Robin Good: Deep inside this article from TopSpinMedia from February of 2011 there is really valuable stuff about how to seed the right soil to market to fans.
While the original presentation and article were created for a seminar targeted at independent musicians, the strategies and principles illustrated here are applicable to any service-oriented online business created around a value-creation proposition.
Here a few gems I have found in it. [I have replaced a few specific mentions of "music" with the word "stuff" as these principles can be applied to any indpendent value creation service online]
"...I wouldn’t recommend you start by selling expensive packages on your web site, Facebook page, or Mobile Roadie app.
In fact, I would recommend you start by selling NOTHING.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself…
...Artists of every size have exactly the same issue and feeling: “If more people would just hear this music, they would fall in love with it.” As Tim O’Reilly famously said, “An artist’s enemy is obscurity, not piracy.”
Your initial goal is to build awareness, get people to know you exist and to feel an affinity toward your art. If you are successful at building awareness you turn that awareness into fan connections and build a strong relationship with those fans by communicating with them.
Once you’ve established a relationship and trust (and not until then) you can turn some number of those fans into customers.
Step one is to take those people who have never heard of you and make them interested. Turn them from non-knowers into carers.
...The bad news is posting your music on iTunes, YouTube, Soundcloud, Facebook, Official.fm, Rapidshare, Angelfire, and MySpace doesn’t mean anyone is going to see it...
...What works is making great [stuff] and [illustrating and presenting it] until people start taking notice and naturally wanting to share their enthusiasm for what you do.
You can’t make people share something they don’t like, but you can make it easy for them to share your [stuff] with their friends should they be motivated to do so."
But there is a LOT more.
Read the full article: http://www.topspinmedia.com/2011/02/getting-practical-a-step-by-step-guide-to-building-an-online-marketing-plan-that-works-ians-presentation-from-new-music-seminar-los-angeles-february-2011