Episode #066: How To Grow Your Music Career When You Can’t Tour

OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY THIS EPISODE

On today’s episode, we are talking about what you can do to grow your music career when you are not able to tour. Many musicians are unable to tour for various reasons, such as work, family or other commitments. This inability to tour is a far more common problem among musicians than many of us realize. This does not mean that your music career will not take off because there are many ways to get around the obstacle of not being able to tour. Leah is a prime example of someone, who due to family commitments has never toured, and yet she has still achieved tremendous success. For her, because she has never been able to hit the road, she had to make success happen within her means. Having the internet at your disposal opens as many, arguably more doors than going on tour ever could. There are so many different platforms and ways of reaching out to people than ever before, you simply have to find what works for you. This may sound simple, but it is not an overnight process. It is a long, hard slog that will eventually yield results you want. You have to define your brand, as well as hone in on your super fan and learn how to speak directly to them. Once you are able to do this, the sky is the limit and you will never need to see the inside of a tour bus, ever! For all this and more, join us today. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • This week’s student spotlight and some lessons to take from it.
  • The Internet is the greatest tool you have if you are unable to tour.
  • What lead Leah to create her first course, The Online Musician.
  • Differentiating your music is the key starting point in launching your music career.
  • Defining your niche gives you the clarity you need to build your brand.
  • Why direct marketing is so important in growing your brand.
  • Proactively engaging on social media extends far beyond posting your next gig.
  • Show fans your vulnerabilities and the real parts of your life, rather than hiding it.
  • Build a community around the culture that surrounds your music.
  • An example of how Leah has tapped into what her fans like.
  • To create passionate super fans, you have to celebrate the same things that they celebrate.
  • Keep what you share within the same theme to maintain brand cohesion.
  • Some things to steer clear of sharing online.
  • Ways to generate money from your music career, if you are not touring.
  • Take advantage of all the platforms and their strengths that are available to you.
  • We are all salespeople in some way or another.
  • Learning how to sell organically should come before working on paid traffic.
  • Effective marketing is about answering providing an answer to a customer’s need. 
  • Entertainment and art have always and will always continue to be a fundamental part of life.
  • Create as many opportunities as possible for fans to buy from you.

Tweetables:

“The beauty of online marketing, is you’re not trying to be commercial. You are trying to find your tribe of fans.” — @LEAHthemusic  [0:17:07]

“People buy from those they know, like and trust.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:20:41]

“Nobody cares about me. They only care about themselves, and what my product can do for them.”  — @LEAHthemusic [0:37:55]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Apply For The Superfan System Elite Progam —   www.callsma.com

The Online Musician 2.0 —   https://savvymusicianacademy.com/tribe/tom/

Savvy Musician Show Episode 065 —   www.savvymusicianacademy.com/65

Jennifer Kessler (Student Spotlight) — https://www.jenniferlynmusic.com/ 

Click For Full Transcript

00:23 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. And once again, I get the privilege to sit across from the wonderful one, Miss Leah McHenry. Always a pleasure. How are you doing?

00:42 Leah: I’m doing great. How are you?

00:43 CJ: I am outstanding. 

00:46 Leah: Whenever we say we’re bad though, it’s not like we’re going to say, “I’m having a bad day.” 

00:50 CJ: That’s bad form. 

00:51 Leah: Yeah. 

00:51 CJ: No. I’m the metal motivator, man. There’s no bad days for the metal motivator. 

00:55 Leah: That’s right. 

00:56 CJ: No. Of course, we all have our challenges. But we try to believe the best. Of course, we all get on our funks, but the issue is not whether or not you have bad days. The issue is how quick you spring back from those bad days or those bad attitudes. We all have them, ladies and gentlemen. Anybody who tells you they don’t is probably lying to you. 

01:18 Leah: Yeah, exactly. 

01:21 CJ: Life is rough, especially when you’re trying to do something bigger than yourself, and life is going to resist you in every front. Not always easy. So, with that come the challenges. But today we’re going to talk about something really, really cool. And it may sound basic, but the way we’re going to approach it, I think it’s going to be relevant to you, and that’s about how to grow your music career when you can’t tour. But first, our student spotlight. 

Again, another elite student, Jennifer Kessler, who I had the pleasure of working with one-on-one on a coaching call, sometime back, and I was really impressed with her branding, Leah, when I first saw her stuff. Very talented woman, guitar player and singer, but to really just had her branding dialled in all of that. So been a joy to watch her growth. 

She writes, “#win. I hope you’re kicking ass and taking names,” talking to the fellow students. “Now that I’m officially through the 16 weeks of Elite and I’m implementing and tracking all that the course has to offer. I just want to say, ‘wow!’ What a difference this has made and will continue to make as I keep pressing on as a musician. Before this course, I went from, ‘please someone buy something from my online store,’ to selling products online in the middle of a gig. Literally had online sales last night during a show.” 

