Attracting the Audience - Part 2

Attracting the Audience - Part 2

By Lorraine Lawson

When you are clear on your vision for where you want to go in your career, you must have an equally strong desire and commitment to attract the right audience to help you get there. 

My last article for Canadian Music Spotlight outlined 4 strategies for attracting your ideal audience which included:

 1 Observation

2 Making Yourself Known 

3 Making a Difference/Making a Move 

4 Being Patient. 

Following these 4 steps have helped countless artists create real momentum in their career by building the right relationships at the right time. Even more importantly, following these steps can help people avoid the all-too common, pitfall of investing in the wrong people at the wrong time. 

A big message in my coaching has consistently been: ‘You cannot do what you cannot afford, personally and professionally, financially and emotionally.’ When you do, it forces you to make decisions out of desperation instead of inspiration. This is a simple distinction between taking actions as a result of feeling rushed instead of from a feeling of clarity. The feeling of desperation happens when we feel pressured to get results faster than what is actually possible based on where you currently are in your career. I have seen this scenario play out over and over again. So many artists have invested money to accelerate time. They have paid for followers only to find they were not really fans. They chased industry professionals with big resumes only to find they didn’t produce the results they loved. I, too, have fallen into this same trap of investing in the wrong people believing they would help move the dial faster when in fact the opposite happened. I have gotten caught up in what other people’s vision for my career was, instead of figuring out what my own vision was and how I wanted to execute it. There was countless times, someone would say ‘I believe in your potential - let’s work together’. I believed them and stopped working on what I wanted for myself. 

This has been a major reason for why I coach the way I do and why I have created several artist development programs including ADI (Artist Development Intensive) and my Artist Mentorship Program. These programs are designed to help artists define who they are first in order to attract the right audience including the right collaborators and business partners. I make sure there are always opportunities in my programs for artists to practice expressing who they are, what they do, why they do it and who they want to do it for. 

It is impossible to build the audience you need without concentrating on who you are and subsequently who you want your ideal audience to be. So many artists attract a massive audience one minute and then lose it the next. Think about how many people get a ‘big’ hit or have a video go viral. They attract a massive influx of new fans, yet when their next release or video doesn’t hit the same level of success, the audience suddenly disappears just as quickly as they came. Of course the artist feels an immense sense of disappointment and frustration because they don’t know ‘why’ one thing worked and one thing didn’t. 

It would seem the industry as a whole, has developed a sever case of ‘impatience’ to achieve BIG numbers quickly instead of developing a real and meaningful relationship with their audience. Taking that one step further, the people who are willing to regularly audit of their audience are in a better position to lean into the factual data and target the audience like never before. Canadian Band, Neon Dreams has been an excellent example of this. They noticed a song was blowing up in South Africa and started to nurture fans there. As they built these specific relationships to fans they asked them… Where should we play? What are the big festivals there ? Which bands are blowing up there? They even asked these fans if they would be willing to be their tour guides when they came to their city and be in their music videos. They used social media wisely instead of it using them. If you follow Neon Dreams you know they stopped chasing the industry years ago and started to invest in the relationship with their fan base. In addition, they equally have invested in building  relationships with other artists around the world which has led them to have cool collabs and tour opportunities across the globe. 

The ‘typical’ audience today tends to jump to the next big thing and the next. Holding their attention is challenging and if you chase this type of audience, you will have to keep coming up with gimmick after gimmick. But if you choose to nurture, all be it smaller but real fan base, they will drive to different cities just to see you. They will spend their hard-earned money on your merchandise. They may even tattoo their bodies with your name. But there is another thing they will do. They will share how much they love you and how much your music means to them to their friends. Bands like PHISH, along with countless other examples, have built not only a solid and loyal fan base, they have established longevity and financial stability as a direct result of creating audience community and culture over pursuing Grammy awards and large streaming numbers on Spotify or Apple Music. 

I’ll share a secret to success I have shared with my clients. The artists who are able to get the audience to feel something they want to feel, again and again, will have longevity. There is an other powerful motivator to attract the audience which is the ability to take the audience away from a feeling they don’t want to feel. Putting on your music or watching one of your shows can be the the perfect escape. Your music and following you on social media can be like you are someone’s best friend. Fans listen to music, as a way to define moments in their life. It is the reason why people want experience music live with large crowds of strangers who end up feeling like family after the show and why music is the most powerful force in the world.

