Email Marketing Is Still King
A mailing list…really? That notepad on the merch table at the show?
Why bother if I’m connecting with fans on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Bandsintown, etc?
Well, it’s simple – people might fluctuate on their social media platform of choice, and in how much time they spend scrolling through them – but most people still check their email – and you don’t have to pay to reach your fans.
Your email list is one of the few marketing platforms you own outright. While social media is great, you don’t have any control over their platforms. Look at how quickly they change their algorithms and how much it costs to run ads to reach people who have already opted in as your fan.
The bottom line is – the number one way to sell to fans is through email marketing. E-mail subscribers are 15x more likely to buy than Twitter followers.
Going on tour? Announcing a new release? Pre-order? Highlighting a dream piece of press? New merch drop? Anything and everything you want to share with your fans – a mailing list is the best way to reach your audience directly.
There’s a few ways to go about building your mailing list – here are a few to try (the merch table notepad is still a valid option – just don’t make it your ONLY approach)!
If you’ve poked around darn near any website offering a product or service (music/merch in our case), you’ve probably come across an opt-in form, also referred to as lead capture forms. When you see a “first name” and “email address” field with a submit button, you’ve come across an opt-in form.
Opt-in forms are a fantastic way to create leads as you can put them just about anywhere on your website (or on your linktr.ee / link in bio-type places). They can be sprinkled throughout your blog posts, placed on your Home page above-the-fold, or even at the end of your About page. Put them everywhere you can, without being overly aggressive or spammy.
Think of landing pages as opt-in forms on steroids. Instead of embedding a small opt-in form onto your website, you can create a dedicated landing page that leads to your email marketing funnel. You’ll have room there to include additional copy and a preview of your offer (pre-order, pre-save, instant-grat tracks for signing up, things like that).
Ever seen those sexy “pre-save” or “pre-order” links from other artists during buildup to release? These are an invaluable tool, as you can set them up to require any visitors to enter their e-mail address to access the offer within the smart link.
There are many platforms that offer these (Feature.fm and ToneDen are some of our favorites) at various price points. All of which are worth the investment as you are turning this into sales down the road.
Additional tips for nurturing subscribers once you’ve added them to your mailing list
- Don’t go radio silent. If your subscriber is used to seeing you in their inbox once a week during a release cycle but then don’t hear from you for a few months, your relationship will grow stale. The best time to truly nurture your subscribers is in between releases because you have the opportunity to educate them without having to make the sale. People don’t like feeling like just a dollar sign to you.
- Read and answer newsletter replies. E-mails perform best when they operate like a conversation rather than a monologue. While you may not have the time to answer every newsletter reply, you can repurpose them into questions for a Q&A video or an FAQs newsletter (be creative – even a simple “mailbag” can be useful here – and always ask permission before you post anyone’s response in public).
- Create an automated email sequence of old content. Not sure if you can commit to writing a weekly newsletter when you’re already producing other content / focusing your energy elsewhere? You can still grow and nurture your list by adding subscribers to a new mailing list with an e-mail sequence of repurposed content. Not everyone has read every piece of content you’ve ever created, so make it last longer with an automated email sequence.
In conclusion – do not underestimate the value of a dedicated fan-focused mailing list. It is far and away the best return on investment you’ll see across any platform.
Also, don’t be afraid to start it up grassroots – send an intial e-mail to friends and family, asking them to forward to their friends – being sure to include an opt-in link in the message. It’s never too late to get started.
Be sure to check out more of our Free Advice!