How to Cross-Market in the Music Business for Optimal Fan Reach and Sales

By Loren Weisman

In the music business, cross-promotion is key. By mixing the right physical (offline; promotional items) marketing approaches, products, and promotions with the best posts, blogs, and online marketing angles, both aspects complement each other to allow you the farthest fan reach with the least effort and the most results.

You achieve this by having the root of your branding in place. From your color scheme to your logo, your font to your tagline, and so on, having these all consistent and aligned makes all your marketing efforts both off- and online that much simpler.

The keyword to remember is recognition. Your logo on a T-shirt needs to be the same as the logo on every piece of marketing merchandise and stage banner.

Creating physical marketing results from online marketing

Create your online marketing first. It’s more affordable and effective to create your online marketing, compared to the costs of physical marketing.

As you design online materials and graphics with your graphic or web designers, make sure to ask for high-resolution versions that can be used for the physical items. The resolution of those graphics has to be a great deal larger than what’s needed for the web.

After your online branding is set up across your website and social media, look at how those designs would fit on merchandise — coffee cup, water bottle, sweatshirt, T-shirt, and any other items you can think of. Websites like Vistaprint enable you to upload graphics so you can see them directly on an array of different products.

The goal is to build familiarity from your online marketing and presence to reinforce the physical marketing and promotional items, including CDs, download cards, and vinyl.

Creating online marketing results from physical marketing

The same thing goes the other way around. For those who see your logo on a sticker or a T-shirt, or information about you on a poster, consistency is key. The goal is for them to see you in the real world and then look you up in the virtual world.

Similarity from online to the physical spells success

The similarity and continuity of your physical products to what people see online makes a potential fan feel as though they’re in the right place when this conversion happens.

Guide potential fans from the physical to the digital

Make sure that the key elements of your brand — your logo, font, and so on — show up on physical products.

Just having a very cool logo and your name on a physical product doesn’t give you the best chance of being found. Lead potential fans to your online presence where they can listen to and buy your music, find out more about your shows, connect with you, and purchase your merchandise.

The easier you make it for someone to find out more about you, the more people you are able to connect with. All merchandise and promo swag should not only serve its primary purpose, but should also lead people to your online presence.

Giving digital breadcrumbs

Your URL should be prevalent on all promotional items to make it easy for fans to go to your website. Showcase your tagline, logo, name in its font, and just as it needs to be legible online, keep it clean and clear on your promotional materials and marketing items.

A show poster can do more than just promote that show. Make sure you have your tagline, web address, logo, font, and a social media URL on that poster.

Maintaining your online and physical marketing

This is the longest and most continuous part of your career. Marketing maintenance should take place at least five days a week online with numerous physical elements being put into place and into play weekly.

Spreading it out over time instead of all at once

Putting up ten twitter posts, a blog, and a video in two days and then not doing anything for weeks isn’t going to help your marketing sustainability in either the short or long term. Postering or stickering a single area for a day isn’t effective in getting the word out to other areas. It’s all about spreading out your marketing to reach as far, wide, and often as possible.

Send stickers and posters to friends and fans in numerous cities so they can put them up over a specific period of time. By marketing to different areas at different times, you have consistency in your physical marketing while getting the chance to know what is working and what isn’t.

Send posters or stickers along with some promotional items to a different city, town, or college campus once a week, and see how the reaction and conversion works.

Use an editorial calendar

The editorial calendar that helps you structure your online marketing posts can help you maintain your physical marketing plan, too. This includes a checklist of

  • Postering and/or stickering

  • Soliciting to a booking agent, talent buyer, management group, or venue owner

  • Soliciting to a radio show, TV show, magazine, or newspaper

  • Purchasing radio time and buying physical ads in different city magazines

  • Sending free promo merchandise to bloggers, reviewers, and others in the industry

Taking the basic steps to mix in your physical marketing and physical reach helps to support your online marketing.

Online marketing can be worlds cheaper than physical. Although it’s crucial to budget some money for physical marketing — such as radio ads and print ads in magazines and newspapers — the conversion rates to sales and profit are much higher and have much more potential in the digital world.

Slow and steady builds the fan base

The more often people see you, whether on physical items being worn or used by others or through the posts you have online, the more you grow your fan base, create the conversions to sales, and keep the interest of the existing fan as you reach out to more people.