By Patrick McNease

Independent artists have to be very strategic and smart when deciding where to spend their money on marketing, as they don’t have the benefit of having a big budget from a major label. Even if you did have a huge budget, there are still many ways to market your brand and music for free. Most artists already use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networks to market their music, but here a list of often overlooked mediums for marketing your music:

1. SEO

Many artists are surprisingly not considering the effect SEO has on their brand and website in their marketing. When talking about SEO, it is often thought of as being a marketing tool used by corporations and small businesses, but artist should also consider using SEO. For example, if someone is searching for your name on Google, you want to make sure that your name comes up, and your fans and people wanting to know more about you can find you. Even though I could write an entire article on SEO, here are a couple basic tips to improve your sites SEO:

Know Your Keywords. One of the most important aspects of SEO is knowing your keywords. You want to know what people are going to search for on Google in order to find you. How would someone looking for you search for you?

Avoid flash websites. Yes Flash may look cool to you and your readers, but Google doesn’t think so. Google is unable to read sites that use Flash, so try and avoid using Flash for building your website.

Use Image Descriptions. Though search engine spiders are improving every day, and able to read more than they used to, they really only search text. When you have an image on your website, you want to be able to tell Google what it is, so you want to make sure to use an “ALT” tag with your image, and describe what the image is using one of the keywords.

2. Email Marketing

I believe that email marketing is one of the most important tools that an artist can use to market to their fans. Not enough artists correctly utilize email marketing, and the artists who do understand how to utilize it have been extremely successful in selling merchandise and getting fans to their shows. You can collect emails through your website, Facebook page, and shows along with other areas that you have contact with your fans. Once you have a good amount of emails, you should use a service like Mailchimp which is free as long as you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. Here a couple of tips in using email marketing effectively to reach your fans:

Send out only useful emails. Now “useful” is probably going to vary for different people. Basically I’m saying that you don’t want to send out too many emails. You want to only send something out if you have something exclusive, new merchandise, or anything that would give your fans value for being subscribed to their list. When they sign-up for your mailing list, it’s as if they are joining an exclusive club, so make sure the content you are sending out appeals to this.

Test your emails. With email marketing, you want as many people to open your emails as possible. So in order to test what works for you, you can send half of yoru subscribers an email with one subject line and another half an email with another subject line. By doing this, you can continuously improve on what subject line that your subscribers are most likely to open. After all if your subscribers aren’t opening your emails, you can’t communicate with them.

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