IHM News

Fan Engagement & Owning The Relationship: The Empty Pockets (Pt. 4 )

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : September 27, 2017

Josh Solomon Returns to Talk Fan Engagement and Owning The Relationship

empty pockets voices fan engagement

Fan engagement is the number one reason for the success of Josh Solomon and The Empty Pocket’s latest release ‘Voices’ and inseparable from the dedication he’s put into building the relationship between the band and its fans. At 30,000 strong, Solomon bases his fan metrics around the email list he’s spent several years building name by name.

“You can’t magically create fan engagement,” Josh explains, “It has to happen over time, and the relationship you build with your audience is already odd because your fans are both your customer and your patron, so you have to adapt to that.”

You know your fan engagement plan is working when you send one email and hundreds of sales come right back. But to get to this point requires a lot of legwork.

“This presale was 12 weeks long, but the list didn’t start with the presale, I talked about the presale for months in advance, aiming to get people excited over a long period of time.”

Josh explains the significance of two things he aimed to do during the led up to this release that built fan engagement. First, he blasted three types of announcements specifically designed to maximize the reach of the message without overloading the audience. “Say what you’re going to do, what you’re doing, and what you did.”

Here’s an example of three messages:

  1. The presale starts tomorrow
  2. The presale starts today
  3. Yesterday we started the presale.
The second was framing the release not as something separate from the fans, but something they makes them part of the process. “Less, ‘help us get to the top,’ and more, ‘you can be a part of this, we can climb the charts together,’ and when the charts did come out I was able to send an email to every buyer saying, ‘congratulations, look what you made happen,’ and I think that was really successful.” empty pockets fan engagement

The Empty Pockets’ Voices debuted on several charts, but hitting #19 on the Emerging Artists got Josh the most excited. Their older album, The Ten Cent Tour, also re-entered the charts thanks to some smart product bundling. Josh used the release of Voices as an experiment, with the goal “to see where we were and how many units we could move.” The most surprising fact they learned was the more they packed into the bundle, the less it sold. Proving that sometimes less is more.

“When you look at crowdfunding things like Kickstarter, you see they always want to offer a bunch of incentives, trying to get people to spend that little bit more to raise their cart value. Our average cart value was $21 per person. We started with CDs, and upsold a lyric book, and upsold a few bundles with multiple CDs, and a few sort of VIP bundles, (which is where the sales on The Ten Cent Tour came from) but the great majority of sales came from just CDs alone.”

Josh’s most prevalent long-term goal is to grow their email list by ten times to 300,000 names in the next two years. The metric yields about one guaranteed super fan for every ten qualified emails. The band also employ nonstandard tactics to grow their contact list. Typically, when you think of signing up for a band’s email list, you think of someone with a clipboard or device walking around at a show, but Josh tells us this method only sees signups from 1-3% of the audience. However, when Josh takes a couple minutes during the show to ask the crowd to text a code word to a certain number automating email signups using textiful that integrates with mailchimp, he sees responses from 10-20%.

When you take fan engagement strategies like these, add them to well thought out digital marketing plans that utilize AB testing, success is sure to follow. Want to learn more? You can read our previous conversations with Josh and The Empty Pockets here.

Want to start your own release plan that will put you on a similar path to success? Talk with one of our Drop Sherpas. Every Dropkick plan includes a free kick-off session to get your momentum started.


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