She said, “my official win after taking Steve Morgan’s advice, from my hot seat and focusing on getting more people on my email list, I adjusted my Facebook Ad priorities and I’m getting almost 300 people opting to my email list per week. I also broke my online sales record this month, which tells me I’m well on my way to reaching the goals I’ve set for myself, using the lessons taught in this course. I now have sales from my nurture funnel, Facebook ads and e-commerce funnel. Yay! I literally feel like the scene in the movie Rocky where he went 16 rounds with the champ. I’m actually doing it.” 

She says, “sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to give a big thank you to you all for the support, encouragement, ideas and feedback. It truly takes a village to raise an artist, and you all have been fabulous to learn with and learn from. Keep on rocking.”

03:39 Leah: That’s so great. This is why I get up every day to do this. 

03:42 CJ: Ain’t that amazing?

03:43 Leah: Yeah. When you have the principles and you have the basics, understand the fundamentals, there’s no reason why you can’t replicate this. It takes a lot of hard work. Ask her how hard she’s been working to do this though. It’s not an overnight thing. It’s never going to be an overnight thing, and if it is, expect that to go away because overnight successes can also go away overnight. This is something that you’re investing in long-term, for yourself. Once you have these skills, they’re there to stay and you’re going to build upon them. 

And then like we’ve talked about in previous episodes, you can launch anything. You can do anything. A lot of our students also are entrepreneurs. They have side businesses. Some of them are personal trainers and hairdressers and other things and they are applying things in this course into their businesses and saying, “oh my goodness! We’ve increased our profits, like we’re doing things. We’re now marketing our other businesses in ways we had no idea. We were not doing this before.” 

So that’s what I love, is that’s why stopped studying the music business and start studying online marketing, is because I couldn’t find the stuff that would actually make me successful in the music business, in the typical industry. So that’s why we do this. I’m so thankful that you shared, Jennifer. Thank you for encouraging everyone. We can never have too many wins. 

04:55 CJ: Yeah. Couple things I love about what she said. Number one, is she talks about the benefit of the whole group. So, she’s not just talking about Leah or her coaches, but she’s talking about the other members of the group. So, when we say that this is an elite group, it means that you’re in there with people who have as much in the game or on the line as you do. They have great input and encouragement to give you. So, you are not alone. Like she says, “takes a village to raise an artist,” and it literally is a village of positivity for someone trying to build a music career. Then when she said that she was literally selling products online, which we’re going to get into today, but literally selling products online while she was playing music on stage. 

05:48 Leah: That’s right. So, it’s automated. 

05:50 CJ: It’s automated. So that’s a pretty amazing thing. So good things. If she keeps it up, she’s only going to grow from here, and that’s really powerful. So, again, if anybody out there is ready to take their career up to the next level, please go to SMA. 

06:07 Leah: Call sma.com, yeah.

06:08 CJ: Call sma.com if you like to learn more about the elite program. It’s not for everybody, right? We don’t just take anybody into this program. You got to be ready for it. But if you’re at that place where you been recording music, if you’re at that place where you just kind of built yourself a little following and you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can go. The elite program may be exactly what you need. So, call sma.com. 

06:32 Leah: Yeah. If you’re not ready for it, by the way, we’re not to leave you hanging. We’ve got some other amazing things that might be right for you. So our goal is just to help you and serve you. How can we serve you? So just call and we’ll help you. 

06:45 CJ: Yeah, we’ll direct you where you need to be, what’s good for you right now. So, again, talking about today; How to grow your music career when you can’t tour? 

Leah, I was just visiting Dallas Texas here. I saw a lot of local bands there. They’re all good friends of mine, was staying with a guy who is in two popular local bands. Here’s the problem that I hear all of the time when I talk to these musicians because they’re people of age. They have jobs that they depend on. They have families that depend on them being at those jobs. Well, they can’t tour. They can’t go on the road. People aren’t making that much money on the road, and it’s got to be divvied four ways, however many people in your band. And they just can’t leave town. They don’t want to necessarily leave town. Put their financial livelihood at risk. 

But yet they have this burning creative drive to make music, to produce music, and they’d love a way. Of course, I was talking to the gentleman I was staying with, he knows about you, and talked to him a little bit more about the Savvy Musician Academy. And he keeps saying, “I met with one of these bands. I need to do that. I need to take that one in that direction.” 

So, growing your music career, Leah, when you can’t tour is probably more common than we realize. So that’s the starting point where somebody is where are they going to go? How are they going to make money when they can’t – How are they going to have a music career, Leah, if they can’t tour?

08:20 Leah: It’s funny. Now that this is all that I’ve been doing and I haven’t been doing any touring, I can’t imagine how I would grow a music career without doing the things that I’m doing. It’s actually really hard for me to picture how that would even be possible. I was in the same boat where I’ve got five little kids at home and at one point, I had three and then four and then five, and then realizing, “yeah, touring is really off the table for me, at least for a long period of time. Maybe when they get older, we could all go together. I don’t know.” But if I’m going to get my music out there, it’s going to have to be online. That’s the only thing I have. That’s the only thing I have. I have the internet. So what am I going to do with it?

