2019 was one of Leah’s busiest years yet with a crowdfunding campaign, launching a new album, and aggressive holiday sales. In this episode, Leah and C. J. discuss her results and lessons learned from her Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
She shares what she spent in ads. She shares what she earned. And she shares the lessons learned and how she’s planning the upcoming year.
Remember, year-end holiday sales always begins now by bringing in new followers and turning them into superfans who are ready to spend money with you by the end of the year. Enjoy this episode!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Why you shouldn’t feel bad about promoting often.
- The cynical nature of social media.
- Leah’s music marketing team.
- Leah’s holiday sales results.
- What Leah’s focusing on in 2020.
- Leah’s warm audience strategy.
- Leah’s total ad spend.
- Creating incentives for customers to buy now.
- Leah’s 5 top-selling products.
- Should you release an album during the holidays?
- What Leah did differently this year.
- Email vs social media ads.
“When it comes to advertising, people need to see it multiple times.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:00]
“My gifts and abilities as a marketer myself, are inspired by someone else’s vision, someone else’s faith, someone else’s success.” — @metalmotivation [0:07:56]
“You have more gifts and abilities than you realize, and it’s just a matter of learning the skills to go ahead and put it out there to the world.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:13]
“You’re always wanting to replenish that email list.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:19:10]
“So when you’re planning a sale or a campaign, your challenge is to come up with the reason why they should do anything.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:25:14]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Book a Call With Us — http://www.CallSMA.com
Rich Howe, Epoch of Chirality (Student Spotlight) — https://www.facebook.com/EpochOfChirality/Click For Full Transcript
00:21 CJ: Well, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the premiere music marketing podcast; at least that’s what I think. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, and thrilled to do it. Of course, joined once again by her eminence, the lovely Leah McHenry. Leah, how are you doing?
00:42 Leah: Doing great. I’m happy to be here today recording this with you.
00:46 CJ: It’s good to see you. I just did a couple of interviews with students and you weren’t on hiatus anywhere, just resting and relaxing, necessarily; you had plenty to do. We’re going to talk a little bit about that today, what you’ve been up to, sales wise. Of course, everybody’s heard about the album; we did the three parts on the crowdfunding campaign. We did an episode on the album launch. We talked about all the things that you’ve learned and just when you think that’s about all we can talk about for the end of the year, nope.
We still have to talk about the holiday sales. Black Friday, Cyber Monday. You say, well, that’s already passed. What does that matter? It matters big time because as you learned in some of the episodes we just recorded, Leah starts her preparation for that time now. So your preparation for your next Black Friday, your next Cyber Monday, your next album release, starts now with building your audience and all of the wonderful things that we’ll talk about. We’ll talk more about that today as Leah’s going to share her results and some of the things she learned and some of the details of what happened recently with her Black Friday/ Cyber Monday campaign.
Before we get into it, let me just share a quick student spotlight. This is from Rich Howe, and he’s one of our Tom students, I believe he’s also an elite now, if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, this is what Rich says, “#Win. Big moment. This week I have finally opened my website, mailing list, and now my Facebook page for my progressive Syfy metal project. I’ve also made a teaser video from my first single, which is going to act as a Facebook ad. I’m so excited. Until I got to the moment of actually making everything live, I was nervous about the point of no return. Now fan numbers are increasing already and it’s all the motivation I need to crack on with my debut album do next spring. All of this kicked off in April when Leah’s ad, after seeing it about five times everywhere, directed me to the Tom webinar and my brain was just in the perfect place to receive the information and I suddenly saw a path. Thank you Leah.”
02:57 Leah: That’s it, right? Your brain being the right place to receive the information. That is the case for so many people and it’s all about receptivity and are you ready to use the information that we’re trying to educate people about. If not, it doesn’t matter how well we present the information or how much information we give away, then you’re just not going to do anything with it. You won’t even appreciate it.
03:26 CJ: No, you won’t. I think it’s great that he said he saw your ad five times everywhere. I probably even saw it more than that, but he wasn’t offended. Isn’t that great?
03:34 Leah: Yeah. Science does clearly show people need to see things multiple times, I think six, seven, eight times before they often even take an action. So that’s why you shouldn’t feel bad about just promoting your music constantly; and there’s a way to do it correctly so that it doesn’t seem like you’re just promoting yourself relentlessly without trying to build relationships or a culture or anything like that. When it comes to advertising, people need to see it multiple times.
