Even in 2019, one of the best online marketing tools is having a mailing list.
Studies showed that the average lifetime value (LTV) of one email subscriber is 37 dollars. Other studies proved that each subscriber is worth one dollar per month. And the list of studies goes on…
Imagine having 10,000 email subscribers.
That’s not even a huge number. It’s impressive though. But with persistent consistency, you can reach it.
Imagine having 100 email subscribers. Let’s assume you write 30 emails in one year. And let’s say it takes you 30 minutes to write an email. That’s an hourly rate of 80 Euro if we take the average monthly subscriber’s value. With 1,000 subscribers it’s already 800 Euro. 10,000? Oh boy… Of course, this is all theoretical. But the logic behind this is simple math.
Direct emailing is a powerful weapon to sell your products to your fans – music, merch, tickets, and whatever comes to your creative mind. Don’t confuse well-written emails with the junk you find in your spam folder every day. I’m talking about genuine, real emails penned by you to your fans. You can tell them stories about yourself, about your music, about anything that gives them value. Your fans are your fans because they’re interested in you. Don’t let them down.
Getting fans on your email list isn’t as easy as some people pretend. It is hard work. But it is worth it if you ask me. Because once you got an email address, you got access to the private life of this particular person. Now, you can communicate with them in a unique and personal way. Don’t you dare to spam them, haha. A mailing list is for giving value and showing people how, what and where they can buy from you. Create good content and make the lives of your audience a little bit better.
Our lives are plastered with ads. Social media, Youtube, banners, brand names on jerseys, radio spots, tv commercials, spam emails, banners on buildings and busses, and endlessly more. It annoys me. And I guess it annoys you as well. Let’s change that.
Don’t market like you want to sell stuff, market like you want to give value. If you give value, people are eager to invest in you. They feel appreciated, they want to give something in return. Yes, there are people who aren’t gonna give back. And that’s fine. If you do it right, there’s enough from those who give back.
So… how do you get people on your list?
The days of giving free digital downloads in return for an email address are long gone. Honestly, who listens to mp3 in 2019 anymore? Not the majority if you believe the official numbers. Offering something that only 10% of your ideal audience could be interested in, would be a bad decision. Instead, you need something that intrigues your fans.
For example, a live show recording that’s not released to the public. Or a lyrics sheet for one, several or all your songs. And, if you do live shows, ask people for their email addresses at the merch table by offering a 5 or 10 bucks discount for a t-shirt…
For me right now, the most important asset in marketing is creativity. Guess who’s usually quite creative? Yep. You. Artists. Musicians. But to be creative in a resourceful way, we need to find a reliable source of inspiration.
Let me introduce to you another very important marketing tool: surveys.
(Don’t call them surveys though.)
Ask your fans what they like and what they don’t like. Ask them when they would like to receive your emails, how often, and which content they prefer.
Despite all the good things about email marketing, most independent musicians fail. They don’t think long term. Posting something on social media, and hoping for the best. That’s a mistake. You have to commit over a very long time. You have to fight through the dips, ride the peaks, and jog in-between.
The key to a profitable email list is to never stop promoting it. Tell your followers about it. At the end of your videos, live streams, social media posts, or shows. Even in-between your shows. Or at the merch table. Use QR codes, SMS services, manual lists, landing pages, ads, and much more.
By the way, a mailing list doesn’t have to be tailored to common fans, it can also be targeted to music industry professionals. When I was working at the radio, I subscribed to many lists of artists, curators, or agents that consistently supplied me with great music or other content.
Why would you spend 5k on producing, recording, and mixing an EP if you have nobody to sell your music to? I know independent musicians with small mailing lists. They outsell signed artists with big social media following because they know how to reach their audience.
Focus on one thing at a time. If you don’t have a mailing list, now is the time to build one. No matter where you are in your music career. You can use an email service provider (ESP) of your choice. I won’t suggest or recommend an ESP because such a decision depends on your current situation, your experience with mailing lists, your goals, and your budget. You can always ask me for advice though.