Selling your own stuff is, for most of us, a really difficult thing to do. And being sold at is, for most of the time, really annoying. So how do you sell your stuff without being annoying?
Paradoxically the rule number one to selling, is to stop selling. This is not a new thing, salesmen throughout the time have known that a key to good performance is building a good relationship with your customers. Keep in touch, listen, and give them what they want.
Internet provides a range of tools that help you do this easily. My mantra is the four C’s: Connect, Converse, Curate and Create.
First thing you need is to find people that are or might be interested in what you are doing. Get in touch with people through Facebook and Twitter. Follow people that like similar things than you. Follow people that you are a fan of. Network outside the internet, and connect with them online afterwards. Set up an email list and ask people to subscribe in exchange of a song.
Grow your network slowly and patiently, don’t just try to hoard tons of followers who don’t care about you. 10 people that care count for more than 100 people that don’t.
People don’t just receive and consume your music.. They actively make their own meanings out of it. This is a great thing. Ask what they think. Invite them to share special moments. Post images, stories and notes that your audience send to you. Test your new stuff with them. Create polls and surveys. Get to know them. And let them get to know you.
As an artist you are much more than your music. You represent a way of life, a world view, taste, style and opinions. Let people in and share your world. When you see, hear or read something that you like, share it with your audience. Forget about YOU for a moment. Simply highlight the things that have inspired and excited you. What bands, songs, gigs, art work, movies, cities, people or books have you found interesting? Collect it and share it to your own audience. What you like tells a lot about you. You don’t need to talk about yourself all the time (and please, don’t)
And finally – create your own things. Write blog posts of your adventures, thoughts, opinions (again, doesn’t have to be about your music only). Take photos of your travels, food, crumpled set lists, dirty toilets, tangled studio leads, beautiful views, your new pair of shoes. Record live shows and rehearsals, demos, acoustic versions, covers and jam sessions. Make it part of all you do and give it out regularly, and for free.
And hey presto, you are doing some first class marketing! Keeping in touch with people, being a part of their lives and making them part of yours, building a community and connection with them is the most important thing to do. Forget about selling 90% of the time. Just chat and share.
And then give them something to buy. Always have music and merhandise available on your website and your gigs. Sell CD’s and t-shirts. Compile a self published book of your photos, blog posts and scribbles. Make stuff; drawings, hand written lyrics and personalised postcards. Get creative and have fun. You’re an artist, baby! Everything you do is part of your art.
See, it’s not sleazy at all, when you’re not trying so hard to sell it.Image by dou_ble_you