Every artist has the dream of making money off of their craft. Actually, every person has a dream where they work doing something they love. This is just how we think as humans. We weren’t meant to spend 40+ hours a week doing something we have a lack of passion for; that’s just not in the human DNA. However, for artists this dream is highlighted by social media and in their songs. You hear major artists bragging about money they spent on material objects and think, “I want to do that too.” How can you achieve this same amount of success? Time, patience, and a marketing budget. The biggest artists in the world didn’t achieve success overnight or by themselves. They had a team in place who helped build their dream. They also had something you don’t have access to, and that’s a huge marketing budget.
In order to take your music to the next level you have to be willing to spend money to market yourself. Artists need a marketing budget because it is a key asset to help you gain more exposure for your art. If you don’t have the means for a marketing budget, I have written several articles on how to do it yourself for free over on The Artist Guides. For this month’s feature I wanted to discuss three key points on why it’s important for artists to have a marketing budget. Over the last year I’ve sent several proposals to artists with a quote for pricing on a campaign. After sending the quote I have heard back from 1%. Marketing isn’t a cheap expense when it’s done properly. There are costs incurred by the marketer and you have to account for the time they’re spending on the project.
Why Artists Need Marketing
Think about the biggest song you’ve heard in the last 6 months. Think about how many times you’ve heard it on the radio, used in television commercials, or movies. Those placements didn’t just happen by accident; they happened due to great marketing campaigns. One of my favorite album campaigns this decade is for Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. 2 Chainz is great at grabbing attention and with this album campaign his team created a pink trap house in Atlanta for people to visit, along with a pink old school Chevy for fans to take pictures with at the house.
While this was a direct correlation to his album title & cover, it was also a fun experience for his fans. He may have gained new fans from this clever marketing campaign. This is why you need marketing. Yes, you want to be recognized for your music and that’s great. Sometimes you have to grab someone’s attention without getting them to listen to your music. Marketing is all around you. You’re subjected to ads on the train, on a bus, on the radio, and even on your favorite social media networks. Marketing is about generating attention. It’s the same reason why people always have an opinion about Drake. One might think his music has become lazy, but they’re still going to take a listen to each new song to see what he’s doing. People love to keep tabs on popular trends so they feel apart of the in-crowd. Marketing brings you the attention you want to achieve the goals you have for your music.
Costs Marketers Incur
When you take your car to a mechanic and receive the bill, you’ll notice a list of parts and services used during your visit. You’ll also see an amount for labor on this bill. In order to stay in business, the mechanic has to pay his employees and charge you based on pricing for parts and other tools needed to fix your car. This is the same for a marketing firm or a freelance marketer. Costs incurred by marketers include their time (they could be working on other projects), services (social media scheduling, graphic creation programs, etc), updated education (conferences and seminars), and equipment (laptops, phones, file storage).
Paying a marketing agency or a freelance marketer helps them bring you the success you want to achieve. Their skills were learned through either experience or classes. They deserve to be compensated for their time just as you are compensated at a job. The hard part for an artist is finding a marketing agency or freelancer who is within your price range. Services can include website building, social media management, ad campaigns, blog outreach, content writing, graphic design, and more; what you decide you need for your project campaign is up to you. I know people who charge no less than $500 for a campaign and I have been quoted $1,500 for simple campaigns that lasted one month.
Marketing Takes Time
Have you heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” In marketing I’ve heard it several times and adhere to it. Success doesn’t come overnight. What you’re seeing as an overnight success was years of hard work, talent, and marketing finally coming together. I’ve worked with clients who are patient with their campaigns and know it takes time. I’ve also worked with clients who expect a $200 budget to give them 10,000 views in a week.
You begin to see big results after weeks and months of applying the same marketing strategy. Managing expectations is part of the marketing process. Fanbases aren’t built in record time; success isn’t about building fast, it’s about building smart. Every piece of your brand and marketing needs to play into the strategy and what you want to be known for as an artist. When you hire a marketing agency or a freelance marketer, please remain patient with your results. They will be small at first but as long as the proper strategy is implemented you’ll begin to see results and that’s one step closer to achieving your dream of making music for a living.
Joe Coad II is the creator of The Artist Guides, an artist and brand education platform. During the day he helps people achieve success through social media marketing. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram: @JoeCoadTwo