DIY Marketing: The Necessity of Understanding and Building Your Audience

Regardless of your sound, style, or genre, it is essential that you understand your audience. Otherwise, it'll be difficult for you to reach out to people who like your music. Marilyn Manson has never played an open mic in a small town Baptist church, nor should he (probably).


Go in faith to love and serve rock n roll

Go in faith to love and serve rock n roll

Successful artists have a concrete understanding of their fan base. In order to identify your audience, you must first identify yourself.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What is my sound?
  • What is my vision?
  • What motivates me?
  • Why am I different?
  • Why should anyone listen to me?


I'm the best thing to come out of my Grandma's Suburb. Now what?

Ok, cool, now that you know who you are, it's time to figure out who your audience is.

One of the best ways to do this is to identify the demographics of who your audience is.

There are several primary demographics that can include:

  • age
  • gender
  • socio-economic status
  • location
  • political affiliation

At first, the majority of your following will be your friends or family, but it is still important to recognize who is listening to your music. Identifying who responds well to your music will help you make decisions such as where to play, where your music should be advertised, and where you should be selling your music.


Expanding Your Audience

When it comes to marketing, no marketing campaign is more effective than a grassroots campaign. These typically consist of DIY or free methods such as using social media, word-of-mouth, and establishing relationships within your community. You want to build up a solid fanbase that loves your music so much they'll rave about you to everyone they know.

So, give your brand personality.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” (Simon Sinek).

Tell your fans, or better yet, SHOW them why you do the things you do.

If you wrote your album while battling an addiction, create a post that speaks out about it and offers ways to get help. If you lost your job in the middle of dropping your release, tell your fans about how you overcame it and came out on top. 

Using Social Media

Make your content digestible, available, and accessible. Social media platforms are great ways to reach your fans for free (and are great for analytics).

A few ways to make the most out of your social media pages are to:

  • Link your artist profiles and streaming platforms.
  • Be consistent. You should post 3-4 times a week regularly.
  • Keep your branding consistent. This means having the same name on all social media accounts and making sure they're all consistent with each other. 
  • Create content! Push music videos if you have them. Push samples of your music that will drive traffic to your website or a streaming platform.

Develop a concrete, consistent brand but at the same time don't worry so much about being perfect.  The artist's biggest downfall is often broad-stroke idealism.

You will continue to grow and develop as an artist. Your image will evolve as your presence grows. Your audience is as fluid as it is diverse. By the time you get to Madison Square Garden your sound will have changed, and your audience may have changed along with it. 


Back to the Basics

If you are utilizing these methods, but still having trouble connecting with your audience, go back to the basics and do these 3 things:

1) Hone Your Craft: Practice, practice, practice. There's no point in marketing your music if it isn't good. You've gotta give the people what they want! And what they want is good music.

2) Put Yourself Out There: No one will ever hear about you if you keep it to yourself. Tell your grandma, tell your neighbors, tell your congressman. 

3) Be Passionate: If you're not passionate about your music, no one else will be. Share the latest developments in the band with your friends, let people know about upcoming shows, put your soul into your music. Passion is what will draw your audience in.     

Follow these steps and watch your fanbase grow!


Created by Tim Holder, Cat Family's Marketing Director Who is Definitely Not a Robot.

Charles Bell