Build Raving Fans: What the Music Industry Can Teach You About Inspiring Loyalty

As a business owner, there are few assets that are more valuable than raving fans. By this, I mean customers that aren’t just satisfied with your business—but that are so happy with it that they can’t stop telling family, friends, and others about you. From a marketing standpoint, this is as good as it gets—even the best-produced TV commercial or the most impressive website can’t influence consumers like a glowing recommendation from someone they personally know.

This sounds great, right—but how can you actually make it happen? This is the first in a two-part series in which we will take a look at proven strategies for generating raving fans and creating loyalty. Where will we pull these strategies from? You guessed it… the music industry. As someone who is deeply involved in the music business as well as more “traditional” business, I witnessed firsthand how strategies that work for musicians can work for your business, too. So here we go…

1) Make fans (customers) feel like insiders. This is particularly true for bands that are just starting out and trying to build a fan base. I tell them all the time that the best thing they can do is make their fans feel like members of the band. The same is true of your business. Let customers get a glimpse behind the scenes from time to time. Sharing pictures on social media is one great way to do this.

2) Develop your own unique “thing.” Lady Gaga is notorious for her creative outfits and stagecraft. When Justin Bieber broke out, it seemed that his haircut was at least as important as his musical ability. What is your “thing”? What can you do to make your business stand out from the crowd? There are many different ways to answer this question—a catchy name for your business, a dynamite personal brand, or even a one of a kind product or service are all ways to differentiate from the crowd.

3) Cultivate relationships with other professionals. One thing that I can say with certainty: it is very hard to succeed in the music industry without the right relationships. And the industry is a relatively small and insulated community—so aspiring musicians must be very careful not to burn any bridges. The same is true in your area. Make an effort to build strong relationships with professionals and fellow business owners… because you never know when knowing the right person could make all the difference.

4) Don’t be afraid to grow. Change is scary. But in business, as in the music industry, the failure to change eventually results in obsolesce. Justin Bieber’s recent “evolution” comes to mind. His re-branding as an adult may have ruffled some feathers and saddened some fans… but the cost for not evolving would have been much worse. Your business can’t afford to stand still—you should always be searching for opportunities to innovate and improve.

Check back soon for part two, where I’ll break down three more lessons from the music industry that can be applied to your business!