This post is taken from ‘How to Use Your Website to Attract Fans’, which is included with the Fan-Attracting Website Package.
One of my favorite business gurus, Roger Hamilton, has a great analogy he uses that I’m going to borrow.
Pretend for a minute that fans are butterflies. Most people who set out to conquer the world as independent musicians are like kids trying to catch butterflies. They get themselves a net and set out trying to catch all of them they can. The problem is that butterflies don’t want to be ‘caught’ and your going to have to keep chasing them if this is your strategy. There’s a better way.
If you want more butterflies, you’ll do much better by building an attractive garden.
I recently spent a couple months in a town in Mexico where there’s a main street that’s heavily saturated with shops selling hand made goods and souvenirs. All you need to do is walk down that street for a block or two to find all the examples you need of people trying to catch butterflies.
You can tell many of them have spent a lot of time working on their funny or clever routines to pull in tourists. Often times though you can hear the desperation in their voices. Some of them can be downright aggressive. Most people who’ve spent more than a few minutes on the street quickly learn to avoid the shop owners. Personally, I wore earbuds and dark sunglasses when I walked down that street (often on the way to my ‘office’…).
There was a place on the beach that I spent hours at almost every day. I found out about it because someone recommended it online as a place that has free wifi. When I checked it out I found that it was in a great spot and the staff were very friendly and accommodating and the food was pretty good. No one had to try too hard to get me to go there or to go back there. They had a good thing going on and people talked about it and people came back.
All the clever social media strategies and marketing techniques in the world aren’t going to do a whole lot for you in the long term unless you’ve created a brand/band that’s attractive to fans. It’s a pull, not a push.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get out there and market yourself and hustle. What I’m saying is that you need to start from a foundation of attractive energy. If you’re not confident in what you have to offer then people will sense that you’re trying to ‘get’ something from them. The way you feel about what you have to offer is critical.
What this comes down to is a commitment to put the experience of your fans above all else. This may be easy to say, but it’s not always easy to do. I’ve been guilty of putting selfish interest above fans before and it’s never turned out to be a good idea in the long run. It can be very tempting to take a gig for the wrong reasons or to ask your fans to vote for you in a contest that’s put on by some corporation to get their email addresses and spam them.
Instead you should always be thinking about things from your fan’s perspective. When you play a show are they going to have to pay $20 to park and $15 to get in the door and $6 for a beer and then find out that you’re going on 50 minutes late because there are 5 other bands and the show is running behind? You’d better be damn good, because you’ve just burned a lot of good will with your fans and they’re probably not coming back to see you any time soon unless you blow their minds.
Your fan’s experience is something you need to take responsibility for and protect. Don’t leave it up to chance. Make sure they’re treated well at every exchange and that they have confidence that when they go to a show or buy a CD or t-shirt that they’re going to feel good about it. The people who are already in front of you are the ones who are going to help you attract more fans.
Tend to the garden first. If you do then good things will happen on their own. If you don’t then bad things will happen on their own. This is often the root of things that are considered ‘good luck’ or ‘bad luck’. Put your energy in the right place and you’ll manufacture yourself some ‘good luck’…and attract some butterflies while your at it.
What do you do to make sure your fans always have a great experience? What do you NOT do so your fans will have a great experience?