over quantity

Most important for any indie record label is a good A&R manager who understands the target group and has a talent of spotting and signing upcoming artists. Find out if there is an upcoming show of emerging talent nearby and watch them play live. A live show is a good way to see how the fan base interacts with the band and to find out what people love. Instead of playing countless demo’s in the office, live shows are a much better way to listen to music.

Here are a few tips:

  • Gather feedback on your releases. For example by creating a poll on your Facebook page
  • Plan releases at least 4 weeks in the future to ensure good promotional efforts
  • Use data to find out what triggers fans to listen to your music. Spotify analytics, Facebook analytics and of course our Kwettr social reports

Creating a solid release schedule is a combination of good A&R, data collection and interpretation and planning ahead in time.

Social media platform

Online is the most important way for fans to discover new music. A strong social media marketing strategy should encompass the following:

  • Consistency (brands, photos and videos, tone of voice)
  • Timing: when messages should be posted to reach maximum visibility
  • Tagging, use of hashtags
  • Use of the Spotify & Apple Music shout-out guide (included in our Pro package) Listening, analyzing and taking action using Kwettr reports

Creative material: stories, video’s, backstage footage, user-generated content. The Kwettr app lets users create content with your brand image and post it directly on their Facebook page.

Kwettr -  Kwettr app - example Photocards

Connection with sales portals: how to get your music featured

Where majors all have their own dedicated channels to streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon, an indie label has to find the right path to pitch music. Here are a few tips:

  • Spotify for artists: pitch your own music at least 1 week prior to release to ensure playlist features in Release Radar and Discover Weekly
  • Kwettr subscriptions include promotions to Beatport.
  • Timing is key: pitch at least three weeks in advance in case of a single and at least 4 weeks in case of an album release

What DSP’s like: a tour schedule, a biography and images of the band or artist.

Piggybacking on competitors

A good thing about having competition is that they pave the way: you don’t have to figure everything out for yourself. We offer a wide range of piggybacking tools, tips and tricks to learn from your competitors. A solid way of doing market research. Here are a few tips:

  • Backlinks: download backlinks from the internet and upload these into Google Adwords. Place ads only on places where fans of your competitor normally are online.
  • Analyze your competitors using IBM Watson
  • Find influencers and ways to contact them using our influencer marketing tool
  • Read our e-Books on most successful Kwettr campaigns

Our goal is to help you make the most of your internet marketing through socials, portals, live events and data analytics. Modern marketing for the music industry. A carefully thought of strategy, fueled with the right kind of data is what defines marketing. Any record label that sells a product can benefit from our Music Marketing Handbook.

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