04:04 CJ: Yeah. We call it multiple touch points and if you’re really perceptive, you’re going to see that the dynamic of the relationship aspect is happening at this moment. As Leah and I are gathered together here to offer free valuable content that changes your life, that helps you move forward in your career, reach your goals, reach your dream, you get to know us, you get to trust us, you get to like us, hopefully. Therefore when we show up on your newsfeed, maybe one to five times, you’re not going to be put off by that because you’re going to say, these people mean something to me. They offer something and I know that yes, they have to obviously run their business and earn and all that sort of stuff, so I don’t take it personally because I see a promotion from the Savvy Musician Academy or Leah herself and that’s how it works, guys.
05:01 Leah: Well, I always think it’s funny, too, like musicians who are offended, you know the email promotions or ads that we see running or a campaign or something. It’s like you should maybe, even if you don’t want to buy anything or work with us or join a coaching program or anything, maybe it would be smart thing to just watch what we’re doing and observe.
05:23 CJ: Right?
05:23 Leah: I mean at the very least just watch and observe because we have experienced doing this, we’ve done millions of dollars in revenue. I think we know a little bit; we don’t know everything, but we do know we have, we have spent a lot to learn it, too. Observe and try to see what we’re doing so you can try and apply it to what you’re doing.
05:44 CJ: Exactly. This is so important. It’s so funny, we’ve become such a cynical culture, especially online, you either are going to celebrate what somebody posts or you’re going to criticize what somebody posts, it’s like one of the two. So many people now are in that sort of posture, where they’re so quick to criticize. They’re not going to give any allowance for it. Instead of looking at the big picture and saying, “Wow, here’s a person who, after 20 years now of- after Napster came on the scene and streaming services and the record labels began to decline, everybody’s saying music is dead, the music industry is dead, you can’t make money making music anymore- here’s a person who not just as doing it, but she’s doing it without touring. She’s doing it while raising five kids, schooling them at home as if that’s not big enough to do.
I mean, so you’re talking about an anomaly. You’re talking about somebody who has every reason to have excuses, every reason to not have time, every reason. She didn’t go to marketing school. She didn’t, she wasn’t raised to do this, but here she is coming out of nowhere, suddenly dropped into the scene and is paving a new way for musicians to create their own career. You have a problem with what exactly? What is it you’re so offended by? What is it you want to criticize? No, ladies and gentlemen; if anything you should say thank you. Thank you Leah, for being a pioneer. Thank you Leah, for penetrating that membrane, for breaking through like-
Everybody knows about the four minute mile. For hundreds and thousands of years, the four minute mile could not be broken until middle of the 20th century. Somebody broke the four minute mile. Then after that, everybody started breaking the four minute mile.
You’ve got to have somebody who is that spearhead, somebody who’s the pioneer, somebody who breaks through and then it opens the door for a torrent of other people. So I’m grateful, Leah, that you’ve done that and I was doing my own thing and you and I have had our friendship. Even so, because of your commitment to the vision, we were just talking about this offline; I told her, I said, “Listen man, my gifts and abilities as a marketer myself, are inspired by someone else’s vision, someone else’s faith, someone else’s success,” and so I don’t have any other choice but to say I want to be linked up with it. I want to help make it happen. I want to help continue to open these doors for other musicians.
I just think that’s the Savvy Musician Academy. That’s the Leah testimony. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep talking about what she’s doing and her results. We’re going to do that now, of course, in terms of the holiday sales, but again, man, you got to get past your cynicism because it says more about you than it does about the Savvy Musician Academy, the model that we teach. It really does say a whole lot more about you and we want you to get free of you, because you may just be your biggest hurdle right now.
08:43 Leah: Oh yeah, that’s so true. For those who get upset, and I don’t think people listening to this podcast are these people at all, but for those people who get upset about the coaching part of it- one of the comments you see on ads, it’s once in a while it’s, Oh, you make your money from coaching, not from music.” It’s like, well, number one, I made money with music long before I ever start a coaching. That’s why I started coaching and started Savvy Musician Academy, was because I was actually having success paying for bills in a financial climate that we were really struggling in. My music kind of saved the day, actually. Which is pretty incredible that, I mean, I had a newborn, I was, I was nursing a newborn and my music royalties were coming in, paying for groceries at times.
