290 – How to Make a Ghetto Sales Funnel to Sell More Music

290 – How to Make a Ghetto Sales Funnel to Sell More Music

Everyone’s talking about making sales funnels. Yes, they are great, and yes, they are built on a solid foundation of traditional marketing philosophy.

But there are some serious challenges to getting your first sales funnel up and running never mind selling your music and merch for you.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, David shares how you can test your sales funnel idea without wasting an insane amount of money and time.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 01:02 – Setting up your own “ghetto sales funnel”
  • 02:46 – The four items you need to set up your sales funnel
  • 04:02 – Step by step process for building your ghetto sales funnel
  • 05:47 – Driving traffic to your sales funnel
  • 07:48 – Episode summary
  • 08:15 – Closing thoughts

Sponsors:

  • Digital Marketing Essentials for Musicians: When it comes to getting your music out there online, it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of stuff that doesn’t matter and will never work. If you want just the essentials that have been proven to work, you need the Digital Marketing Essentials for Musicians course.
  • The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide: Get the official, definitive companion guide to The Music Entrepreneur Code covering, in clarity and detail, secrets to making it in the new music business.
  • Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook: The first of its kind – David’s new premium book covering productivity, featuring content from Music Entrepreneur HQ, his personal blog, his many books, and even Start Your Year the Right Way, which is included in its entirety. Be fully unleashed in accomplishing your dreams and desires!

Transcription:

Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe. As you know, I love to connect you with other great music industry resources and today I wanted to share The Unstarving Musician with you. The Unstarving Musician, hosted by Robonzo, was created as a way to help other independent musicians better understand the marketing, business, and creative processes that empower us to make music and make a living doing it. Episodes feature insights from Robonzo and a wide array of guests. Topics covered on The Unstarving Musician includes songwriting, recording, release strategy, building an audience, music licensing, and more. hear it at UnstarvingMusician.com or wherever you get your audio. And if you’d like to dig in the archives a little bit, you can hear Robonzo on episode 164 and episode 259 of the New Music Industry podcast.

Alright, so in today’s episode, I wanted to talk about setting up your very own ghetto sales funnel. I’m interrupting a series of podcasts on my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide to bring this to you. But rest assured I will be sharing more insights from the book in future episodes.

Ghetto Sales Funnel?

What the hell is a ghetto sales funnel? And why would you want to build one? And why does it even matter?

Look, a lot of people are going to sell you on purchasing expensive software to build your first sales funnel, and that’s not wrong.

But the problem with it is that you’re not going to be very good at building sales funnels the first time you do it. And this is something you get better at with more experience.

I’ve done many launches before, not all of them sales funnels, but there were definitely a few of them. And I can tell you from experience, every time you do it, you get better. And so, so many people that are trying to build sales funnels from scratch, they don’t have the experience, or knowledge, or knowhow to create anything great on the first go round. If you have an idea, you might as well test it. Minimum viable style, right?

And then the other problem is that many experts are teaching you how to sell like a $5 tripwire, and then a $15 upsell, and a $30 one-time offer. This is wrong. You’re either not going to be able to make enough to spend on advertising, or you’re not going to make any money at all. There’s the danger of losing money if you do things that way.

So, you can test your sales funnel idea relatively inexpensively, and the reality is you’re going to need to do all the same things to promote it anyway. So, the only thing that changes when you go from a normal sales funnel to a ghetto sales funnel is the step-by-step setup.

For this episode, some knowledge of sales funnels is recommended, and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, well by the end of this episode, you should be good and murky.

The 4 Items You Need for a Ghetto Sales Funnel

So, why don’t we look at what we need to get started. There are really just four items.

First, you need a way to capture email addresses and send email campaigns. I recommend ConvertKit. You can find it at davidandrewwiebe.com/ConvertKit. I am an affiliate of ConvertKit and may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Two. We need a way to sell the product. So, it could be Bandcamp, it could be Gumroad, or even Sellfy. Free to low-cost solutions work great for ghetto sales funnels. Honestly, that’s the point. I’m an affiliate with Sellfy, and you can check out their e-commerce solution at davidandrewwiebe.com/Sellfy.

