Using Email Newsletters to Build and Engage Your Fanbase

by Ross Barber

Email Newsletters for MusiciansEmail marketing is something that is often (wrongly) overlooked by musicians and artists.

With the increasing use of social networks, many see email newsletters as redundant or a waste of time.

A good newsletter can deliver important messages or information to your fans, and in many cases can help you to sell more music and gig tickets.

Email Marketing vs Social Media

Social media is great, but your updates can often be missed, particularly by those who are following a lot of people on Twitter, or have a large friend list on Facebook. When someone gives you their email address, they are giving you permission to contact them directly.

If you have something important to announce, you have a better chance of your audience hearing about it if they receive an email from you, than if you’re simply posting it on social media. Of course, social media is still effective, but it shouldn’t stop you from sending out regular newsletters to your fans.

Everyone’s newsletter will have different open rates, but if we say for example that you have 2000 subscribers on your mailing list, and 50% of them open your email. That’s 1000 people who have read what you have to say. Compare that to Facebook, where many pages’ updates are only being seen by 25% of their likers, and the results are quite staggering!

How do I get people to sign up to my mailing list?

1. Firstly, make it easy for your fans to sign up. You should have a mailing list sign up somewhere prominent on your website, and you should always be collecting email addresses at any gig you play at. Go old school and print out a mailing list sign up sheet. Even if you’re supporting another act, it’s likely that they won’t mind you putting a sign up list on the merch table.

2. On your website, offer an incentive for people to give you their email address.Β Don’t think of it as giving something away for free – you’re giving something away in exchange for an email address, which over the course of your career could be very valuable. When it comes to deciding what you want to give away, think of what YOU would like to receive as a fan. Make it something exclusive that your fans can’t get from anywhere else i.e. an unreleased track, or an acoustic or live version of one of your most popular tracks.

3. Many mailing list platforms allow you to integrate signup forms within Facebook and other social networks. Mailchimp (Electric Kiwi’s choice of mailing list provider) for example, have an app that integrates a signup form on your Facebook page. Make it easy for your fans to sign up – the more places your mailing list form is, the better!

How often should I send my newsletter out?

You should send your newsletters out regularly. Try and come up with a schedule, and stick to it. Start by sending a newsletter out every month, and monitor how many people are opening and clicking your links. If you find that you have a lot of news and need to let people know more often, then by all means send newsletters out more regularly. Anything more than once a week will probably become overkill, and it’s likely that many will unsubscribe as a result. Generally speaking, once a month will be sufficient. Sending your newsletters out regularly will help to keep both you and your fans in a routine.

What should I include in my newsletter?

Generating unique content can be difficult, but try and make sure that there is something unique and exclusive in the emails that you send out. Even if it’s just an anecdote from your life, a personal message to your fans, or even a snippet of poetry or lyrics that you’ve been working on. Of course, you can (and should) include links to your latest blog posts, tour dates, new releases etc but always ensure that there is something in your newsletter that isn’t available anywhere else.

Subject is Key

The subject line is the first thing your fans are going to see, so make it interesting! We’ve all seen subject lines like “New Tour Dates” before – but is that particularly exciting? No. Will it get opened? Maybe, but it doesn’t particularly grab you. Instead of “New Tour Dates” why not try something like “Something big is coming to your town…” for example. Perhaps not a great example, but it is a little more intriguing than the first idea!

Let’s hear from you!

Have you subscribed to any newsletters that you think are a perfect example of what a musician or band’s newsletter should be?

What do you include in your newsletter? What have you found has been most effective in your email marketing strategy? Do you have any examples of great subject lines from newsletters you subscribe to?

Leave your comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

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2 responses to “Using Email Newsletters to Build and Engage Your Fanbase”

  1. The Legendary Frank says:

    My main beef with bands is that so many times I miss their gigs cos I don’t know about them. Time and time again I say to them – don’t rely on Facebook etc to get your information across – and time and time again they ignore my pleas.

    The only problem with newsletters is that they are excruciatingly boring. I think it’s far better for bands to cut to the chase and just give the dates of the damn gigs, that’s all most of us want to know and not whether you got wrecked last Saturday night or your cat Tiddles just gave birth to six kittens all which seem to have different fathers. I’m not sure I really want to know about a band’s escapades in the studio either, just a short note that they are in the studio will suffice.

    So my advice to bands is to keep newsletters short and to the point. What do we as fans want? Simples, gig dates, gig dates, gig dates.

    If there are vids, mp3s and reviews that you would like us to see then give us the relevant url.

    Ditto with Tiddles and your drinking adventures.

    • Ross Barber says:

      Hi Frank,

      Everyone has a different opinion and approach, but I think these days, more and more people want to feel a social connection with the artists they listen to. Every fan is different, just as every band is different – so each will need to take a different approach.

      I’m of the opinion that simply sending out gig dates is not enough — yes, you’re telling people that you’re playing but I think now, people need more of a reason to go and see you. If they feel a connection, or they can relate to you on a personal level, you’re more likely to see them at your shows, and they may be more likely to buy merch if they feel they can have a chat with you at the merch table at the end of your show.

      Like I said though, every band is different and what will work for one, won’t work for another. You should know your fanbase well enough to know what kind of newsletters they would like, and similarly, what kind of messaging is going to work best for you on social media, too.

      Ultimately, I think bands need to try things out and see what works best for them. That’s one reason that it’s important to use a mailing list platform which allows you to see statistics for how many people are opening your emails and clicking your links. If you’ve got a high percentage, then you’re doing things right – if you’ve got a low percentage, then it’s time to rethink your approach.

      Thanks again for commenting though – appreciated!

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