This guest post was written by Alper Tuzcu for Bandzoogle
VIP fan experiences are almost always sitting atop any crowdfunding campaign or subscription service these days. In fact, wherever there’s a chance to make money from your music, there’s an opportunity to raise the price, and raise the value, to offer something truly special to your fans.
That’s why getting into the habit of always brainstorming how your products or services could be transformed into something more exciting, rare, and memorable, will ultimately lead to happier and more loyal fans, and more money in your band bank account. VIP experiences not only solidify the relationships with your superfans, and provide exclusivity and buy-in, they’re also really, really fun to execute.
There are many ways to create VIP experiences for your fans, here’s just a handful of ideas that you can take and apply to your own fanbase.
1. Meet-and-greet events
One of the best ways to materialize your relationship with your fans is to organize meet-and-greet events in cities where your fanbase is particularly strong. Meetups work especially well on tour, because you are already on the road visiting different cities—but depending on the cost or context, they can technically happen anytime!
Meet-and-greets are a nice way of showing a different side to your supports, a more human and approachable side. You’ll get the chance to dedicate a few meaningful moments to people, and even turn some of the interview questions around to them, to find out who your fans are and what other music they love, etc.
Make it exclusive and intimate and charge a lot, or make it affordable and throw something like a small party. It’s all up to you!
2. Exclusive members-only content
Another VIP experience idea that has become extremely popular for artists’ most loyal fans is being part of a group that receives exclusive content just for them. This might consist of previously unreleased tracks, lyric videos or behind the scenes footage from tour, and even alternate (think: acoustic) versions of your songs.
Whatever the content, nobody else should have access to it, beyond the elite group of VIP fans. For specific cases, it might even be worth it and fun to create personalized songs for special events like birthdays or weddings.
3. Exclusive merchandise
Limited edition t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise items can serve as blank templates for creating a VIP fan experience. For instance, you can create a special color or limited edition t-shirt exclusively for sale to superfans, or limited run silk-screened posters, books of hand-written lyrics, etc.
Don’t shy away from creating custom discount codes too, so fans know you’re always thinking of them.
Exclusive merchandise is not only a great way to provide souvenirs for certain special events like concerts and tours, it also provides an opportunity to create extra, elevated tiers of merchandise to sell at higher price points, and items that come along with a story.
4. VIP seating with perks like drinks Included
Live music experiences can easily be tailored into VIP experiences. A great way to upgrade your fans’ concert experience is by offering exclusive seating (perhaps with better view and more comfortable seats, or back stage access). And if you’re really feeling generous, you can offer those fans a few free beverages “on the house.”
5. Pre- or post-show dinner with the band
And speaking of drinking, why not extend a private VIP experience to fans over dinner too?
A pre-show dinner with the band is similar to a meet-and-greet, except it has the potential to be far more intimate and exclusive. There’s almost nothing more special than sharing a meal with someone, and for fans looking to get to know you on a deeper level than the music is able to communicate, this could be perfect.
If you go out before your show, you can ask if the fan has any requests or favorite songs. If you go out after, you can take the opportunity to ask for honest feedback about the show. Also, extra points if your songs have anything to do with food—you can use this as a platform to tell stories about what the lyrics mean to you and why they’re special.
So, we’ve now taken a look at five ways you can create VIP experiences for your fans. Keep in mind that these are meant to get you starting to think about upselling your merch, your music, and your presence to your most loyal fans. No matter what, you’re going to have to find ways to customize these experiences so that they work for you.
Just remember not to exploit your fans purely for financial gain, and never take advantage of someone just looking to deepen their relationship with you. Despite the extra revenue, you’re not the one reaping the reward here, the fans are.
Alper Tuzcu is a composer, guitarist, and a producer. His newest EP ‘Migrante' will be released by Palma Records on February 21, 2020, inspired from music of different cultures. An alumni of Berklee College of Music, he’s also a touring musician and educator. Check out his music on Spotify.