Wednesday, October 27, 2010


As a independent artist most of you attend regular conferences  to expand your network, learn about emerging trends, book your events, or gain sponsorship opportunities.   SXSW,  ASCAP Award Expo, NACA, Folk Alliance, NAMM show are just a few examples of big national conferences  where individuals are clamoring for attention & recognition.   

In  Networking at a business conference we discussed things you can do to best prepare for the conference.

 Did you have a compelling “pitch” that resulting in full showcases?  Or meet someone that DID?
(if not, this is essential part of your business strategy that you must do well to have success).   Think back on what folks told you “they do” The #1 way to get peoples attention is to  ask yourself

What can I do for them? 
Did you find out why people attended the conference, notice any differences or similarities, or something that you felt worked REALLY well?  If you are terrified of talking to strangers.
Just start with HI, my name is_____  invite them to join your table for dinner, or sit down and have a drink,   people that are super “in demand” sometimes appreciate having a  little break from the maddening crowd during a multi day conference.

After a introduction, I like to  ask WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU? 

People are human, and EVERYONE needs something-  & often when I ask this question it is a simple act of consideration that changes the dynamic of the conversation.

IF  THEY ASK what you do,  have 1-3 lines (concisely telling them what you do* and what time your next showcase is)   then SHUT UP.  *DO NOT give your products to people unless they ask for it. Unless your goal is to immediately turn them off and have your product thrown in the trash.   ONLY give them a cd or product IF THEY ASK FOR IT.  & Make sure and collect their business  card before they leave, and make any notes about your chat.  (you are at a conference it’s ok to take notes!)

Add your contacts to your contact list:
Before you call it a night input all the names and contact info to your contact database (Use excel or a simple spreadsheet software) this is a separate list from your monthly newsletter / performance schedule.  
Organize them by region, or Booking Agent,  Venue Owner, DJ,  Publicist, Collaborative Partner, Artist, etc.

After the Conference:        Where the real work begins!
Send them 1 SHORT email within a week of the conference simply thanking them for meeting them- In your note, you can remind them that they are the person that also loves the Matrix movies, and traveling to far away lands). 

Additionally, was there anyone at the conference who helped you out?   They also get a thank you note!!!  Remember, you are developing your professional network, Treat people like you want to be treated,  when someone does you a favor, THANK THEM, and by adding the personal note you will stand out as the considerate, and a reminder of  the context of your conversation with them.

 Make sure your email signature at the end of your note  is SIMPLE:

Your Name (first and last) a phone number and your web site URL.  (they already have your email, you just sent them a email note!)    Do not include lengthy quotes,  multi links to all your social media sites (if you want to be perceived as a pro).  The 1st sign you are a rookie is having  4 links to various social networking sites.
If you want to be treated like a professional- read: Get your own website

THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU,   Do not sell yourself, just say THANK YOU
Do not bombard them with follow up emails every week, you are 1 of thousands of people they have met.  If you have done your homework and prepared, finish your conference with your thank you’s.
 I find that MOST artists neglect this important follow up step.  You want to be remembered as the the thoughtful, professional artist, that THEY want to work with.

Creating you pitch and to professionally pitch and present yourself like anything else requires refinement and practice, If you are not cultivating good leads, or getting work following attending events you can work with a business strategist that can HELP YOU succeed in the evolving art / entertainment business community. 

Artists ready to get started?  You can contact Tamra at:
 "Providing business solutions for creative minds"

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Being connected to your fans is ESSENTIAL.  They are the individuals that spend their hard earned cash on you or your band by buying directly from you.

It is not enough for them to love your music, fans want to feel like they have a intimate relationship with you, and you need to develop that if you want our career to grow!

Your email & email management tools are a powerful free or low cost solution that when used correctly can create and  grow your relationship with your fans.
*Note: select a management tool that allows YOU to control the email addresses (you can input and delete them as you need to) AND if the platform goes away you still have access to your fan email list.

Here are 5 quick tips  to connect and grow your fanbase that you can start using TODAY.

Email Services: 

Reverb Nation Fan Reach  is a great low cost solution that allows you to control (you own the email addresses and can export them) The only downside to this is that you have to wait 48 hrs for the added emails to be included in your group but at this writing it is $9.95 a month and very easy to use

 Constant Contact  is another popular service used by many. Slightly more expensive starting at $15.99 a month at this writing.