Three. You need something to give away. You need an irresistible offer. It could be a series of music or behind the scenes videos, free album or EP, an eBook, a free report, something people will happily exchange their email addresses for.

And then number four, we need something to sell. You need to think big here. Let’s not go to all the hard work of setting up a sales funnel and getting people to check out our offer only to sell them on a $5 to $15 product. Go for at least $65, please.

Setting Up Your Ghetto Sales Funnel

Okay, now let’s talk about setting up your sales funnel.

Hopefully you have an email list and an email service provider or ESP already, but if not, go set up an account at davidandrewwiebe.com/ConvertKit now. You’re going to need one of these whether you build a sales funnel or not.

Now that you have your account, put capture boxes on your website promoting your free offer. We want to make sure this is loud and clear and visible and it’s the first thing that people see when they go to your website. You want to prioritize people signing up.

You’ll want to set up an autoresponder with a link where people can download your free offer.

Then this step is crucial. You want to set up your download page, and you’re going to want to either link to your upsell on the download page, inside your free offer, or both.

In an eBook that’s pretty simple, right? “This is where you go to buy the thing.” You can put that link at the end of the eBook, but if you’re giving away audio or videos, remember you can include a call to action at the end of these. Even if it’s an album, you can include a secret audio track saying, “Hey, come and check out our offer right here at this link.”

And this is really important. You need to sell people on the spot. It’s crucial because there are always people who will buy then and there.

Now you can set up your upsell on Bandcamp, Gumroad, or Sellfy. And again, we’re going to skip tripwires completely. So, sell something that’s about $65, no low ticket offers please.

If you’re not sure what to sell, here are a few ideas.

  • Merch bundles
  • Your entire music catalog (if you have more than one or two albums)
  • Vinyl albums
  • Remixes
  • Handwritten lyric sheets
  • Guitar tabs
  • Behind the scenes or making-of videos
  • Some combination thereof

And that’s all you need to get your ghetto sales funnel up and running. It didn’t take any fancy software, just a willingness to innovate.

Driving Traffic to Your Ghetto Sales Funnel

How to get your sales funnel out there.

We’re going to use all the standard channels to drive traffic to the ghetto sales funnel. If you’re not acquainted with these, we’ll go over them real quick.

Remember, if you’ve got time, but no money, make more content. And if you’ve got money, but no time, make more ads.

The first channel is content and there’s simply no excuse not to be doing this anymore.

You’ve got ChatGPT and other AI tools and other free or low-cost tools that can help with the process of producing blog posts and social media posts. Canva‘s another great one. I still recommend editing and fact checking everything yourself. If you’re going to use AI. And putting it all in your own voice. But either way, AI can help make the process more streamlined.

You should link to your free offer in every content piece, place an opt-in box at the bottom of the page, or both. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making video or audio or text content.

The second channel is Dream 100. There’s a blog post on this topic at davidandrewwiebe.com you can reference, but the essence is to identify the specific influencers, artists, journalists, bloggers, podcasters, labels that could help you grow your following, build relationships with them, and create opportunities to collaborate. That part is up to you though. You’ve got to put in the time and the effort and the work to build that relationship, which might include sending gifts.

The third channel is advertising. And as I mentioned earlier, it’s a channel worth pursuing if you’ve got the funds for it. With advertising, the moment you turn the tap on, rivers begin gushing towards your offer, but the moment you turn it off, the waters disappear. And we have to create compelling ads, and that’s a form of content too, and it’s honestly not the easiest thing in the world. You usually do end up having to test multiple offers to see what works.

