Every eArtist needs to have a solid foundation when building their digital empire. This includes having the right tools in place so that you may easily and effortlessly gather information, make informed decisions, and achieve the success that most dream of. Today I'm going to talk about the marketing stack for the eArtist and the tools I use that will not only give you an edge, but will transform your thinking while barely spending any money. Let's jump into it!
The eArtist lives in the digital world. Everything she does should be done through some computer, smartphone, or device. You don't have a brick-and-mortor business that you pay rent for, but you have a digital empire that is constantly growing. The ability to use the right tools, understand how they fit into the big plan of things, while keeping costs down is the eArtists initial task.
What is a Marketing Stack?
Essentially, a marketing stack is a list of tools, software, and equipment that you use to help maintain communications with your audience through sales & marketing. In the case of the eArtist, this will be your entire business. Every eArtist has their own stack but with so many options to choose from, it can be a little daunting to know what software to use. I've listed my marketing stack below as a good starting point.
Why do I need a Stack?
Everyone is using a marketing stack whether they realize it or not. Identifying the right tools you will use will help you focus on strategy so you're not flushing dollars down the drain.
The Ultimate Marketing Stack
Core Marketing Tools:
- Website Builder [Weebly]
Finding this website builder was no easy task. There are hundreds on the internet with hundreds more popping up each day. Your website builder is your central command. Picking the right website builder for you can mean all the difference between a pocket full of money and a head full of frustration. Weebly is powerful enough to provide the capabilities needed for later expansion as well as providing affordable packages that have the budget conscious kept in mind. With it’s easy page builder software, programming is a thing of the past. They offer a free model but of course I paid to remove their branding, but at $8 a month, that’s nothing to run my central command. Pay in a year or 2 in advance and have the peace of mind that your empire will stand as strong as you do.
- Landing Page Builder [GetResponse]
After doing some testing, for an all in one package, GetResponse gives me the complete package I’m looking for when it comes to marketing. Before you’re sending potential customers emails about your company, you have to obtain their contact information. This is done through a landing page. This performs over MailChimp due to the fact the MailChimp’s landing pages don’t let you place videos on the pages. GetResponse has a much nicer page builder and more advanced features, but not being able to place video on my landing pages was the point of no return. GetResponse is also charged at $15 per month so it depends on your situation. Both MailChimp and GetResponse offer great options.
- Email Autoresponder [GetResponse]
I’ve been pretty sold on both of these email marketing platforms. Distribution is your means of how quickly you’re able to spread the word about something and through what media. Without distribution, you have nothing. MailChimp is a fantastic tool because it is free with all of it features unlocked, as of recent. This is includes automation, email marketing, and landing pages. All of which you will need to implement you marketing campaigns. I have always been a die hard GetResponse fan though. They charge $15 per month minimum, but it also includes additional tools like webinars, and CRM. They also offer a free 30 day trial with no credit card so give them a try.
- Cloud System Storage [pCloud & Dropbox]
Your cloud storage is where you’re going to keep the bulk of your digital assets. Organization goes a long way and I’ve come to realize that you need at least 2 storage systems for your business. You need a cloud storage system like Dropbox for when your transferring digital files internally. For example, if I have documents on my computer that I need on my phone, I will use a tool like Dropbox to quickly transfer these files between my devices. When I want to provide files to other people, like through my mailing list, I use a cloud storage system like pCloud. You have to take User Experience into consideration when talking about providing to other people and how you present your files is huge. The great thing about pCloud is, (1) it’s a music streaming player outside of hosting documents and images so musicians can allow listeners to stream and/or download music files and (2) it’s a cloud based so it doesn’t require you to download an app on your phone to access the files unlike Dropbox. Both systems are needed and both system are free.
Creative Marketing Tools:
- Digital Music Distributor [CDBaby & SoundExchange]
CDBaby is a great option for musicians looking to get their music onto streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Oance you build a list big enough, you can start putting music onto a streaming platform then share that music with your list. The more people that listen to your works means more money in royalty checks. It's all a reinforcing feedback loop. I usually go with their $35-$40 option as it gives me distribution as well as the proper bar codes I need to collect royalties. CDBaby also offers free marketing tools for members. Content gates are my favorite as they work with the company Show.co. While CDBaby is good for your performance royalties, SoundExchange collects the digital royalties. Don't let money slip through the cracks. You only need to register once. Register for both.
- Graphic Design Software [Canva]
As an eArtist, some graphics will need to be outsourced, and some will need to be handled by you. Canva is a free graphic design tool that will knock out majority of your design tasks. With all the design templates and specifications for most of your marketing tasks, don’t worry about looking up the dimensions of a FB Ad, or wondering if your email header will be the right size. The learning curve is extremely low with it’s drag-and-drop software and because it’s on the cloud, you can access it anywhere. Go give Canva a try!
