In this day and age, the go-to marketing strategy for many small businesses is to target influencers and pray for an Instagram signal to grow. This is a strategy that the Toronto indie-rock trio has The birth of the Rafians They were warmly embraced when announcing their sixth album (and the first for their newly released Wavy Hedge Imprint), Juice. Except in their case, the influencers weren’t teenagers with selfie sticks, but those select, extra-devoted fans who have been leaning towards their gigs around the world for the past 14 years. And to keep them busy, the band takes refuge in the original, analog form of social media: the letter. That’s right – the original handwritten, personalized letters are stamped in a licked-sealed envelope.
For bassist Mitch DeRossia-who led the plot া the letter-writing campaign was not just a pretty clever one to promote a new record; This is a way to deepen the fan connections more deeply which effectively keeps the Rafians’ mother-and-pop operation in motion. Here, he explains why all the hand cramps and dry tongue were worth it.
Spotify for Artists: When you release a record, how much brain work do you do in terms of promotional strategies?
Mitch DeRossier: For any release we have, we just try to come up with something a little more interesting, “Well, we’re putting out a song!” We’ve been doing this since the mid-2000s, when you could just pull out a record. Now it’s a little harder than before. , Something we can get behind and have fun with. For example, for our second record, Say it, We have set up this acknowledgment website where people can post to share something anonymously, and it will grow and we will respond. It was basically like a message board – wow, really a revolutionary idea! But it seemed to be working just fine – it seemed like an interesting way for fans to get to know each other.
So tell us about how you announced your latest album, Juice.
We’ve been a band for 18 years and traveled like 14 of them, and we’ve played so many places and met so many fans who were with us for a good part of it. I compare it to how we have so many families across Canada and the United States that we see when we go on tour – like cousin Chris is coming to our show in Vancouver, and we’ll see him once that year. And the next day you see Eric from Seattle who has been coming to see us for 10 years – he’s not family, but you hold on to him somehow like family. So instead of just announcing our new record with a press release, I thought it would be great if these fans did it. I wrote a letter to about fans0 fans that I knew from the trip and sent them information about when the record was coming out and a link to listen to a song. So they got everything first. I didn’t know how it was going, because reaching out to social media and asking “Can I get your mailing address?” But everyone was calm about it. It was a fun call-pal project.
So these were real personalized, handwritten letters not some form letter that you printed and signed?
Yes, everyone was personalized for each fan, because we know these people. Another thing they got was a drawing. [Singer/guitarist] Luke [Lalonde] These are blind drawings where he will just look at your face and draw a line and then show it to you – and it’s usually horrible because it doesn’t look anything like you! So he did it for every fan-he took a social media picture and drew a blind one of them. It was the favorite of a true fan – they got this great drawing that made them look disgusting.
What kind of response did you get to the letter writing campaign?
The plan was to write a letter and ask fans to post the day we officially announced the new record, and then share what they had to say. I wasn’t expecting this overwhelming response, such as making news; I just thought it would be a great way to show our fans what we are willing to do with them. We actually had a lot of fans who were a bit upset they weren’t included – this I didn’t expect! But overall, it went really well. I just assumed fans would post on Instagram or just tweet about it. But a lot of fans wanted to do something – they were all really creative with it. A few full announcement videos and sketches এটি it blew my mind.
Do you see yourself doing more of these promotional projects?
Yes, I think it’s a unique and fun thing. Social media has been around for so long, and it’s now a bad hell scene. But the good part of it, especially for the band, is that you have your fans and you have a direct line to them. And I think it’s foolish not to take advantage of it. So I want to find a way to include as many fans as possible. Because now we have our own labels, we are running our own shows and it is very good to include them in it. We will definitely think of other ways to nurture that relationship with our fans, because they are the reason we come here.
– Stuart Berman