Now what I’ve just shared with you aren’t all the ways you can promote your sales funnel. But if you’d like to dive deeper, you should certainly explore the nautical ton of podcast episodes we’ve published to this point, and you’ll come away with plenty of traffic strategies to action.

Episode Summary

Now here’s your episode summary:

  • You can create your own free or low-cost ghetto sales funnel without having to purchase expensive software and spending ages getting the design and copy and colors and everything else perfect.
  • Setting up a ghetto sales funnel is relatively straightforward and only requires a few components: an email capturing and sending tool, a way to sell your products, something to give away, and something to sell.
  • And finally, there are many ways to send traffic to your ghetto sales funnel.

Closing Segment

One of the best resources I’ve created on digital marketing for musicians is the Digital Marketing Essentials for Musicians course.

I invite you to go to ContentMarketingMusician.com to learn more about the course.

This has been episode 290 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

Podcast Workflow Checklist [with Downloadable PDF]

Podcast Workflow Checklist [with Downloadable PDF]

Once you’ve settled on a name and concept for your podcast, it’s time to establish a workflow that sets you up for success with your publishing efforts. The workload is considerable, and you need a system you can rely on week after week.

Here I cover the key items every podcaster should be aware of to ensure each, and every episode of their show comes out sounding smooth and polished every single time.

Podcast Workflow Checklist

Prepare your notes. What is the episode going to be about? If it’s going to be a solo episode, you’ll either want to prepare point-form notes, or type out a full transcript (blog post) before hitting that record button. If you’re going to have a guest on your show, research them thoroughly. Look at their website and social profiles, search for articles and press releases, listen to other interviews they’ve done, and so on. If you want to go the extra mile, prepare questions they’ve never been asked before.

Prepare your equipment. The minimum viable setup should include a USB mic (like the Rode Podcaster), and earbuds or headphones. If you’re going to be recording with a co-host, guest, or anyone else, encourage them to use earbuds or headphones as well. This eliminates unwanted “bleed” – delay, feedback, and other audio artifacts that are harder to edit out. You’ll want to prepare and familiarize yourself with recording software as well, whether Zencastr, Zoom, or otherwise. If you’re going to be recording solo, you can take advantage of Audacity or Waveform Free as well.

Schedule a time to record. If you’re recording a solo episode, you might be able to fly by the seat of your pants. But if you have a co-host, guest, or other participants, you’ll need to coordinate with them. Take advantage of a tool like Calendly to cut down on back-and-forth emails and let your participant pick a time in your schedule that works for them. If you have multiple participants, you may need to coordinate via email though.

Check your levels. So, you (and your co-host and / or guest) are all online, and you’re ready to start recording. Before you hit that “record” button, though, you’ll want to check your microphone levels. Can you be heard (are you too quiet or too loud)? Can you hear your co-host or guests? Are they distorting? Is their audio quality good enough for the recording? If not, though it might be the “long way around,” you should encourage your participants to pick up a USB mic (even an affordable one like the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB – we have experience with it and it’s quite good for the price) and to wear earbuds or headphones during the recording. If you need to reschedule to accommodate, reschedule.

Hit record. If you are adequately prepared, you should now be ready to hit “record” and start your show. Intros, themes, bumpers, midrolls, call to actions, sound effects and other flourishes are typically added in post-production (editing), but if you have a mixer (like the Rode RODECaster Pro Integrated), some or most of this can be done on the fly.

Last call. Before you conclude recording, ensure that you’ve captured everything you need for the episode. If your guest is online with you, ensure you’ve asked all questions you were planning to ask them. If you plan to record any kind of bonus content with your guest, do it now. You can also record intros and outros now and drag them into place during the editing phase.

Edit. Editing usually happens in multiple phases. The first phase is to cut out “uh,” “um,” dead air, and anything else that might be bothersome or unusable. The second phase is to sweeten the audio. We recommend using The Levelator (no longer supported by the developer, but it still works) or Auphonic to do most of the heavy lifting. Generally, these solutions should only be applied to the talking portions of your podcast, and not the music. The third and final phase of editing is adding introductions, themes, bumpers, call to actions, and so forth. Load them into your DAW and drag them into position, along with all other elements.