The artist who is able to consistently attract the audience needs to possess qualities other people find compelling. So many artists rely only on their music to attract the audience but when you get comfortable with YOU being the reason people are your fan, you can start to create memorable moments with them that last a lifetime. The phenomenally talented Jacob Collier, not only is undeniable as a musician, he is undeniable as a human. He is well known for getting his audience to sing and not just the lyrics to his songs but has created a moment in his show where he teaches the audience to sing in harmony. Almost by magic, he lifts and lowers his hands, conducting the audience to change the notes up and down making different chords. The audience gets to feel something extraordinary. His audience come to his shows especially for this special moment where they can be led and guided to not only observe something extraordinary but to experience ‘doing’ something extraordinary together. 

Below are a few ideas you can start to do right now to attract the audience you want to attract. 

1 DO SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY 

The secret to attracting the audience is to create enough memorable moments whether it’s in your live shows or interviews or in your social content so you can stand out to your ideal audience. Drake, at his most recent shows in Toronto, walked around the stage for several minutes talking to the audience. He used this time to connect to fans doing something NO other artist has ever done on stage before. He gave away thousands of dollars to fans who held up signs. Some asked for their tuitions to be paid and others asked for their rents to paid. The audience knew to bring the signs as a way to get his attention and Drake used this as an opportunity to create a memorable moment no one will ever forget. Taylor Swift has also paid her fans' tuitions. She didn’t just do it anonymously, she told her fan base what she did by posting it on her socials.  So many artists donate their time and money to charities as a way to give back but also realize it is a smart way to connect more deeply with their audience. 

2 GET THE AUDIENCE TO DO SOMETHING THEY WILL REMEMBER

If you can get the audience to sing or put their hands in the air or look right or left or jump up and down, they will remember your performance at an entirely different level. One tactic I suggest to artists is to create a segment in the show where they ask someone from the audience to come up on stage.  Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen, along with so many others, have done this for years. Fans love watching someone from the audience get up and sing with the artist on stage. It’s thrilling to watch and of course it’s a life changing moment for the person who is chosen. Emerging artist and long time client, Michelle Tracey got to sing with Lady Gaga when she was just a teenager and it changed her life.

Another idea I suggest a lot, is to take a photo with the audience. Lots of emerging artists do this and it works so well to not only create a memorable moment but it creates a reason for everyone at the show to check out your socials after the show. It provides a reason to follow you instead of just asking your audience to follow you. 

3 HOW YOU CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN EFFECTIVE TOOL

It has never been easier to attract your ideal audience by utilizing the algorithms on social media platforms. A very effective way to do this is to follow these 3 simple steps each and every time you are launching something like a new single or an EP or selling tickets to a show. You can use these 3 steps when you are coming up with ways to market to your ideal audience. 

  1. Show and Share
  2. Connect and Engage 
  3. Celebrate and reward. 

EMAIL or TEXT

Finally, it’s so important every artist knows how to contact the audience directly. We cannot trust social media platforms as an effective way to communicate with fans. The data suggests a post is only shared to 1-5% of someone’s followers. Another alarming fact is it takes someone seeing a piece of content at least 21 or more times before they will click the link and take action. 

You must take every opportunity to collect your audience's data in the form of email, text or even physical address. When you do this you can start to really monetize your fan base. You can offer giveaways and draws as a way to collect data. Mail a piece of merchandise. Mail out tickets. Email or Text your audience fairly regularly. Let them know what you are doing, where you are performing, how they can support you and by the way, you can ask them how you can make a difference for them too. 

BE CONSISTENT

These are only a handful of suggestions on to attract and connect more deeply with your ideal audience. My hope is you try out some of these suggestions or maybe you are using some of these already but need to the push to do them more. I tell artists all the time, if you want to truly standout to your audience, BE CONSISTENT. Most people are not consistent in their professional life, let alone their personal one. Take on the challenge of being consistent in the way you attract your audience. This is a game of trust. You want the audience to trust you so you can trust they will keep listening to your music and coming to your shows. You don’t want fickle fans. You want a loyal, passionate, dedicated and devoted audience who you can count on to support old and new projects for years to come. 

If you want to make money from what you love to do you are going to have to attract an audience. So go do it! 

Lorraine Lawson is the CEO of LVS, Vocal & Performance Coach, Schitts Creek/The Launch/Grammy & Juno Winning Artists, Key Note Speaker, Author and Mentor

www.lawsonvocalstudios.com