Download Cards: New Tactics In A Digital World

Bands, musicians and anyone distributing digitally have another tool in the marketing world – Dropcards™.

Dropcards™ isn’t a new fly-by-night company that has only just popped up overnight.  They have been around for quite a few years now and run a slick operation out of their office complex located in New Jersey, USA, “but what do they do?” I hear you ask…

In plain terms: Dropcards™ make and print quality cards that you can customise in a multitude of ways.  What’s clever about them is that each card comes printed with a unique code which gives the recipient access to whichever digital goodies you have waiting for them.  Typically, bands will distribute music, but you could equally upload video, ebooks or many other kinds of digital media.  All of these items are located on a website which Dropcards™ can also customise and host for you (or you can use your own).

If you’re a musician or band and you want to engage your fans in a cool and modern way, then download cards could be the answer.  Everyone likes a freebie, so if you’re going to promote your music and give it away free at any stage, then why not do it in a way that will make your group memorable and create a stunning impression.  Even if you’re selling your material, there’s no reason why you can’t sell download cards instead of regular CDs or bundle them as part of another product.  As download cards are so versatile, their benefit isn’t just limited to music downloads.  You can add pictures and video too; in fact, if you regularly distribute media over the internet, then you can probably use Dropcards™ somehow.

How They Work

The principle behind Dropcards™ is very simple and elegant.  You setup an account with Dropcards™ and provide them with the artwork for your cards.  If you don’t have the design skills to create your own they can even help you out with that too.  The possibilities for your card designs are endless and you can even customise the shape of your card if you have the budget for that kind of campaign.

Once your design is done, you can upload your music, videos, pictures etc to your account and Dropcards™ will spring into action manufacturing your cards and turning them around in about five days or so.  As soon as you receive your cards you’re ready to start handing them out.

Each card has a unique code printed on it which the recipient uses on the Dropcards™ (or your own) website to access the downloads you’ve made available.  Even the download website your fans/customers see can be customised to reflect the look and feel of your branding if need be.

The process is very simple and users don’t need to register for any accounts or give away any details.  You can however choose the option to collect a user’s email address if you wanted to keep in contact or have your own email list.

A user can play a short preview of your media before downloading and once they have saved your material to their computer, the downloads are deactivated.

You Maintain Control

One of the nice features of the Dropcards™ system is the flexibility and ease at which you can gain insight into your downloads.  Through your account you can do a bit of housekeeping to upload or change your download files if you wanted to.  You can also get real-time information about the amount of downloads, your users’ locations and any email addresses which you’ve collected.

This feature is not only really great, but often overlooked and actually quite important.  If you have a website, you probably check how many visits you receive; you can measure how many Facebook ‘Likes’ and Twitter followers you have.  So too if you run any kind of promotional campaign you should have a way to measure how successful it has been.  No matter which platform you use or how you advertise and promote, you should always aim to have some way of knowing how well things worked – otherwise, you may end up spending money over and over on campaigns that could be missing your target audience completely.

What Does It Cost?

OK, so you’re probably thinking that this level of marketing will cost the Earth, but you’d be surprised as to how economical download cards can be.  Of course it all depends on what kind of customisation options you go for, but prices start from as low as $0.44 per card (that’s £0.27 based on a quantity of 100 cards).  If your budget is a bit bigger you can opt for plastic instead of card or even ‘seed cards’ which once used can be planted to produce a bunch of flowers – how’s that for a blooming good idea to do your eco bit?

What Next?

There are other companies besides Dropcards™ out there which you can get download cards from, but Dropcards™ have been in the industry since 2004 and have gained plenty of experience and respect along the way.  They handle all the processes themselves under one roof and don’t farm your project out to various vendors in the hope that each piece of the puzzle fits together at the end.  What’s more, they don’t harvest the data from you or your users and sell that on to third parties either.  Dropcards™ Vice President, Steve Ceragno, explains this best:
“Our team is hyper focused on our customer feeling great about using Dropcards™. We take the time to educate them about the process, we ask them about their band and offer suggestions how to use the cards. We are in bands, we get it.”

If you’d like more information about the range of download cards available from Dropcards™ you can visit their website and explore the options available.

What are your thoughts on download cards and alternatives for media distribution, have you had any success with your own projects? We’d love to hear about your experiences.  Feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with us through one of our channels.