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As Seen On SoundCloud: How Does Inbound Marketing Work?

How inbound marketing works

No person is an island is a cliché which is very true in online marketing. People rely on other people, and we listen a lot to other people’s opinions – especially when it comes to music.

Here’s an exercise: Think about the last album you bought. It could be by a complete newcomer, or an established artist. Did you buy it on a whim? Or did you buy it because someone else heard it and said it’s good?

When you buy something that’s not normally on your listening list, either of these two could have happened:

  • You already thought about buying it, but you chose the album because someone you trust said that this particular one is good.
  • You had never heard of the artist before, and you certainly never thought of buying their album, but you decided to give it a try after hearing someone say something positive about it.

This “someone” can be a relative, a friend, or a respected musician or celebrity. This is the framework of inbound marketing in an online setting.

Inbound marketing: Online tools

Inbound marketing is not something new; we’ve been doing it for ages outside of the Internet. Inbound marketing is a type of marketing strategy wherein you create an attraction or a buzz to a certain product or service (like your music or live shows) using online tools like:

  • Digital content
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media platforms

A good marketing plan will utilize all of these three to create interest. First, marketers create digital content targeted to a specific group of people. This digital content is then promoted through SEO and social media. There’s a lot of intricate details that go along each step, so things are not as simple as they sound.

Inbound marketing: Word of mouth

Even before the age of the Internet, word of mouth has always been the most influential marketing strategy.

In fact, research says that as high as 84% of consumers buy products or services due to word-of-mouth recommendations. When planning to buy something, people will often ask friends or relatives before deciding to make the purchase.

When marketing music, artists can also use this strategy. Musicians who meet or exceed fan expectations can expect consumers to recommend the product voluntarily, or when they’re asked about their opinions.

On the other hand, if the product is disappointing, expect consumers to tell about their bad experience. Word of mouth, therefore, works both ways.

Building a relationship

Musicians also have to focus on building relationships not only with their existing fans, but also with potential ones. Consumers trust recommendations (and warnings) of friends, coworkers, and relatives because they have shared a relationship. Consumers trust people they know; naturally, they will trust the opinions of these people.

Also, study how influencers (like bloggers, vloggers, and social media personalities) build relationships with their followers. True, they build relationships to promote their merchandise or a product from a paid partnership. However, influencers do more than that. They give followers a glimpse of their lives, making them more relatable. Moreover, they provide entertaining content and even reward followers through giveaways.

It all boils down to gaining the trust of your target audience. If you bombard people with ads, sponsored content, and promotions, they will think that you are only after a sale. In the end, they won’t want to do anything with you because it should always be about the music.

If you lessen this type of content, and just focus on building relationships with your fans, then your audience will most likely be engaged. You can post from the stage, while recording, from a big event, or take the time to reply to comments. While people know that you are still going to need album and merch sales, they also know that you want more than that.

Just look at how Starbucks engages its customers and builds a relationship with them. If a company as big as Starbucks can do this, then you can take the time to build your relationship with your fans on SoundCloud.

Online recommendations

Apart from social media recommendations, online reviews are another way to draw interest to your music. When people think of buying music, they usually search it online and look for reviews.

Research says that 88% trust reviews written by people who have already tried a product. That’s why sellers, including those selling music and merch, must delve into this strategy too.

Online recommendations also come in the form of posts from social media influencers. Influencers are often called in this aspect as they can actually influence the decisions and opinions of their followers – this is why collaborations and features are so popular in hip hop.

This creates a ripple effect: influencers share their experience and say that the music is good; in turn, this pushes their followers to listen. These followers then share their own experiences with friends, and so on. One tweet like this can launch a career:

The power of online recommendations is therefore endless, especially when combined with other marketing strategies and, of course, great music. The most effective marketing plan is a combination of multiple strategies that work to drive people to your music without you directly marketing to them. That’s what inbound marketing is.

Date: May 13, 2019 / Categories: Marketing, / Author: Rich Drees


Rich Drees

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