As a musician, it’s important to set actionable goals for your career and create a plan to make them happen. From getting more followers and earning more money to booking more gigs and flawless marketing, setting clear goals is the key to seeing your dreams come to life. In this edition of our Marketing Journey series, we’ll talk about how to set marketing goals as an independent musician. Here’s what you need to know…
Marketing Journey for the Music Industry Part 6: How To Set Marketing Goals
Goal Setting 101
When it comes to setting goals, many experts around the world use the S.M.A.R.T method. Created back in 1981, S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that helps you create specific criteria for your goals to help improve the chances of their success.
What does it stand for? — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed.
How to use the S.M.A.R.T Method:
When it comes to your music career, your goals need to be realistic, specific, and you should be able to quantifiably measure their success. For them to be achievable for you as an independent artist, you need to be able give them a set time period to be accomplished by.
🧠 Pro Tip: Always write down your goals. — When they’re written down, you can look back at them whenever you start to feel lost and get right back on track.
Let’s apply the S.M.A.R.T method to, “I want more people to listen to my music”.
What’s wrong with that? — This goal needs to be more specific. First, think about where you want more people to listen to your music. Which platform do you want these listeners on? Next, make it measurable. Come up with a variable that is easily quantifiable. Now, it’s time to make sure it’s achievable and realistic for where you are in your career. How many new listeners are you actually capable of reaching with your resources?
Those big time, outrageous ideas are good to keep in the back of your mind, but starting off with unrealistic goals is bound to make you frustrated and disappointed when you’re just starting out. With hard work and dedication, you’ll eventually reach those crazy goals, but for now you need to start small and work your way up. That being said, this leads us to the last step.
Your goals need to have a time limit. It’s easier to stay on track when you have a set time frame to get things done. (With checkpoints along the way!) So when you apply the S.M.A.R.T method to, “I want more people to listen to my music”, it turns into something like: “I want 1000 more monthly listeners on Spotify by May 31th.”
You can even keep it focused on your profile’s full monthly listeners or break it down even further by focusing on a single release. Totally up to you. When it comes to your marketing goals, the same theory applies.
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“How do I apply this to my marketing goals?
Now that you have the S.M.A.R.T method locked and loaded, you can easily apply it to your marketing goals. Think about what it is you wish to accomplish with your marketing, and even prior to that, who it is you’re marketing to. Keep in mind, this no guessing game! To really be successful, you need to use quantifiable data to fuel your efforts.
Here’s how to find it…
Finding Your Fanbase
The first step to great marketing is understanding who you’re marketing to. To find exactly where your fanbase lies, you’ll need to dive into the analytics of your streaming and social platforms. Some of the bigger platforms that offer detailed analytics about your fans include Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Spotify.
- Instagram is most artists’ best analytic source. — Make sure your Instagram account is either a business or creator account to gain access to your Instagram analytic dashboard. (You must have over 100 followers to gain access to this dashboard, but once you have this setting turned on, you will be able to view age, gender, and recent activity.)
Social media channels can also be helpful here. For example, fandoms have a tendency to work together to get something trending, and one of the best places to see this in action is on Twitter. If you have a new single coming out or have been teasing a new project, a great way to learn more about your fans is to start a hashtag campaign and follow its progress. Pay attention to what fans interact with and use the hashtag the most, and you’ll learn what they are most interested in moving forward.
(To learn more about understanding your audience demographics, check out this post.)
Putting It To Work
The same analytics that show you who your fanbase is also shows exactly how you are performing on these platforms over time, shedding some light on which may need more work than others. Remember step 2 of S.M.A.R.T? Think about what you would like to achieve with your marketing in terms of a quantifiable value.
For example, maybe you’d like to increase your merch sales by X amount via Instagram. Another example could be getting more pre-saves on Spotify through posting more on a certain platform. (Keep in mind, these are some quick examples off the top of my head. The options are limitless.)
What you need varies from someone else, even in the same space. — Your analytics are what will guide you to make the best choices for you.
🧠 Pro Tip: Some platforms are good for engagement while others are better for reaching as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Because social media marketing is a whole other beast to tackle, we separated it into our previous Marketing Journey article, “Marketing Journey for the Music Industry Part 5: Social Media Marketing”.
It’s time to ask yourself some honest questions about your career. These include:
- What consistently seems to be working for you over time?
- What is generating real recognition and revenue?
Next, consider your weaknesses from an internal and external perspective.
- Are other artists in my niche performing better than I am?
- What are they doing differently?
Finally, take a look at your strengths and ask yourself whether or not they make way for new opportunities. Based on the weaknesses and the opportunities you’ve come up with, now you can honestly decide what your goals need to be in order for you to improve.
To wrap it all up…
Once you’ve analyzed how you are currently performing and discover what could use some work, you’re ready to set goals that will help push you to the next level. Being able to be honest with yourself about what needs more work and what doesn’t is the only way to improve over time. As they say, nothing changes if nothing changes!
Use your unique analytic data to pinpoint the areas of your strategy that need some extra help. From your streaming efforts to your social media, ticket sales, and more, great marketing stretches across the whole shebang. And depending on your budget, you may have more wiggle room with what you can focus on and how hard you can go. At the end of the day, all this is unique to you personally. Everyone grows at their own pace, and it’s important not to get discouraged if you aren’t growing as quickly as you’d like. Just adapt and keep it moving!
Hopefully this has helped shed some light on goal setting in your marketing strategy. If you’re interested in learning more marketing tips, check out the rest of our Marketing Journey Series:
- Part I: Understanding Your Market and Audience
- Part 2: Understanding Your Fanbase
- Part 3: Finding Your Niche And Using It To Your Advantage
- Part 4: How To Develop and Share Your Story
- Part 5: Social Media Marketing