- Print-on-Demand Company [Printful]
Your drop-shipping manufacturer will create, ship, and track orders on your behalf that people buy from you without paying any upfront fees for inventory. This means, if you offer a T-shirt or a Jacket on your store through Printful, when someone buys, they will handle everything and you just sit back and collect money. This is an absolute necessity to offer your fan base new products based around your music brand. Your drop-shipping supplier is tricky though. To access a drop-shipping manufacturer, you have to have a deal with a supplier. In our case, your website builder has to have a deal with a drop-shipping manufacturer. My website builder Weebly, has a deal with Printful so you just connect the Printful application to Weebly, then boom your good. This is all done at a click of a button. The key point to note is the web builder and drop-shipping company both have to be compatible. This should be determined in the planning stage before everything is built out, come to find out your systems can’t integrate. Printful also does not include upfront fees. Only when someone buy does Printful takes its percentage. Then you get yours. What you price your product is still up to you.
- Nikon D610 + 50mm Lens + Lighting + Tripod [Video Equipment]
You don't need to go out and spend thousands on a camera, but as a photographer, I already has decent equipment (that I paid for) to use. You can use any camera but you should definitely invest in a tripod and some additional lighting. If you have a great background where you can shoot video, great! If not, invest in a green screen. In the digital age, you’re not required meet and greet everyone in person, but everyone needs to meet and greet with you. This is done through video. In the beginning stages of your startup, early adopters will forgive you that your videos aren’t extremely high quality, but better equipment will provide a higher production value. Depends on what you’re going for but should be taken in consideration of brand strategy.
Administrative Marketing Tools:
- Wave [Accounting Software]
Having well organized books makes things so much easier when you’re looking for something and especially during tax time. A system that’s able to track and categorize your transactions so you can assess spending habits. Wave is a free web solution that allows you to access your information anywhere you have an internet connection. Generate accurate reports that will tell you the health of your business and give you insight into the next decisions of your business.
- PayPal & Square [Payment Processing]
You want to be able to speak the customers language. If the customer has a preference in how they pay, it is up to you to accommodate. PayPal is a reputable payment processing system and provides customers with ease of mind. I use Square mainly for in-person transactions. Depending on your business, you may or may not need this. All too many times an unexpected person wants to buy but only has card, well looky here what do you know, I brought my card system. Whether I need to swipe or you have the chip, we can still make the transaction happen cause preparedness.
- Spark for Business [Small Business Banking Solutions]
You need a separate business checking account for your business. Doing business without one is sloppy. Spark for Business by Capital One is an amazing cloud solution but has one major downside that will turn many off. You can’t deposit cash. For an online business that doesn’t require cash transactions, this is perfect for me and because I like cloud-based systems, I get the added sense of being able to access my information anywhere.
- MyCopmanyWorks [Legal Processing]
When you decide to incorporate, you want to choose a company that is reputable but who will also provide great value to you especially in the future when you may need to expand. MyNewCopmanyWorks provides legal formation, trademark, business license, and resident agent services among a few. I use this as a central location for all things legal in my business. Copyrights, annual meetings, contracts, etc. Keeping organized makes for good business principle and can be great in cases of audits or things that come up. It is roughly $300-$400 for legal formation and trademark registration. They also offer resident agents at $99 per year which is essential when you get to the legal portion of your business.
Guerilla Marketing Tools:
- PlaceIt [Merchandise Marketing]
PlaceIt is an interesting company that has a special place in guerrilla tactics. If you have designs that you put on clothing items such as shirts, this will be a huge cost saver in terms of your merchandise marketing. PlaceIt allows you to put your designs onto different models that they've taken pictures of. These can be images as well as videos. This is revolutionary in the sense that you don't need to hire models, hire a video crew, order inventory, and the whole 9 yards to market a little t-shirt. All you have to do is put your design on a model of your choosing and pay to remove the watermark. They have subscription plans of $29 a month. This is a really unique tool if you need creative merchandise ideas.
- DIY Book Covers [eBook Marketing]
When you want to create a new information product, product design & packaging go a long way in the buyer's mind. You should not only have a functioning product, but an aesthetically pleasing product. DIY Book Covers allows you to take an eBook cover you created, possibly in Canva, and make look 3D for free. This is great if you're like me and believe that Photoshop is such an overwhelmingly difficult piece of software that I have no business learning it but still want the professionalism of the credible business you are running.
- Pexels [Royalty Free Images]
If you're also like me, you don't have the time to learn and understand the rules as to what photos are legal and not legal to use. As many rules as I break, I want to make sure my digital empire is spotless. These are great looking images that will definitely evoke emotion. Of course, this is free. It's a great choice if you need images for backgrounds, blogs, anything that requires images really.
- 99Designs [Design Services]
When it comes to design, I've always had an awareness for it. My mother is a designer and would always envision me to push my mind to visualize my designs. Added with a little formal training and I still don't have the wherewithal to use Photoshop. Oh well. 99Designs is for your bigger design projects. Being that I wanted my logo design to last a good 5-10 years, I didn't mind spending the money to make sure it was exactly what I wanted. With this service, you submit a design brief and a number of designers will submit their interpretation of your brief. You choose a winner and the winner takes the money it costed for the service. In my case, I paid $500 and had around 60 designers submit to my design brief. I've haven't looked back since. Like I said, I only used this for a bigger design project. I'm not sure what else is bigger than the design of your personal brand logo.
The main key point to take away from the eArtist marketing stack is that everything is focused on integration. With everything connected and intertwined, you don't need to worry about things falling through the cracks and you can be sure that your collected data is accurate and ready for analysis. Give or take a few tools, this is the foundation of all digital businesses big and small. Understand this concept and believe that making money online from home is a possibility in reach.
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