Email: Boring Idea, Exciting Results

tomahawk email campaignIf I told you that I could get together a big group of fans in one location and get nearly all of them to directly see and engage with all of your most important information, you’d probably want in on this magical sounding service.

Yeah… it’s email. Exciting, right?

One of the cornerstones of almost every Interactive Marketing campaign we run at The Orchard is an email marketing component. Yet, we still find that many people do not understand why or how an effective email strategy works for music marketing (and it really does!).

…does email actually work?

1. You’re going directly to fans

Oh, to have an inbox of one’s own. When you send an email, it goes to a place designed specifically for that lucky recipient to consume information that they want to read. It isn’t languishing on a blog waiting to be found or being swallowed whole by a perpetually-updating newsfeed. An email sent to fans goes to all fans (minus the occasional bounced message or sending issue), not a small pre-determined percentage dictated by an algorithm.

2. You’re sending multiple pieces of valuable information

How are you going to update fans about new tour dates… and include a pre-order link… and mention a few t-shirts… and share a friendly little message to tie it all together when you only have 140 characters? Good luck trying to format all of that information into a singular Facebook post that doesn’t overwhelm fans into saying “tl;dr.” With email, you can include all the info you need and format it in an engaging way that keeps fans reading. Use icons, images, text, and hyperlinks to fit everything into an attractive, informative format.

tomahawk email campaign - tour dates

3. You’re in less competition for attention

Emails don’t have a short time limit like newsfeeds and tickers and timelines. Fans will check their email when they are ready and then see your message in their inboxes, whether that’s 2 minutes after you send or 2 days. When fans are reading an email, you’re the main focus. There’s less temptation to bounce around to various personal updates or to just scroll through massive quantities of content. Email is also more flexible because fans can consume it however they feel best, whether it’s catching up a few times a day or checking on their phones every 5 minutes. Either way, it’s harder for an email to get lost.

…can an email campaign work well?

1. Build your list organically

Quality, not quantity, is important when building a fan list. Maintaining a high quality list starts with how you build it. Make it easy for fans to sign up and offer them something they want in exchange. Don’t force signups by locking lower value content like audio streams and video views behind an email form. Why is this not just a numbers game? Would you rather have 20% of 1,000 fans open your email, or 50% of 400? Forcing fans onto your list prematurely just makes you pay for more emails that are less likely to be opened. Let fans consume free content like the above-mentioned audio and video streams, get warmed up to you, and then join the list with a bigger incentive, like a free MP3 download, when they’re ready to take a bigger plunge.

2. Send consistently, not constantly

Get fans in the habit of receiving emails from you on a regular-enough basis. Sometimes you’ll send more frequently, like around a tour or album release. Outside of the album cycle, though, you should avoid going completely silent. Try catching up monthly, or at least every other month. Otherwise, fans could forget that you have an email list at all. Remember — fans signed up for your list because they want to hear from you!

3. Have a purpose

Every time you send a low-value email, you’re damaging your future open rates. Make sure you’re sending emails for a reason. This isn’t an excuse to ignore point #2 and go silent for 6 months, though. When you’re out of obvious reasons to send an email (album release, tour announcement), send some exclusive or behind-the-scenes content. If you never have anything interesting to send fans, then it’s time to re-evaluate your content strategy. Film a quick video, take some pictures of the studio you’re working in, or pass along a demo or acoustic version of a track. There’s always content to be made! Also, always include the key basics in every email: social links, purchase links, and upcoming tour dates.

tomahawk email campaign - press

Email is a generally affordable way to get measurable direct results with little time investment after you get yourself setup — preferably with an easy, reusable template. Start building a list, ease yourself into the habit of sending regular emails, and watch fans engage!

Not sure where to get started? FanBridge and YMLP both provide very affordable options for email, while Constant Contact and MailChimp offer up robust features for more complex email marketing campaigns.

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