Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maximizing Street Teams to Spread the Word

MANAGING street teams ONLINE
From the upcoming book Web Marketing for the Music Business 2.0.

Street teams have become essential for helping artists spread the word about new music and upcoming concert dates. A street team is defined as a group of people who are part of the target market--often fans--who are recruited to spread the word about an artist. It is similar to political canvasing. Online street teams basically consist of your Facebook friends, or those on other online networks, who are willing to re-post, re-tweet, and pass on information to their friends. But, the Internet is also useful for managing on-the-ground street teams in multiple geographic locations. Unlike online street teams, traditional street teams are organized for geographic representation. In his article Starting And Running A Marketing / Street Team, Vivek J. Tiwary defines a street team as “a group of people (the team members or “marketing representatives”) located in different areas who assist you in executing your marketing plan and expanding its reach to other territories.”  

 Street teams are members of your target market, or fans, who are willing to engage in grassroots marketing in their hometown. Street teams primarily evolved to promote urban music, however they have become a part of the marketing plan for many major label releases and are also used by indie labels and DIY musicians. The most successful team members are recruited from your fan base and may often be responsible for “sniping,” which is the act of posting handbills in areas where the target market is known to hang out: record stores, clubs, college campuses, and so forth. Street team members are supplied with these and other marketing materials such as music samplers, swag, show tickets, etc. Street team members may also be called upon to “set up” an artist’s live show in the area. Team members may be asked to visit local record stores, the press, and radio stations to set up meet-and-greets.

Maintaining a street team requires good communication and the Internet can assist with that function. It is important to communicate with the street team members, to motivate them and keep them informed of what the artist is doing and how their efforts are contributing to the success. Before the web was in widespread use, street teams were organized using telephone conference calls and the postal service. Flyers were mailed out to members—or a master copy was mailed and the team members would have them printed locally. The particular needs and tasks to be performed were communicated via conference calls. Today, that function is covered via email and Skype. 

Developing a sense of cooperation and competition among street team members can be achieved by using a closed-system social network platform such as Wiggio. This program was designed for teams to organize and communicate among their members. Setting up a Wiggio group for a street team is an easy task. Instructions, music samples, and camera-ready art (such as flyers) can be posted. The team manager can communicate with the group through conference calls, video conferencing, text messaging, and email blasts. Team members can communicate with one another through the social networking functions (message boards). Tiwary recommends that the street team organizer request verification for services performed by having team members take photos for documentation and file a progress report. This can all be managed through Wiggio.

Street team members should be compensated for their efforts. Free music and concert tickets can supplement a modest cash payment for services. Contests among street team members can also serve as an incentive.

So if you have not maximized your street team potential, begin recruiting street team members today.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freshen Up Your Logo With A New Font

From the upcoming second edition of Web Marketing for the Music Business
Browsers will only support a limited variety of fonts, so when selecting a unique and rare font for a masthead, logo, or wordmark, it is wise to create the item in the original editing software, and then save it as a GIF image for use on the web site. The down side to that is that the text in the image will not be read by search engines, but the wordmark will look consistent across platforms and on all computers. Failure to convert a wordmark can result in font substitutions that often do not turn out well. Logos and wordmarks can be copyrighted to protect your brand image. So the design of a unique logo can be an important aspect of any web design. Some of the most recognizable wordmarks and logos (that can’t be displayed here for copyright reasons) include Ebay, Disney, Coca Cola, FedEx, and Canon (

All text-editor programs, such as those found in Microsoft Office and, have a variety of fonts. Even many of these fonts are not supported by all browsers, so when using them, consider the conversion to an image. Microsoft PowerPoint in Office 2007 or above has many advanced features that can be used to create unique logos, mastheads and wordmarks. Start with a blank page. Set the background to the same color as the background on your web site. Insert a text box, select your font, and type in the words. Then double click on the box to open the “drawing tools.” Under WordArt styles, you can choose from shadow, reflection, bevel, 3-D rotation and transform.  By highlighting the text and clicking the right mouse button, you can bring up a menu that adds “3-D format.” You can select the bevel style, contour, material type (such as plastic, metal, matte) and lighting style. It is wise to set these before working with 3-D rotation.  But keep in mind; some of the best wordmarks are the simplest.
You can also use PowerPoint to create reflections of images. First, insert an image. Double click on that image to bring up “picture tools” that are similar to the “drawing tools” function. The reflection function is in the picture effects menu.
There are also cool fonts you can download to add to Microsoft Office. Urban fonts is a site that provides a plethora of contemporary and creative true type fonts. The fonts can be downloaded and will self-install into Microsoft Office. Once installed, they will appear in the pull-down font menu the next time you open the program. ( Be sure to convert your wordmark to a graphic before incorporating it into the web site.