So, there’re so many people in different situations that I run into, people who are just working full-time or they’re in the corporate world. They can’t just up and leave. People who are students. People who are full-time parents. There’re a number of scenarios out there where touring is not a good option right now. People have health issues, and for that reason, they can’t tour. 

So I’m realizing I thought I was one of only a few artists who wouldn’t be touring, but it turns out this is actually pretty common, and there’s a lot of people who are just so busy that this is not a viable option, but they still – Like you said, they still have this burning desire in them to get their music out into the world. They still want to make music. They still want to record music. They still want to launch music, and they still want to make money from it. So, what are we going to do?

And there a lot that could be said about this. I mean, really, ultimately, that’s why I created our first flagship course. It was called The Online Musician for this very reason. And when I made the course, I made it kind of with a specific person in mind. I was picturing – Well, I was making it for myself, because nothing existed for what I needed. But I was also thinking of some of the other mom-musician friends that I know who are maybe homeschooling their kids as well and really talented, but they weren’t going to get up and tour either, but they’re pretty Internet savvy. So, I thought, “what could I put together in a systematic way that could allow them to do this also?” So, that’s how I created it. 

Actually, I created The Online Musician for the non-touring artists really in mind. That was my original thought process. Then as it turns out, it’s massively beneficial for people who do tour as well. Because, really, we’re at a point where if you want a music career, you need to be doing all of these things regardless if you tour or you don’t tour. 

But for the person who is non-touring, you have all the more focus to put into your online efforts. I know I’m talking really broad right now, but I just wanted to get that out of the way, that the principle, the things that we’re going to talk about in this podcast, they apply to everyone. Even if you are a touring artist, you should be doing these things also. But for the person who doesn’t tour, you have even more energy and resources, so to speak, at your disposal put into this, because touring takes a massive amount of energy and time to even making that happen. 

So, with that in mind, there’s a lot involved with being an online musician. I do want to reference the previous podcast that we recorded on how to be an online musician, becoming one. I want to go back and listen to that after this. 

11:49 CJ: Yeah, I think people – Obviously, we can’t go into details. You have courses about this stuff. So, we can’t go in all the great details in a single podcast episode that it takes. But I think like, again, with my visit with my friend. People are just at that place, Leah, where they just can’t wrap their heads around the fact that you can actually make money doing this sort of thing online, because there’s so much competition out there. Where do they even begin? So, if you were just going to give a basic skeleton outline, where would they start? 

12:25 Leah: Yeah. The first place you would start is with the music itself. It always has to begin with the music. So, you would ask yourself, “what is different about my music?” We got to think about differentiation. So, what’s unique about what I make? How does it stand out? I like to dial it into something we call a micro-niche, which is you got your umbrella genre. You have a sub-genre. You have a niche. The funnel is getting smaller and smaller, and then maybe even a micro-niche, if you can go down that small. 

And we have a lot of free training on this. We have episodes on this on the podcast. We have downloadable worksheets, resources on our website, savvymusicianacademy.com if you want to delve into that little more. But having that niche is really where it’s all going to begin because the niche will inform your branding. It will inform the type of culture that you’re going to create around your music. It’s going to inform the way you show up in social media, which if you’re not doing that, you need to be. 

It’s going to inform the albums you put out after that. It’s going to form your imagery, your fonts, logos, colour schemes, all of these staff. It informs kind of everything. We have to start with the music. And then there’s a lot involved, like I said. But starting with that niche, it’s going to give you clarity. Once you have clarity, now you have something you can build upon, something you can work with. So, I know it sounds very simple because it is. It’s very simple. We’ll just start there.

13:54 CJ: Again, I think people don’t understand this concept of differentiation. This concept of what is it that makes you different. I have a friend who’s middle-aged and he’s a fantastic songwriter. He’s in the country music genre. He has two boys that play and write songs and they’re Nashville. So, he looks at himself as out of the loop. He’s too old, and I said, “no, you’re not too old, because there are people who are our age that still listen to the music.” You may have a more classic sound or something like that, but there’s people out there just like you, that age bracket, that share the same culture that you do, like the same things, and alls you have to do is target them. We’re not targeting everybody else. We’re not targeting the general country music community and hoping to hit those few people. It’s not a billboard on the side of the highway. It is a direct advertisement to somebody’s mailbox. It is something very direct. 

And I think people, when we say things like advertising or marketing, they don’t understand that difference. We’re talking about marketing, direct marketing. Meaning we’re targeting not a general audience, like getting a pizza coupon in the mail. 

15:05 Leah: Yeah, laundry detergent. 

15:08 CJ: Yeah. These are just general things. If they knew the kind of diet I was on, they wouldn’t send me half the stuff that they send me, right? So, if they knew that I didn’t do that, but if they knew instead that I buy something else, then I would get mail based on that. That’s direct marketing. So, we don’t need it. 