It was crazy. I had to pinch myself. Is this even real? So, that happened. Second of all, do you realize that what I’ve done with Savvy Musician Academy, that you could also do. In fact one of the five streams of income that I teach is your ability to teach other people what you know. So whether you are a piano teacher, vocal teacher, you teach guitar lessons, or you’re teaching people how to use a D.A.W.s, you’re teaching people how to do producing- there’s a whole variety of experts and skills that you have that can also turn into a stream of income.
So I did just that. I thought, I’m going to produce this little ebook maybe that could help our family out in addition to this online musician thing I’m doing. That ended up turning to SMA and I had absolutely no idea it would impact tens of thousands of people around the world. Now that I did not expect.
So it goes to show that you don’t know where things could lead and that it’s important that you explore these different options, explore these ideas. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and teaching your knowledge is one of the ways you get to be creative with your gifts and your talents. That’s what I’ve done. Hey, maybe there’s a seven figure business sitting dormant inside of you that you need to explore.
11:04 CJ: Right?
11:05 Leah: You haven’t because you think, well that means I’m not a real musician. No, it means you’re a smart one. It means you’re creative. It means that you have more gifts and abilities than you realize, and it’s just a matter of learning the skills to go ahead and put it out there to the world.
11:22 CJ: Yeah, this is so key. I know we’re off topic, but this is such an important thing that people need to understand. That it’s more than a music career that they possibly have buried underneath their hypothetical lawn here. When I turned 40 and you do all the reflection and all that kind of stuff, and I’d been in design and advertising and marketing and all of that and in relation to the design, I thought, “Man, you know, I’m not getting any younger. So all the young bucks are coming out of art school in their early twenties, they’re hungry, they’ll work for less money. They’re not a head of household, so they’re going to start taking clients.”
So I started to think, well what’s going to, what’s it going to be like in 10 years? Can I keep doing this on a client by client, project by project basis. As I was thinking about it, I thought to myself, I’ve become an unintentional expert. The reason was because up to that time I had been self employed, working out of home for 15 years. Well you do 15 years of anything, you’re an expert, period. So I said, “You know, at the very least I could start doing things, marketing the information on how to have a home based business,” not even directly related to the field I was in; just talking about home based business. Anything that I didn’t know like certain accounting things or whatever. Those are little things you can fill in the gaps pretty quick. To be able to say that you’ve been doing something for 15, 20, 30 years, makes you the unintentional expert. Unintentional in that I wasn’t planning to become an expert in home based business, it’s just sort of happened along the way.
So these are the things that now in the information age you can capitalize on. If you do teach piano and music or producing or home recording or whatever it may be, managing bands, getting booked, anything can be monetized, information-based. That’s what Leah did; she did it very successfully. Like she said earlier, just watch what we’re doing. Watch we’re how we’re going about this whole process. We’re practicing what we preach.
13:28 Leah: Yeah.
13:29 CJ: Anyway, we’re suppose to talk about holiday sales.
13:31 Leah: We are.
13:34 CJ: Everybody’s done to death with the holidays, so they don’t even want to talk about the holidays anymore.
13:38 Leah: This is what’s called a post mortem where we dissect what happened, the good, bad and ugly, and really this is something we haven’t even gone over this fully yet in my team meetings toward the end of the year, which we’re going to do. I think in my next team meeting, we’re doing a full autopsy on the entire campaigns all the way from my crowd funding through to just like the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but since we were recording today, I wanted to at least give a brief overview of some of the things I know, for sure, that we learned, things that we were surprised by, things that did not work so well, and what we’re going to do next time.
So it’s going to be valuable. I actually got a lot of detail from my team and my team, if you’re wondering what’s her team, I’ll just tell you who I have right now: I have somebody who I’m calling basically my marketing manager and someone who’s helping me push the buttons and execute all the sales and campaigns I have running. I have a full time assistant now. Actually, I have had that for the last few years and I have a full time customer service person. So that’s, that’s my core team. It’s a small, little, what you call a, skeleton team.
With those three people, you can accomplish a lot in an online business and my music business is an online business. It’s essentially an e-commerce business, selling music and physical products around the music. We can have another podcast episode one day, write this down, on team building and like who to hire first. We can talk about that. I would love to go into that, but for today I asked them, “Hey, is there any specific things that you would like to share that I can share on the podcast before we even do our big post-mortem meeting?” There are. There’s some really surprising and cool things.