For a more flexible, dynamic solution, FontsLive offers web-friendly fonts and provides the code for embedding them into your site. Pricing starts at $40 per year. (
TypeFront is a font distribution platform that gives designers and font sellers the tools they need to take advantage of the new wave of downloadable font support in web browsers. (
More options for finding fonts can be found at

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New apps for musicians

Since Web Marketing for the Music Business was published several years ago, the web has continued to expand its offerings. One of my favorite aggregators of beta sites is Whenever I need an application to make a task easier, I start there. Here are a few of the lesser knowns I have been working with lately that could be of benefit to musicians.
LetterMeLater: This service allows you to set up emails to be delivered at a later time and date, specified by you. So if you are on the road and want to send out that last minute email reminder of tonight's gig, you are no longer subjected to finding a hotspot and booting up the laptop to send out the blast. Set it all up before you leave the house and let it dispense the messages at the appropriate time. You can easily embed links, images and videos. For about $20/year you can send several hundred emails per month (the same email to multiple recipients is considered one). You can organize the contact list geographically so you are only sending to potential attendees.

Eventbrite: This service works like evite, allowing you to send out invitations to events. The bonus is the ability to pre-sell tickets via the service, and collect payment via your PayPal account. They provide widgets to make the transactions seamless. You can create more than one level of tickets, including price points, early purchase specials, discounts, etc. The basic service is free. For transactions, they charge 99cents plus 2.5% of the ticket value. This covers all processing fees for Visa, MC, PayPal and Google Checkout.

Wiggio: Want to organize your fan club or street team? Wiggio is perfect for that. It's a combination of social networking and collaborative workspace. Many ways to communicate with each other or the whole group. Documents and media materials can be stored and shared. A shared calendar ensures that everyone is on the same page. Polling allows for some group decisions to be made. No charge.

Stay tuned for more ideas. Or feel free to share a few of your own.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mobile media update

Mobile Media
The wireless handset that we used to refer to as a cell phone is now morphing into a multimedia personal communication device, and continues to grow in popularity around the world. Beginning with the third-generation (3G) handsets a few years ago, mobile data networks and increasingly sophisticated handsets have been providing users a variety of new media offerings. Whereas the Internet and desktop computers have dominated the paradigm shift in the past, the future belongs to wireless mobile technology. Already, the growth of cell phone adoption outstrips Internet adoption. In late 2008, it was estimated that there were over 4.4 billion cell phones in operation globally.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reported in early 2008 that over 75% of Americans use either a cell phone or a personal digital assistant (PDA). And 62% of all Americans have some experience with mobile access to digital data of some form, whether it is text messaging or music downloading.
Mobile Internet penetration in the U.S. has been slower than in many European and Asian countries where the communication industries have bypassed wired cable connections in many areas. In 2007, M:Metrics Research reported that only 5.7% of mobile subscribers in the U.S. listened to music on their mobile phones, compared to 13% in France, 15% in Germany, and 19% in the U.K.

The Pew Center for Research reported in mid-2009 that “”more than half of Americans - 56% - have accessed the internet wirelessly on some device, such as a laptop, cell phone, MP3 player, or game console.” By April 2009, nearly one third of Americans had used mobile devices to access the internet for emailing, instant-messaging, or information-seeking. The same study found that 45% of adults have iPods or MP3 players, but only 5% of adults have used such a device to go online.

Mobile Music Sales
Until 2007, the majority of music sales for mobile devices took the form of ringtones, or more specifically, mastertones —short excerpts from an original sound recording that plays when a phone rings. The market for ringtones and mastertones developed in the mid-2000s but saw a decline in sales for the first time in 2007 as consumers moved away from phone personalization features and began to adopt full track downloads to mobile devices Ringtones accounted for 62% of the mobile music market in 2007. Ringtone sales fell by 33% in 2008, to 43.8 million units in the U.S. (SoundScan), with a 25% reduction in dollar value, from $714 million in 2007 to $541million in 2008. The drop has been attributed to consumers “side loading” their own mastertones, meaning they create and load their own ringtones from a computer rather than purchasing them via their mobile network.

