The Tools of Music Fan Engagement [Part 2]: Newsletters

Newsletter_iconIn Part 1 of Bandzoogle's “Tools of Music Fan Engagement” blog series, I discussed blogging.
Another important tool to use for fan engagement are email newsletters.
Having an email newsletter might sound a little old school, but the
reality is that it’s still proving to be the best way to keep in touch
with your fans over the long term. So when it comes to fan engagement,
having a newsletter should be high on your priority list of tools to

Why Newsletters are Great for Fan Engagement
Email newsletters are great for fan engagement because it’s a direct line of communication with your fans.
If they’re on your mailing list, it’s because they chose to sign up,
meaning that they want to hear about your career. This also means they
can respond directly to you and a personal dialogue can be started
between you and your fan.

Newsletters are also the most reliable way of reaching your fans. With
social media, you’re never really sure who is seeing your updates, and
the percentage of fans actually seeing the updates can be shockingly
low. For Facebook, studies suggest the average can be from 6% to 16% of fans seeing and engaging with Pages. With Twitter, well, it’s even worse.

With email newsletters, open rates tend to be higher, and you can also
measure the opens and click-throughs on your links, allowing you to see
who is reading and interacting with the content in your newsletters.

Note: Don’t ever add people to your mailing list
without their permission. Spamming people can do irreparable harm to
your career, as you will likely lose those people as potential fans

Other Great Reasons to have a Newsletter

Besides being a great tool to directly engage your fans with, there are other benefits to email newsletters:

You Own It

Remember all those fans you had on MySpace? Well, MySpace owned their
data, not you, and chances are if you didn’t get them signed-up to your
mailing list, you lost contact with many of them.

Facebook? Twitter? Same deal. Bottom line is that social media sites are
great tools for interacting with current fans and finding new ones, but
you’ll want to get them signed-up to your mailing list so you can stay
in touch with your fans over the long-term, regardless of which social
media site is popular at the time. As Benji Rogers (Founder of PledgeMusic) said in a must-read blog post:

“If email is not the biggest part of your social strategy, then you
are giving the power of communication with your fans to companies who
will gladly take them and whose advertisers will thank you to no end for
providing them with eyeballs.”

Drives people to your website

If you’ve posted a new blog, have new music, or a new video, email
newsletters can be a great way to drive your fans back to your website
to check it out. And while they’re on your site, they’ll likely check
out other content, and maybe shop for some merch in your online store.
Speaking of merch…

Best Way to Sell Music & Merch

Some musicians try to sell music and merch on Facebook, Twitter, and
even YouTube. But when it comes to making money, email newsletters are
still the best way to convert fans to paying customers.

As noted artist manager Emily White has said, an email list is “an artist’s retirement plan”. So anytime you have new music or merch for sale, be sure to make that your primary call-to-action in your next newsletter.

Shows that you’re active

The new music industry is all about getting and retaining fan attention.
Newsletters are a great way to regularly let your fans know about the
latest news in your career and remind them that you’re still active.

Keep it Authentic, Consistent and Sustain It

With your newsletter, keep in mind the 3 Pillars of Music Fan Engagement.
The newsletters should be in your own voice (authentic), you have to
send them out on a consistent basis, and to really see results, you’ll
have to sustain it over the long term.

And of course, it goes without saying (but I'm saying it again): Never leave your fans hanging.
If a fan emails you back with a compliment, thank them. If they ask a
question, answer it. This will encourage them to stay on your list and
talk about you to their friends.

Make Your Mailing List Your Primary Call-to-Action

In case you haven’t noticed, I place a high importance on email
newsletters. So for your website, I strongly suggest you make your
mailing list signup your primary call-to-action. A call-to-action directs people's attention to something specific you want them to do when they land on your website.

If you’re an emerging artist, focus on building that mailing list before
anything. Don’t worry so much about selling music & merch just yet,
build a strong mailing list and over the long term it will be worth
much more than trying to get that 0.99$ download right away when people
visit your site.

Remember to Offer an Incentive

When it comes to building your list, remember to offer an incentive to
the person who will be giving you their email address. Getting the
“latest news” or “inside scoop” on your career is nice, but offering a
little something more might be the difference between getting that email
or not. It could be as simple as a free MP3, or even an exclusive
song/EP/Live Album that can’t be found anywhere else.

Hypebot contributing writer Dave Cool is Director of Artist Relations for musician website & marketing platform Bandzoogle. Twitter: @Bandzoogle | @dave_cool

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