I’m not going to go so super detailed because it would really overwhelm you. In fact, when I look at all these stats, it overwhelmed me because that’s my brain. I have to kind of take it in. What I will do is try to share with you the nuggets and principles that I think are most applicable to the most people.
Some of the nitty gritty stuff. I will save for my elite students, since that’s what they’re there for is to really get into the nitty gritty of some of these techniques and the psychology of things, but I can share quite a bit here with everybody because I think it’s part of just the education process; learning how to think this way.
16:19 CJ: Right.
16:19 Leah: So where should we begin?
16:21 CJ: Well, first let’s just: the general results. How profitable was it for you this year?
16:26 Leah: It’s been really profitable. Although, I will say there were some unexpected expenses that I wasn’t quite prepared for that we weren’t ready- and it was hard to get certain estimates on things until it was in production. So, that already started from the crowdfunding campaign. So for example, vinyl is very expensive. We sold out of it immediately, but it’s also very expensive to produce. Things like that where in the end, I knew, like I said in the past episodes, I wasn’t looking to be profitable in the campaign, I was looking to break even. So we accomplished exactly what we set out to do, and that was fantastic.
17:03 CJ: By campaign you meant, just to the peep people understand, the crowdfunding campaign, this is not the holiday sales.
17:10 Leah: Correct, yeah. The reason why I’m including that in this conversation is because it really has felt very back to back. My crowdfunding campaign was basically all through September and then we had October off. So one month where that wasn’t happening and we were dealing with logistics. November came around and my album launched on November the 15th, but two weeks before that launch we had a pre-sale. So the entire month of November was a sale. Then right back to back with that was Black Friday, Cyber Monday.
So it’s been pretty much an ongoing campaign since late August. It’s been going, going, going, going, going. So I have really kind of ridden my audience quite hard and at this point, I’ve kind of exhausted my warm audience. I’ve gone through a lot. A lot of the sales I was going to make, I’ve made.
18:18 CJ: Right.
18:19 Leah: So now I’m heading into the new year, we’re definitely going to be focusing on cold audiences, new people, new traffic, and that’s always usually what I’m doing year round. Then the beauty of doing that is when you get to a campaign or an album launch, you really are relying now on that warm audience you’ve built in your email list. So that’s the whole point and it’s really what we focus on very intentionally in our Super Fan System Elite Group is build that email list year round and you do make sales on the front end, you do.
Where you really see the fruit of your labor is later on down the road when you do the album launch, you do a sale or you have some kind of campaign going on. That’s where the big payoff is. You’re always wanting to replenish that email list because people on subscribe every time, they’re going to unsubscribe every day, and so you’re wanting to replenish that. Then there’s just other things that happen where you may be cleaning your list or people sign up with a bad email, so you’re always wanting to build that year round. So that’s contributing to this whole thing.
Now if you’re looking for specific numbers, I can share a few numbers, but I will confess, you guys, I am hesitant in doing so. Number one, I’m hesitant because, frankly, are people going to be like, “That’s nothing.” Other people are going to be like, “Oh my gosh, that’s like what I make an entire year.” This is the biggest reason is I really don’t like comparisons. I am really worried that my students will compare themselves to me and feel like they are not doing enough, that they’re not successful if they’re not hitting my numbers or, or if they loved my numbers, that if they swipe every single thing, I’m doing every single ad copy, and the layout of my sales pages and everything, that they’re also going to get the exact same results. Then if they don’t, they’re going to think there’s something wrong with them.
So I share all of this with you because that makes me very hesitant to share numbers because I don’t want the comparison game. It’s not good for you and we live in a comparison society. It’s an Instagram society. Everybody’s trying to inflate numbers and make themselves look better than they are. It’s not reality. So anyways, I can share couple of things, I think.
So for my preorder, let me share this. So my album launched was November 15th. We started to preorder two weeks before. The sale was two weeks before the album launch. Now before that, we ran ads to build something called an early bird list. Now, I may have mentioned this briefly, but we ran ads to my warm audience, I put emails out there and we even did some cold, I believe, where people opted in to get access to an early bird list.
