If you’re here, then we know you’re trying to figure out how to sell music online successfully.
It’s often been said there are different ways to skin a cat (what a terrible expression), and that applies to selling your music online as much as anything else.
Yes, there are many methodologies available. Many of them are even proven.
But NEVER discount the fact that your journey is your journey, friend, because what works for another won’t always work for you.
What matters most is you COMMIT to a method and see it through until you fail.
It’s called FOCUS for a reason — it stands for Follow One Course Until Success!
In this guide, I’m going to cover two popular (and even complementary) methods, and one unconventional method. Ready? Let’s go!
You don’t have to become a bonafide digital marketer, entrepreneur, or publisher to sell music online successfully.
After all, wouldn’t you prefer being immersed in your art all day?
In this guide, I talk about strategies and tactics specific and general, but always remember. The music comes first. You do it for the love of it, don’t you?
How to Sell Music Online Successfully Method #1 — Build a Funnel
Sales funnels have been proven to work for most if not all business models, and even musicians.
Music Marketing Manifesto’s John Oszajca described this method in detail in episode 147 of the podcast.
The idea is this:
You want to create an insane giveaway your fans and prospective fans would have a hard time passing up. That might be a free EP or album. It might be a merch bundle. It could be something else.
Your goal at this stage is to get people on your email list by any means necessary.
When someone signs up for your offer, they should be taken to the next step in your funnel — your sales page.
On your sales page, you should basically have six products. It could be six albums, EPs, singles, merch items, or some combination thereof.
You want to charge somewhere in the $37 to $67 range for the bundle, so that you can break even on advertising (I’ll cover this in more detail later).
Finally, those who bought your offer should be brought to a One Time Offer page. Again, this can be in the $37 to $67 range. If your offer warrants more, you can charge more.
But this is basically free money — profit.
Step #1 — Build Your Platform
You will need to use a funnel builder to make your funnel. Although it can be done by tying together a hodgepodge of tools, this isn’t recommended since it can make the process more technical and less reliable.
And, of these, my favorite is 10XPro. It costs the same as ClickFunnels’ Platinum plan, is easier to use, and offers more flexibility overall.
No matter what you want to build, be it online courses, a membership site, an online community forum, a download hub, a fun club, or otherwise, 10XPro can help you get the job done.
Step #2 — Create Your Offers
Funnels can take many forms and there isn’t necessarily a “perfect” funnel (although many will try to tell you there is).
Most funnels follow this form:
Opt-in > Sales Page > One Time Offer
Regardless of how short or how long the funnel, you’re going to need to create (or curate) your various offers.
Assuming you’re dealing in digital goods, fulfillment should be easy. Merch can be a little more complicated, but there are a lot of great print-on-demand solutions like Printful, which is what we suggest using.
You don’t need to rush the offer creation process, because you want to be giving away and selling something so attractive and compelling that your fans find irresistible.
That’s how to sell music online successfully!
Step #3 — Build Traffic to Your Funnel
Now we need to take advantage of advertising (usually Facebook advertising) to build traffic to our funnel.
There is no cookie-cutter approach that works 100% of the time. What I would suggest instead is to identify your favorite artists and bands (especially those you sound like and have been influenced by) and spy on what they’re doing.
You can do this by going to their page, clicking on “See All” under “Page Transparency” (bottom left corner), and finally, by clicking on “Go to Ad Library” under “Ads From This Page.”
Pay attention to what grabs your attention (whether it’s the copy, image, or video) because what works on you is bound to work on others.
I’m not saying you should copy what others are doing. But I AM saying you should model them.
Running, managing, and optimizing Facebook ads is beyond the scope of this guide, but you can learn more by clicking on the hyperlinked text “Facebook advertising” above.
Important note: Driving traffic is more than just running ads. Running ads is like a tap. The moment you pump money through those pipes, it starts working. Of course, the moment you turn it off, the traffic stops coming.
Content is an important part of a long-term strategy for driving authority and traffic. It would be wise to consider publishing blog posts, podcast episodes, or videos (choose one) on a consistent, regular basis to drive traffic to your funnel.
How to Sell Music Online Successfully Method #2 — Own The Racecourse
The Own The Racecourse methodology is championed by my business coach James Schramko.
This is the most up-to-date video on the subject:
The idea is this:
Instead of giving away all your control to platforms like Facebook or YouTube, you create your own platform (using a tool like WordPress) and stretch your tentacles out to the various platforms your audience likes to hang out on to drive that traffic to your own website.
As you can imagine, this method can be incredibly profitable. But it can also require a lot of work on your part. Every method has its pros and cons. And NO method results in instant gratification. Just run the other way from those who tell you otherwise.
