Looking to promote your music or other products or services? Then you'll want to read on for insights from The Spacesuit Junkies, a duo with chops in both music and marketing.
The Spacesuit Junkies: Music meets marketing
Almost 10 years ago, musicians Stevie "Zenith" Johnson and Stephen "Plex" Blackburn met at a performance in Fort Myers, Florida. At that time, both were pursuing solo careers and had never thought about collaborating. After a mutual friend and DJ recommended Stevie and Stephen work together, they hit the studio and released a mixtape together.
Their chemistry and the feedback from the mixtape were so promising that they decided to form a group, The Spacesuit Junkies.
After opening for Wiz Khalifa and moving to Atlanta to work with award-winning producers and songwriters, they decided to launch their own marketing business, Vamp LIVE.
After all, “if we can succeed at marketing our music in an incredibly competitive industry, why couldn’t we help other businesses succeed at promoting their products or services in less-competitive markets?” Stevie wondered.
With nearly 10 years of experience promoting their music, The Spacesuit Junkies have learned how to succeed at building a brand online.
5 marketing tips to promote music and more
Below are some of the marketing lessons that businesses can glean from these musicians.
- Find your target audience and develop a unique brand voice.
- Stand out from the noise to create quality content in different formats.
- Succeeding with digital marketing takes patience.
- Make data-driven decisions.
- Successful bands get loud about promoting their music
Let's riff on those tips!
1. Find your target audience and develop a unique brand voice
The funny thing about music is that it’s incredibly subjective. I don’t listen to the same music as my parents, and I may not like the same artists that my best friends do. What I consider “great” music is based on too many variables for me to describe, and I sometimes like songs for reasons that I cannot even understand.
Successful musicians are not always the most talented; there are reasons that there are so many incredible yet unsigned artists on shows like “The Voice” and “American Idol.”
The best musicians are able to find a niche, to effectively engage their target audience, and to develop a unique identity.
These same characteristics apply to brands that can market successfully.
Stevie believes that developing a unique identity and brand voice is paramount to creating a successful group and business. Their group name, The Spacesuit Junkies, wasn’t arbitrary. They wanted “something that would catch your eye, and that no one would forget,” he says.
When it comes to marketing their clients, they emphasize finding the brand’s unique message and communicating that to a defined audience. A lot of their clients are eCommerce startups who are just beginning to define their brand identity and target audience.
For new business owners or companies that have never thought about their identity or audience, Stevie recommends answering these questions:
- What are the benefits of your main product(s) and/or service(s)?
- By looking at your past sales, what similarities do you see in your customers?
- Do you have any sales restrictions (geographic, legal, etc.)?
- Who are your direct and indirect competitors? What are they doing with their marketing?
- Why should someone purchase from you over one of your competitors?
- What do people love about your company? What do people not love about your company?
- What online platforms and offline locations do your customers frequent?
- What online personalities or publishers do your customers follow or engage with the most?
The answers to these questions will help you begin to understand your target audience and how they interact online. The answers will also give you clearer insight into the actual value you bring to customers, which helps when developing your voice.
Most importantly, taking the time to think about the answers to these questions will provide some clarity on how to approach marketing your business online.
2. Stand out from the noise by creating quality content in different formats
As aspiring musicians, there is no shortage of competition for people’s attention. You don’t just have to compete with other musicians — you are competing with the entire entertainment industry. How do you get someone to take three to four minutes out of their day to listen to your song?
Learning how to capture and keep your target audience’s attention isn’t just important for musicians, it’s important for every business.
Stevie says that they have tested almost every possible medium to promote their group and that “the more quality content you can produce, the better!”
For example, music is an audio format which can be challenging to promote. Social platforms like Facebook do not even support audio files, meaning musicians cannot easily share music on those channels. Moreover, people rarely have their audio enabled when scrolling through social platforms, which can limit the effectiveness of content with audio.
To reach and engage the most people, musicians need to consider other channels and content types.
Stephen says The Spacesuit Junkies have created music videos, custom images, blog posts, podcasts, interviews, emails, comedy skits, contests/giveaways, and trainings to promote their music and brand.
By creating quality content in a variety of formats and pushing it on different platforms, they have helped grow their fan base while learning the value of a diversified content strategy, which they use for their marketing clients, too.
Every business should strive to create quality content in as many formats as possible. The digital landscape is always changing, and getting digestible content in front of people in different ways can increase your visibility while generating more engagement.
3. Succeeding with digital marketing takes patience
Patience is an important characteristic of successful musicians and businesses — especially as it relates to online marketing. Digital marketing isn’t always easy and straightforward; it requires research, education, resources and, most importantly, time.
“Impatience, especially in the early stages with ad platforms like Facebook, can be the biggest hurdle for business owners,” Stevie says.
Ironically, the early stages of your marketing campaign is the time when you need to be the most patient. “It takes time to find your ideal target audience, your best-selling products, the ads performing well, and the combination of those attributes that result in the highest ROI,” he says.
As a society, we’re conditioned to expect an immediate return on our investments, and if we don’t see value early on, we often abandon course. This short-sighted line of thinking is detrimental to the success of your marketing initiatives and can influence the morale and creativity of your entire marketing team.
After all, who would devote time and energy to research and test innovative marketing strategies without management’s support?
Instead, business owners should practice patience with their marketing.
Challenge yourself to push the envelope.
Look for creative opportunities to engage with your customers and use every opportunity you can to collect information about your business and your target audience.
While you might not always succeed, you are guaranteed to learn from your failures which can help you gain more valuable insight to help with your strategic decisions in the future.
“Once you collect data on your initiatives, you can pinpoint elements to improve your campaigns and create better (cheaper) results!” Stevie says.
4. Make data-driven decisions
As mentioned above, businesses shouldn’t be afraid to fail with their digital marketing. However, the objective is obviously to succeed, which means they must know how to track, measure and iterate their marketing efforts.
Stephen says that when they first began promoting The Spacesuit Junkies online, they spent a lot of time and money trying to figure out what worked, but with a keen eye on analytics, they quickly discovered ways to optimize their campaigns and generate better results.
They take many of the lessons they’ve learned through their own promotional efforts and apply them to their clients.
Data is a marketer’s best friend.
Rather than making choices based on opinion or a gut feeling, you should use insight gleaned from your initiatives to make data-driven strategic decisions.
Analytics will reveal your pitfalls and failures, and it can also show your successes. Too often, businesses focus resources on trying to improve the areas of their marketing that are failing while neglecting to invest more in initiatives that are performing well.
Make a concerted effort to track every marketing campaign not just to justify your investment, but so that you can add more budget to the initiatives that are working well and find ways to improve the areas that are underperforming.
5. Successful bands get loud about promoting their music
It’s pretty easy to find the parallel between promoting music online and marketing any product or service.
- You first need to understand your target audience and the message that will resonate best.
- Then, you need to find the platforms where they are most active and begin creating and sharing engaging content.
- Finally, you must make strategic decisions founded in data and be patient with your efforts.
Just as they helped The Spacesuit Junkies in promoting their music, these tips will help you get started with your digital marketing. But to truly make some noise, you must continue to educate yourself and try new strategies.
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