This post is written by Chris Rockett, a musician and music marketing consultant from London who uses direct-to-fan marketing tactics to help level the playing field between DIY musicians and major label artists. Feel free to follow along on his music marketing blog or Facebook page.
In this post we are going to look at a few things you can do to improve the effectiveness of the email messages you send to your fans. If you have not already set up a mailing list signup form on your website, then I’m going to use the power of my mind to chain you to your computer until you do it. It’s that important.
Get the juices flowing!
Do it today, people, not tomorrow, or the next day…your website is a leaky bucket if you don’t have a way to follow up with your fans directly.
Honestly, you’re not going to be able to do all of this stuff in one day, because your fingers will start to ache and turn blue. My advice is that you pick something and work on one hack per day. If you’re not sure of the specifics of one of these hacks, then Google it! There are tons of tutorials and helpful articles out there. In a couple of weeks, you will have transformed your mailing list and the happiness of your fans will have increased to 11.
Let’s get started…
- Make sure that your fans don’t have to scroll down to see your sign up form. I read a statistic that said 80% of people never scroll down when they hit a web page which means they will never see your free music offer.
- Your email sign up form should be on every page of your site. If you’re using a blog just put it in the sidebar.
- Split test your email sign up box to see what your fans respond to the best. Watch my guide.
- It’s a good idea to sign up for your own mailing list so that you can get an idea of how your messages are looking from the fans point of view. If you start to annoy yourself then it’s time to rethink your communications.
- Include a “forward to a friend” link in ALL of your emails.
- If you’re using Aweber they let you integrate your email sign up form with Facebook. Make sure you use that feature.
- Create an irresistible offer for your fans to join your list and make it very clear. I have found that 9 FREE TRACKS in big red lettering will work better than a 500 word explanation.
- Whatever you offer your fans in exchange for their email address, make sure you give it to them on the thank you page, or in the confirmation email. This will build trust right away. If they don’t get what they signed up for within a few minutes you’re dead to them.
- Regularly send your current fans free music and videos. It’s like a bank — the more you put in, the more “interest” you will receive.
- Whenever somebody emails you through the contact form on your website, make sure that you offer them the chance to join your fan list as well.
- Go around personally after every show and offer to send enthusiastic people some free music. Then collect their email address so you can keep your promise.
- Whenever you connect with a new contact in the music industry ask if you can add them to your list. This is like networking on autopilot and having influential music people in your gang can be very powerful as they watch your progress and become fans.
- Use QR codes to drive offline fans to your free music offer.
- Put a link to your website on your merch (t-shirts, CDs, banners, flyers and even thongs!).
- In every email you send you need to let people know what you want them to do next. This is known as a “call-to-action” and it does not have to be about buying your music, it could be “liking” your Facebook page or listening to your newly recorded tune on YouTube. Every connection with your fans should have a call-to-action.
- This is my personal opinion, but sending a newsletter packed with links is not effective. Email your subscribers more often and give them one link to the thing you want to tell them about. This avoids confusion.
- Split test the subject lines of your emails to see what your fans respond to the most.
- To come up with catchy subject lines, go through your own email inbox and look for the emails you always open first. Ask yourself why that is and then use what you learn to make your own headlines POP!
- Use plain text emails because images are turned off by default in most email clients these days.
- If you decide to ignore me and go with snazzy HTML emails, then check that they look okay in Outlook and Gmail. Also, include a link to an online version in case your fans can’t view it.
- Make sure that your “from” name is correct. For instance, if your band name is “Death by Seaman,” you would probably not want your emails to come from the drummer “Norman Peabottom.”
- Set up a series of auto-responders to introduce new fans to your musical world. You want to get them engaged in your story and ultimately lead them towards financially supporting your work.
- To get maximum effectiveness from your auto-responders, make a note of the most successful one-off emails you send and add them to your automatic follow-up sequence.
- Give people your best stuff for free. Don’t worry — this will get them thinking “My god! If this is what the free music is like I better get the album and jump in the fan club as well.”
- If you’re using Aweber it will allow you to segment people who don’t open your emails. You then want to start a re-engagement campaign saying something like “Should I stop mailing you” or “You missed this.” If they still don’t open it’s time to delete them because the chances are that they gave you a fake address when they signed up. This will save you money and increase your open rate.
- Capture the name as well as the email address so that you can add the personal touch with your fans. “How’s it going Bill…” will usually get more response than “We have a gig”.
Phew…brain dump over, guys! If I was not up to my neck in work here I would have put them all in pretty little categories for you, but I’m sure you can pick-and-choose the stuff that hits home for you.
I have personally tested all of these email hacks and only included the ones that had a positive effect.
As ever I’d love to hear any suggestions for things that have been working with your own fan base.
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