Create a header graphic. Regardless of where you’re publishing your episode(s), a header graphic is a great tool for drawing attention to your content and letting users know what it’s about. These can be designed in Canva or Adobe Photoshop.

Create your show notes. Show notes can take many forms. We create four items per episode – 1) an introduction (usually two to three paragraphs to draw the user into the episode), 2) media highlights (also known as timestamps), 3) links to resources mentioned in the show, and 4) a summary or full transcript of the episode. If YouTube is your publishing platform, you would put all this in the video description (normally, you would not add a full transcript to a video description though).

Upload. Before you can publish your episode, you’ll need to upload it. Depending on the hosting solution you’re using, you’ll be able to use the same platform to upload and publish. We upload our episodes to Amazon S3, which is very cost efficient (you only pay for what you use). Podcast files should not be uploaded to your webhost, as the server load will be too heavy, especially as your listenership grows.

Format. Now we take the assets we’ve created (graphical header, show notes, etc.) and add them to a new post inside WordPress. We also add the podcast to the appropriate category and add five relevant tags. This process will vary based on where you’re ultimately publishing. It never hurts to add additional media – graphics, pictures, and images, videos, tweetables, and so forth to your show notes, as it gives your visitors a reason to stay on your website for longer and explore the content.

Schedule. Schedule the podcast episode for publishing. Programmatic publishing is recommended (e.g., every Sunday at 6:00 PM).

Distribute. Share your new podcast episode on social media. We use the Jetpack plugin, which automatically distributes new WordPress posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google Photos, Mailchimp, and Instagram. This isn’t to suggest you should rely on automation alone to grow your listenership, but it is helpful.

Promote. The exact steps you take to promote your podcast will probably vary based on niche, budget, and resources available. Creating video and / or audio clips, setting up retargeting ads, and guesting on other people’s podcasts are all common ways to spread the word.

Download the PDF Checklist

Additional Resources

Several years ago, I published an episode on how to be an awesome podcast host with Using Your Power co-host, Maveen Kaura. What we covered there is still relevant today. Have a listen!

Final Thoughts

From preparing your notes to promoting your podcast, the sheer amount of time and effort that can go into producing and publishing one episode can be significant (10 hours or more).

We don’t recommend doing everything yourself. At the very least, editing and writing transcripts should be left to the capable hands of freelancers. Take advantage of solutions like Fiverr to find your perfect candidate.

And if you’re looking for more help with podcasting, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Do You Need to Make it to Sell it in Your Music Career?

Do You Need to Make it to Sell it in Your Music Career?

You may have heard experts say you don’t need to make something to sell it. Meaning – you can set up pre-orders and test demand before you put all your time, energy, and money into developing a product no one will buy.

Does this work? And if so, how?

The Cost of Releasing an Album & What We Can Learn from it

Chances are you already know everything that goes into making an album.

I have a friend who recently completed his, and at the end of the day, it cost him $40,000 to record his music and put all his marketing materials together.

And I have no doubt he will work hard and find an audience. His music is kind of like the meeting place of modern-day pop mixed with 80s sensibilities, and we all know there’s a market for that.

But there’s no denying that the $40,000 financial outlay was significant, and the oft repeated phrase, “there are no guarantees” applies to him as much as any other artist vying for the consumer’s fragmented attention.

What’s funny about this is that the only cost to record and release my three-time award-winning, one-time nominated short film score The Nobody Prayer (Original Soundtrack) was my own time and energy recording it (which for argument’s sake I will value at $720), and $49 for distribution.

If at some point over the course of my lifetime that release makes me $769, I will be free and clear and into gravy. As for my friend who spent $40,000, I’m not sure when he’ll break even and make a return on that investment.

