Email newsletters may seem like a form of promotion that has gone the way of the dinosaur, but as a musician (and especially one who is still working their way up the industry ladder), I’d suggest you don’t turn your back on these messages just yet. If done right, you can really make these occasional emails valuable, and once you convince a few people to sign up, you could see sales of merch, music, and concert tickets begin to grow.
It is tough to stand out and offer an email that people want to read, and getting them to agree to be emailed in the first place is one of the toughest things to do! Here are a few tips that may help you grow your subscriber count, which is something a musician is always looking for.
- Offer an incentive
- Post on social media
- Explain the benefits
- Use a good placement
- Promise to be safe
1. Offer An Incentive
Some of your biggest fans won’t need much convincing when it comes to signing up for your email newsletter, because they’ll understand that it’s a great way to support you and to keep up to date with everything you’re doing. Since they love you, they’ll likely seek this out.
Sadly, even if you’re a star, the percentage of fans, or of those who have even heard of you and your music, who will voluntarily sign up to receive promotional messages from you is going to be small. People don’t want to be bothered, and we all know what it feels like to see our inboxes become inundated with missives we weren’t looking for.
As an extra incentive to convince people to sign up for your newsletter, offer to give them something of value in exchange for access to their inbox. It doesn’t need to be anything huge, but it does need to be something they actually care about and that many people will want, since you’re not going to be tailoring this to each individual person.
A free song, a small piece of merch (like a sticker or a pin), or perhaps a certain percentage off a larger item or even a concert ticket could be enough to help you collect a respectable number of email addresses.
When you’re just starting out, you won’t need much help with managing this, as you’ll be able to simply keep track of who signed up and when and then personally email them their gift. After a certain point, that may prove to be exhausting, but there are dozens, if not hundreds of services out there that can help you run your newsletter, and there are plenty of free options that are great.
2. Post It On Social Media
Newsletters are wonderful for you and certainly still important, but we are living in a social media world now…though you shouldn’t think that the two can’t interact or cross promote! You should absolutely have links to your social channels in all of your emails, and there’s no reason why you can’t promote the fact that you have a newsletter on your social platforms as well!
As I suggest whenever you’re promoting anything on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, be smart about how you do so. Don’t simply copy and paste the same message asking people to sign up!
Be more creative!
Think about how often you’re posting, what time of day you’re sending a tweet, how this ask could work visually, and phrase your request in several different ways, so people don’t mind seeing it, and so they aren’t struck by the fact that they’ve likely seen this several times before.
Most of your fans will be following you on social media, since that’s the first place they go to find you and see what you have to say and what you’re up to, but if you can convince even some of those people to take that next step and allow you into their email inboxes, you may have a superfan in the making.
Newsletters used to be the only way (or at least the best way) for many people to find out that you had a new song or album coming or that you were preparing to head out on the road, but now most fans are content waiting for the news on social media.
That might sound like it’s fine, but the average person’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds are not only incredibly crowded, they’re also now subject to algorithms created and implemented by the companies themselves, and they might not be helping your chances.
Explain to your fans and followers that it’s important to you and your career that they sign up for your occasional emails, and spell out the benefits for them. They should be the first to receive news about everything from new music to upcoming shows, and depending on how you’re set up, you might want to think about allowing those people to have first dibs at tickets to your new tour.
You don’t need to get too technical at the beginning of your career—just send them the link first! This may change as you become more popular, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet.
4. Be Smart About Placement
For the most part, people will be signing up for your newsletter on your actual website, as it’s easiest to direct listeners there and have them enter their address via a simple form. Referrals from social are great, but don’t forget about people who may have found their way to your website organically!
As you’re creating your page, or as somebody else is, give some thought to where you place this form, and don’t only put it in one spot. You should be copying and pasting the code for your newsletter sign up form below every news item, underneath every blog you write, and somewhere on the front page where they can see it almost immediately.
It’s not always the most visually appealing addition, but it’s important, so be creative with how you incorporate it into your design!
5. Promise To Be Safe
Like I said earlier, people are exhausted by the number of emails they receive on a daily basis, and most, if not all, of them are trying to sell something (this will be the same with you). Be very clear that you have no interest in sharing their email addresses with anyone for any reason, not even for cash!
Many companies sell off thousands or millions of emails to others to encourage spam, but you’re not some major outfit! Remind your fans that this is just for you to promote your music and your shows, and nothing else. Most people won’t suspect any ulterior motives, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them!
*[Hugh McIntyre writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.]