As Leas has said before, with a thousand super fans, you could create a six-figure online music career, just with a thousand fans that are really radical about your music, and you’re plugged into a few billion on social media. The key then is going to be how good are you at differentiating yourself? That means, as Leah said, beginning with that music, narrowing it down to your micro-niche, right?

For example, in his case, it’s country music is the umbrella, working it down to maybe a specific, more kind of neoclassical type of country music and then finding that audience. But then it takes her to that next thing, which is culture, as you said.

16:06 Leah: That’s right. And I want to say too about that targeting thing, is what’s really nice about not having to worry about being world-famous to everyone even if you are in an older age bracket than you think is acceptable. 

One amazing thing is that your target audience, they’re ageing with you. They’re ageing too. So, you’re not trying to reach 18-year-olds necessarily, unless you are 18. So, my fans are typically – I just know from the demographics. They’re aged 30 and up. They’re between like 30 and 55. That’s like my main demographic, like 70% male, and that’s just the nature of symphonic metal. That’s just the way it is. I’m not the only artist in that genre that has that demographic, but I can see from all my insights that that’s the case. And guess what? They’re going to age with me and they’re going to come along with me. I don’t have to worry about trying to appeal to someone who’s not into my music or someone who is not my demographic. 

So that’s the beauty of online marketing, is you’re not trying to be commercial. You are trying to find your tribe of fans. People who love you enough to spend $50 or $100 a year. And you only needed a thousand of those people to make a six-figure income. That’s why it’s so doable. When people think, “I don’t know how you did it. You must be scamming.” It’s not that hard. It’s very simple math actually, if you do it. You just need a good quality product, right? Good quality music. Know your niche. Make sure your branding, your imaging matches that niche. If I walked around wearing cowboy hats and I’m doing Celtic metal, that would be pretty confusing to people unless I had some kind of really strange hybrid of niches. 

But the look matches the sound. A lot of people will look at my cover art and they can kind of figure out what kind of music I make from looking at the cover art, and I think that’s a really good sign that you’re doing your cover art right when people can kind of get a feeling, vibe just from looking at without even hearing it. That’s my goal. So, when those things align, it’s not very hard to make a hundred thousand a year. It’s not. I do hundreds of thousands now. So –

[00:18:18] CJ: Boom! There you go. I mean, I think as we like to say, the less you understand about the way something is achieved, the more you think it happens because of magic, or theft, or something else for somebody else just because you don’t know how she does it. It’s like people watching the street magicians and they think they have some real magical power. 

18:37 Leah: Yeah. 

18:38 CJ: Once you see how the trick is done, you’re going to feel stupid. 

18:41 Leah: Yeah. It’s right there in front of you. 

18:43 CJ: Right there in front of you. Just because you don’t understand the way something is done doesn’t mean you have to immediately jump to stupid accusations about, “well, she must be scamming somebody.” No. I guarantee you. 

Go to her website. Go to her store and look at the fan stuff. Look at all the people who’ve bought all her albums and all her stuff and they’re collecting Leah Gear. They’re collecting Leah accessories. They’re collecting Leah music. Tell me those guys were defrauded out of something. No. They willingly. They’re super friends, ladies and gentlemen. It’s really not that hard to figure out. 

Well, if you’ve got a micro-niche, you know what your music is, you know who your audience pretty much is. So, you’re building something around the culture. Well, this has to take place somewhere. So, this takes us into the realm of social media, which I think is important, Leah, because prior to social media, Facebook, and that sort of thing, online marketing was happening, right? People were buying things online. People were selling things online. There was e-commerce. There was stuff transpiring. 

But social media changed the game so much because it put us in direct personal contact where we had to become more relational and that sort of thing. 

Leah, the most common thing that I see, and I believe this is going to fit a lot of people who are listening to this podcast. The most common thing I see when it comes to social media is a musician or a band, they have a Facebook page, right? They’ve done that. They may have had that Facebook page for years now. But all they do with it is post an event. They’re going to be at this bar and they just post an event. So, you go to their page and that’s all there is. How are they going to do something? When you say doing something with the niche and culture and advertising on social media, that’s not what you mean. 

20:38 Leah: No. I don’t mean just posting events to your next gig. If that’s all I did, nobody would be talking about me. Nobody would be listening to my music like crazy, because that’s just self-promotion constantly. So, what I figured out early on was I figured out who my ideal fan was. I figured out things that interested them, and a lot of the things that interested them were the things that interested me. I was like, “okay. We have this in common.” This kind creates a community type situation. 

And if I post a lot about that on social, whatever the platform is at the time and show my interest and like let them see the nerdy side of me, and they’re going to relate to me and they’re going to feel like they know me and they’re going to like me, and that will build trust. And people buy from people that they know, like and trust, and not something I want you to write down. If you’ve never heard this thing before, when you get into the world of marketing, you will hear this over and over again. People buy from those they know, like and trust. 

