Everyone is rushing every morning to look at the analytics of their Insta-post or Facebook campaign. Did I get more likes? What time of day were people watching me? Who was watching me? Which post did better? And all of that is excellent information to have, but how do you know if you’re building a lasting relationship with your fans. How do you know if you are conveying your commitment to them and gaining their trust? Let me ask a question. Do you spend your time and money on things you trust to do what they say they will do; or do you just take a chance on something you don’t know about? I would guess most of you would say you’d like to have some level of confidence in the product you’ll be spending your time and money on before you buy that product. Gaining that trust can undoubtedly come from the product itself, but it can also depend on the intangible things you and your company represent. Anthony Iannarino, writing for “The Sales Blog” writes that “We tend to think of sales being won and lost on things that are tangible, the things you can see and count and measure. Certainly, the tangible things are important, but the intangibles are even so” (para 1). He lists things like “likability and rapport, attitude, business acumen, caring, presence, thoughtfulness, and a sense of humor” as some of the intangible things that are important to have to be successful in today’s world.
You, as an artist, should be concerned with intangibles and what they are because that is actually what you’re selling. Gone are the days of selling actual physical products. Today, when you write a song, and it goes out into the world over all the streaming and distribution platforms, you are selling air. Sound waves that travel through the air is what you are selling. There is nothing to hold, nothing to set on the shelf; pretty air is what people are buying from you. So why would they do that? Because of the intangible things you present and represent. You are selling people an experience and to do that, they need to believe and trust in you and the relationship you have with them. They are buying a promise from you that the experience they have at your concert or listening to your music will be positive and make them feel good. Many companies use metaphors, or a figure of speech with an implied comparison, to sell intangibles. If you look at some of the names of the tours, you can see how other artists are trying to get you to buy into the concept of their tour. They are trying to elicit a feeling that will drive you to buy tickets and merch from their concerts. Pinks new tour is the “Beautiful Trama World Tour, which is promoting her new album “Hurts 2B Human.” Talyor Swift’s last tour was the “Reputation” tour, Carrie Underwood’s new tour is the “Cry Pretty” tour, featuring women in music. John Mayer just announced his 2019 solo tour the “Evening with John Mayer” tour. (And who wouldn’t want to spend an intimate evening with John Mayer?) Each of these tour names is trying to associate the tour with something you feel or would want to be a part of.
In an article for Forbes, Larry Mylar suggest three techniques that can help you sell your intangible product, “make it personal, make the benefits tangible, even if your product isn’t, and sell peace of mind” (para 2,3,4). If your fan knows how your song or concert will make their life better then will understand why they need what you have. If you tell stories about couples that have fallen in love to your songs, then it makes the benefits more real to people, and everyone wants to forget the problems of the world for a while. Music and concerts like movies sell the idea of the fun and relaxing getaway from everyday life.
But how do you get people to know the real you? How do you build a relationship and gain the trust of your fans, so they want to come spend an evening with you? Well, a blog is a great way to let fans get to know you and promote your company. In a study done by Kelleher and Miller, they found that blogs can be helpful to companies in two significant, yet intangible, ways. For businesses to be successful, they must communicate in a conversational human voice, and they must demonstrate and communicate a relational commitment to their customers. Here are some of the characteristics that they looked at:
- Conversational human voice.
- Inviting people into conversation.
- Use a natural, conversational communication style.
- Have something interesting to say.
- Provide links and positive feedback about competitors. People like transparency.
- Golden Rule: Treat people the way you’d like to be treated.
- Communicate your commitment to building a long term, open and honest relationship with your fans and customers.
- Demonstrate your commitment to maintaining and building a quality relationship with your fans or customers.
- Stress your commitment to your fans.
- Stress your long-term commitment to your career and fans.
Long gone are the times when companies could hide behind advertising that they just pushed ads out to people. More and more companies are using blogs to engage in two-way conversations with customers. Blogging is a way to let people get to know you, or the company, with a unified and strategic approach. It’s essential to keep things truthful and real because consumers are looking for transparency before they spend their time or money. People want to trust a brand and their relationship to it before they jump in and give them their energy and money. If you let people know that you want to talk and get to know them, if you treat your fans and customers like you’d like to be treated, and if you speak like you were talking to a friend then you will develop, over time, a meaningful relationship with your fans. Even if you don’t talk to every person personally, your brand, your actions, how you treat your employees, how you deal with other artists and business deals will tell your fans what kind of person you are. Your actions and responses, your intangibles, will let people know who you are and allow them to develop a trust in you and your brand that will last a lifetime. Demonstrating this commitment to your brand and your fans take time. That’s what consistency of message, image, and product is so vital. It lets your fans know that you are concerned with them receiving the standard that they are used to getting. It means you care about giving them the best product you can for their hard-earned money. You aren’t entitled to their money; you must continue to consistently earn their respect and loyalty. Why do you think artists are always thanking fans when they win an award? Because without them, you don’t have a career. A blog is a great way to let people see into your world and develop a relationship with you. Be strategic, but be honest, be thoughtful, and most of all, be who you are.
Iannarino, Anthony. (August 2017). A List of Intangibles. Retrieved from: https://thesalesblog.com/2017/08/27/a-list-of-intangibles/
Kelleher, T. and Miller, B. (2006), Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 11: 395-414. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2006.00019.x
Myler, Larry. (August 2015). How to Sell Intangibles. Retieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymyler/2015/08/15/how-to-sell-intangibles/#699416f87a0a