What would happen if Jesus, instead of turning water into wine, healing lepers, or performing exorcisms, was in a band? How would he market himself?
I don't know.
What I do know is we can learn a lot from the way Jesus and Christianity has been marketed. Here are three lessons you can use to market your music...
1. Start with a Core Group
Jesus had 12 apostles who were willing to put it on the line for him. This is worth more than thousands of people who "kind of" like you, which is what most musicians have.
What you really want, and what you should be focusing on, are the core superfans who will not only buy everything you put out and come to every show you play, but also tell all their friends (and strangers they meet) about you.
How can you encourage this? Keep reading...
2. Don't Be Shy
When you're selling something, it's not the time to be timid. You don't have to be overly aggressive, but you also don't want to come across like, "Well, if it's convenient for you, and it's not raining, and maybe you could think about stopping by for our gig on Friday."
How would an enthusiastic Christian get somebody to church? "If it's convenient" doesn't cut it. It's more like, "Church starts at 10:30 on Sunday morning, but you'll want to get a good seat. I'll pick you up at 9am, so we can be sure to get a pew right in front. I'll bring coffee and donuts."
I'm not saying you need to act like an Amway rep and force something down another's throat, but do be enthusiastic and make it easy (and fun) for people to say yes.
3. Give people a reward.
It's tough to compete with enternal life and forgiveness of sin, but your job of getting people on board with what you're doing is a lot easier when you can give them a benefit for signing up.
When it comes to music marketing, for most people, the social experience is more important than the music itself. Always keep this in mind.
But isn't this about the music? Yeah, for you, but you're not most people.
You are not your fans. They like different things than you do.
I know this is depressing for a lot of musicians, but keep in mind that most people at church value playing on the church softball team or eating fried chicken with their friends every Sunday more than entry into Heaven, so you're not the only one dealing with the fact that people want something secondary, instead of the main product you're selling.
The bottom line is, if people are spending money with you, you can keep making music. Focus on those who are there for the "right" reason, but don't neglect those who are just there.