And so, the more you can be on the social platforms where your fans are, for most of us, it’s Facebook and Instagram, maybe some of you, YouTube, maybe some of you, Snapchat, hmmm, maybe Twitter. Yeah, that’s another thing. But for most of us, these main platforms, it’s not rocket science. You only need to pick one or two just dominate there and like really get to know your fans there and show them the vulnerable side of you. Show them behind the scenes. Stop trying to be mysterious. There is no such thing as mystique, a celebrity mystique anymore in the social media age. 

There’re so many celebrities that you can follow now that they show you all kinds of intimate details about their life. Their pets, and their smoothies, and like the things that they’re doing. I mean, you are getting an intimate look into people’s lives like you’ve never seen before. Get rid of that, and show your fans who you really are. Build a community around the culture that surrounds your music. That’s a big idea and it’s a big concept and I think it’s going to take a while for it to sink in if this is the first time you’ve ever heard that concept, building a culture around your music. We have some exercises that we do in our course is to really flesh this out and help you figure out what your culture even is, because it’s not sometimes obvious to you. 

But we can use me as an example. I typically make Celtic and fantasy inspired metal, and sometimes if I’m at the doctor or something, they say, “oh, what kind of music do you make?” I say, “Well, if you were to take Enya and Lord of the Rings and put it in the blender and then add some metal on it, that’s kind of what you get.” They’re like, “oh! Okay, I get it.” They get it. They just get it right away, because they understand that everybody knows who Enya is. They understand what Lord of the Rings is. They’ve all seen that. So, they instantly get pictures of orcs and wizards and stuff. Then they know what heavy-metal is. They think of Metallica or something, and you just put that together and you’ve got kind of a culture and a sound in a very visual idea of what I’m talking about. 

So, from there I would think about what are some of the cultural characteristics of people who liked those things. So, for example, Lord of the Rings. Who are the type of people who are obsessed with Lord of the Rings? Not just people who casually went to the theatre. Who are the people who collect all the figurines of Lord of the Rings? 

I recently joined a Facebook group, and it’s all people who collect Lord of the Rings paraphernalia. It was suggested to me in my feed. Facebook suggested it to me and I thought, “this would be really interesting.” These are like most diehard collectors like on the internet. This is a buy-sell group. So, it’s like a Craigslist on Facebook just for people who are into Lord of the Rings collector items. 

You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that people have. I mean, I saw people sharing their displays, these pictures. I think I saw like $100,000 worth of like collectible figurines and swords and stuff that people had. It was unbelievable. I was like, “this is like a museum.” And this is just like somebody’s living room that they have. It’s crazy to me. 

So, I want to take these people – I mean, part of me, I was just curious, like, “what kind of people are these?” I know that there’s some data and some things I can learn about collector fans by being in this group. So, there’s a little tip for you. You can go join some collector groups. Maybe your fans will be more inclined to Star Wars or something else. But surely your fans are into something. They collect something. I’m pretty sure that they do. So, figure out what that is. This is just a way for me to observe and just like casually learn without really trying too hard. It’s just Facebook showing me stuff in my feed. 

Yeah, I learned that these people spend a lot of money on the things that they love to collect because it’s a hobby. So why is it a hobby for them? What is it about it they love? What can I learn here? I got to get those people on to my music.

25:53 CJ: That’s so awesome. We’re taking you guys a little bit behind the curtain to show you how the sauce gets made, but that’s a really great example of how the cultural aspect plays into your social media influence. 

Not to brag, but I think with me Leah, as long as we both been doing this with our own respective communities, we’ve done a pretty good job at figuring out the culture of things and how to lead in that culture because that’s what you’re going to be doing. You’re going to be leading. But you’re as much a participant in the culture as they are, and that’s what, as Leah said, gives you this sense of community, and you have to start thinking that way. It’s not just posting events. 

Now, you need to do that if you’re having gigs. It’s not just advertising your music. You need to do that, obviously, to sell. But to create a following of passionate super fans, you have to celebrate the things that they celebrate. That your music plays a part, and music is a part of culture, right? It’s a manifestation expression of culture. And so, tied to that, as you said, there are things that they’re interested in. There are things that they collect, and it doesn’t matter what the genre may be. 

I also delve into the metal side, and mine is more about personal development and motivation. But in that, I know that the people who follow me on social media, they’re going to want to hear about the fact that it was a Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden just went off in his recent show out in Seattle or Washington, whatever, something like that. And he was rebuking some security guards for beating on a fan too much. So, these things get on Blabbermouth and Metal Injection. They go viral, etc. 

So, we share these type of things, and we can make some commentary about it, because my page is Metal Motivation. So, we can talk about those things, or if somebody creates a really cool chair or a throne full of skulls or they have these cool little bracelets or something. There’s stuff that you can share. There are so many things. If you think about the stuff that you are interested in yourself, then you’re going to find that your followers are into it. If you say, “well, what does that have to do with music?” Well, it has to do with community. 

28:09 Leah: That’s right. 

