Email lists for musicians

Email Lists for Musicians: Tips that Actually Work

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You’ve probably heard it a thousand times; “You’ve got to start collecting people’s email addresses!”

If you’re still not convinced of the power of email, I’m not sure I can say anything new to sway you.  The facts are out there and they state clearly that even with the rise of Social Media, Email is still king when it comes to communicating with fans.

Growing an email list definitely requires work but getting started and gaining traction doesn’t have to be as slow and frustrating as some people think.

Use the following strategy to gain immediate traction and get 100 or more emails in the next 24 hours.  That will motivate you to keep the momentum going and take action with the other 7 Highly Effective Email List Building Strategies (listed later in this post).

The Manual Labor Method:

**Disclaimer** If it sounds a bit simple, that’s because it is.  But guess what, it works, and if you’re committed to growing a fan base for your music, this is the strategy to get you started. It’s time to put yourself out there!

Step 1. Take out your phone

Step 2. Text a friend or family member and say this:

“Hey, it’s (your name).  I’m putting together an email list of people to share my music with.  I’d love it if you gave it a listen and told me what you think. Cool if I add you to the list?”

They will say yes.

Step 3. Then say this:

“Awesome, what’s the best email address for you?”

Step 4. Write down their name and email address.

Step 5. Repeat 100 times.

Seriously.  Block out a few hours one day this week and just do it.  If you run out of people to text, move on to Facebook and start messaging people.  When you are out of people there, go to Twitter, then LinkedIn, then Instagram…

If you truly take action on this strategy, you will end up with at least 100 people on your email list.  And these are people that will be very likely to share your music with their friends and probably buy it too!

It does require you to “put yourself out there” and ask some people that you may not have talked to in a while, or may not even know very well, but just suck it up and do it.  You’ll be proud of yourself in the end.

Make sure you send out a short email thanking your new email subscribers and include a couple of paragraphs about you and your music. Don’t forget to include links to where they can listen to your songs.

Guess what?  You now have an audience.  Email them at least once a month to tell them what you are up to.

So, now that you have a starter list, it’s time to grow it to the next level!

Here are 7 highly-effective strategies to grow your email list online…beyond the manual one-at-a-time method we used above, and beyond the standard vague advice you find on most music websites.

1. Sign up form prominently displayed on your website that offers a free download. It’s amazing to me how many bands and musicians miss this one.  Your website should be an email gathering machine. Make sure that anyone who visits your website can immediately do these two things without jumping through hoops: hear your music and sign up to your email list.

2. Cross promote with other bands.  Most musicians are friends with people in other bands.  Find a band or artist with a similar type of fan base and offer to share their music with your audience in exchange for them sharing your music with theirs.  Offer a free download for anyone that provides their email address.

You could even contact bands you gigged with in the past and let them know you have just started a new Internet marketing campaign and could use their help.  Send them a link to your signup page and ask them to share it with their audience. If you’ve been friendly with the bands you’ve gigged with, you should get mostly positive responses since most musicians will understand the effort that is required to build up a fan base.

3. Ask your social media followers.  That’s right…just ask them. Say something like this: “Thanks to all of you following me on (Facebook, Twitter…) If you haven’t signed up to my email list already, you can do so here: (Include link) Sign up and you’ll be first to know about new music, photos, events, blogs and may even get some free stuff!”

4. Blog…but have a strategy. Everyone says bands should be writing a blog, but that’s where the advice usually ends.  You’re not going to see any positive results if you just throw a blog post up once a week and hope that magic happens.  It’s important to make social media, your website, your blog, and your email list work together to grow your audience. First…tell a story about one of your songs.  It could be how you came up with the idea for the lyrics, or something funny that happened while you were practicing the song. Just pick something interesting in relation to the song that can hold people’s attention.  Then at the end of the post, include a link for people to download that song for free if they provide their email address.

Share a link to the blog post on social media.

Social media will feed people to your website where they read your blog, become engaged by your story, sign up to your email list to get the free song, and become a raving fan.

