We teamed up with the good people at the Unsigned Guide to find out why bands & artists need a mailing list and how to grow yours
If you want to lay a solid foundation for promoting your music and gigs, then a mailing list is essential for any band or artist. A well maintained and expanding mailing list can help boost music, merch and ticket sales, and is a great personalised way to keep in touch with fans and grow your following. This blog will take you through the basics of how to build and cultivate your list, what email service providers to check out, plus ideas for content for your mailouts.
Why a mailing list is one of the most vital promotional tools for a band
With Facebook posts rarely reaching your whole following (not without some paid targeting!) and tweets easily disappearing into the ether, email marketing is by far the best way to directly connect with your fans and keep them up to date with release news and gig dates.
And unlike your followings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, you own your mailing list! Cast your mind back to the days of MySpace which dropped in popularity and became virtually obsolete – with bands and musicians losing a valuable platform to communicate with the friends they’d built up along the way. This cannot happen with a mailing list so you can rest assured that any effort you put into growing your list will not be wasted.
Email Service Providers (ESPs) to check out
Your first consideration will be to find a suitable email service provider where you can securely store your mailing list. This will also keep you on the right side of the law as an ESP will have to be compliant with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and they will handle all opt-in and unsubscribe facilities, making sure people on your list definitely want to be part of it, and can leave at any time.
Boring legalities aside, you will be able to design kickass, professional looking mailouts within the ESP, and track the number of people who have opened the email, what they have clicked on, and so on – to give you valuable insight into what your fans respond well to.
Some ESPs we would recommend you check out are Mailchimp, Bandzoogle, ConstantContact and AWeber. Take a look at their pricing plans – some will allow you to have a mailing list for free up to a certain number of subscribers, whereas others you pay based on how many mailouts you will be sending and how regularly, so weigh up what will be the best value for your needs.
Building & growing a mailing list
Gathering email addresses from your website or Facebook page will be a primary way for you to build and grow your mailing list, and all of the above ESPs have simple ways for you to integrate an option for people to sign up from your site – complete with necessary web forms, verification process and confirmation email for new users who subscribe to your list.
Through an ESP it is often easy enough to integrate any purchases of music and merch made on your website to your mailing list too, so email addresses from fans buying stuff will drop straight into the list. Boom!
You can also gather email addresses from fans at your gigs – just get some paper and pens ready at your merch stand and ask anyone who ventures over or buys something to pop their details down. Maybe you could offer a little incentive to get email addresses – badges, stickers and sweets all work well.
Don’t forget to post on social media to ask followers to sign up to your mailing list if they want to be kept in the loop with your band. You could tease them by letting them know that fans on the mailing list will be the first to hear about your upcoming tour, album pre-sales, or other exclusive content.
What should I include in my mailouts?
The world is your oyster when it comes to what content to include in your emails – and the more personal and fun you can make them, the more you will engage your fanbase and make them feel like they’re part of your special gang.
Here are some suggestions of what you can keep your fans informed about. You could also sign up to other mailing lists yourself and see what other bands are sending out for inspiration:
- Promote upcoming gigs, tour dates, new songs, EP/album/single/video releases
- Tease unfіnіѕhеd, unrеlеаѕеd trасkѕ, B-sides etc.
- Share press/promotion/radio airplay/іntеrvіеwѕ wіth уоur bаnd
- Updates on what the band have been doing/have coming up – time in the studio, writing new material etc.
- Exclusive competitions – merch, guest list spots for gigs, signed EPs etc.
- Pre-sales on gigs and releases – exclusive access before the general public
We suggest trying to set a mailout schedule that works for you, so you are keeping in regular touch with your fans, but are not so over-stretched that you’re struggling to find things to share. Once a month is a good rule of thumb, and you can always increase the regularity for busy periods when you have lots of news to keep them in the loop about.
The Unsigned Guide is a UK music industry directory aimed at emerging, independent & DIY bands, artists & musicians who are keen to progress their music careers, which includes helping acts to get played on the radio. Search contacts covering 50 areas of the music business; from record labels, radio stations, booking agents, festivals to gig venues & promoters, new music blogs, studios, producers & more.
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