Everyone has an email account. In fact, Radicati’s 2016 Email Statistics report, predicted that email will be used by 3 billion people by 2020.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MUSICIANS? AND WHY DO MUSICIANS NEED A NEWSLETTER?
Email offers direct access to your audience, which isn't always the case with social media (especially with all this talk about algorithms altering which of your posts show up on people's feeds). With email, you can rest assured knowing that the emails you send out are appearing in your fans' inboxes.
Once you collect emails from people, that information is yours-- unlike social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram that could disappear overnight with all your data. Now picture this -- you have no email list, but 5,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram combined. By some stroke of bad luck, all three accounts crash and your accounts disappear. What next? How will you be able to reach out to these people?
If you have their emails, then this won't be a problem! You'll always have a way to communicate with them. Once you’ve collected your fans' email addresses, you have full control over what you will do with them and how you send messages to them.
Similarly, when you send an email to a fan, your message is way more likely to be seen and read. Through these emails, you can let fans know about upcoming shows, albums releases, new merchandise updates, and more.
And that’s why it’s important to include email outreach as part of your band's marketing strategy and work on growing and engaging with your email list.
Now, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to get started with your first newsletter campaign and and how to approach collecting emails from your fans.
SETTING UP A MAILING LIST FOR YOUR BAND OR MUSICAL PROJECT
Getting started with an email marketing platform
Before you begin building your email list, you will need to have the right systems set up to be able to manage that email list. This is where email marketing platforms come into play.
There are several email marketing platforms to choose from and they can all help you collect and manage email addresses, as well as send out emails to all of your contacts.
Choosing your email marketing platform
MailChimp is an email marketing platform you can use for free if you have less than 2,000 subscribers. After you reach 2,000 subscribers, there is a monthly fee of $10 (or $199/month if you want premium support, and a few more advanced features).
Constant Contact is another email marketing platform whose pricing is also based on subscriber numbers. However, there is no free tier, and their pricing starts at $20/month for lists with 0-500 subscribers. They do have a free 60 day trial for new users, so you can test it out before deciding to invest in their paid service.
I would suggest starting off with a free account on MailChimp then. Once you reach 500 followers, you can start a free-trial on Constant Contact and see if you like it enough to invest in their service. If you'd rather not engage in the back and forth of exporting your list, you could keep using MailChimp until you reach 2,000 subscribers and then decide from there.
Emails are valuable. Not everyone is going to hand theirs over to you without even thinking about it. You need to give them a good reason. This is why you should commit to giving people on your list valuable content. Don't spam them with minute updates, but do tell them when you have an update you think they will want to know about.
You will need to create a signup form for visitors to fill out, if you want to collect email addresses from your website. This can be done a number of ways with MailChimp or Constant Contact. The easiest and least time-consuming method is to navigate to your dashboard, find the list you’d like to create a form for and embed the code on a page on your website.
Website providers like SquareSpace and Wix also offer applications where you can create a form that will automatically sync to your Mailchimp account.
If you're using SquareSpace, you will need to add a "newsletter block," then connect it to Mailchimp using the block's "Storage" option. If you're using Wix, you will need to go to your account's Apps page and search for "Contact Collection." You will them have the option to create contact forms and link them to Mailchimp.
If you're a gigging musician, you should also be collecting email addresses at your shows. You can go the DIY route and just use regular printer paper or you can find a template online that you can edit with your name on it. Leave the paper on your merch table with a pen, and ask fans to sign up when they stop by or make a purchase. You can even give a quick shout-out asking people to sign up for your newsletter at the end of your set. You could also offer fans a free incentive (like a band sticker or pin) for joining your email list. After the show, you can type these email addresses into your email marketing platform and you'll be ready to go.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST
- Reach out to your personal network of close friends and family
- Include building your email list as part of your social media outreach
- Create a contest for new signups at your next show
- Offer a free single download or promo code for signing up