Whether you’ve been in the music retail business for decades or are launching a new company, you need a solid marketing plan. But here’s something that’s not music to your ears: 22% of small business owners are unhappy with their marketing return on investment (ROI), and another 40% are unsure whether they’re getting any ROI at all from their existing plan.


Octave Media specializes in helping music retailers develop effective marketing strategies, so we felt compelled to offer some free marketing help to support your business. Here’s an intro to all kinds of helpful marketing tips and ideas – from basic marketing principles to more specific, tech-fueled tactics for today’s online music sellers. Feel free to steal these ideas in your pursuit of success.


The Absolute Basics of Music Marketing

Your marketing plan will be incomplete if it doesn’t address some basic Marketing 101 principles. Feel free to skip ahead if you’re already a marketing master, but it’s always good to review the basics and make sure you have your bases covered.


First, it’s important to keep in mind that marketing isn’t just about sales/promotion, although many professionals view it that way. Promotion is just one of the four big strategies marketing encompasses, often called the marketing mix or The Four Ps of marketing:


Product – What you’re selling

Price – The amount you charge

Place – Where people can buy it

Promotion – How people hear about you


The marketing mix is inherently focused on the customer’s needs and wants. The end goal of any marketing plan is to drive customer satisfaction, which involves customer relationship management, or CRM, and guiding each person along a customer journey.


Have you ever heard of the marketing funnel? Here’s where it comes into play. The customer journey is about moving people downward through a funnel of increasing enthusiasm for your business, starting with mild interest and ending with them becoming one of your biggest fans and repeat customers. Part of the goal of your marketing plan is to keep this funnel flowing smoothly and consistently.


As a final word about the basics of marketing, let’s look at the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing, because those are some common buzzwords you’ll encounter.


Outbound marketing is essentially the same thing as traditional advertising. It’s a push approach to marketing, where the business blasts out its message and hopes to push people toward brand recognition and buying. TV ads and billboards are examples.


Inbound marketing woos people by capitalizing on human behavior. It’s a pull approach that offers helpful, tempting information in exchange for people’s attention. Search engine optimization and keyword-filled blog posts are associated with inbound marketing.


A Marketing Reference Guide for Music Businesses

From here, a marketing plan can expand to be as simple or complex as you desire. To keep things organized, here’s a roundup of further topics to explore, with some short descriptions to guide you along.


A Quick Guide to Inbound Marketing for Music Retail & Brands

This handy guide to inbound marketing is small, but packed with ideas you can put into action for your music business immediately. Learn how to combat the new “do not call” attitude of 200 million music customers, using inbound strategies.


A Music Retailer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

If you don’t speak the language of SEO, learn it quickly with this guide. It’s tailor-made for music retailers and helps you put a solid SEO strategy into place for your business.


Why Keyword Planning is Important for Music Retailers

Whether you’re a novice or expert at keyword planning, you’ll find productivity tips here. Learn how to drill deep into the internet to find the best keywords for your music company, which leads to higher search engine ranking. Hint: The keyword “music” isn’t as great as it sounds.


What Visual and Video Search Mean for Music Retail and Brands

Did you know visual and video search are the Googling of the future? Learn more about how music brands can use emerging search technologies to their advantage – without getting bogged down by the technical details.


10 Ways Music Retailers (and Brands) Can be Better Bloggers

Starting or running a music blog can be very rewarding, and also very time-consuming. Done right, it drives traffic for your business. Make sure you’re getting the most out of blogging by doing these 10 things.


5 of the Best Music Retail Brands and What You Can Learn From Them

Wondering what the best music retailers are doing right? Find out here. Experts from the industry share their insider tips.


Social Media Accounts for Music Businesses: How Important are They?

If you’re debating about whether to start, abandon, or ramp up your social media presence, don’t do anything until you read this informative guide. Spoiler alert: Social media is critical to your success.


Music Retailer Event Ideas: Host, Join, and Go Online

Is events marketing part of your plan? It should be. Events are helping small and local music retailers drive new audience and sales. This guide to music retail events will help with brainstorming your next great event.


Building Solid Connections with Young, Local Musicians

Improve your marketing to a youth audience with this helpful guide, which shows how to turn young musicians into lifelong customers.


Build Credibility as Educational Experts

How is your reputation? Is your music brand viewed as an authority on education? Learn more with this helpful guide that explores the intersection between music education and brand reputation.


Driving Sales Through Niche Audiences

Ensure your marketing messages are reaching niche audiences with this series of audience-focused guides:

Music and the Power of Moms

How to Build Relationships With Churches

Is it Time to Reconsider Your Rent/Buy Relationships?

How’s Your Reputation With DJ’s?


Template for Buyer Personas

Buyer personas help you understand and reach your best customers. Use this free template to develop buyer personas, even if you’re not an expert at marketing.


20 Free Ideas to Promote Your Music Business

Sometimes your wellspring of promo ideas slows to a trickle. Give your marketing strategy a boost with this helpful list of 20 fresh promotion ideas for music retailers and brands.


Free Marketing Strategy Templates

These free templates will help you create and maintain a solid marketing strategy. They’re perfect for all kinds of music retailers, brands, and online sellers.


Behind the Backline Podcast

If you prefer a listening format, follow the Behind the Backline podcast, which explores music gear, tech, and trends that help you understand your audience from the inside out.


5-Point Music Marketing Website Inspection

Wondering how your website stacks up to your competitors’? Octave Media offers a free 5-point inspection that reveals your web strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for more success.


Is your mind exploding with new marketing ideas? We hope this intro to marketing has been helpful to you and will take your business to the next level. For more help with developing a solid music marketing plan, connect with Octave Media, the music marketing experts.



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