It's hard to stop doing something you feel is working well. I get it.
And as someone who is on the receiving end of all those direct mail pieces from music retailers in my area, I completely understand if you're still seeing a decent return on them. So I'm not here to tell you to stop them. But I do want to help you understand that they can be enhanced using what is known as a holistic marketing approach.
How Traditional Marketing Costs More
In addition to the direct mailers I mentioned earlier, I still see TV ads, hear radio ads, and even notice billboards on our local highways. It's amazing to me that music retailers (or any business really) still rely so heavily on these methods. But what's even more amazing is how often they don't necessarily incorporate a digital marketing element in these ads, such as including a channel-specific web address to track performance or focusing the ads more on the consumer versus some form of the standard sales or special offer pitch.
If you're already spending money on traditional marketing channels, I'm sure you realize that those methods only continue to work while you're throwing funds at them. The moment you stop spending is the moment those channels start to slow down, cough and sputter, then dry up. Plus it can be difficult to actually associate a physical result to each channel to see how it has been working.
Kinda sounds like a money pit, huh?
How Inbound Marketing Costs Less
With inbound, it's more of an investment rather than a business expense. By taking the time to do the following things, you are essentially building a collection of assets that will continue to drive leads to you for as long as they are published on the web:
- Establish a strategy
- Develop an understanding of your audience
- Create educational content for that audience
- Build your email list
- Develop your community and brand
In reality, a marketing agency should be able to get your music business setup with a plan, get it chugging along for a year or two, and then work itself out of a job, effectively cutting your annual spend on marketing and allowing you to focus on how to get more music customers using just your in-house staff.
Holistic Marketing: How Traditional and Inbound Can Work in Harmony
Now, not to contradict anything I just said, but there are ways that traditional and inbound can work together, especially at the beginning. Despite how much better inbound can be, we don't recommend cutting the cord cold turkey on traditional methods.
It's better to ease one out while easing the other in, plus they are able to play together nicely during that time. This transition could even allow you to keep some traditional methods active, thus balancing your marketing spend to effectively see what's working on both sides of the fence.
Here are a couple of ways to make that commercial, billboard or direct mailer more inbound:
- Create a channel-specific website address, such as "yourwebsite.com/my-custom-mailer-address so you can use analytics to see how that page or vanity URL is performing
- Building on the first bullet point, you can use separate sign-up forms on each channel's landing page so you can measure sign-up activity and get a sense of which channel is converting the best
- Don't sell your products and services upfront on traditional methods. Instead, treat each medium like a blog post, using it as a short form educational piece around a music industry fact or tip. Piquing a consumer's interest through a personal pain point or challenge that they can relate to may increase their chances of checking your offer out. Focus on the consumer first and becoming a customer second.
- Use these conversion points as additional ways to build your email list, effectively bringing your offline leads into your online strategy
Whether you're using traditional, inbound or a holistic marketing approach with both, getting more music customers with all of them starts with knowing who your ideal customer is. Once you know what kind of audience you are looking to attract, you can better understand the type of messaging you may need to create and test.