The benefit of being on an early bird list, I had to come up with an incentive. Why would people join my email list if they can get access to the same products once the album is launched? So this is the challenge. I have to come up with an incentive. What is the incentive? What can I create that would be juicy enough for them to go through the process and the hassle of entering their email address? Well, the hook was they got a chance to win a free copy of the album; I think we even made it a bundle, it might’ve been a bundle. Getting first dibs on limited edition items, like autographed stuff and getting the album first. So we came up with like a little short list of just two or three really strong reasons why they would want to opt in.
Now obviously if it’s a cold audience, someone who’s never heard of me before, there’s a lot less of a chance of them opting in unless they first seen my music or heard me somewhere. So this is primarily a warm audience strategy. So we ran that for a couple of weeks before the prelaunch sale began. Once we launched the presale, that lasted two weeks. Total a revenue was just under $25,000 for those two weeks.
22:50 CJ: Yeah.
22:51 Leah: So that was amazing. We had an ad spend of about $5,800 so we ran ads. So it’s basically a return on ad spend of 4.2, which is very good.
23:05 CJ: Right.
23:06 Leah: It’s very, very good these days. The early bird list size was about 2300 people. So 2,300 people opted in, said, “Yes, I want first dibs, I want-” I think we have a discount code or we had something going on, and it’s all a blur now, that would incentivize them to buy now instead of later.
I think this is a nugget. You have to give people a reason to buy now because if you don’t tell them why to buy now, they will say, “Oh yeah, I mean to get that, I’m going to get that. I plan to get it, but I’m not going to do it yet. Oh, I’m waiting till Friday. Oh, I’m waiting for this”. You just have to give people a reason.
I think we mentioned this before about the copy machine scenario. Do you remember that? There has been experiments of where people were standing in line at a copy machine, if you even remember what that is-
24:07 CJ: Right?
24:07 Leah: -in an office. Some guy, this was an experiment, wanted to but in line and go to the front of the copy machine. There’s like a big lineup it’s some a corporate building. It’s a lot of employees there, and some guy wanted to cut in the front. So the experiment was: What if I tell them I’m running late? Would they let me cut in? So we tried that and sure enough they said, “Oh yeah, sure you can go ahead in front of me.” Then another day he tried a totally different reason. “My dog ate my homework,” or something really silly, kind of didn’t really make sense. Like 50 to 80% of the time they still said, “Yes, you can go in front of me.” So there’s a bunch of different reasons. Then when he just said, “Can I just go in front?” But didn’t give a reason, the answer was no. So the moral of the story is people don’t even really care from a psychological psychology standpoint, they don’t really care what the reason is as long as there’s a reason.
25:12 CJ: Right.
25:13 Leah: So when you’re planning a sale or a campaign, your challenge is to come up with the reason why they should do anything. Why? Because it’s my birthday. Because usually there’s scarcity and urgency involved, right? We’ve talked about this. Scarcity is the quantity of items and urgency is limited time. So those two things are always going to work no matter what. Then if you can come up with other incentives, like a special kind of discount or a bonus item or a bundle giveaway or- be creative. This is why musicians can be so good at this is because we’re creative. We can think outside of the box. So $25,000 in revenue just for the two week preorder period. I was really happy with that considering that came from a list of 2300 people.
I have a whole bunch of other stats like average order value and stuff like that, but I’ll save that for our elite students. I think if you’re curious, I mean I have breakdown. I have so many stats here, but I think one of the most surprising things, if you’re thinking of, “Well what was your biggest selling item?” You might think it’s something really expensive. You might think it was some kind of crazy bundle or something. Actually my top selling item that brought in $5,300 one item and was an autographed digipak. A CD, a physical CD that’s signed by me.
The second item was a limited edition vinyl. Third item was a jewel case CD. Then the fourth item was handmade candles that I had made. So I actually hand-poured, handmade these candles; we’ll talk about that in another episode. We have to do number one just on the candles, but-
27:13 CJ: I have them, and they’re beautiful, by the way.
27:16 Leah: Oh, you like them?
27:17 CJ: I love them, yeah.
27:19 Leah: I don’t know if you’re a candle guy, but if I make it, you get it. So, that’s how it works.
27:21 CJ: Yeah, no, I’ve got candles. Absolutely. Yeah.
27:25 Leah: Cool.
27:25 CJ: But they’re Leah candles, so what’s not to like, right?
