The five E’s of fan engagement in music marketing (guest column)


This is a guest post by Sandra Croft (Artist & Promotions Representative, UK & EU) and Henriette Heimdal (Market Development, UK & EU), of CD Baby. This is their five-point strategy for “transforming audiences into fans” – to go from “initial awareness to lifetime advocacy around artist brands in a hyper-competitive world. These qualities aspire to forget lasting bonds with your audience by serving your fans first before asking them to serve your artist brand.”

Note: there’s more high-level advice on making stand-out artist brands in a hyper-competitive world in our recent Global Experts panel.

1) ENTICE: meet audiences in their places and spaces, rather than asking them to make the first entry into your artist brand.

Before inviting new audiences to tune into your music, you first demonstrate real interest in tuning into their lives, joining contemporary conversations or adding something of high social or entertainment value. Entice your fans into your world by understanding the necessity of first stepping into theirs.

2) ENLIGHTEN: focus on the stories you have to tell ahead of pitching your artist brand to fans, or asking them to stream your music.

Once you entice new audiences to pay attention, prioritise storytelling as a way to open up more interesting conversations vs closing more album sales or asking your fans to stream your new music. Create a myriad of ways for interested viewers, from casual fans to serious devotees, to dig in and learn more about your artist brand. Become accessible and interesting. When you lead by serving your fans, you enlighten them by telling powerful stories that are more relevant than just selling your music to them.

3) ENROLL: maintain and prioritise the emotional appeal of your artist brand, and focus on artist brand experiences as marketing rather than making rational arguments about price-value appeals.

When your enlightened audiences are ready to graduate from spending time learning about your artist brand to spending money on your music, or concert tickets, or collectibles, you emphasise the worth of the experience to fans over the cost of merchandise. When you lead by servicing fans in this way, you enrol them by speaking the language of emotion, not reason, allowing the worth of the experiences you offer around your artist brand to be your marketing.  

4) ENGAGE: focus on recognition beyond rewards, rather than incentivising engagement with a host of rewards.

After fans have enrolled in the experiences you offer, work to keep your relationship with fans strong and never take their loyalty for granted. Emphasising the principle of recognition – by treating fans as important and as insiders to your artist brand. Follow up personal relationships with fans and inquire about them as human beings. When you serve fans this way, you engage with them by recognising them as an integral part of your success.

5) EMPOWER: rather than maintain control of your artist brand and protecting your artist brand status as the primary creative influencer, empower your loyal fans by relinquishing control so fans become advocates and turn those influenced into powerful influencers in your own right.

Instead of using your artist brand as the primary influence to engage with your audience, recognise the power that your audience must be influential in their own right. Celebrate your fans as their own influencers of your artist brand, and engage in external initiatives (social causes, social movements of importance, for example) to encourage ideas that are important to your fans. Not only get to know your fans, encourage your fans to better get to know each other, and provide spaces where a community of your fans can form. When you lead by serving fans, you don’t limit their influence, you empower it.

Written by: Music Ally