My 9-Month Marketing Plan

AAfter the completion of the performance, I decided that it’s high time that we take our band’s future seriously. I sat down and kept notes of our goals and vision, than put everything on paper to create this 9-month marketing plan.

Editor’s note: if you are new to this three-part series, you may want to read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

Since it’s only for 9 months, it focuses on establishing a foundation for a strong brand name in the future, while building a new fanbase locally and preparing the ground for a European tour by next year.

Feel free to adapt the marketing plan on your own and use it as a template. If you’d like to hire me to create a beautiful marketing plan for you, get in touch with me.

D2F SideSteps Marketing Plan

Table of Contents

Overview / Goals

Assets & Preparation

  • Digital & Physical Assets
  • Social Media Tools

Phase 1 – Promotion and Fan Acquisition

  • Overview
  • Owned Media
  • Paid Media
  • Earned/Rented Media

Phase 2 – Release

  • Strategy
  • Landing Page
  • Press Release
  • Interesting/Creative Activities
  • Existing Network/Social Media Sites

Phase 3 – Post-Release

  • Overview

 

Overview / Goals

SideSteps profile

About SideSteps

1. Overview

SideSteps is a Belgium-based, dark synth-rock band influenced by Joy Division, She Wants Revenge and Depeche Mode. They recorded their first 4-track EP early in 2010, released it later on the same year, and one year later they recorded their full album, without releasing it ever since. They represented Belgium for the European competition ‘Eurobandas Santander 2016’, but the band never took off due to their professional commitments.

2013 was a turning point for the band, since London-based Tommy Darker (vox, composer) devoted himself to creating a solid ‘discovery’ band with strong following and exclusive, interactive shows that give people something to talk about. The band’s inaugural international performance in London, Die For 9, occurred late June 2013, as a starting point for their series of shows to commence.

Their unreleased material will be released in the form of singles or EPs within the span of a year, supported by additional audiovisual material, and later on as a full album, named Die For 9.

The main focus for SideSteps will be to raise awareness and build a strong local following, brand and mailing list in the UK, while nurturing the niche audience in Europe for a potential European tour in the next year.

2. Goals

  • Acquire 500 new mailing lists from London by the end of the current year. Nurture relationships with them and keep them active and supportive.
  • Grow the number of Facebook fans to 2.000+ and keep them engaged with quality content. Start a Tumblr blog that will focus on visual content and videos and reach 2.000 followers.
  • Build a brand, the style of which people will recognize. Focus on branded, visual content and enrich the band’s portfolio with quality media other than music.
  • Associate SideSteps’ name with certain lifestyle that will inspire people to dig for more and get affiliated with the band beyond its music.
  • Build buzz outside the UK, so the band can be ready to work with local promoters and prepare the ground for an international tour.
  • Get SideSteps’ name in other websites to increase the credibility of the band’s image.
  • Play one exclusive show per month in a unique venue that will boost people’s interest to discover the band’s activity and mindset.

Assets & Preparation

Digital & Physical Assets

  • 200 copies of the self-titled SideSteps EP
  • 13 new, unreleased tracks (digital download)
  • 3 unreleased music videos, 2 more to be shot
  • Collaboration with two fashion designers from Malaysia and Italy (handmade products to be created after September)
  • Physical full album at the end of the promotion span (format unknown)
  • Short documentary about the Die For 9 performances
  • HQ photos and videos of all performances
  • 4+ unique venues/places to perform
  • Extensive list of blogs (music, lifestyle, interesting news)

Social 
Media 
Tools

SideSteps’ social media accounts are quite busy, but the primary focus is on Facebook and mailing list. Soon to be Tumblr and YouTube.

Specifically, our social media presence can be highlighted as follows:

Facebook

  • Fan Page: www.facebook.com/sidesteps
  • 1,000+ current fans
  • Fans are engaged and we’re communicating almost daily.
  • Facebook is mainly a communication tool to send people to the desired destination outside Facebook.

Facebook secret group (die-hard fans)

Twitter

  • Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/sidesteps
  • 150 current followers
  • Twitter is used mainly as a sync tool to broadcast news from other platforms.
  • Need to use Twitter as a discovery tool for similar topics that might interest SideSteps’ followers, then engage (retweet, communicate and add value to the conversations taking place).

Mailing list (Sophisticated SideSteppers)

  • Page URL: www.SideStepsOfficial.com/join
  • 400 current email subscribers
  • Mailing list mainly in the US, Belgium and Greece. Need to expand in the UK (focus on London area).
  • Use the Topspin E4M widget to grow that number with targeted audience.

Tumblr

  • Page URL: To be created
  •  0 current fans
  • Will be used to enhance the band’s branding and philosophy. 4-5 media posts, 1 link per day, 2-3 reblogs
  •  The band’s links will be mentioned in the page and tracked with URL shorteners.

YouTube

  • YouTube Page: www.youtube.com/user/SideStepsOfficial
  • 57 current subscribers, 12.000+ views
  • Although we’ll go heavy on video and visuals, building a community here is difficult because of the lack of time.
  • Most people are directed to the mailing list using a free download as a bait and the Topspin iFrame mechanics.

