What is a Fan Funnel & How Can Musicians Use Them

The race to massive followings online is still ongoing but for musicians they do not need to pay attention to these numbers (much). In order to really nurture a worthwhile Instagram following that will be of use to you, you must go through the motions of learning how to find your audience and what you can get out of it. Having a small number of dedicated, loyal fans who enjoy following you and actually convert to purchase from you is a lot more of an asset than tens of thousands of random inactive ‘fans’.

When it comes to your social media channels, more importantly Instagram; there are essentially 3 main end goals. Firstly, when you’re working towards upping your reach and visibility, what is your end goal here? For instance, if I’m going into a business meeting, I always go in with my end goal in mind. I know what it is I want to accomplish. Having an agenda will help me to accomplish what it is I went in to get. Winging it in any circumstances will always reap less rewards than if you were to be strong minded in your approach to your end goals. The same applies to your social media strategy… 

So what is it that you want to achieve with your time and effort using Instagram as a professional platform?

  1. You need to build your fanbase and grow your follower numbers

  2. You need to ‘nurture’ your following – engage and interact

  3. You need to convert your followers over to paid customers – the end goal of any business is to produce the dollars, right?

Using social media platforms is essentially a communication portal where you give your value and message. Your value is your music, it’s your brand. For musicians this means either your streaming platforms and your personal website. Your content is your voice and your social media is the loudspeaker addressing the masses. Each of your channels should have a different tone of voice and showcase different sides to your personality. It could even be that you segment your brand to communicate different areas of your business. 

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Your products and how you generate income will come from your website in the form of merchandise, show tickets, playlists, streaming channels, etc. The way that you can drive traffic to your website in order to achieve sales is mostly down to social media in today’s market. And it’s not about getting the most followers, it’s about actually converting fans to buyers. Because that’s how you make money, right?

Structuring your social media correctly and treating it as a business is the first switch you need to make. Building a community around your brand takes some trial and error to find what works specifically for your audience but you must be committed to giving time and resources to this. It’s not a commitment that everybody is willing or able to do but if you’re in this for the long haul, it’s an imperative part of the process.

Getting to understand the bigger picture of your business, music and brand is key to learning how to operate your musician life as an income generator. To really get to  know how to do this, we’ll be covering something called ‘Funnels’ – a marketing term for the steps it takes to lure in customers, direct them somewhere, inform them of something and aim to lead them to purchasing your product(s). A fan funnel for musicians is the journey you want the audience to tkae and get to know you, you’re in charge of this journey – this is what it looks like:

Attention/Attract – your audience & interest in your products(s)

Engage – give your followers valuable conversations and answers to questions

Convert – take a follower and convert them to a purchaser of your product(s)

Retain – keep the converted purchaser interested and buying more

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Attention/Attract can be done through performing live, doing shows, partnering with influencers, doing interviews, etc. These are activities that you have control over. Perhaps the results aren’t in your hands but you hold the key to how much work and effort you put in to the different activities – consistency in testing different approaches is best here.

Engagement is when you’ve already got the attention of your fans and you want to build up a community/family vibe. Responding and engaging to followers online is a crucial step to converting a fan to a customer. It usually takes around 7 interactions with a brand to build enough trust to actually make a transaction. Through content marketing you’ll be presenting yourself/brand consistently which will begin to build that trust. Getting loyalty from fans is the first step in converting. And, of course, your casual fans will be drawn in by the interactivity of an active conversation happening in the comments sections.

Convert your casual fans over to actual buying customers. If you are just starting a business you need to start making money. Social media can be a great help with this. Your voice and personality comes in to play hugely here. Giving more of you rather than relentlessly selling something is super important – a step that a lot of musician’s miss out. Giving your followers lots of content that is not directly selling them something is where you begin to convert them. Capturing their email address in return for something free is a fantastic way to get round this. It is a way to speak personally to somebody, and it is scalable, once you’ve given them the value for free first. 

Retain is where your superfans are born. These are the guys that will always listen to your music and frequent your sites and purchase. When you start growing your fanbase and you are seeing people coming back and buying more things it’s time to start thinking of different products and what other value you can give to these super fans. It’s much easier to get a repeat customer than it is to get a new one. Think of ways to get them running back to you. Look at Deadmau5 [LINK] – he set up a subscription based service for his superfans!

Finding success in the online world is just a formula and the X factor is the quality of your content. As a musician, being creative is in your bones. It’s what you do. Adjusting to this new world of being a musician with all of the marketing and content is a necessary evil to create a successful business. All you need is a system to be creative around and this is what I am giving to you. How can you being to plan for this?

Create the content with these AECR methods (or many of the similar marketing models that use different abbreviations) in mind and think creatively about the steps involved. There iis a rule to content and that is that only about 20% of your content should be actively trying to sell and convert. That means 80% of it just needs to bring value. Now, what does this mean? Well, what do you have to share that is relevant about you and your identity as well as the process of making music? Bring value through your content. Let the audience get to know you, and get to know your process. Plan, plan, plan.

When planning for content you need to be consistent across your channels, while keeping that different tone of voice on different platforms, that gives the user a different experience to visit each of them. 

Please start having an agenda and an end goal with your channels, and the activities you are doing there. Stop WINGING it! Because you are responsible for your fan’s journey and leading them through the funnel of getting to know you as a musician and a brand. And how do you want that journey to look like? I sure as hell want my fans’ journey to be as valuable as possible, so by the time they reach the transaction step, they are HAPPY to give me their money and I have built enough trust through my channels and content. 

Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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