Build Your Fanbase Online With These FIVE Direct-to-Fan Tools

Episode 025 of The Indie Musician Secrets Podcast

Indie Musician Secrets
10 min readAug 11, 2022



INTRO: There are no secrets to success, just things you haven’t learned yet. And once you learn them, it’s up to you to apply them. I’m Jamaal, aka Boss Eagle, Billboard-charting hip hop artist and music business coach. Join me as we talk digital marketing, social media, technology and more, and share interviews with industry professionals to help you unlock the “secrets” and take control of your music career. Because we ARE the new music business, and this is the Indie Musician Secrets Podcast.

What’s up, what’s up, what’s up? and welcome to the Indie Musician Secrets Podcast. I am your host Jamaal aka Boss Eagle, Billboard- charting hip hop artist and music business coach at Business Minded Musicians. And I want to welcome you to today’s episode, Episode 25, where we will be talking about how to build your fan base online with these five direct to fan tools. But before we jump into that, I want to just say thank you for listening, wherever you’re listening from, and remind you that you can download, rate & review the podcast. That would be so helpful, especially if you’re on Apple Podcasts or something like that. If you could leave a rating and review that would be great — in terms of helping us push the podcast forward.

We’re going to jump in to today’s topic, looking at five direct to fan tools to help you build your fan base online. If you’re listening to this podcast, you’re more than likely an artist like myself. Building your fan base online is a priority for you. If it’s not, then it should be a priority for you. And we’re going to be talking about some ways to do that using a blog post on the Bandzoogle website. So thank you to Bandzoogle and Melanie Kealey for this awesome article. I will leave a link in the description or the show notes so that you can review the full article at your own leisure. But we’re gonna go through and talk about those five direct-to-fan tools to build your fan base online.

Read the full blog post here: 5 direct-to-fan tools to build your fanbase online

When we’re going through these five different points, make sure that you keep in mind that, ideally, what we’d like to do is to start with your website. We want your website to be the hub through which either your fans can access these things directly, or it directs them to those things if they live on another platform. But keep that in mind as we go through these — that we want to use your music website as your hub. Okay?!

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The first of the five direct-to-fan tools to build your fan base online is a newsletter. And I would probably say newsletter/email list. The newsletter is the piece of content, but really what we’re looking at here is actually using an email list.

Email is the best way to keep in touch with your fans. Social media comes and goes. Yes, we’ve had some that have stuck around longer than others. But think about MySpace and Vine. Think about some of those social media channels that have come and gone. We don’t want to build our fan base on a social media platform, because at any moment, at any time, on any day, they could pull the plug on one of those and you wouldn’t lose all of that. So make sure that you’re bringing people into your world. The best way to do that is through an email list.

Use your website for people to sign up. You can offer freebies or different promotions to incentivize them to join your email list. I see so many websites where it says: enter your email here to sign up for email list. Well that’s great, but offer them something. Give them a reason to want to give you that email. According to the article. You can nurture that list over time, even just starting with a simple ‘thank you’ email — thank you for your support, thank you for following me. I think freebies are always good, especially things that don’t cost you much like the digital download or a lyric poster.

And remember that with email, you own the traffic. You can communicate as much or as little as you want with your fans. You can decide, or or ask them, how often they want to hear from you. Or you can set that expectation from beginning. But I think a great way to start those emails off is to say, “Hey, this is what you can expect from me [and how often]…” Remind people that they can unsubscribe at any time, because you definitely want to make sure that you have the right people on that list especially if, and when, you start paying for your email service. Personally, I like ActiveCampaign. I’ll leave a link in the description for ActiveCampaign if you want to check them out. But there are several great options for email services.

Try ActiveCampaign free. No credit card required!

Next up the article talks about using a blog or a podcast as a direct-to-fan tool to build your fanbase online. Start small with blogging — maybe just a few posts about a song or video, etc. But think about your blog post as more of an in depth social media post. It takes what you would do on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc., and adds a little bit more to it — gets more in depth, because you can add more, create more, give more. If possible, I would say add the blog to your website, [where there are no] ads or different things to distract them away from that content.

If you start a podcast, they suggest maybe starting a podcast with your band. Tell stories from your touring, about recording — people love stories. And I think that’s just a great way to document your story as well. You can always take that content and do several other things with it too.


I [also] wanted to throw in a couple of other things for you to think about. One is to consider vlogging, which is the same thing as blogging just with a V, and it uses video instead of typing. Video is sometimes easier to create than writing blog posts. Sometimes we don’t want to sit down and just write out a blog post. But if you just pull out your phone and start recording what you’re doing, that may be an easier route to go.


You can also transcribe that audio. Use a voice transcribing tool like (that’s what I use) and talk-to-text your blogs. Sometimes our brains move a little bit faster when we can just speak things out instead of typing it, so consider using that as well. Then you can edit and post those as your blog posts.


Lastly, consider multi-purposing. [Let’s say you] video record your podcast and upload the video to YouTube, socials (in small pieces), etc. Then [use] the audio file as the podcast piece. That way, you get more out of your content.

