25 Mar '21

Joshua Jacobson

A music marketing plan in 7 parts

Other articles say that a music marketing plan should have 5 parts, however they often don’t agree on which 5 parts. To address this problem, and make sure everything is covered, this music marketing plan has 7 parts:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Who are you, and who are you not?
  3. What’s your brand?
  4. What are your goals?
  5. Do you have a budget?
  6. Which marketing strategies will you use?
  7. What’s the timeline for making this all happen?

Before we get into it, we’ll be going into each part of the marketing plan in more detail in future articles. Subscribe to our mailing list below so we can let you know once they’re published!

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1. Who is your audience?

Not everyone is going to like your music, a home truth, but actually very useful. Working out exactly who is going to like your music can be pretty empowering.

You can have fun with this too, it’s like creating a character: what do they wear, where do they live, do they buy vinyl or watch music videos on YouTube?

You don’t actually have to write music for this imagined character... rather the character should be who you imagine being front row at your gigs, the first person (after your Mum) to buy your new album, or the fan who tells you what they like (and don’t like) about what you’re doing.

That last point is something we really value at Feed - the people that use the platform and give us feedback (good and bad) make all the difference. They influence not only the development of Feed, but also the direction we take as a business.

Have a read of the full article - Understanding your target audience - to see how this knowledge makes putting together a marketing plan much easier and the marketing itself much more effective.

2. Who are you, and who are you not?

There are four sub-parts to this part:

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What are you not so good at?
  3. What opportunities are open to you?
  4. What could go wrong?

The things you are good at, or skills you have beyond making music, should guide the marketing strategies you focus on. If you’re a photographer, then maybe posting lots of photos to Instagram will be an anchor of your marketing plan. If you’re gregarious or extroverted, then maybe going out and meeting people at gigs or conferences will mean you can grow your network and open up other marketing opportunities.

The things you find hard are the things to get help with, either from a friend, service or company. Say the idea of opening up Facebook Ads Manager fills you with dread, then maybe try Feed ;). Or, pitching your music to blogs feels too exposed, then consider hiring a press agency.

Third, are there any external opportunities available to you? For example a friend who works at a radio station, or eligibility for a programme like Roundhouse’s Resident Artists.

Finally, what could go wrong? What external factors could cause your marketing plan to not go to plan? This could be anything from getting temporarily suspended from Instagram for sending too many DMs, to a global pandemic. You of course can’t prepare for every eventuality, but being aware of some of these things and planning accordingly is important.

3. What’s your brand?

Each of these seven parts deserves an article of its own (subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of our page to be notified when they’re published), but this is particularly true of defining your brand.

Your brand is all encompassing and allows you to define how you’re perceived by people. Your ‘brand’ is communicated primarily through your music but also elements like:

  • the imagery and videos you create
  • the language and fonts you use
  • the clothes you wear
  • and more…

One of the main purposes of your brand is to make it easier for people to recognise and build familiarity with you. This can manifest in all kinds of ways.

Say someone is listening to a Spotify playlist and one of your songs starts playing and they recognise it as you because of the instrumentation, even though they haven’t heard it before.

Or they’re scrolling through Instagram and the style of photography you use draws they’re eye.

Being consistent about your brand across all the different places you appear as an artist translates this familiarity across different marketing strategies, and will make your marketing more effective as a result.

4. What are your goals?

Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound.

They could also be CLEAR: Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable and Refinable.

Or FAST: Frequently discussed, Ambitious, Specific and Transparent.

Or you could even try making a PACT, goals that are Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous and Trackable.

We’ll publish an article on how to set goals soon, but in the meantime, pick the acronym that appeals to you and use it to set 1-3 goals for your marketing plan.

If you’d like an opinion though, use a PACT to reach your SMART goal.

For example, your SMART goal might be to get 10,000 Spotify followers in 1 year. The PACT would be to release 10 songs in that time.

You can’t directly control the number of followers, but you can control the number of songs you release, and so you can use the PACT to reach your SMART goal.

5. Do you have a budget?

The answer should hopefully be yes! However, it doesn’t need to be huge - that’s why we designed Feed to allow you to run effective Facebook and Instagram ads for just £2 a day.

As a rule of thumb the amount you spend on marketing should equal the cost of making the music.

Read ‘Setting a music marketing budget’ for more detail on this, and example budgets for marketing a single, EP or album.

6. Which marketing strategies will you use?

Marketing strategies (tactics), are the actionable parts of this plan. The things you’re actually going to do to promote your music.

It’s important to remember that your music is also your primary marketing strategy, and not just your ‘product’. However, there is a whole menu of other marketing strategies you can pick from; using social media, collaborating with other artists, Spotify playlists and digital advertising to name a few.

We have put together a list of the most highly recommended music marketing strategies, and you should use the information from the first 5 parts of your marketing plan to help you choose. For example, what social media platforms do your fans use, what are you good at or how much is in your marketing budget?

7. What’s the timeline for making this all happen?

Finally, a timeline. When are you going to do each of the marketing strategies you’ve picked?

This should be anchored around each music release, and whether you have a string of singles or an album to release, it is generally better to release 1 song every 6 weeks, than 10 songs at once every 60 weeks.

This allows you to build up the campaign over time and sustain people’s interest. That’s a lot harder to do if you spend 60 weeks telling people your album is coming soon. Whereas releasing a song every 6 weeks means people continually have reasons to come back and engage with what you’re doing.

The marketing strategies you picked in part 6 help make sure people are aware when new music comes out, but also to keep the conversation going between releases.

The key thing to remember is that, with digital marketing, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Just because you posted on Instagram on the day a song came out, does not mean all your fans got the message. Schedule in ways to repeat the message without being repetitive ;)

We’ve put together a guide to planning your next music release, and a checklist to work through each time you have music coming out here.

You now have a complete music marketing plan. We’ll be going into each section in more detail in the coming weeks, so subscribe using the form below to get those articles straight to your inbox.

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