Spoilers, everything you’ve heard about email lists, it’s true. All of it! It’s also something I’m really, really bad at collecting. I want to get better at this, so I’m writing this out and coming up with some ideas that might work. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
- Blackmail someone until they give me their email.
- …. Nothing.
Ok, so not a great start.
Here’s the big ole thought I’ve been having lately. Numbers are not such a big deal. I mean, I know that quantity is a good thing (I’m not stupid), but when it comes down to it, at least in our field, the quality of that number is more powerful. I am genuinely asking this question,
Which is better – 100 spins from 1 person or 1 spin from 100 people?
That’s pretty cut and dry. I mean, the best would be somewhere in the middle for sure. I guess what I’m driving to drive home here is what a true fan can do for you.
Most people will hear your music and not think twice about it. If they know you and what the song means (all those tiny little details), they may stop and listen, but the average person isn’t a music junkie like you are, you dop(amin)e fiend.
Here’s why I find a disconnect with a lot of those music blogs. If I collect all of these emails and it goes to junk, or unread, or ONLY APPEALS TO AN OLDER GENERATION THAT MIGHT NOT EVEN LIKE MY MUSIC… and why do I feel like I’m trying to sneak something out of somebody?
Just give me your email, please!?! DISC MAKERS told me it’s important!
An email list is directly connecting with a potential fan, more than (most) social media posts. With this, you can keep them in the know. Also, I’ve been told that labels LOVE THAT SHIT! I mean, they swallow it whole (I don’t like how I phrased that). So how do you get someone’s email without being too invasive?
- Just be invasive. The best salesmen are the ones who don’t give a shit and just ask and asks without worrying about burning bridges. You don’t have to chase someone down, but you will have to breakdown some of those walls you’ve put up.
- Give them a reason to sign up. I’ve always hated the exclusive offers that most bands give. I have never once had someone pitch me a great exclusive photo, or song, or whatever the hell they pretend is a good deal that you can find anywhere else on the internet. The reason should be an honest one. If you’re going to like my band, you will want to be reminded when a single is going to drop, where I’m going to play, and hear from me from time to time.
- Ask patrons to sign your email list. I know this is forward, but if you see someone is really digging your set, ask them for their email! Take the initiative! Keep a nice form ready for people to sign right near the merch table or close to your tips.
- Talk about your email list often. If you have a list set up and you never tell anyone about it, how the hell are they supposed to know that they should give it to you? Duh.
- When someone asks you where they can find your stuff, email them your links. You just got their email, boom.
- Post about it on social media. Is it annoying to see it there, sure? But I have signed up for a few different email lists simply because I liked the band, and they asked me to sign up. Once again, you have to get past that feeling of being obnoxious. You’re going to come off that way no matter what.
Finally, you need content to email! What do you talk about? How do you send it out?
Talk about stuff you have going on, it can be once a month, and have a list of the upcoming shows. You can talk about the last song you released, treat it as an interview. It can be as short or as long as you want it to be. You’re trying to connect with your fanbase here and keep them thinking about you. Don’t pretend you’re a bigger deal than you are. Just be yourself, and you’ll do just fine.
What does all of this look like? We’ll you can copy and paste a huge amount of work once a month, which sounds like hell, OR you can use a service (don’t worry, they have free versions) that will take care of all the heavy lifting you have to do!
Mailchimp and Active campaign are your best bets!
I like/use Mailchimp best. If you have more than like 2k people you are emailing, it will stop being free. But anything under that is free for your use! They have easy-to-use templates, and it makes this whole thing a lot easier. I highly suggest using these guys!
Don’t worry, Gmail has a quick way to export your contacts! So you already have a list you can make up. Will you piss some people off? Yes, but they can put you in the junk folder. Don’t you worry your pretty little head. Also, both Mailchimp and Active Campaign have a feature where they ask if you’ve had permission to email these people. If you say no, which would be true, they have a non-invasive way of email these folks. You will annoy some people, but if you’re worried about that, well, you picked the wrong business (or at the very least, the wrong blog post).
You’ll get walked through how to make a campaign, what the email will look like, and the content therein. It’s not a fun part of the game, but a part that needs to be played.
The danger of buying email lists
Growing up, I heard a lot about email lists and how great it is to buy an email list from this company because they have Scooter Brauns email address, or Jeff Goldblum’s assistant, or blah blah blah… The person selling it to you always does this one thing… and this one thing will let you know that this person isn’t what they’re pretending to be. They pretend that this is a great deal that is quickly leaving your grasp, and even though they might not outrightly say it, they’ll make you feel like you’ll never amount to anything without this list. This person is scamming you. I’ve been around the block twice now, and NO ONE can actually help you acts this way. They are human, sure, they get annoyed and are busy, but they never give you only ONE CHANCE. If you are worth the time, they will come back. So don’t feel like this is a wasted opportunity.
I’ve bought a list for $150 once, and it wasn’t worth a buck fifty! Email lists only work if you AUTHENTICALLY grew that list. That’s the only way this works.
In the grand scheme of things, email lists are pretty low on the totem pole, don’t stress out about it. It really just helps you connect with a fan another way. It keeps them in the loop. You could still get signed with zero people on a list. I’ve never heard of a band only getting signed because they have a 50k email list (most impressive). It just doesn’t matter, baby. You just have to keep writing songs and performing. That’s your job. All this other stuff is just fluff. It’s helpful fluff, but fluff nonetheless.