The OTR method has done wonders for us here at Music Entrepreneur HQ, where we’ve been able to 2x, 3x, and even 4x our traffic by turning it into an OTR website.
Here’s what it looks like.
Step #1 — Build Your Platform
If you want to own the traffic, own the conversation, and ultimately own the sales, then you’ve got to build your platform, and preferably on WordPress.
At Music Entrepreneur HQ, we recommend getting set up with SiteGround web hosting, which is reliable and easy to use. Installing WordPress is but a click of the mouse away.
To unleash the full power of WordPress, you will need to install various plugins — especially if you ever want to set up forums, courses, membership sites, or otherwise.
Step #2 — Publish Content
Again, if we want more control….
If we want to own the traffic…
Own the conversation, the sales, and more…
We must drive traffic to our website by publishing frequently.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use advertising. But done right, it can make advertising irrelevant.
Because long-term, you can drive huge amounts of traffic to your website by publishing content on things your audience is interested in.
And that’s KEY — publish based on your audience’s interests.
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Just make a list of 100 or so musicians who you like, have been influenced by, and even sound like. Find their social profiles and websites and see what they’re publishing. That ought to give you a good sense of what topics to cover.
Step #3 — Create Your Chocolate Wheel
With a sales funnel, the idea is to minimize confusion and get your visitors to act. That being the case, there’s only one thing your visitors can do on squeeze pages or landing pages — opt in or buy.
The chocolate wheel works a little differently. The idea is to guide your audience to the thing they’re most likely to be interested in.
Here’s what James Schramko has done on his site, SuperFastBusiness:
Now, you’re probably not going to approach it the same way as a musician, but you can certainly let your creativity guide you.
What is your audience most interested in (blog posts, videos, merch, or otherwise)? Do you have music releases that sound different from the others? Do you have multiple giveaways?
Like I said, there are many directions to take this in. But the goal is to be helpful to your audience. Instead of assuming what they want and forcing them through an ascension model (which is what a funnel is), you can showcase all your products and help your fans get to the right things at the right time.
How to Sell Music Online Successfully Method #3 — Follow Your Intuition
Like I said at the front of this article, not all methods work for everyone.
Follow One Course Until Success. But if you’ve failed with one course, you’ll want to try another.
It’s entirely possible that you’ll try both the funnel method and the OTR method and not achieve what you originally set out to accomplish.
You’ll learn something from this experience no matter what, but there’s a good chance some things will resonate with you while others won’t.
At this point, if you’re still trying to figure out how to sell music online successfully, there’s only one thing left to do — follow your intuition!
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take advantage of data. But use it as a feedback mechanism to figure out what’s working and to confirm gut instincts. Not to run your entire career.
Sometimes simple is best.
So, if something doesn’t work (and you will KNOW when it’s not working), try something else and renew your commitment to your success.
Before You Go…
Just wanted to let you know. I have a couple of books that musicians like you have found to be incredibly valuable on their journey to figuring out how to sell music online successfully.
The first is The New Music Industry.
Singer Mercy Lamola had this to say about The New Music Industry:
This is the book Brené Brown would have written if she were a music culture researcher. It is a definite must-read for aspiring musicians hoping to have careers in an increasingly unpredictable, digital age. It should be required reading for those who have stars in their eyes, or those who have made some progress and are becoming disillusioned by the sheer amount of work they see ahead of themselves, and competition that surrounds them. The inclusion of in-depth reviews of different ways to generate income in the industry is in itself invaluable, but throughout the book there is a theme of taking responsibility for development that is a boost to self-confidence and is in itself the most important resource in navigating this industry’s highs and lows.
The next is The Music Entrepreneur Code.
Drummer and Musician Monster founder Greg Wilnau had this to say about The Music Entrepreneur Code:
There are many people out there claiming to know how to navigate the new music industry. David has proven that he is the pinnacle of industry knowledge and experience. At a time when it seems like there is more opportunity than ever, more musicians find themselves drowning in a sea of noise. This book is the compass that leads us. It’s concise yet chalked full of high impact tips and strategies.
Check them out at your own leisure. 😉
How to Sell Music Online Successfully, Conclusion
There’s so much more I could have covered here in terms of how to sell music online successfully.
But what matters most is this:
- That’s you’ve got a strong mindset and you’re committed to your success
- You let people know what you’re out to create in the world and what they can count on you for
- You make asks — if you never ask, you never get
Armed with this information, you should be able to sell more music online successfully.
Did I miss anything? Did you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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Originally published at https://www.musicentrepreneurhq.com on September 29, 2020.