First Steps in Email Marketing For Indie Artists

May 5, 2016

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog courtesy of Amanda Krebs (follow her on Twitter!), Client Services Community Manager at FanBridge. Email marketing is an oft-overlooked element of connecting with fans, so take note!]

Email marketing can be a difficult tool to grasp in the beginning, but once you harness it, it can be a big part of how you monetize your music!  With such a big undertaking, it can be hard to know where to begin, and there are a lot of routes you can take in the process.

Here’s a few guidelines for musicians to follow as they start building their email list and sending newsletters to fans:

Step 1: Building a List

Can’t send a newsletter if you don’t have a list of people that signed up to receive it!  There are the obvious ways anyone can build their mailing list, like embedding a signup form on your website (your email service provider will have this option), or sharing a link to your signup form on social media.  However, there are specific ways musicians can build their list quickly.

Offer a Free Download

A lot of musicians on FanBridge see great success by offering a download of a track in exchange for an email address.  Especially if you’re offering a file that is not available elsewhere, you’ll see those email addresses come pouring in.

Signup Sheet at Your Merch Table

What a great idea!  You play a show in a room full of people who came to see you.  Or maybe they came to see someone else and you just made some new fans (hooray!).  What better way to keep these highly engaged, paying fans up to date than having them sign up for your mailing list?  Keep a pen and paper at your merch table, or your email service provider may have an app to help you collect even more data on your fans.  While you’re on stage, call out your mailing list signup at the merch booth to get more people to a.) sign up for your list and, b.) buy your merch (cha-ching!).

Step 2: Sending Great Content

So now you’ve built a list of your most engaged fans, and they’re looking forward to receiving important updates from you!  So, what do you send?  Aside from new releases and big updates, here’s a few ideas for a musician to consider:

Early Access

Exclusive access is one of the top reasons people will sign up for a mailing list, so make sure you offer it in one way or another.  Many musicians will give their mailing list first access to a new release.  You can also offer things like ticket presale codes or maybe a quick teaser for an upcoming project.

Behind the Scenes

Your fans care more than you give them credit for.  Even some of the most mundane activities you take part in are things your fans want to know!  Sharing things like what you did on your day off, or a tour of the studio you recorded in can make your fans feel more welcome and included in your journey.

Tour Dates

This is where you make your money, right?  Get your fans offline and into the venue by making sure that they know when you’re coming.  For even better results, gather as much geographical information on your fans as possible, and send a targeted message for each area of your tour.  Let them know how excited you are to visit their city, and you’ll see those emails turn into ticket sales.


Maybe they missed the merch booth at your live show, or maybe they weren’t able to attend a show.  Either way, here’s another great conversion point for you to get some additional sales.  Telling your fans about an item on sale or about new merch items in your store via email can be crucial to gaining some additional revenue (holiday sale, anyone?).

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