How To Use Email To Grow Your Fanbase & Drive Music Sales

This is a guest post by MusicNomad, a musicians advocate organization that researches, reviews and ranks thousands of companies in the music industry to filter out the ones that help musicians the most.
Your relationship with your fans has never been more important. They hold the money and are the ones that want to buy directly from you. They love your music and are the people you need to develop an intimate relationship with if you want your band’s career to grow. If used right, email and email management is a powerful tool that can make the artist-fan relationship grow stronger. Email can be used in a range of ways, such as a personalized messages to give fans an update or a call for action to buy something from you. Here is a list of what we believe are the best ways to use email to connect with and grow your fanbase:
  1. Bands (and not management or interns) should always write their own emails to be authentic.
  2. Noon Eastern time on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday is the ideal time to send broadcast emails to your fans, as people are at work across the US and Europe.
  3. The ideal frequency of emails to fans is about every 2 to 4 weeks, with updates on your tour, merch and music announcements.
  4. Negotiate upfront if you leave from a record label that you keep your email list and you own it.
  5. Give great deals through email offers for pre-orders, such as a $50 package for $25.
  6. Don’t put links to iTunes and Amazon in your emails. Fans want to buy direct from you so always link them directly to your website (or Bandcamp).
  7. In each email, make sure you have direct and separate links to buy merch, buy tour tickets and buy music. Don’t be afraid to have a big “Buy” button in the email.
  8. Sell email exclusive package offerings around holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, Cinco De Mayo, etc or just give some music away for free that day in exchange for an email.
  9. Your fan email lists are gold and building them up is huge! Collect emails and zip codes from your fans at shows or ask for them in exchange for a free download.
  10. Pay someone to go around and collect emails and zip codes at your shows. It’s that important.
  11. Ask your merch company for the emails and zip codes for the fans that bought your merch.
  12. Send emails by zip code so that you can target emails to promote upcoming shows. The best time to send a show announcement is 30 to 45 days before the show date. The ideal time to send an email reminder about an upcoming show is 5 days before the show. Offer fans something special like a $5 off coupon at your merch table. In the subject line, be sure to put the name of that city, such as “New Tour Date announced in Chicago”. This will personalize the email and increase its overall open rate.
  13. Don’t go overboard in graphics and special effects in your email, but make it look nice and spend some time designing it.
  14. Before you send out a fan email, send a test email to you and your band members to see how it looks. Fix any issues before sending.
  15. If you have only a fan’s email and no zip code, give something away for free (like a live show recording or free album download) in exchange for it and tell them it will help you more effectively communicate with them about tour dates or special appearances in their city. It’s the truth.
  16. Don’t cut and paste blanket emails to your fans. Be authentic even if it takes you longer — you will be much more successful this way. Fans will tell a friend about the personal email they received from you and viral marketing will begin. Split up the emails and get everyone in the band involved.
  17. Send an email to fans in a city you just played in and thank them for their support. Have a local connection in your email to those fans and tell them what you did in or thought about their city besides your show.
If we missed something that you have found to be successful in your email marketing experience, please comment below!
About MusicNomad
MusicNomad is a musicians advocate organization that tries to make sense of the vast and fragmented music industry through researching, interviewing, reviewing and ranking thousands of companies in the music industry and filtering the ones that can really help musicians. They then do write ups on the companies, rank them and give you a direct link to their website. There are also tips, news and articles for musicians to explore. The website is free to use and focuses on fighting for the underdog, independent musicians!

7 Responses to “How To Use Email To Grow Your Fanbase & Drive Music Sales”

  1. 1 The Deacon

    Hey Alan!
    Good advise. We send out our “Quickie” newsletter once a week. Getting emails is a lot of work, but coming up with special packages is pretty damn fun. And since the band is our business, we can do whatever the hell we want!

    Rock Hard! Rock Sexy!
    -The Deacon

  2. 2 HypedSound

    Always true! Personal is always better: sacrifice some quantity in order to actually make something stick.

  3. 3 Chris Bracco

    These are incredibly awesome tips, Alan! I have been aware of most of these, but there were a few interesting ideas that were new to me. Thanks for such great advice.

    You mention that the best time to send an e-mail about a show is 30-45 days beforehand, and the reminder e-mail should go out 5 days before the show date. Just curious – why those numbers?

  4. 4 Alan Khalfin

    @The Deacon — what do you use to manage your email addresses? Maybe 1 email per week is a bit much? Maybe email 1 once every 2 weeks and do more constant updates on Facebook/Twitter?

    @Chris – those numbers are based on research that Music Nomad did. I’ll let them weigh in here…

  5. 5 Alan Khalfin

    @Tommy, feel free to share for sure!

  6. 6 Debra Russell

    Great article! I agree with all of it and I want to add a point. Your purpose with your email list is twofold – yes it’s to convert prospects to customers/fans and to inform fans of new ways to buy from you.

    BUT – if you only use your email list to sell, sell, sell, promote, sell – you will lose people. You must also use your list to deepen your relationship with your fan base. That’s why personalizing it is so important. And that’s why your newsletters must contain more than just – buy my CD or tickets to my show.

    Use your emails to get to know people. Here are a few ways to do that:

    1) tell stories – who are you? what’s your life like?
    2) share exciting news (and not just about that cool gig you booked).
    3) Ask questions
    4) Offer resources and valuable information
    5) Engage them in your product creation process – invite them to listen to a new tune, tell them the story behind a tune, etc.
    6) Share your passions with them – are you a foodie? Include a recipe or a great restaurant you found. Are you an eco-activist – give them a tip to reduce their carbon footprint.

    These are just a few ideas. But the overarching principle is to use your creativity and to engage and deepen your relationship with your fans.

  7. 7 Alan Khalfin

    @Debra – you make some great points!! I couldn’t agree more…

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