27:29 Leah: Yeah. Right? Then the fifth biggest revenue item was, I call it a super download. Where instead of just getting the MP3s, I make this massive mega zip file and it comes with all the different formats, FLAC and wave and MP3 and the instrumental version and the cover art and the booklets and singles and a whole- it’s a massive zip file. The nice thing about doing stuff like a super download is that it’s pure profit because it’s a digital item. It doesn’t cost me anything to ship to them. It doesn’t cost me anything. It just is a pure profit item, and yet people want it. This is amazing. An extra $1,500 in my pocket that can go toward ads or go towards my business, I can reinvest it. Even though they’re Spotify, they can stream it all day. They still want this.
28:23 CJ: Right.
28:23 Leah: Okay, all right. So those are my top five selling products during my pre-launch and I don’t want to bore people to death. I hope this isn’t boring for anybody, I hope you find this interesting and fascinating, but it was kind of similar stuff during the album launch as well. So it was very similar items. The autograph digipaks, the CDs, candles, super download. It’s very similar stuff. So I said to my marketing manager, Jordan, “Would you ever conclude that people don’t believe that physical music sells after seeing this?”
29:05 CJ: Yeah. Well, that’s what stands up to what you just described is how many of those items- except for the last thing, the least of the best things was the digital download. The things that sold were different versions of CDs and then vinyl. So it doesn’t get any more physical than that. I mean people never thought vinyl was gone for good. Right? Video killed the radio star so that, that’s done. Nope, it’s all back. People are buying it. All to say that if you are in a particular unique musical niche, which a lot of our students are, your fans tend to be a little high brow about this sort of stuff and they enjoy the physical component to the music, as well. So I think that’s, that’s all very impressive. So how does this relate to then holiday sales in terms of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
29:59 Leah: Like I was saying, it was pretty intense. One takeaway that I have was if you’re not releasing a holiday album and if you have any say as to which time of year you’re going to release an album, I would say keep it away from being super close to Black Friday, Cyber Monday. So it’s stay out of the end of November and the December. Now in my case I didn’t really have a choice, it’s a holiday album. You have to release it that time of year, that’s the whole point.
30:34 CJ: Right.
30:35 Leah: If it’s not a holiday album, I’d say stay away from those two months because there’s a couple of logistical problems you run into. So for example, one of the big challenges we had was thinking of the crowd funders who just bought the album, bought these bundles at really the top price and then if they were to see the exact same offer on Black Friday, like 50% off or something. What you’re communicating, again from a psychological standpoint, is that my first supporters, my top supporters who believe in me are going to pay the most, and people who didn’t buy for me, you’re going to pay 50% less on a sale. That’s not how you want to nurture people.
31:17 CJ: Right.
31:17 Leah: That’s not a good relationship. This was the logistical problem we really had to think through. How can we do this without basically pissing off all the people who just supported me and spent a ton of money from September and even during the preorder? How can we do these Black Friday and holiday sales and still maintain our integrity and keep these supporters coming back time and time again? Now I think to an extent, everybody understands what Black Friday is. Everybody expects these sales to happen, but this is why I say if you have any choice to space out the distance between an album release and Black Friday, it’s a good idea to do that. I would say, at least not in the month of November. Mine was literally two weeks before Black Friday.
So for that reason I will really consider what I do then if I ever come up with a second holiday album, I’m going to really think this through a little bit more deep than I did because it did create a problem. It created a bit of a sticky situation for us where it’s like, well we have to offer a discount, that’s the whole point of Black Friday.
What we ended up doing was not discounting certain items from the album collection. When I say album collection, I mean I had like a whole whack of items, I mean we had so many different pieces of artwork that went- different hoodies and tee shirts and stuff and there just were certain items we just chose not to discount, just to make sure that we wouldn’t upset certain fans who had just bought it for a top price.
32:50 CJ: Sure.
32:50 Leah: So did I make less sales because of that? It’s likely. It was still my top selling product. So for example, we didn’t discount the digipak or this or the jewel case. They were not discounted, but it was still my top selling item. So that made Jordan and I think if we had discounted it, it would probably would have flown off the shelf, but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make to keep my integrity with my audience and I hope that’s something that they will take note of and go, “Okay, she didn’t discount that. So she was honoring the fact that we supported her at the top price.”
Those are little nuances that you think through when you become an online musician and you become a marketer and you become an expert at marketing your music. You are thinking through these kinds of details. If you’re not thinking through those details, you’ll learn pretty quick because people will be very expressive with you as to how upset they are; they just will. So that’s one big lesson.