The global mobile music market is expected to rise to more than $17.5 billion by 2012, driven by subscriptions and sale of downloads, according to a Juniper Research study released in early 2008. The mobile music market is expected to be more successful in the area of subscription services, unlike the home-computer-based network, which has seen disappointing numbers for music subscription services. A 2009 study by Juniper Research claimed the global mobile music market would double by 2013 to $5.5 billion. In 2009, Japan was the leader in mobile music purchases, with 140 million mobile singles sold in 2008.

It is time for all marketers to prepare for the inevitable shift from computer-based marketing to mobile-based marketing. This will include "just-in-time" marketing campaigns, proximity marketing, and access to a host of shopping options for the portable consumer communication devices.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Learning about your market, part II

Okay, so I took the summer off from blogging. In the process, I finished and released a new edition of Record Label Marketing. Some of the changes include more emphasis on web marketing, digital music sales, and indie labels.
In the new edition of Record Label Marketing, I dig deeper into the realm of using the web to learn about your market. In the earlier post on the subject, I talked about the importance of analytics on your web site and how to use that information to improve your site and reach your goals.
There are other web services that can offer information on your fans and fans of similar artists.
Quantcast is a service that analyzes web visitors to sites ( if you are an indie artist, they probably don't have much data on your web visitors. But you can use their site to find out about fans who visit sites of well known artists. Pick a few popular artists who appeal to the market that you are targeting with your music. Then study their quantcast data. You can get traffic, demographic and lifestyle information on those visitors. You can also get a list of other sites these fans visit. For example, when I type in, I get information on what other sites these web visitors also frequent. And I find that Live Nation, CMT, Ticketmaster and Music Today are among the top mentions.

Another site to help musicians understand their web market is Band Metrics, who provide analytics specifically for the music industry. Their site boasts that they "assist artists in understanding their fans, while also helping them to manage their digital identity. It’s a great solution for independent artists, management companies, labels, venues, A&R reps, promoters, music supervisors, publicists, marketing agencies and others to understand fan activity, and fans’ sentiments towards artists." These analytics can incorporate aspects of the major social networks to show who's listening to, sharing and talking about their music across various social networking and blog sites.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Using the cell phone to promote your music, part 2

The future of "infotainment" or "communi-tainment" belongs to the cell phone or universal mobile device. Earlier, I talked of the benefits of gathering cell phone numbers from fans and sending the occasional text message promoting your live shows and recordings. Another are of mobile marketing involves the wireless application protocol. Mobile handsets rely on the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to create web sites specifically formatted for mobile devices. The domain system used for wireless devices is the .mobi (top level) domain extension on the end of the URL address.

Just as with an Internet web site, design for a mobi site must be preceded with an understanding of goals for the site. What are you trying to accomplish and provide with a mobile web site? The goals may not be the same as for the computer-based site. An Internet site might focus on more detail, more long-term information, more entertainment, and creating branding and customer awareness. A mobile site will most likely be used by fans on the go who need quick access to information that they can use immediately. This may include information on live shows, such as directions to venues and start times. A tour schedule may be important if groups of fans are together and want to plan on attending an event at a future date; A quick glance at your tour schedule may be what they are looking for. Contests and coupons may be important for fans as well as access to music to download and listen to. Pull messages that appear on billboards, bus boards or in newspapers may create an immediate impulse among viewers to respond to the message via their cell phone, such as signing up to win something or downloading new content. With these goals in mind, a separate web site must be developed that allows the mobile fan to quickly access what they are looking for without scrolling through a lot of pages and screens. And the site must be updated often to reflect the changing needs of its visitors.

General WAP formatting rules
Creating mobile web sites may be as simple as stripping out all CSS formatting to reveal a text-only site similar to how a search engine spider renders a site, although much of the content must also be reduced for easier browsing. Or better yet, professional “mobi” developers can create a site that dynamically produces formatting from a variety of options depending upon the type of device accessing the site. In other words, the formatting of the site can vary, and for each visitor, the presentation is customized after the server detects what type of handset they are currently using.

