Marketing goals

How to set and achieve your music marketing goals

Everyone has goals in mind, but skill comes into play when you create a plan to make that goal achievable. Here’s how to fix and achieve your music marketing goals.

by Randi Zimmerman from Symphonic Blog

As a musician, it is important to define actions Goals for your career and create a plan to make them happen. From getting more subscribers and making more money, to booking more gigs, and flawless marketing, setting clear goals is key to seeing your dreams come true. In this edition of our Marketing Journey series, we’ll cover how to set marketing goals as a freelance musician. Here’s what you need to know…

Goal Setting 101

When it comes to setting goals, many experts around the world use the SMART method. Created in 1981, SMART is an acronym that helps you create specific criteria for your goals to improve the chances of their success.

What does that mean? Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed.

How to use the SMART method:

When it comes to your music career, your goals should be realistic, specific, and you should be able to measure their success in a quantifiable way. For them to be achievable for you as a freelance artist, you need to be able to give them a set period of time to accomplish.

🧠 Pro tip: Always write down your goals. — Once they are written, you can revisit them whenever you start to feel lost and get back on track.

Let’s apply the SMART method to “I want more people to listen to my music”.

What’s wrong with that? — This objective must be more specific. First, think about where you want more people to listen to your music. What platform do you want these listeners on? Then do it measurable. Find an easily quantifiable variable. Now it’s time to make sure it’s feasible and realistic for where you are in your career. How many new listeners are you actually able to reach with your resources?

These big, outrageous ideas are good to keep in mind, but starting with unrealistic goals is bound to make you frustrated and disappointed when you first start out. With hard work and dedication, you’ll eventually achieve these crazy goals, but for now, you have to start small and grow. That being said, that brings us to the final step.

Your goals should have a time limit. It’s easier to stay on track when you have a set time frame to get things done. (With checkpoints along the way!) So when you apply the SMART method to, “I want more people to listen to my music”, it turns into something like: “I want 1000 additional monthly listeners on Spotify by May 31.”

You can even focus on your profile’s full monthly listeners or break it down even further by focusing on just one version. Totally up to you. When it comes to your marketing goals, the same theory applies.


“How can I apply this to my marketing goals?

Now that the SMART method is locked and loaded, you can easily apply it to your marketing goals. Think about what you want to accomplish with your marketing, and even before that, who you are targeting. Keep in mind, this game has no guessing! To truly succeed, you need to use quantifiable data to fuel your efforts.

Here’s how to find it…

Find your fan base

The first step in good marketing is to understand who you are targeting. To find exactly where your fanbase is, you’ll need to dive into the analytic of your streaming and social platforms. Some of the biggest platforms that offer detailed analytics about your fans include Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Spotify.

  • Instagram is the best analytical source for most artists. – Make sure your Instagram account is either a business account or a creator account to access your Instagram analytics dashboard. (You must have more than 100 followers to access this dashboard, but once this setting is enabled, you will be able to view age, gender, and recent activity.)

Social media channels can also be helpful here. For example, fandoms tend to work together to get something trending, and one of the best places to see that in action is on Twitter. If you have a new single coming out or have teased a new project, a great way to find out more about your fans is to start a hashtag campaign and track its progress. Pay attention to what fans interact with and use the hashtag the most, and you’ll learn what interests them the most moving forward.

(For more on understanding your audience demographics, see this post.)

put to work

The same analytics that show you who your fan base is also show exactly how you’re doing on those platforms over time, highlighting which ones may need more work than others. Do you remember step 2 of SMART? Think about what you would like to achieve with your marketing in terms of quantifiable value.

For example, maybe you would like to increase your merchandising sales by X amount through Instagram. Another example could be getting more pre-saves on Spotify by posting more on a certain platform. (Keep in mind these are a few quick examples that come to mind. The options are limitless.)

What you need is different from someone else, even in the same space. — Your analyzes are what will guide you to make the best choices for you.

🧠 Pro tip: Some platforms are good for engagement while others are better for reaching as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Because social media marketing is a whole other beast to tackle, we separated it in our previous Marketing Journey article, “Marketing Journey for the Music Industry, Part 5: Social Media Marketing”.

And after?

It’s time to ask yourself honest questions about your career. These include:

  • What always seems to work for you over time?
  • What drives real recognition and revenue?

Next, consider your weaknesses from an internal and external perspective.

  • Are other artists in my niche performing better than me?
  • What are they doing differently?

Finally, examine your strengths and ask yourself whether or not they give way to new opportunities. Based on the weaknesses and opportunities you have found, you can now honestly decide what your goals for improvement should be.

To wrap it all up…

Once you’ve analyzed your current performance and discovered what might need work, you’re ready to set goals that will help you take it to the next level. Being able to be honest with yourself about what needs more work and what doesn’t is the only way to improve over time. As they say, nothing changes if nothing changes!

Use your unique analytics data to identify areas of your strategy that need additional help. From your streaming efforts to your social media, ticket sales, and more, great marketing extends to everyone. And according to your budget, you may have more leeway with what you can focus on and how far you can go. In the end, it’s all up to you personally. Everyone grows at their own pace, and it’s important not to get discouraged if you’re not growing as fast as you’d like. Just adapt and keep moving!

Hope this helped shed light on goal setting in your marketing strategy. If you want to learn more about marketing tips, check out the rest of our Marketing Journey series:

Good luck!