28:10 CJ: If you can create that and you’re doing it with people that you’ve really targeted, and for the most part, guys, this is free. This is accessing people free. And so now, you’re getting this engaged audience who just like in Leah’s case, because she celebrates the culture and she celebrates them, they return the favour. There’s almost a sense of obligation that gets built-in, and they just say, “I’m going to get whatever it is that she produces. I don’t care what it is.” They want to collect these things. 

28:43 Leah: Yeah. The only thing I would say, like you want to share about your interest, your opinions, your worldview, the things you’re interested in, but I do keep it fairly themed. So, I’m not completely random. I will say like if you go to my Instagram, it’s very themed. 

Now on Instagram stories, those little 15-second video clips, there you have a lot more permission to adjust show a little more random stuff because they disappear so quickly. But if you go to my feed and you scroll through, you’ll really see a theme, and it really makes sense. You’ll see some promotional stuff around crowdfunding, but the rest is pictures of things, or selfies, or the other things I know my fans want to see that are of interest to them, but also in the theme of my Celtic fantasy, metal stuff. Instagram stories, I show them behind-the-scenes, or if I’m going for a walk or I want to share something, or this morning I was in my kitchen making coffee. I’ll do more of that. 

I will say, for most musicians, I would stay away from some of the more polarizing topics, such as politics. It always disappoints me when I am following a celebrity or an actor or something. I really, really like them and then they go off the hinges about some political thing. I’m like, “ah! Now I have to unfollow you.” I was like so enjoying watching it. Now, I don’t like you anymore. They just take such an extreme view or wherever, and you don’t have to share everything, okay? 

So, I would just say just a little wisdom here unless your band is like of a political nature. Some people, their music is political. Well, in my case, you’re only going to attract people who share the same views for the most part and then you’ll also attract some trolls, of course. Unless you have that kind of a band, just stick with the theme of the culture of your music. Again, just use some common sense there. I just wanted to give that caveat just in case the question arose. 

30:40 CJ: Yeah, and it’s not a place for you to vent your bad day either. These are times that you can be a little vulnerable about something, but only in the sense of to get, again, that sense of community rallying around that sort of thing. Otherwise, keep it positive. Again, focus on the primary elements of the culture. The things that they celebrate, that’ll keep them engaged. 

So, again, if your niche is dialled in, you’re differentiating yourself, you know who your audience is, you know what the cultural things are, surrounding that community. That’s what you’re executing on on social media. This is kind of the – This is your way in. This is the foothold that you’re getting into building an online music career, so you don’t have to tour.

31:27 Leah: That’s right. Then I would say after the culture stuff and learning how to have relationships with fans at an internet world, that’s its own thing. Again, there’s a fine line. You want to be vulnerable. You want to let them in behind-the-scenes and you want to stay professional at the same time. So, you have to figure out how that works for you. How it feels for you. 

I feel like I could be more vulnerable than I am, currently. I feel like I can go outside my comfort zone more than I do because I’m always worried about being professional. But I do want to let my fans feel like they really know me like when we get together. There’re some YouTube channels that I watch. Sometimes on Sunday, I like to watch travel videos of families who travel around the world and I just like to watch their vlogs. And for me, that’s fun. 

I was just telling my kids, we’re talking about YouTube channels and stuff and I said, “don’t you feel like you kind of know this family?” You’ve seen their kids travelling through Greece and Spain and Italy and you feel like you really know them. They’re traveling around in an RV or whatever they’re doing, and it really feels like if you met them in person you’d be like, “I already know you,” and they’ve done a good job of that. That’s how I want my fans to feel about me, that by the time they meet me, there’s not really any big surprises about my personality. They already know my personality. 

It’s funny because there are some celebrities or actors that I’ve seen in movies and you see them in a character and you think, “well, I wonder if that’s what they’re like off-camera.” And then you see them on Instagram. I was like, “whoa! That is totally a different personality than I was expecting.” Like Jason Momoa, Aquaman. First time I’ve seen him in Game of Thrones and I was just like, “he seemed like so – I don’t know, tribal –” 

33:03 CJ: Mean. 

33:04 Leah: Yeah, mean and everything. Then you see him like – And he’s like the most family dude that ever lived. He’s like a super passionate father, super passionate husband. Really outgoing, like life of the party. Like totally different than I had any idea. So that’s what social media is meant to do. It’s meant to let us in and get to know you. So, you got to do that. 

And then having said that, if you’re going to do this without touring, we can’t forget to talk about the money part. How are you going to make the income part? Well, that is going to come from the opportunities that you give. 

Now, there’s organic ways we can go about this, and then there’s paid traffic ways we can go about this. Obviously, we have courses all about this that go into great detail. But the organic stuff is really going to come from your social media. It’s going to come from the people who are following you, who love what you do, and you’re going to probably 10% of the time promote something, 10% of the time. So out of every 10 posts, maybe one of them I’m promoting my new t-shirt or the new album or whatever I’m doing. 