SideSteps Website

  • Page URL: www.SideStepsOfficial.com
  • 200 monthly visits
  • Website is primarily used as a place to add all the information and legitimize the existence of the band, mainly because there’s nothing for sale, no tours and current news.
  • Need to activate the website more in the campaign, adding a storefront and a blog. It has minimum traffic at the moment.

Phase 1 – Promotion and Fan Acquisition

Start: August 2013 – Finish: May 2014

1. Overview

Every month there will be a new single/EP/music video release, supported by rich media content, and monthly/bi-monthly we will have a different performance in an unusual place. The music will be given away for free, while the expensive product to sell will be the live experience/personalized merch (or possibly a membership website).

The overall strategy is to bring traffic from various sources and direct them to the ‘home’ of SideSteps, the website, where the space can be branded, controlled and measured, then convert that traffic into email sign-ups or sales. All the social media channels will aim to enhance the power of our music branding, not make direct sales.

2. Owned Media

SideSteps Website
The website (www.SideStepsOfficial.com) will highlight the latest releases, while all the previous material will be displayed prominently, inviting the visitors to sign up for the mailing list via Topspin to get access to free content.

The ways to achieve the desirable results:

  • Topspin E4M Widget – Fans opt-in with their email address and in return they receive access to all free digital downloads.
  • Soundcloud / YouTube Streaming Widgets – Tracks will be available for full audio streaming – and video, where it’s applicable.
  • Social Networks – Adding a Facebook Widget to increase social proof (1.000+ fans) and bring credibility to the project.

Die For 9 homepage

Die For 9 Website
This special website (www.DieFor9.com) will highlight the next performance and will display buttons to purchase tickets, while it will display exclusive content of the previous performances for the visitors to have access to after an email sign-up. It will also provide instructions for the latest gamified experience, as a fun way to receive free tickets to the shows. The goal of this website is to create a separate cult around the branded live performances of SideSteps.

The website will include:

  • Topspin E4M Widget – Fans opt-in with their email address and in return they receive access to exclusive material from the previous shows and early access to the tickets of the upcoming activities.
  • Manifesto – A sub-cult can be developed with the use of a strong and expressive manifesto that will inspire and motivate. This will be a streaming video and some text explaining the mindset, linking share buttons and E4M widgets as call-to-actions.

Social Media

Social
 Media
The social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) will not use any widgets that could clutter the space; instead they will be conversation starters that will direct people to the respective websites. The websites are optimized for conversion; social media are traffic sources and brand ambassadors.

Each social media profile will prominently display a link to the main website, so people can find it without much hassle. The activity will remain consistent with fresh and relevant content. Shares, retweets, reblogs will be a great way to bring new audience; personal engagement will keep the energy high.

Email
The insiders (Sophisticated SideSteppers) will receive emails once or maximum twice a month. The topics will be a summary of the current activity, including the new releases, the new shows and the media archives.

There will also receive some personal updates by Tommy Darker, little stories aiming to engage the audience in a conversation and activate them to answer and interact with the band beyond music. This tactic is a nice way to filter the audience.

3. Paid Media

Facebook Advertising
This cheap and highly targeted source of traffic can be very useful if applied properly. Testing is everything, so we can see what works for SideSteps. Facebook advertising should aim to support the existing word of mouth, not merely convert into sales/leads. Monthly budget to be decided after the first experiments.

The types of facebook advertising to be used during that period:

  • Sponsored Stories – Using mainly pictures to grab attention and informal language to inspire action, sponsored stories will appear in friends’ feeds, getting endorsed much easier that a traditional advertising banner.
  • Facebook Ads – Will be impression/click-based depending on the testing conducted before. Their goal will be to drive results, rather to engage. Urgency and clear call-to-actions are essential.
  • Split Testing – We’ll start sending people to a facebook page (eg. event, fan page etc.) and a third-party page outside facebook (eg. our own website) in small scale and we’ll see what converts better and cheaper. Then we’ll move the money to what converts better.
  • Targeting – Targets will be: London, similar music artist, goth/vampire culture, magazines/blogs we’re likely to be featured, friends of our fans.

4. Earned/Rented Media

Blog Posts
The blog posts in third party websites are a great way to increase exposure, SEO and word of mouth. Nurturing relationships with the owners and offering unique angles (and strong headlines) that will inspire further word of mouth are essential. We consider Earned Media to be the coverage that happens organically or the word of mouth after a requested post, while Rented Media would be the guest posts and editorial articles written by the band itself, added in the content of the website for free.

The different kind of blogs that would serve our purpose:

  • Music blogs – Local, London area-based blogs until the end of the year, international blogs in the mix later. Focusing on getting coverage for releases/news via press releases, always including branded visuals and videos, as well as an E4M Topspin widget to analyze conversion and shar-a-lytics.
  • Lifestyle blogs – Will mainly serve to promote the mindset of the manifesto. Guest post proposals or casual requests for coverage will work.
  • Interesting news blogs – Riding the wave of a current event is a great way to boost instantly the awareness of a release, and there always blogs looking for such content.
  • Articles – In-depth editorial articles on education, opinions, guides, case studies etc. will increase the expertise of Tommy Darker and will provide a different dimension to the music brand we’re trying to build.
  • PRWeb blast – Since we have the ability to use this service 1-2 month for free through a personal connection, it will be a great way to push an interesting press release connected to a current event. The angle will determine whether it will be picked by bloggers/journalists.