33:51 CJ: Did you do anything different this year for holiday sales than previous years?
33:57 Leah: Yeah. In that, well, like I said, because of the timing of the crowdfunding campaign, album launch going rolling straight into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we just noticed kind of a fatigue in my warm audience by the end of it, and rightfully so. I mean I have, I’ve been pushing sales and campaigning pretty much half the year. So at this point normally I’d be rolling out another sale to them already, like a holiday sale that’s just like a general holiday sale and we decided to actually cool it with the warm audience.
34:33 Leah: So that’s one thing I’m doing differently is you know, you have a plan and then you assess the situation and this is where using a little intuition comes in. It’s like, “Hey, I don’t want to burn them out to where they just completely end subscribed, don’t want to follow me at all,” but it’s having a sensitivity and it’s really just having your finger on the pulse of your music business and of your audience where you know when it’s time to maybe back off a little. So we’ll bring a sale back in for New Year’s. So I’m giving them a few weeks, but we’re still going hard on the cold audiences right now because they’re doing well.
35:09 CJ: Right.
35:11 Leah: As far as like doing anything specifically different, it’s very similar to what I did last year in that I picked certain products that I wanted to feature. One thing I am doing different is featuring some of these items almost on their own sales page where there’s more attention on them. It’s kind of just more of like a long form sales page versus just sending them to the store and saying, “here’s a discount on the entire store,” even though there was pretty much. Instead of doing that, I picked a few core items and we put them on a longer form sales page where we could kind of explain more, just really focus on these items and it did well. So those are some of the tests that we’re running and as we get into more of our post-mortem meetings, I’m sure there’s going to be more that is unveiled and changes that we make for next year.
36:05 CJ: So email was still king at the end of the day?
36:08 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, most of all this came from email. Even my warm audience, we were retargeting them through ads that came from the email list.
36:16 CJ: Yeah, and I think people can sometimes get confused, Leah, who are not familiar with how everything gets done. Granted, different businesses operate differently. There’s people who are selling t-shirts, for example, who aren’t building a relationship with an audience. They’re just running ads to a cold audience and just hoping that they’ll capitalize like on a trend that’s going on, or maybe somebody puts out some baby Yoda shirts or something because that’s popular; they just seize moments and all that sort of stuff.
Obviously this is what we’re doing is something much, much different. People can sometimes think because they see these social media ads all the time, that Leah is turning and burning with social media advertising and not realizing, again, even though you said it a hundred times, if you said it once, email is king in relation to sales. That doesn’t mean you’re not running a ton of Facebook ads.
37:14 Leah: Oh, yeah.
37:14 CJ: Those have more to do with the customer journey. They have more to do with bringing people into your sphere of influence, into your funnel, that sort of thing. So as it relates to holiday sales, can you even comment on- because obviously you must’ve run some kind of advertising on social.
37:33 Leah: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That was a huge part of the strategy. So basically for every campaign- so I ran all my own ads during the crowdfunding. They did very well. Then Jordan came on board right at the end of the crowdfunding campaign. Anyways, during our pre-launch, basically, every little mini-campaign that we’re were running, so preorder sale, album, launch sale, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we have ads for every single one of these sales and we roll them out, roll them out, roll them out, roll them out. Most of the ad spend is going toward warm audiences. We’re uploading my email list to Facebook, we’re showing them the specific ads I want them to see and so even if they don’t open an email, they’re going to see it in their newsfeed or wherever they are on Instagram.
So yeah, it’s a super important, I’m reinforcing, “Hey, the sale is on,” I get custom graphics made for these and I don’t make them myself. You know, is one of those things that if you’re not a graphic designer, definitely outsource this. There’s so many people out there who can do this, but if you had to use something, you know you can use tools out there, Canva and different ones that are pretty good, and just focusing on getting those graphics made for each mini-campaign that you’re running. I think that’s a huge part is the creative aspect of the ads. I want to say it’s almost more important than the ad copy. They’re visual platforms or social platforms. The creative, whether they’re videos or images or a mixture or whatever it is you’re doing, even slideshows have worked well for me, the creative part of it is a big contributor to the revenue and the success of the ads. So yeah, I mean that gives people a lot to work with even just there.
39:28 CJ: So cause we’ve come to the end of this, anything you’re going to do differently in 2020? Obviously you’re already thinking about the upcoming year.