Unless I’m going hardcore during a campaign, at that point, I kind of go all-in on promoting. It’s not 100%, but a lot of it, right? People understand. This is a campaign. It’s a short period of time. They get it. 

But outside of that, there’s social media. So, there’s the platforms and the various platforms within the platforms. So, like some people say Instagram’s like five platforms in one. You have the feed. You have Instagram stories. You have IG TV where you can post longer clips in vertical. You have direct messages. There are so many different ways. 

34:45 CJ: Hashtags, yeah. 

34:47 Leah: Yeah. So, you’ve got a plethora of platforms in which you can offer your music. Really, this is not so much about where do I do this and how. It’s more about do you know how to sell anything?  Can you sell without any guilt? Without feeling bad about it, and without wondering if your fans are annoyed. When you can get over that, you will make significantly more money. 

35:13 CJ: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s a funny thing. We’ve talked in recent episodes about sort of the psychology of creatives, that can be self-limiting beliefs. And that’s another one, which is, “I’m not a salesperson. I don’t know how to sell. That’s not me feel. I feed bad trying to ask people for money. So, I sell my CDs for $2 or whatever you can pay sort of thing.” 

They’re not doing that for the benefit of the person. They’re doing that to ease their own conscience because people can pay for things. I think what we all have to understand is that to some degree, we are all salespeople. It just depends on what exactly it is you’re selling. If you love your little schnauzer and we get on the subject of schnauzers. You’re going to sell your dog to me. Not literally sell your dog to me, but you’re going to be so excited and talkative about that little schnauzer that you have and how much you love him or her, that it’s, in essence, selling me on that schnauzer, or maybe you’re a vegan. 

36:16 Leah: Oh boy! Or a CrossFitter. 

36:18 CJ: Or a CrossFitter, or these sorts of things, or you’re talking about your kids, or whatever, your favourite football team, the state that you live in. There’re so many things that we’re passionate –

36:28 Leah: You know how to sell. You know do know how to –

36:29 CJ: We know how to sell. You know how to sell. Feeling that way about your music has to change, because everything is exchanged, and people are more than happy to exchange money, just like you do. You are more than happy to exchange money for those things that you really want. And so, it’s a necessary part of this. So, there’s no gimmick here. We’re creating community so that we have the people that are enthusiastic. So that when you do offer something, then, boom! You’re able to do that. So, organic and paid. 

37:04 Leah: I think it’s really important that people learn how to sell organically before they ever get into paid traffic because throwing money at Facebook ads or Instagram ads without knowing how to sell, you know what’s going to happen. It’s money down the drain. So, learning how to get comfortable with showing your merchandise, your albums, telling them what’s in it for them. We’ll do another episode on copywriting and stuff. 

But the most important thing I ever learned about copywriting, which is the text you’re going to use that’s skin and motivate people to take an action, like buy your album or whatever, is this; nobody cares about you. They only care about themselves. Just repeat that 10 times until it gets so stuck in your brain. Nobody cares about you. They only care about themselves. Nobody cares about me. They only care about themselves, and what maybe my product can do for them.

And I know it gets awkward when you’re talking about art and music. It’s like, “yeah. Well, what does it do for them?” I don’t know. It’s very subjective. This is why we have the Academy, is because it’s not easy navigating this stuff. If it was, we wouldn’t exist, and we’d all be rich. 

38:13 CJ: That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. People do – I think they do again stumble over the stumbling stone. It’s like we said before if you could get past half the stuff that’s just happening in your head, the rest of this would really be downhill. But that’s a big one, is that it’s hard for you to accept the fact that – when we say people don’t care about, they care. It’s like we used to say in marketing years ago. Don’t tell me about your lawn business. Tell me about my lawn. 

38:41 Leah: Right. Tell me about my lawn. Yeah. 

38:43 CJ: My lawn. Tell me how I can get the benefit that I’m looking for. This a great example, and I always use this. There was a friend who owns a tree service company, and he was adding a new service, which was a yard service, not cutting grass. But because there were tree experts, they were going to going into all your shrubs and everything and help you take care of everything, because they were finding a lot of shrubs were dying. People didn’t know how to really take care of all of their foliage and all the source stuff. So, they offered this service for them to have a richer, greener, more vibrant, more beautiful landscape and yard. So, I said, “well, give me your existing marketing.” So, they gave me these door hangers and little direct mail pieces, and they all said, “make your neighbours green with envy.” 

So, the first thing I did was get rid of that. Why? Because nobody sits around thinking, “I want to make my neighbours green with envy.” That’s cute, but it’s ineffective. So what we eventually got to was I changed it to, “now you can have a healthier, richer, more beautiful yard and more time for yourself.” 

So, they want the end result. They want the outcome, but they don’t want it to cost so much. Spend their all weekend in the yard. So, we had to find what that pain point was. But you can only do that when you’re not thinking so much about your music or your service, but you’re thinking more about the needs and wants of the individual. Music is our escape. Music is our mood changer. Music is like – Think of it like a vitamin supplement. Think of it like a little drug, a legal drug that you can have. Music changes moods. It gives them an experience that people are looking for. Again, music is entertainment, ladies and gentlemen. Imagine life without entertainment at all. 