5. Get featured on other blogs and give away a special gift for their readers.  This one works great! You’ve probably sent your music to different music blogs asking to be reviewed, but do you know how to capitalize on the opportunity when someone features you?  I recommend starting local; find blogs that cover your local music scene and introduce yourself. If they agree to feature you on their site, let them know that you are offering a free download exclusively for readers of their blog, and send them a link to use in their post. The link should take readers to a page on your website where they have to enter their email address to get your free download.

6. Facebook Ads.  This may be the Holy Grail for musicians today, but there’s a steep learning curve to Facebook Ads and if you try to figure it out on your own and you can waste a lot of money too.  Another option is my Facebook Ads for Musicians Video course that shows you exactly what to do, step by step. If you take the time to learn Facebook ads and email marketing and how to make them work together, you can set up an automatic money machine that trades quarters for dollars.

7. Ask your list to sneeze.  Yes, sneeze. Seth Godin, an author and marketing wizard calls people who spread an “idea virus” sneezers.  They spread an idea like a virus. You need to jumpstart the sneezing by asking people that are already on your list for your help. This isn’t as big of a favor as it may sound to you.  Most people on your email list should already like you or like your music. They will likely be happy to help. You just have to make it super easy for them.

You want to make it so that they can click once or twice from your email and have completed the task.  The task, of course, was to share your music and say something favorable about it. This can be accomplished very easily by using a website called “Click to Tweet.”

Using Click to Tweet, you can include a link in your next email newsletter that subscribers can …well…Click to tweet, and it will broadcast whatever message you have pre-loaded via the website.

I’d suggest something like this:

“Just found this new band @(Your Band’s twitter handle), If you like (Insert more famous but similar band’s name) you’ll love these guys! (Include link to a page where they can enter their email address to get a free download)”

You may also want to include an option to share on Facebook for people that don’t use twitter.

Email your list and Let them know that you are working hard to create new music but could use some help building your audience.  Give them a couple of easy ways to share your stuff such as using “Click to Tweet” and thank them.

Okay! That should get you started!

Put all seven strategies in place and you will see a lot of growth in your email list/fan base.  Just remember, Strategy + Action + Time= Results.

This is the digital world we live in!

A twitter post is gone in a couple of minutes, buried under a thousand new posts, and it’s a similar story on Facebook.

Your email is far more likely to be seen than any post on any of your social media accounts.

So if you don’t have an email list and you want to take your music career to the next level, your first step should be to start an email list.

Just make sure you email your list regularly, engage with your fans, and thank them for supporting you!

Obviously, if you can play live shows, then, by all means, go play live and build more fans that way but take a clipboard and collect email addresses!

People are so distracted these days that even if they really enjoyed your show, they may not ever take the next step to connect and buy your music online. You need to remind them!

That’s why you get their email address.

Better yet, use this little trick at your next live show:

Step 1: Set up an account with an Email Service Provider like Aweber or Mailchimp. (any Email Service Provider that lets you send automated emails).

Step 2: Before your next gig, set up an automated email that says this:

“Hey, thanks for coming to the (insert your band name here) concert!

We really appreciate you checking us out.  So we wanted to thank you by giving you this free MP3 of our latest single (Insert song title and a link to where they can download it for free)

We have more music here: (insert link to where they can BUY your music).

Thanks again for coming out!

-bob from (band name)

Step 3: Get a friend and an iPad (or any other tablet)

Step 4: Have your friend walk around at your show with the iPad collecting email addresses.

This eliminates the archaic handwritten emails on a clipboard that most bands use. It might as well be a stone tablet and chisel!

This method eliminates all the spelling errors that come from trying to read drunk peoples handwriting.

And it eliminates the manual entry of dozens of emails the day after the show.

And here’s the best part…

Remember the automated email you set up?

Now, everyone that entered their email address at your show is going to have an email waiting for them that has a link to a free MP3 of your music, so they can download, listen, and remember the fun show they were just at, and a link to where they can buy more of your music!

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