My Newsletter Builder  is another great low cost solution that I recommend.

Before you send out a fan email, send a test email to you and your band members to see how it looks. Fix any issues before sending.
1.    Bands (and not management or interns) should always write their own emails to be authentic.
2.    Noon Eastern time on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday is the ideal time to send broadcast emails to your fans, as people are at work across the US and Europe.
The ideal frequency of emails to fans is about every 2 to 4 weeks, with updates on your tour, merch and music announcements.
Your fan email lists are gold and building them up is huge! Collect emails and zip codes from your fans at shows or ask for them in exchange for a free download

3.    Sell email exclusive package offerings around holidays such as  Halloween, December Holidays, or create a special event, just give a free download in exchange for an email.
4.    In each email, make sure you have direct and separate links to buy merch, buy tour tickets and buy music. Don’t be afraid to have a big “Buy” button in the email.
5.    Send an email to fans in a city you just played in and thank them for their support. Have a local connection in your email to those fans and tell them what you did in or thought about their city besides your show.

If you are interested in learning some exciting additional ways to grow your fan base & business, then 
let's get together!
 I provide "Business Solutions for Creative Minds" and I want to help YOU be as successful as possible with your art!

 Part of D.I.Y. Artist success series:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Get your own Web Site!



To compete seriously in any business you must have a web site.
This is ground  zero for all of your creative content.  AND, the spot where your customers and fans all connect with you.  

Do you think that having a myspace or facebook fan page is enough?
 Ask yourself do you own all the email address to the 3,700 fans you have on Myspace? No ?  Imagine if the platform goes away  (So will all of your contacts).

Converting visitors to customers
 A high quality web site reflects your knowledge of your customers and their needs, by reflecting your products and services and how it speaks to your customers needs. to convert your visitors into customers.

Where do I start?

Your about to select one of the most important member of your team-
Who’s work is going to have a direct effect on your marketing, sales, & upcoming events or promotions.   You want to insure that this team member is the right person for the job.

In the Web Site world you will be talking to Designers or Developers (or if your really lucky a perfect blend of BOTH).

It will help you find the right person if you understand what the difference between a Web Developer or a Web Designer

Web Designer

Web design typically refers to the process of designing a web site or web page layout and often includes the graphical elements on a page. The design can be developed using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop, and provides the framework for the look and feel of a web page.
Often, web design and development firms use the term "web design" to refer to the entire development of a web site because it is the most commonly recognized term in the marketplace.

Web Development
Web development is typically used to described the programming code required to construct the "back end" of a website. The back end is the area of the site that isn't seen by visitors, but which does the work required in order to present the right information in the correct format to the visitors.
Ideally when hiring your web person you want them  to have the ability to capture outstanding design and layout as well as have a development platform that is easy for them to update content to keep pace with your current projects, While providing  you with access to  analytics to track and analyse your web traffic.

Stay Away From:

Offers to host, register, and house your domain by the designer/developer. if you decided to use another web designer / developer good luck getting your domain / service.
Web sites designed in FLASH or Frames formats- They are invisible to people searching on mobile devices and invisible to search engines and limit your reporting capability since they cannot index properly. 


Domains / Hosting

A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative authority, or control in the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).

You want to always maintain control (own) your web site domain

Many web site owners let their web designer register their domain name for them. In some cases, the web designer lists themselves as the owner and main contact and the real web site owner can not move to new hosting or make changes without the permission of the web designer.
1) Go to whois source   type in the domain you are interested in using and see if it is available. 
- Use your name or brand with a .com extension, no one is going to find you under “thinga ma unless that is you / your products name that you will be marketing.
2) Where to go to register your domain name.   Although services like receive lots of promotion there have been numerous claims that their customers service, Security, and system reliability are questionable.   I have used IX Webhosting for a number of years and find them very affordable and reliable.  (ask who your collegues use and recommend)  You can expect to spend approx $10 / mo.  Do yourself a favor and simply buy a two year domain hosting (if you let your domain expire, it is up for grabs and individuals buy up website and sell them at a profit (yup there is a whole business in this)
Hosting is often offered in bundles with your domains Your interested in lots of storage and can get the domain / hosting package together for simplicity.

It is critical to your Internet marketing program that you know how well your web site is doing.