40:34 Leah: Yeah. It’s never existed. Life has never existed without entertainment. The oldest – I mean, they were drawing stuff on the walls and doing plays, and entertainment has always been around. So, there will always be a market. 

I heard even that entertainment is even recession-proof, that people will still spend money on booze and entertainment during any economies. So, there you go. Musicians, you’re probably better off than most bankers. 

41:03 CJ: Yeah, and you’re not selling anything that’s a high-ticket item, a CD, a shirt, these sorts of things. Even the little bundle packages of CDs, shirts or something else, a mug. That’s not going to break the bank. We’re selling very inexpensive ways to keep people really, really happy. You’re in the happiness business. That’s what you do. You sell people happiness, because how many times have you listened to music and it lifted you out of a bad spot? Don’t you want to do that for somebody else? Don’t you want to help them get that experience? Well, that’s the value of your music. 

So, yeah, it’s not worth a thousand dollars for your CD. It may just be worth 19.97 for that CD, but someone will gladly exchange that 19.97 for a lifetime worth of uplifting, because – A lifetime? Yeah, because I still listen to music that I bought back in the 70s and 80s, right? So, it doesn’t go out of style. There, again, it takes you back into knowing your micro-niche, knowing your culture. If you got that dialled in, man, they’re going to want what you have. 

42:10 Leah: That’s right. And then when you’ve got those things dialled in, the sales are pretty easy. You think that might be the hardest part. I think the hardest part is all the other things we talked about. By the time you have that dialled in or even remotely close, sales are not going to be a big deal. You still need to learn the skill though of how to sell. So, use it as practice. 

I mean, I would look at it as ‘I’m going to fail 10 times. Let’s see if I can fail 10 times, and maybe get a sale out of it.” Instead of trying to be like, “ooh, I have to get this perfect, and if I don’t get any sales and I’ve messed up.” No, just make a goal of getting 10 FUs or whatever. That’s an old sales tactic, right? It’s like if I can get 10 noes, I’ll probably get one yes, right? 

42:57 CJ: Right. Yeah. Again, giving your friends those regular opportunities to buy from you. 

43:02 Leah: Yeah, and to give you the middle finger. 

43:04 CJ: Yeah. Giving your fans plenty of opportunities to buy from you. I mean, this is the basics. Obviously, any one of these points we could go into gory detail about, and that’s what’s covered in the courses. The reason why we don’t cover that in the podcast is because we don’t have the time, number one. Then number two, we have to do it methodically step by step. 

So, you want to try to do something challenging? Try to create a course. So, to sit down and outline the things that you know and to focus on the things that really make a difference, that really move the needle forward for somebody, is a very challenging thing to do. For that, again, that’s what the courses are for. But this gives you a good idea. You could start on what we talked about just today. Anybody can set up a Facebook page. Anybody can think about their culture. Anybody can think about their micro-niche. Anybody can begin to post online and engage with friends and figure out what your fans like. What they don’t like. You’ve got little insights and some things on your business Facebook page maybe you haven’t even delved into before. 

Press some of those darn buttons at the top. Look at the settings and stuff and get information. You may not realize the age bracket of your fans. You may not realize where they live and some of these other things. So, you’ve got so much that you can begin to explore. But if you get these fundamentals down, then you’re going to realize that there is a way of not just hit and miss, but there’s a way for you to have a music career without touring. 

44:35 Leah: There is definitely a way. 

44:38 CJ: Anyway. Guys, seriously, I do want you to go to the website. And as we’ve said in the past, there are so many different things that you can plug into when it comes to the Savvy Musician Academy. Not everybody is for the Elite. Not everybody is ready for the online musician. There may be another thing that you need to do, but there’s always something. So, I do want you to go to the website today, savvymusicianacademy.com. If you would like to talk to somebody about what’s a good fit, then go to callsma.com. But please do us a favour today, if you don’t mind. As soon as you get finished listening here, go to your podcast player, the app that you’re using, whether it’s iTunes or Spotify or whatever and leave us a review. If they give the option for stars, click five or as many as they will give you. 

45:23 Leah: 10. 

45:24 CJ: We love the feedback. Click 10. Yeah. Go to the groups if you’re in one of our free mastermind groups or in the paid groups, like Online Musician and Elite Group. Please, leave us a comment. If there’s a question about something you’d like for us to cover down in a future podcast, we’d love to hear from you. 

Again, Leah, you’re awesome, man. Thank you so much for sharing your –

45:45 Leah: Yeah, always a pleasure. I love doing these episodes, and I do want to hear your suggestions, you guys, who are looking for what it is you’d like for us to cover. I love talking about it. We love doing these. So thanks and we’ll see you next time. 

45:58 CJ: Take care. 

Leah McHenry

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.