Some basic rules to consider:
- Be realistic about what will fit on the small screen of a mobile device. Paring down your information for the screen size is first and foremost.
- Eliminate all information that is not important to the mobile user. Less is more on a mobile site. Visitors are usually looking for specific information or completing a specific task.
- Avoid vertical scrolling; web users don’t like it and it’s even less popular with mobile users.
- Reduce the number of clicks: don’t go deep in page numbers, it’s slow going for the mobile user.
- Keep it clean: use readable text on a readable background.
- Test your design on a variety of handheld devices to see if it holds up on all of them.
- Use abbreviations and succinct wording wherever possible
- Access keys are helpful in speeding up navigation. (Access keys are those just below the screen on the left and right that can take on a variety of functions, usually with the name of that function on the bottom of the screen just above the key.)

Mobile site design programs
Mobile web sites are still in the infancy stage of development, with new design ideas entering the marketplace almost every week. As of early 2008, the most common design elements include a small logo and company or site name at the top of the screen, followed by a short menu of options.

There are several professional web developers, such as TrioVisions, creating mobi web sites for major corporations and top-selling musical acts. Among the do-it-yourself options, touts itself as mobile development community. Its development software is powered by mobiSiteGalore. The mobiSiteGalore offers a free WYSIWYG mobile web site builder including multiple pages, a link manager and image editor. Go Daddy offers .mobi web designer tools with its WebSite Tonight feature. Wirenode offers web design tools in a free, easy-to-use WYSIWIG format that allows for text, links, graphics, analytics and some minor formatting. Jagango offers free mobi sites, a series of templates and dialog boxes for easy formatting, and a mobi community for networking.

Mobi design web sites
WebSite Tonight design site
Mobi Site Galore
Updated information at

For artists who want to be ahead of the pack, creating a “mobi” site now may increase marketing success with a very small investment, and may generate incremental sales and broaden the fan base. The combination of viral/push text messaging and having a mobile web presence allows for two-stage marketing campaigns, where a push message is sent to fans who then can respond to the call for action by visiting the mobile site to buy music, check the tour schedule, or enter contests.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Learning about your market

One of the first rules of marketing is identify your market. Get to know as much as you can about the people who are your fans and customers. The more you know, the better you can target your market, and the more successful your marketing efforts will be. This requires systematic effort but has been made much easier by the Internet. There are two methods for collecting data online about customers. One is to simply monitor their Internet travels and make deductions based upon where they go and how much time they spend on each page. The other involves directly asking your fans questions through an online survey.

Monitoring web traffic

Most web sites these days employ analytics. Web analytics is defined as the use of data collected from a web site to determine which aspects of the web site work toward the business objectives. Many services on the Internet offer web analytics features. After asking a series of questions about how you want to track and compile information, the service will create the code to be inserted into every page of the web site. The code helps the service track activity on the site. The webmaster logs in to the service to view and download the statistics that the system has gathered. Analytic services are provided by Google, Quantcast and StatCounter.

The Internet has made it easy to track what consumers do, where they go, and what interests they have. One way of keeping track of that data is through the use of cookies. Webopedia defines cookies as a “message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.”

Webopedia explains: “The main purpose of cookies is to identify users and possibly prepare customized Web pages for them. When you enter a Web site using cookies, you may be asked to fill out a form providing such information as your name and interests. This information is packaged into a cookie and sent to your web browser which stores it for later use.” So when you return to that same web site, your browser will send the cookie to the web server letting it know who you are—it’s your ID card or your frequent shopper card. Then, the server can use this information to load up personalized web pages that may include content that interests you, based on information the site collected the last time you visited. So, for example, instead of seeing just a generic welcome page you might see a welcome page with your name and features on it. The use of cookies is frowned upon by privacy advocates but hailed by marketers and webmasters alike in its ability to offer customized information to visitors.

What to Measure
Some of the most important factors that are measured include the following:

1. The number of visitors. This is represented by the number of different people who access your web site over a period of time. From this information, you can determine which times are most popular for visitors. You can determine if your traffic is influenced by any marketing campaigns that may be unfolding, the impact of promotional materials such as e-mail blasts, and the impact of advertising. For example, you send out an e-mail blast to members of the fan club announcing a new tour schedule and notice a jump in the number of visitors to the site and the tour schedule page for the next couple of days.

2. Whether these visitors are new or returning. The effects of advertising and other marketing efforts to expand the market can be measured by observing the number of new visitors to the site. The number of returning visitors indicates the success level of efforts designed to bring visitors back to the site and generate fan loyalty.

