Thursday, April 9, 2009

Twitter CD Giveaway, Spring Cleaning


The other day I woke up and looked at my cat sitting on top of a stack of six unopened boxes of CDs. She climbs up there first by hopping on a bench, then stepping on a stack of four unopened boxes of CDs before reaching the summit. These boxes have been sitting there for nearly two years, long enough to blend into the background and become cat furniture. There's almost 1,000 CDs in those boxes.

The nice thing is I actually got rid of just as many. I ordered 2,000 digipaks of Life Is Loud back in 2007 with the thought that a few hundred could go to press, radio, booking, and any other promotional purpose a good looking, physical package might give you an edge. I mailed a ton of freebies, and sold hundreds of others.

Initially, I wanted to sell these myself--taking orders through PayPal or accepting checks by mail. I made many trips to the post office, and in Brooklyn that gets old really quick. I started sending traffic to my album's page on CD Baby, but believe it or not, I've only sold a measly 46 through them. That's not their fault though, it's simply a matter of less demand for CDs by the time I started sending traffic that direction.

Nearly two years after it's release, Life Is Loud sells about 7 albums a week, mostly digital downloads. That's not a lot, but if you look at the facts, it's still pretty damn good. I'm not really doing much to directly promote that album. I play mostly new music at gigs, which are less frequent because I'm getting ready to record a new album. Most of my efforts online are simply to raise awareness of me, Cameron Mizell, the guitarist. The musician. And oh yeah, and I have some albums over here you might be interested in checking out.

So how can I get rid of a few CDs and get people to notice me? I have a bunch of people following me on Twitter, I wonder how many of them would like one?

I've been using Twitter since last summer. I don't use it to promote or sell anything. Actually, that's a lie. If you know me--if you've been reading this blog or my articles at MusicianWages.com or even following me on Twitter--you know I can't help but try to use the internet to bring people to my music. But it's really a form of pre-selling. I might get into that another time, but not now.

The point is, I've got a fairly sizeable group of people that I interact with on Twitter. I like them, and they put up with me pretty well. The next step was to engage them in a way that would:

1) Teach me something about them.
2) Help them learn something about me.
3) Get rid of some of those CDs.

My solution? Trivia!

Every day at noon I ask a question about anything I find interesting. The first person to answer correctly gets a free CD. So far one question was about Bootsy and Catfish Collins, another about Take Five being the first jazz single to be a million seller. Finding out who knows the answer helps me learn a little more about them. And the point is never to stump everyone, rather to just get them to play the game. While the first correct answer is technically the winner, if somebody answers correctly every day but never gets their answer in first, I'll probably send them a CD just for playing.

After asking some general questions that tell me about you (mostly, are you interested in the same things as me?), I can ask questions that tell you about me. Since any of these questions can be answered by doing an internet search, why not create questions that will ultimately drive people to my website looking for the answers?

This will only work if people care to play. If you use Twitter to constantly bombard people with information about what you do professionally or try to push your product on them, everything you say is just noise.

Chris Brogan recently wrote an article that you might have already read: Promoting Without Being That Guy. His article gave me the final nudge I needed to actually try this trivia promotion. I had been afraid that it would come off too pushy, or as a blatant marketing scheme. But in his article, Brogan lists '10 Ways to Build Relationships Before You Ask for Anything' and I realized I'd been building these relationships for many months.

Lucky for me, it's worked so far this week. I've had some fun coming up with questions and conversing with the people that come up with the answers. I've even had some nice notes from people that aren't playing but are definitely noticing, and they love the idea. I only planned on doing it through Friday, but I may bring it back in a couple weeks. Maybe somebody else will pick up the idea and give me a chance to help them clean out their apartment.

1 comment:

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