One of the biggest pitfalls we fall into as musicians is trying to sell to everybody. We think if our music is really good then everybody will like it. WRONG! It’s OK that some people won’t like what you do. In fact, that is a good thing. Once you know who really likes your music then you can market yourself more effectively. So stop selling to everybody, and start selling to your DREAM FAN.
How to collect fan data about your dream fan
Use tools like Bandsintown Artist Manager, Spotify for Artists, Pandora’s AMP, your email list, Next Big Sound, and your live show audience to collect data. Each resource will provide valuable insight to what fan is using those platforms. You might find that your ideal fan changes a bit for each platform. That’s not a bad thing, but you’ll need to remember this when you promote for each particular thing.
Don’t forget that the live show is a great place to collect data. Look around and see who is in attendance. Who is buying merch at your shows? Maybe your live shows bring out a different crowd than you expect as well.
Your online sales are full of data as well. CDBaby, for instance, has information about people who buy your CDs or digital downloads. You can sometimes see where a person is from and possibly get their email address. Make a note where you are shipping things to if you make sales on your website as well. Maybe you’ll find a new city that is into your band that you didn’t even realize knew who you were. My band, Mojo Radio, seems to have a bunch of fans from Australia. I’m not sure why Aussies like us, but now I keep Australia on my list of potential places to market to.
Some sources have more exact data than others, but all data is useful. Look at things like age, gender, where that fan lives, and what that fan bought. Each data point can help you define your dream fan.
Use your data to create your fan avatar
Now we get to the fun part. Just like Dr. Frankenstein, you get to piece together your new being. This will be your ideal fan, or what some call your fan avatar. Having a fan avatar helps to visualize an actual person that you can market to. Next time you sit down to write out an email to send out to your list, think of your new dream fan. You’ll notice your emails are more personal and target your fan base better.
Some people even go one step further and give their dream fan a name. My band’s fan avatar is Paul. Paul is based on an actual fan. He fits most of the data points, so it seemed to make sense. Paul is a man, age 45-60, lives in the midwest. He likes beer, BBQ, music festivals, and hot rods. Paul listens to blues, classic rock, and some old country. Paul has some college education and works at a shipping company. Not all of these things actually describe the real Paul, but these things do fit what our dream fan would be.
When in doubt, ask your friends
If you are having problems finding your dream fan then ask your friends who they think would like your music. Sometimes we get so stuck in our own music so much that we can’t see it from the outside. Your friends perspective of what your music is and who likes it can prove to be very valuable. You might be shocked by their answers. They might say that your ideal fan is a woman, age 25, living in the midwest when you thought it should be a man, age 55, from New York. Don’t dismiss any answers that you feel are wrong because they might be the missing part you have been searching for.
Keep reviewing new data as it comes in. Your fan avatar might change over time just like real people do. That’s OK. As long as you know things have changed then you can change your marketing strategy to fit your new dream fan. Have fun collecting data and enjoy meeting your new DREAM FAN.
I would love to meet your new dream fan. If you want to share then please post a comment below and tell me all about your fan avatar. It is a fun exercise and you’ll see how much you’ve learned about your true audience.