3. The number of page views. This is a measurement of how many pages each visitor looks at on the site. If the ratio is high, meaning that each visitor on average visits a fair number of pages, that is an indication of the “stickiness” of the site. Stickiness means that the site is so compelling that visitors are inclined to stick around and visit other sections. However, this could also indicate that they are not finding what they are looking for, so they keep going on to the next page hoping to find what they need. Determining which of these two factors is in play is covered by the next measurement.

4. Time spent per page. If visitors are spending a lot of time on particular pages, one could conclude that these pages contain something of interest to the visitor. If other pages are glossed over quickly, then perhaps they are not as meaningful to the visitor or the visitor has not yet found what they are looking for. If certain pages don’t get much traffic, or visitors tend to spend little time on them, they should be reviewed to determine if the level of interest is appropriate (it may be a page designed for a subsection of visitors, such as the media) or whether the page should be revamped or combined with another page.

5. Time spent on the site. Visitors who spend a long time on the site are probably the most dedicated customers or fans, especially if they are returning visitors. The average amount of time spent on the site indicates the worthiness of the site in providing something of interest.

6. Date and time. It is helpful to know the most popular viewing times and days to plan when updates will be made to the site and if traffic is seasonal.

7. Where visitors reside. This information is not always accurate, as some visitors may use an Internet service provider (ISP) that reflects the location of the main servers instead of the visitor’s hometown. But for most systems, country of origin and city are listed in the visitor statistics. You can determine if there is more activity on the web site coming from areas where the artist is touring. Then by combining that with information on page hits, you can determine how important or useful the tour information page is to visitors.

8. Where visitors are coming from and which page they enter the site through. This information can help you to determine which outside URLs are providing most of the traffic, whether it’s other sites that link to yours, search engine traffic, or direct request (the user types in your domain name).

9. Exit page. Which page do visitors commonly view last before leaving your site? Sometimes the page content will help determine the reason people leave the site: they found what they were looking for, they didn’t find what they wanted, you directed them elsewhere, or they made the purchase.

10. The technology that visitors use. This function indicates the resolution of the monitor, connection type, browser type and operating system of each visitor. It is helpful in determining whether users have the technology to handle the latest bells and whistles before deciding to add those features to the site.

How to Use That Information
How much time a visitor spends viewing particular information, as well as how often visitors make a purchase and what they purchase, give marketing researchers feedback on their efforts. Other aspects of marketing research rely on input from customer feedback forms, surveys and other devices. Often this requires effort on the part of the consumer to provide this valuable information to market research experts. One of the great advantages of the Internet is that it offers marketing analysts a rich body of marketing information based on where web visitors go, what they click on, and how long they engage with the marketing message. In an article “Five Reasons to Track Web Site Traffic,” author Monte Enbysk pointed out that too many “small businesses build web sites, invest time in online marketing campaigns and then devote little or no effort to analyzing the return on their investment.” Here are some of the ways that web analytics tools can provide feedback on marketing strategy:

1. Evaluate the effectiveness of marketing efforts. You can see the results of each aspect of promotion and how it affects traffic to the site. You can find out what the keywords are that your customers use to find you, and how they respond to your marketing by showing up and reviewing your product information.

2. Figure out where your traffic is coming from. By knowing where your web visitors come from just before landing on your site, you can determine if your advertising is working.

3. Learn what your users like and don’t like about your products and messages. Find out if it’s time to replace or modify those underperforming products or messages featured on pages where visitors tend to bail out. You can assess modifications of an underperforming marketing campaign by changes in visitor activity.

4. Get to know your customers. After studying the data coming in and making adjustments to the site, you can learn what your visitors like and what they respond to. Tracking them can tell you what they are looking for when they visit your site.

Online Surveys

You can also learn about your market by asking them directly, through online surveys. A couple rules for doing online surveys: 1) don't ask too many questions, 2) don't ask personal or sensitive questions, 3) clearly state what you intend to do with the information (and what you will NOT be doing, such as selling the information to others), 4) provide an incentive for people to participate, a contest or giveaway.

Surveys can be embedded into the artist's web site, or visitors can be directed to a third-party site survey through a link. Survey Monkey is currently the top service for providing online survey services. The process is simple and the software is designed to generate basic reports without further statistical analysis. If more complex analysis is warranted, the raw data can be downloaded in CSV form and ported into Excel or any statistical software program.
Other services in competition with Survey Monkey include
Zoomerang -
Instant Survey -
E-customer Survey -
My Survey Lab -
Vovici -
Survey Gizmo -
Wufoo -