Next up, number three is to sell custom merch. This is right up my alley. I love merch [and] e-commerce. Some of you may know that I have another brand called Merch Tower, which is a merchandise and marketing agency. I’ll leave a link on the screen description if you want to check that out as well. But merch is one of the best ways to make money. You can ask fans what kind of stuff they like. Create mock ups or images [that] you can post on social or through your emails. Get feedback and then offer it, depending on what people like.

One of the things I think is so great about merch is that (especially in this digital age where we can use so many tools to promote our music worldwide) shipping worldwide has probably never been easier. We’ve had the mail services for a long time, like the United States Postal Service, FedEx, DHL and all that, but as far as the retail side shipping is so much easier than ever.

Maybe you’re promoting your music and marketing on another side of the world that you’ve never been to or you want to get to one day, but you have a big fan base. [Merch] can be a great opportunity because, again, shipping is a lot simpler now. Some of the things also to think about in terms of merch is it doesn’t always have to be hats, hoodies, T shirts, etc. You can also offer lyric booklets, sheet music, artwork, etc.

One other point that I’ll leave with on this one is consider using on-demand drop shipping to make the process painless. I’ll leave a link to a company called Printful. They handle all of the aspects of that once someone orders from your site. So think about selling merch as one of those direct-to-fan ways to build your fan base online.

>>>Click here to start an online store without inventory with Printful

Number four: workshops and lessons. Workshops and lessons are a great way to engage your fans on a personal level, according to the article. This is where you can take your specialty and teach it to other people.

I love the idea of creating a course. I have my first course called Fanbase Growth Accelerator, and I plan on creating more courses as well. This can be a great option for those of you out there who are gifted in the piano or guitar or whatever. You can easily create a Guitar for Beginners [course] or something like that, and teach people your specialty .

You can also consider doing live lessons on Zoom or Skype. You can do them one on one or you can have group lessons as well. Maybe [you] charge a little bit less so it’s more affordable for people if they’re in a group lesson, and a more for one on one.

Some of the workshop ideas that the article provides are things like creative writing, children’s music [and] music history. If that’s your jam, you can help those people. And again, this is a digital space, so you could do that worldwide as long as the time zones work., That’s where it’s gonna [be] different: a course versus a live type of thing, but it’s still possible. And if you do decide to [create a] course, think about putting it on a platform like Thinkific, or teachable, etc. A lot of times, web hosting platforms don’t have a login area. So if your current website doesn’t have that ability, don’t fret, you can always use one of those other services where you can actually have your course live there. Just point people to that through your website.

Create and Sell Your online course with Thinkific (free option available)!

The last option that the article talks about as a direct-to-fan tool to build your fanbase online is through subscriptions, for example, Patreon. Something to consider is that is the most time and labor intensive of all of these. But as the article mentions, it can also be the most rewarding — just something to think about: you will be putting a lot of time, attention and effort into this. But you can create different levels and tiers with different perks. You can also use fan subscriptions to leverage the other tools, [such as] to promote your merch or to share your podcast. The article also talks about having things like subscriber only discounts. Creates that exclusivity.

One of the things that I would probably stress again, is to consider whether or not you can give the time and attention required to a fan subscription. If you promise those different levels, and that access to you based on how much they are investing, then you need to deliver on that. These people are allowing their credit card or bank account to get hit every month for access to what it is that you’re doing.

And according to the article, if it seems daunting to start a fan subscription, you can always start with one tier. Start with one level and then build out from there.


Your action item for today is to choose one of these tools, and I would even say to go step further and focus on one aspect of one of these tools. For example, if you’re going to do a podcast, it might be something as simple as choosing the platform that you want, [or] writing down your first couple ideas for content — maybe your first five episodes.

For me, I might focus on (going back to merch) is the whole lyric booklet thing. I already have high quality photos from photoshoots and lyrics from previous works. That might be a cool thing to add to my store. We’ll see! But focus on one tool and one aspect and get going on that.

If you have any questions or if there’s a topic that you’d like to have discussed on the podcast, feel free to email me at: Questions{at} I’ll also leave links to some of the things that we talked about in the description or in the show notes — wherever you’re listening. So check that out as well. And please, please, please, as always, feel free to share this episode, and any episode, of The Indie Musician Secrets Podcast with anyone that you think it would be beneficial for. Alright, so thank you very much. Go to your action item. God bless, and I’ll see you when I see you. Peace.

OUTRO: Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to follow the Indie Musician Secrets Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. And make sure to leave us a rating and review. Also share this episode with other indie musicians who you think it would be beneficial for. And for more helpful resources to help you grow your music business, visit us at: I hope this episode has served you we’ll talk to you on the next episode.

Click the video to listen to Episode 025 on YouTube

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Indie Musician Secrets

Jamaal “Boss Eagle” Curry is a Hip-Hop recording artist, music business coach, digital marketer and entrepreneur. Visit for more.