Essential Marketing Tips for Hip-Hop Artists
Hip-hop music found mainstream acclaim in the 80s and 90s with the likes of LL Cool J and Run DMC. Today, hip-hop is still as popular and hosts of independent stars have created new and exciting alternative rap and hip-hop styles for their fans. However, if you want international fame like Kanye West and Eminem, you have to establish a fan-base and differentiate yourself from the masses. In theory, this should be easy thanks to the power of social media and the internet, but in practice, it is neither.
Internet marketing is perfect for selling a product people are actively looking for, but it is less effective for a hip-hop artist trying to promote their music.
The problem with online marketing is that you are one of many in an overcrowded digital space. It is important that you persuade fans to engage with you. With so many other artists to listen to, fans need a lot of persuading to listen to an artist they have never heard of before. Time is money, so you are going to have to work extra hard to increase your fan base.
Create a Website
Firstly, if you haven’t already created a website, this needs to be number one on your to-do list. Your website should be the hub of your marketing activities. Direct new fans back to your website and use it to provide useful information, such as details of any gigs you have planned and forthcoming record releases.
Ask fans for their email address and encourage website visitors to sign up for a newsletter. Use your email list to keep fans updated on new music and interesting news. Be careful not to send out too many emails – one email a month is more than enough unless you have something special to disclose, such as a high-profile media appearance or extra dates on your tour.
Social Media Engagement
Social media is a gift for music artists, but only if you make an effort to engage with fans. Open a Twitter account and chat with fans, answer their questions, and be approachable. The same goes for Facebook. If you want people to follow you on social media, you have to engage with them. Mean and moody may work for established artists like Kanye, but if you are new and relatively unknown, you risk alienating fans.
Offer Free Music
Many artists offer free digital downloads to promote new albums. This is an effective strategy and is useful for encouraging fans to sign up for your mailing list. Don’t underestimate the value of CDs, too. It isn’t expensive to have a batch of CDs professionally replicated by a company such as Copycats. Sign up for the service and distribute demo CDs at gigs. The easier you make it for fans to share your music with their friends, the quicker you will build a strong fan base online and offline.
Make sure you don’t neglect your existing fans in the search for a new fan base. You want your loyal fans to keep purchasing your music, so continue to engage with them and treat them with respect.