5 Important Steps to Keeping Your Fans Satisfied

Keeping your fans means keeping them satisfied. Fortunately for you, this is not a moving target, unlike most of our love lives. There are some guidelines you can follow.

  1. Be Thankful – Your fans want to know that you value their investment of time, attention, and money. After all, they value what you offer them. So say thank you. Find small ways to give back—one-on-one meetings, notes, coupons, merchandise freebies, a sponsored coffee break. The method is up to you, but make the effort.
  2. Be Accessible – There is a basic etiquette that exists between rock stars and their fans. A star never refuses a reasonable request for an autograph or photo opportunity. In return, fans don’t bug them at inopportune moments…say, when they’re eating at a restaurant, or walking into a public bathroom. In your situation, you may never have to flee from an overexcited group of Japanese schoolgirls, but you should make time to interact with the people who are invested in your work. If you see them in public places, take the time to chat. Be sure to engage: make eye contact, ask questions, and show with your body language that you are paying attention and you care. Open various channels of communication with them: letters, e-mail, blog, Facebook, Twitter. If they contact you, offer an individualized response from a real human being. Nothing will turn your fans off quicker than an auto-reply, except maybe no reply at all.
  3. Be a Mutual Admiration Society – Showing confidence in your fans also demonstrates confidence in your band and your brand. Compliment them on their dedication and on their engagement with the world and your field. If someone tells you of a success they have achieved with your help, publicize it and congratulate them. Use your communication channels to praise them for their own accomplishments and for their efforts to support you. (Make sure you have their permission to do this first.)
  4. Be Responsive – As for questions and feedback, you can do this during face-to-face meetings, via surveys, or through various communication channels. Ask your fans what they think, what they need, and what they want. Listen closely and implement good ideas. If they point you in the direction of a new development, technology, idea, or market, then follow up and educate yourself about it. Be open to learning from them. And if they are unhappy about something, take the time to comfort and validate them. Listen and investigate complaints. Offer apologies when necessary and explanations where appropriate. Lady Gaga regularly responds to her fans on her Twitter feed. If she hears criticism of a performance, or an expression of disappointment, she sends a tweet quickly to affirm her commitment to providing what they expect.
  5. Be Proactive – If your fans are buzzing about something, explore it. If you discover something new and exciting, share it with them. Open an information exchange. Build enthusiasm by giving them advance notice of upcoming products or activities. Ask them for their help in spreading the word.

If you see an opportunity to meet demand, fill it! When it came to the attention of KISS band members that their fans had started holding conventions, they offered to step in and sponsor an official convention of their own. Instead of threatening to shut down unlicensed activity, they offered an enhanced experience based on the things their fans had created themselves. It opened the door to a whole new marketing channel for the band.

When you engage in these activities, pledge yourselves to doing them well. If you do something for your fans, go all in; don’t stop short or make half-hearted gestures. Don’t start projects that you can’t complete, and don’t throw yourself into something without forethought. True fans will forgive you the occasional flub, but if you consistently give them the impression of ambivalence by making your contact with them lukewarm or half-hearted, they will begin to feel that their affection for you is unrequited. There’s only so much love a fan will give you if you don’t return it.

For all that, you should embrace your fans instead of fearing them. Remember, they are predisposed to love you—that’s what being a fan means. If you keep the quality of your work high, stay consistent about your vision, and invest yourself in cultivating a warm relationship with them, they will do just about anything you ask. In them, you will have a tremendous source of energy and effort that you can mobilize to promote yourself.

Interview Your Ideal Fan

Find a couple of folks among your friends and acquaintances who represent your ideal fans. Ask them to participate in a mock interview with you. These people will portray the part of the “fan” and you will be the “rock star.” Let them know that the situation is fictional, but that the responses should be genuine and honest.With your idea, product, or service in mind, prepare a series of questions. Do any market research you might need in advance! Sit down with your ideal fans and interview them about what attracts them, what holds their interest, and what inspires their loyalty. Share the results with your band. If you want to expand the field, ask band members to complete a similar interview with the ideal fan of their choice

Demographics Are Just the Beginning

If you have any business savvy, if you didn’t sleep through your marketing classes in college, then you already know the importance of researching your demographic. What does your typical consumer look like? How old are they? What do they like to wear? Where do they shop? Which TV shows are their favorites? You can bet that the record executives at the major labels ask these questions when they are deciding how to promote an artist or whether to produce a record.Smart bands do this too, especially as they are starting out. Even a completely naïve musician understands that if you play emo rock and the gig turns out to be at a country bar, you could be in for a long and uncomfortable night. Where possible, bands try to book themselves into venues that are popular with the audience they want to reach. They make t-shirts with designs that they think those people will like. They put up posters in the restaurants and stores where those people shop. There is actually a cottage industry of consultants and training programs to help musicians perform demographic research and position their music as a marketable product.But demographic data will only get you so far. Don’t get me wrong! Market research is an important tool and you neglect it at your peril. But you can’t look at a demographic profile as the sum of what you need to know. A demographic is not a person; it is a statistical summary. Numbers aren’t fans, people are. It may help your band decide where your target market hangs out, but once you book the gig, it is up to you to get them to listen. You’ve got to play songs they want to hear! And if you do get their attention, you’ve got to draw them in and hold them; make them want more. You have to instill them with the belief that if they stick with you, there will be more of those songs to come.

Ultimately, you are seeking to trigger a conversion. You want each person who comes into contact with your work to go from being a bystander to being a listener (or a buyer, if you like) to being a fan. – See more at: http://www.eventglue.com/MMBlog/#sthash.zJd0ndfB.dpuf