Is this fair? No. But it also comes from a fundamental difference in perspective and experience.

Selling it Before You Make it

So, is there any merit to this idea of selling it before you make it, of validating a market first, of taking pre-orders on something you haven’t even put any time into creating?

Yes!

And at the risk of bringing up a sticking point, I want to raise the example of Flashes of Elation, a book I have been developing since 2016.

Now, the project was well underway when I set up pre-orders for it. But I did not have a complete work on my hands. It still caught the attention of my audience, and several people were kind enough to pre-order it on good faith (thank you!).

What I need to tell you, though, is that there are some nuances to setting up pre-orders.

To an extent, yes, you can just say, “I’m making XYZ” and ask people to PayPal you. And if that works for you, go with it.

But usually, it takes a little more than that. Here’s what I learned about setting up pre-orders:

Make the Offer as Attractive as Possible

There are a few key things to consider here. And I know it might be a lot to take in but stick with me and you will see how it works.

We need the following for a successful pre-order:

And we’ll look at each of these elements in detail.

Killer Copy

You need to sell your product. And that’s what copy does for you. It acts as a 24/7 salesperson while you’re busy doing other things.

As applied to Flashes of Elation, it was a matter of putting together a blog post teasing the release and talking about the benefits the book would offer.

Now for a bit of secret sauce.

When I put together my pre-order page, marketer Neil Patel just happened to be taking pre-orders for his book, Hustle. His pre-order post caught my attention, so I decided to model it. Apparently, that turned out to be a winning formula, because several people pre-ordered my book too.

Delicious Design

My first mockup draft of the Flashes of Elation book cover was honestly terrible, and the book sold despite that. So, I don’t want to put too fine a point on design. But there’s no denying that, psychologically, we tend to put more value on great design.

It’s fundamentally illogical, as author and expert marketer Dan Kennedy emphasizes form over function. And I tend to agree with him. What sells isn’t necessarily what looks the best.

It’s at first brush that we tend to put more value on design. I’ve seen it firsthand as people were bidding on internet businesses. They automatically assumed a website with a better design was a better business. And it often turned out that wasn’t the case. The business that focused on design was the one that was earning less.

The point here would be to 1) have a design, and 2) test it. If it doesn’t work, iterate.

You can put a design together relatively quickly using a tool like Canva, and that’s the same method I advocate for in The Code Breaker Course.

Bodacious Bonuses

Even if people say they just want the album, or they just want the book, there’s something about a value stack that makes the offer more attractive, and ultimately irresistible.

I learned the term “value stack” from ClickFunnels co-founder Russell Brunson. And it basically means to layer complementary products on top of your main offer.

A CD or a book might be worth $20 to $25. But if you threw in a digital version of the product, some merch, a personal call with the creator (i.e., you), access to a private Facebook group, and so on, it would elevate the value of the product in the eyes of your audience. And even with all these bonuses, if for a limited time, the buyer could get it all for $20? That would wow them, wouldn’t it?

In the Flashes of Elation example, I offered my audience the opportunity to get these pre-order bonuses:

  • A signed paperback
  • eBook version of the book
  • Audio version of the book
  • Two appendixes – My Top 10 Tips for Creatives, and interview with Sean Harley [Tucker]
  • Audio version of the interview with Sean Harley [Tucker]

Looks quite generous, even to me!

If I wanted to be more aggressive, I could have listed off the value of each of these products and then reinforced the fact that buyers would get all of it for just $25. Kind of like I did on the sales page for Members Only Audios. Not going to lie – it can start to feel pushy after a point, but you can experiment for yourself and see what works.

So, Do You Need to Make it to Sell it?

No, you don’t!

And the advantage here is that if no one buys, you can chalk it all up to experience, go back to the drawing board, and come up with something else. Although I’ve known this for a long time, it feels like I’m learning the lesson at a deeper level now.

Either way, if you do sell pre-orders, be sure to deliver on the product you promised. That’s key!