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How To Really Sell CDs Online
By Chris Standring

I'm about to tell you a new and highly effective way to sell CDs online from your own website. Listen up because I usually put this stuff into an ebook and sell it for gobs of dough, but frankly I haven't got time to write a book right now. However, I do want to share this knowledge with you because it works. The question is, how serious are you about your career? because if you don't have any real commitment and focus then no amount of articles and tips you read will help you. But if you want to rise to the occasion. Read on...

Unlike other motivators, gurus or success coaches, I will never give you academic theories, untried or untested ideas. On the contrary, in fact, the only ideas I will share with you will be those that I have personally tried out and had success with. That's why I get excited, because I see results, and mostly they are light bulb moments. "Why on earth didn't I think of that before?" is usually the afterthought.

Over the last seven years I have had an enormous amount of success both as a musician and as an Internet marketer. I say that not to brag, but because I want you to to know that if I can do it, then so can you. We are living in a new age. Truly, the geek will inherit the earth. I guarantee that only the proactive 'details oriented', 'out-of-the-box-thinkers' will really have success over the next few years. Watch if you don't believe me.

OK, so where do we start? Do you have a website? Good. Do you have a web designer? If so, he or she must read this because for the most part web designers are not Internet marketers, they make pretty web pages. If you do your own web work (and I highly recommend that you learn), all the better.

I am now going to propose to you that you now have two websites dedicated to your band or act, instead of just one. First, you must have your 'calling card' website. You know, your site at www.yourdomain.com that contains all the good basic info about you that fans can read. I'll talk about the other site in a moment.

Ideally visitors should be finding your main website from a ton of inbound links from other sites. Rather than just getting any old link from another site to point to you, do all that you can to get a 'golden' link. By this I mean a highly visible link on a highly trafficked page. Do a joint venture if needs be by promoting their site from yours and so on. But get good solid substantial links from other sites whose demographic would be interested in you. Ask those questions!

If you want to score high in the search engines, make sure that other sites display your keyword in their anchor text. In other words, if you want to score high in Google when someone searches on 'punk bands', then make sure that that keyword is in the anchor text of the inbound link. (More on this in huge detail in the Indie Artist DIY Smartkit).

OK, now you have a steady flow of traffic to your website. Of course you need to make the site fascinating and seductive. Here's what you need to understand about your site;

The only reason you have a website online is to collect names and email addresses so you can direct market to your fans!

Sure you want to tell them where and when you will be playing, show them photos etc. But effectively, you do this by direct marketing through email, forming a personal relationship with your fans one by one. And they will love you for it. More on this in a sec.

So the trick now is to figure out how to capture a new visitor. How do you seduce them into your lair? so to speak. Once you have a committed, interested new fan, you can turn this new person into a purchaser, and if you do it right, a fan who will purchase from you time and time again. You do want to make money as a musician, right?

So the secret is getting them to give you their name and email address so your automated system can do the rest. Enter the second website I was just telling you about...

The second website is what we can refer to as a 'Member's Area". Most commercial or corporate online sites that have a member's area charge a recurring fee to be admitted. You however, are not going to do that. Your member's area will be absolutely free. All they have to do is subscribe. When they subscribe, they get access to this other site (which can be all part of the same domain) and of course you then have autoresponders set up so you can, over the course of a period of time (usually about 2 weeks), seduce them into buying from you. Works like a charm. Read on...

OK, so this member's area sounds really cold and lifeless doesn't it? Doesn't even sound particularly interesting. This is where you have to put on your creative hat. Don't call it a member's area. Personally, I call mine "Backstage", but you could call it anything you like. How about "V.I.P. Only". Or "Private Invite Only". Imagine you are opening a really hip new nightclub and you want only a certain style of person there. Imagine a selective New York nightclub where there is always a line outside and only the beautiful and famous people get to come in. By the way, did you know that there is never usually a need for a line outside a nightclub? How many times have you lined up for half an hour, then been admitted and walked into a half full club? The club is creating a perception that they are extremely popular. But no, all clubs do it because it makes them look good. Adopt this way of thinking for your website. Make it a real 'inside thing'. Kind of like you have to know somebody to get in. There is a website called www.smallworld.com who have successfully done this, and everybody of course is clamoring to be a part of this highly exclusive place. It is brilliant marketing.

So think about this other new site of yours. What do you call it? How will it be? What do fans have to do to get in? Think about this. It's your world. Make it fascinating and exclusive. Then build this other member's site and make it something folks want to come back to. The truth is, you now have their contact info so it almost doesn't matter to you what they do, but you do want them to remain in your world, so think about what you could do to grab their attention. I'll give you some ideas.

Your main website will have all the basic stuff like; About you, bio, photos, tour info, subscribe to newsletter, blah blah blah. All good stuff. But this other private site of yours has to contain highly personal, intimate and fascinating stuff that fans can pore over, that they can't get from your main site. In short, there has to be a seductive and 'slam dunk' reason why a visitor would give up their contact info. Let's face it, with spam issues, it takes a lot these days. Here are a few ideas.

We are living in a youtube world right now. There is every reason to make videos and it's easy to do, and dirt cheap. So...

  • Have a band member shoot video of you before and after gigs, hanging out, sound checking, chatting to fans, doing stupid and embarrassing stuff. Make youtube videos and embed them on your VIP member's site.

  • Make audio interviews for fans to click on.

  • Have a photos library and build it over time.

  • Have a reading room where fans can read glowing (and not so glowing) reviews of your albums and shows.

  • Have a band blog or message board where fans can personally interact. Make all band members participate. Build personal relationships with your fans.

  • Give away free music.

  • Think of anything else fun and creative that fans would want to see in your private room online.
If you are the meek or mild type,you know, all introverted and shy and bashful. Here's what I have to say to you; Turn that around pal, because you have to be larger than life! Fans want it that way. They want stars and they want to put their stars on pedestals and worship them. Even if you feel a little insecure in this department, do not translate that online. BE LARGER THAN LIFE! The reason I say this is because you have to be confident enough to think that your fans actually want to know more about you.

OK finally, you have completed your private member's room. On your original website (www.yourname.com) you are going to coax your visitors to your private site area. You can do this on every page of your original website. You can see this whole marketing process on my personal site at www.chrisstandring.com and you can see my "Backstage" private VIP area at www.chrisstandring.com/backstage
This whole private member's area is an intriguing idea for visitors because up until now, most bands offer things like "Subscribe to our newsletter so we can tell you where and when we are playing". Is this enough anymore? Absolutely not. We have to be creative.

And what do you do when you have your new fan's contact information? You set up a series of autoresponders that do all the work for you. What this essentially means is, a series of emails written by you personally that gets sent out over a period of time that you specify. Once a week over a period of say 7 weeks, seems to work. You set up these emails like newsletters where you talk about different things your band is doing, or has done. Mostly over time you are going to talk about your CD(s) that you want them to know all about and of course preview and finally buy. Anytime you have something new to tell your fans, you send out a broadcast email. Whenever your new CD comes out, you have a growing list of subscribers to sell it to. Direct targeted online marketing. This is the world you now live in.


This stuff isn't going to happen for you overnight, but it will happen, and you can sell a lot of albums if you do it right. Go get 'em!

About The Author: Chris Standring is the CEO and founder of A&R Online (www.aandronline.com). He is also a contemporary jazz guitarist presently signed to Ultimate Vibe Recordings. For more info on Chris' recording career go to his personal website at www.chrisstandring.com


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