Good quality hosting companies will provide you with these statistics as part of your package.
A decent quality statistics package should track the following statistics.
Number of unique visitors.
Number of page views.
How many visitors are from search engines and what key words
they used to find you.
      How many people come from country domains such as .ca
(Canada), .de (Germany) or .uk (England).
     What search engines have visited recently.
What pages of your site are most popular.  What web sites refer traffic to you?
Who Own’s the Site?
You pay for the web site so you own it, right?
Online web designer contracts I found contain a clause like this:
Copyright to the finished web design site produced by [web design company] will be owned by [web design company]. The Client will be assigned rights to use the Web Design Project as a web site, once final payment under this agreement and any additional charges incurred have been paid. Rights to photos, graphics, source code, work-up files, and computer programs are specifically not transferred to the Client, and remain the property of their respective owners.

Many web designers and programmers feel that the creative work they do on your web site is copyrighted by them and that they retain an ownership right.
So they just license it to you to use without giving you the original files so you can make changes yourself later or change designers. This is especially true in cases of programming code where

To protect yourself, ensure that your contract with your web designer includes who owns the web site and all its componants, including source code of any programming and that you retain the right to change designers and hosting.
This is always EXPENSIVE and time consuming (just steer away from it). Unless you have a detailed layout of cost, time, and what type of bugs / downtime you can expect as a result of this work.
This is always EXPENSIVE and time consuming (just steer away from it).

E Commerce:

Most successful web sites let visitors buy right online.       You can easily add e-commerce capability to your web site using 1ShoppingCart or PayPal.
1ShoppingCart is a secure web-based shopping cart that can be added to any site. Features include e-commerce capability with over 150 merchant service providers, an upsell module, an electronic coupon and discount module, unlimited auto responders, broadcast e-mail, newsletter management, affiliate tracking and management, ad/revenue tracking, digital delivery system to deliver e-books and software, survey forms and a pop up wizard.
It will work with most credit card merchant services systems, including PayPal or you can use it to capture orders and process them manually if you prefer.
PayPal offers a low cost method of letting people pay by credit card or from their bank account online. They also offer a free, basic shopping cart that you can add to any web site.
If your designer is adding e-commerce to your site, make sure you know which system they are using, and the pricing and features. Make sure you own the software being used or are the registered owner of the service.

Can I Update my own Web Site?
I strongly discourage self updates.  You are paying a designer to retain a DESIGN and content continuity.  Limit your contributions to feeds to your calendar page, your blog, Twitter feeds, or photo streams you add to your site.
Sites that are ‘self authored’ look home made (and not in a good way) a mile away. If you are seeking a professional look and feel.  Have a professionally written bio and content.

SITE CONTENT RECOMMENDATIONS  (specific recommendations may be made depending upon your sites focus).

SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK / PRODUCT:  Music, Videos, Photos & a Storefront  to purchase your products or service.
TESTIMONIALS:  This is the #1 way to get more work. word of mouth from your current & prior customers! *also include links to their sites to link back to you!
EMAIL / CONTACT: Always allow your customers the ability to sign up for a mailing list (even if your only posting a monthly calendar of events).  As well as letting potential customers email you for booking / work- requests.   Go to Tamra Engle's Contact page for a good example of how your page should look.
I have also included a GET INVOLVED and COMMUNITY page to showcase other projects / networks I am involved in.


Here are some tips to help you choose the right one.

1.   Who’s web site do you love? Look at other artist/ businesses that compete in your industry, what designs are used? Do you like any of them?  If so, scroll to the bottom of the web page and click on the link of the designer that did the work on the sight.
2.   Review their portfolio of web sites they have done to make sure their style is what you are looking for.
3.   If you like what you see email them and tell them you would like to schedule a consultation to design a new site, as them if you can have references from clients that are in your line of work.
4.   Contact some of their previous clients and ask them:
 a. Are they happy with their work? b. Was it on time and on budget? c. Were there any surprises or problems?
d. Did they receive all the access information needed for the web site, hosting and tools used?
  1. Ask for a copy of their web site services contract to ensure the terms and conditions meet your approval.  Yes you CAN negotiate terms!
  2. Know what you want!  (if you like the texture of  this page, or these colors, pictures, logos) these are all decisions that have to be made  create a document with links  or pictures to all the “details” that you want to incorporate so your web person can better determine the scope of work for the project.

