On Wedneday I read a great article by Brian Hazard on how to encourage fans to hand over their email address, and I decided to do a bit of a follow up on how to encourage fans to download your music, rather than just bouncing off of your song’s landing page.
In my opinion, none of the tips below will increase the rate of visits to downloads (or conversion rate) quite as much as an improvement in song quality, but these tips are still likely to have a positive effect when used to complement great music.
1. Offer your fans exclusivity
We all love something that’s special to us, exclusivity in itself is a form of incentive as it gives a feeling of superiority. Offer your mp3 exclusively to your mailing list subscribers or Facebook fans or live show attendees before the rest of the world to reward them for their actions.
2. Make your fans work for it
Although contradictory to the point about making it easy, you can also make your fans do something for the mp3 to make them appreciate the value of the download more. A good example would be to offer the download for free once a fan has tweeted about it (such as Tweet for a Track do), that way the track has perceived value, but is also free.
3. Excite your fans about downloading the song
Your landing page needs to match the quality of the song and keep the fans excited, ensure there is an easy play feature for fans to listen to the song for free and a cool design that anchors the story of the song.
4. Incentivise the download
One of the easiest ways to improve your rate of downloads is to bribe fans with an incentive. A competition is always a great way to incentivise a free download – you could perhaps offer ‘Tweet about song X for a free download and chance to go to dinner with the band’.
5. Have your song recommended by a friend
We can’t fight it – a recommendation from a friend or someone you know is always going to mean more than a recommendation from the person trying to offer a product. Encourage fans who have download your song to share it with their friends via email or a tweet or Facebook and perhaps Incentivise that sharing.
6. Make it dead easy to download
Don’t make your fans have to enter in every personal detail known to man to download your song, don’t send it in a weird format that requires them to install software, and don’t make them wait around for confirmation emails. Downloading a song should be incredibly simple, anything other is just reducing your ratio of visitors to downloaders.
7. Make it free to download
The stats are out there, free downloads are in the trillions, paid downloads are in the billions. Yes it’s still a revenue stream once you’ve built a good fan base, but relative to the promotional opportunity and the increase in visitor to download conversion rate, the benefit of offering a song for free download is often better.
That said, the problem with ‘free’ is lack of perceived value, therefore encouraging fans to do something like tweet about the song or join your mailing list allows you to give away the song for free without hindering the songs perceived value.
8. Personalise your fan’s experience
At very least ensure your emails are personalised with the fan’s name, but you can do better than that. Build personal relationships by hosting a live chat between fans and the band on the download page or off site, or even just ask your fans personally in a clearly personalised message – this may be impractical for a large quantity of fans, but even by doing it with some you raise the probability of that fan spreading the word about you to their friends – the ‘Justin Bieber’ effect.
9. Encourage your fans to respond to you
If you offer someone a song and say “hope you like it”, there’s a possibility that the conversation and level of intrigue the fan feels ends there at a low level. On the other hand if you said “let me know what you think about it, there’s a bit that reminds me of you” for example, then there is so much more intrigue (which part? why does it remind you of me?) that they will need to download the song to satisfy their brain with an answer.
10. Build Hype
I remember the reason why I first downloaded Guns n’ Roses – November Rain, it was because I heard that there was a bum note in the guitar solo somewhere, which I was told by a friend. Rumours are a great way to get fans to not only share music but build up expectations or desires to listen to the song. If you can’t think of a rumour then any good hype or recommendations around the song will help improve listen to download rate.
I’m sure there are kazillion other ways, so if you can think of any more please share them in the comments.
Image Credit: jqpacifist