39:36 Leah: Yeah. Well one thing that I always do is preplan all the sales I’m going to be doing for the year. So my annual planning meeting is coming up and if you are a musician, even if you don’t really have your music off the ground, you should do an annual planning session with yourself or your band or your spouse or whatever. Do an annual planning meeting at that point. Because of where I’m at in my music business, I plan out all my big projects, I plan out the specific promotions I’ll be running. Kind of reverse engineer that into quarters, I kind of break the year up into quarters and we have an episode on this where we talk about how to plan your music year. In fact we will link that in the show notes. We have some resources and a guide for you to walk you through that.
Now’s the time to start thinking about it. So as for what I’m going to do in 2020, during that annual planning meeting is where we kind of hammer out all those decisions. “Hey, what went well? What did not go well?” We have a meeting about it and then we work that into how are we going to make 2020 different?
I’m going to say that I’ll probably be doing a little bit less in my music business this coming year only because I’m turning my attention a little bit to a couple other focuses. I’m probably going to run a spring sale, I’ll probably run a summer sale, and then I will run a big winter holiday Black Friday sale again. So I mean at least three big ones where you’re really pushing and promoting certain items.
I don’t plan on releasing any music in 2020 so that makes my life so much easier. I did that two years in a row and I definitely need a break from that. I will write, though, and do a few other things. I can’t go into crazy detail of how I’m going to change my strategies, I think I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing to be honest. It’s working so I’ll do more of it.
41:30 CJ: Oh good. No, that’s awesome results, Leah. It’s what people expect and again, qualified with what you mentioned earlier about, “Hey, don’t think that you have to match these particular results. Don’t try and think that if you just imitate what she does word for word, that you’re going to get the same results.” We just had an article come out, issue number six of the Inner Circle Membership that we publish, and if you’re not on it, you should check that out. We talked about something that you had noted, which was that coming out of your campaigns at the end of the year, you said that 50% of marketing is intuition. So, that’s something you can’t copy. You can’t copy intuition, and your intuition as an artist, as a creative person has to be applied to your audience. So, Leah’s is as applied to her audience, and your audience is not her audience, and her audience is not your audience.
So there’s so much you can glean, principally, that she teaches in the courses, like Tom in elite, but you can’t just go in there and try to think that you’re just going to imitate, just mimic, just ape what she does and somehow get even a semblance. You may find it ends up being an abysmal failure because you’re missing more than half of what’s going on. She knows her audience and she’s operating out of her own sensibilities, her own intuition, making changes and adjustments on the fly. So you may be adapting to something that she did that was just a sudden decision she made based on data she was seeing at the time and using her gut marketing instinct and may not even be applicable any more for her or you.
43:12 Leah: Yeah.
43:12 CJ: So, guys, again, when we teach something we will highlight what is a principal, what is tried and true, what is an absolute, what is a commandment as opposed to just the testaments. So we love, Leah, hearing your testimony. We love hearing your results, but we don’t want to discourage people.
43:33 Leah: Right, and that’s why I didn’t share all the numbers from all the campaigns that I ran here because again, I’m not here to say look at how good I am. Look at how- look at me. This is not why I’m doing this. I do want to show you what’s possible. I do want to show you. That’s why I shared just during the prelaunch was like a $25,000 two weeks, but like I’m not here to try and make you feel intimidated or like, “Oh my gosh, I’m not, I’m not even doing $1,000 a month.” Hey, I was there and it wasn’t that long ago and anything is possible. So I share with you a little bit, because I want you to know, “Okay, wow, this is doable. Someone like her, homeschool mom of five kids who doesn’t tour, she can do this. Then I can learn this too. I can learn this,” and guess what? You can do hard things. It’s a learning curve. It’s all part of it.
44:25 CJ: That’s right. Well Leah, thank you so much for sharing those results and guys, listen, if you’d like to us a favor, we would love to have your review of this podcast. We do read them in our team meetings. We take your comments very, very seriously. So go to the player that you use to listen to this podcast, leave a review, click some stars of that’s what they offer. Also, feel free if you’re in any of our Facebook groups, to also go in there and leave a comment when you see the show posted. If you have any questions or interesting topics you’d like to see us cover in the future, you can also mention those as well, but always a pleasure to be with you guys and we will see you next time.