Your contract with your web designer should clearly state:

·      Ownership of the site, graphics, pictures, programming and any tools used.
·      A requirement that you have copies of all access instructions, IDs and passwords and that you have the capability of changing them after the project.
·      How much you will pay and when you will pay it. The payment schedule should also state what the payment is based on. For example, you might set up the payment structure so that each payment is based upon certain key components being finished and approved.
·      Who will be doing the work and if portions of the work will be subcontracted. It should also be clear what your responsibilities are to any subcontractor.
·      How extra charges will be handled or approved.
·      How often they will report to you and what will be reported.

A web site is a serious marketing investment with great potential.

Many web site owners pass off the web site to their designers and then don’t pay attention to the project.
When this happens, it is  easy for the project to get off track. To make sure you project stays on track:

·  Stay involved. Be in regular contact with your designer so that you can quickly correct misunderstandings and remove obstacles to the project’s success.

·  Do your part. Make sure you get any material needed by the designer to them on time so that you are not holding the project up.

·  Get weekly reports. Agree upon a reporting system via phone and in writing where you are regularly updated as to progress and quickly made aware of potential problems.

·  Keep it Simple: Clean & Simple- your web site should remove any objections to people doing business with you. Allowing your customers to get what they need in 1 or 2 clicks, and not direct people AWAY from your site *unless it is to buy something of yours.

If you are ready to make the leap into the world of the world wide web and want your site to be top quality, and you need help insuring the success of one of your top marketing tools drop me a note here:

Tamra Engle's Contact page   I can help you insure your content is top notch and help you get started in building a top notch team to insure your success!

Tamra Engle is a performing songwriter and business strategist who offers business solutions for creative minds to help them succeed in the evolving music and entertainment industries.

Garland Coulson    
TierraTech Corporation

Saturday, October 9, 2010




STARTING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS                                        October 2010

Independent artists everywhere are having to use tools and techniques that they perhaps didn’t consider to achieve commercial success with their art.
Whether physical paintings, sculptures, books, poetry, songs, if your hope is to have audience to purchase your work, then you need to start thinking of your self as not just a artist, but a small business owner.
In today’s economic climate regardless of where you live,  thousands  are considering or being forced into  career changes,  if you have a interest in starting your own business however, are at a loss at what to do to begin, consider this:
  Having a strategic plan   (A plan of action) is an essential 1st step- and not having a clear strategic New research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that most failures of American startups will occur in the first two years of their existence. (1)

 individuals want to “skip the hard stuff” and just jump in counting on “being discovered”.

I’ve provided some key questions and steps for you to go through to see if being an independent business owner is something you are prepared for.

Ask yourself:  “what do I want out of life”?  If your like most people this is a big scary question which is often skipped, or just given a very vague answer like  “I want to be successful” which doesn’t move you any closer to achieving success in your  business.

You must first clarify is your business one of passion and purpose ? or one of profit and practicality?  When you are able to blend the two that is when you really achieve success.

A purpose and passion business is one born from your love of doing something, your business provides you with your “higher purpose” ie: it is something you would do even if you didn’t get paid.  Individuals fulfilled by these businesses can make a very good living but that isn’t the main motivation for why they do what they do.

Sometimes your passion isn’t at all profitable or practical unless it taps into a coming trend and you have solid research contained in your business plan  indicate it will be  a sure thing.
These businesses can be very profitable, or if not  it will simply feel like a very low paying bad job.

I am going to assume that you are considering starting a business relating to something you are passionate about.

The following questions you should consider to make a living wage and profit from your passion.

1)    Can you create a product or service that fills a need YOU have?
2)    Is there already a proven market for what you want to do?
3)    Is there healthy competition doing what you want to do?
4)    Can you find a way to stand out from others doing what you do?
5)    Can you utilize the Internet to generate leads with little cost?
6)    Can you make 200-300% profit on what you want to do?
7)    Can you sell a package rather than time?
8)    Is there a successful similar business you can go work for?
9)    Can you start small and grow?
10)  Can you visualize what a perfect day in your business would look like in 3-5 years.

If your ready to roll up your sleeves and get started,  and need some assistance let’s talk, I would love to help you have success and fulfillment with your business!

(2)  John Jantsch- duct tape marketing