Social Media shares
Engaging, attention-grabbing content focused on pictures and short punch lines should be the main focus. Linking to interesting/viral content can increase the sharability of the band’s content as well, because it will nurture a culture of sharing among the fans. Clear call-to-actions and constant encouragement are important. The material that will be used can either be already existing content pulled from the web or quality media shot during the past activities of SideSteps.

Offline word of mouth
Creative campaigns and public stunts, such as a treasure hunt in the city of London or performing on a rooftop of a busy place, can be unexpected sources of word of mouth. A clear, yet subtle call-to-action has to be presented to ensure conversion and link back to the brand.

Phase 2 – Release

1. Strategy

Each release will be treated as an event, because it’s boring to ask for bloggers to cover your releases all the time or throw release-parties. There needs to be activity outside the musical spectrum.

A few vital components of such a strategy:

2. Landing Page

  • Streaming Widgets – Hosted on SideSteps’ official website. Will contain the latest single/video for people to hit play and listen.
  • Topspin E4M Widget – Will be underneath each new release to ensure maximum capturing of new leads. Will direct to a catalogue of free and paid stuff (Spinshop), including the latest release.
  • Sharing Buttons – Sharing buttons before/during/after the download will ensure the word of mouth game is done properly by qualified leads.

3. Press Release

  • Embeddable Widgets – Each official press release will include embedded media widgets, to allow the audience to stream the media offered and get them for free on spot.
  • Trackable links – There will also be trackable links (through a URL shortener) that will help us understand the users’ behaviour to our call-to-action messages.
  • iFrame – Depending on the nature of the media offered and whether there’s an event to be promoted, iFrame technology will be used to curate the content accordingly and redirect the user to the desired follow-up destination highlighted in the background.

4. Interesting/Creative Activities

Public stunt

4 basic characteristics of a public stunt.

Each new release will be associated with a different creative ‘nugget’, in order to incentivize people/the press to talk about it and expect what the next one is going to be like.

Activities that interact with the audience, that make people curious, astonished, or shocked are a nice way to be provocative and make art on the same time. Challenging the conventional norm and making people pull their phone out to take a picture/video is the mindset during these events.

Each activity needs:

  • Multi-cam coverage to ensure the legacy of these efforts.
  • Clear call-to-action to ensure better conversions.
  • Clear connection between the activity and the music brand of SideSteps.
  • Respective social media activity and press coverage.

Although their effectiveness cannot be measured accordingly (and there’s no point doing it), making people expect your next move is definitely the best way to raise awareness before the release.

5. Existing Network
/
Social
Media
Sites

During the release days, an email blast will be sent to the already existing network and the main focus will be to talk about it more heavily on all social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube, with properly curated content tailored to the nature of each platform, encouraging sharing.

Phase 3 – Post-Release

Overview

Each release will never be standalone; it will always be inextricably connected to the past and future releases. Following up on each publication/mini-campaign/event has to be the standard procedure to ensure the vitality and continuity of the project.

Key actions to be taken:

  • Mailing List – All new emails will be imported to the correct lists and tagged accordingly.
  • Email Follow Up – The event attendees, bloggers, collaborators and other human elements of the campaign will be contacted in a casual fashion right after the completion of each activity, as a kind gesture that shows appreciation, nurturing the ground for more in the future.
  • Media to Share – Specific hashtags need to be deployed on Facebook and Twitter, as a media accumulator for all the participants to share their stuff and identify/connect with each other.
  • Monitoring – Social media will be scanned for reactions or conversations on the activities, so we can respond to any complaints/positive word of mouth and take part in the conversation occurring.

The full report can be found at: www.TommyDarker.com/Realistic-Plan

Do you want a beautiful marketing plan?
Feel free to adapt the current marketing plan on your own and use it as a template.
However, if you’d like to hire me to create a beautiful marketing plan for you, get in touch with me.

Comments

  • Wons Phreely

    I just went to sidesteps facebook page, there is 4 people talking about them, doesn’t that mean this whole campaign failed?

  • Hi Wons,

    Glad you noticed that. I’m taking my time, changing what I’m offering as a music act. I will focus on the theatrical experience, not just music. That means that I stopped updating the online presence, since I won’t be talking about the same things that I used to. Different brand in other words.

    As an artist, sometimes it’s good to re-evaluate situations. Especially when you’re small and not a lot of people will be put off. And nobody tells you not to.

    Liked the music though?

    Best,
    // Tommy

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  • Awesome testimony. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kayla Skipper

    This is absolutely amazing :) Will definitely be on the lookout for anything else you share!

  • Xhanti

    How do you then cost this plan?