Guide to email marketing for musicians

Blog by Matt McNeill under Artist Managers, Media, Selling & Distributing Your Music

With so much activity around social media these days, is it worth investing time and effort in using email marketing to promote your band? After all, email is a pretty old school technology now.
Consider this: If you build up an email database of loyal fans, you’ve created an asset that you control - you’re able to communicate directly with these people whenever you have something to say. You have their contact details and know who these people are, so you can easily build on your relationship with them. 
If you focus all your efforts on building a fanbase on Facebook, you have a lot less control. You don’t own the relationship with your fans, Facebook do. They decide if people see your posts (on average less than 13% will, unless you pay to promote your posts). If Facebook falls out of favour and users move away, or your account gets suspended for any reason, you’ve lost all contact.
That’s not to say that social media isn’t a valuable tool - it’s a great way to raise awareness - but it’s a dangerous game to rely on social channels as the only way to communicate with your fans.
Email marketing gets a great return for artists and bands - in the 2012 email marketing benchmark by, bands and artists had one of the highest average open rates, at over 21%. 
To get the most from email marketing though, there are a few key things you should do, and some tricks you should know:
Make it really easy for people to opt-in to your newsletters
The first thing you need to do is build your mailing list. To do this, you need to make it really easy for people to subscribe. 
Create a subscription form and make sure it’s on your website and Facebook page. Promote it as much as you can.
On the form, explain roughly how often you’ll be in touch and what you’ll be talking about - tell people why it’s worth giving you their attention. 
Only ask for the information you really need (like email address). The more you ask for, the less likely people will bother. You can always find out more later.
If you can, offer an incentive - a free track download or the chance to win gig tickets - encouragement like this can really boost your results.
Never, ever, be tempted to buy lists or swap data with other people - that’s spamming. Not only is it evil, but you can face huge fines.
Make your emails engaging
To build a loyal fanbase with your emails, you need to make them engaging. It’s not so much about slick design as the personality of your content. 
Make your emails personal. Give people an insight into what’s going on and make them feel special. Don’t treat your emails like a flyer, think of them as a letter to a friend.
Using images in your email is great, but make sure you keep them small (in total under 100KB maximum) and have a balance of text as well. Spam filters can’t read images and if they don’t have text to go on as well, they assume the worst and you could see your hard work consigned to the junk mail folder.
Include social sharing links in your emails to encourage your readers to spread the word to their friends.
Use the same ‘From name’ and sender email address every time you send. This helps people recognise your emails and if they add your email address to their address book it will also help you avoid spam filters.
Stay in touch
Once you’ve got people’s attention, don’t abandon them.
Stay in regular contact, ideally at least monthly, or you’ll see response rates drop. You want people to remember you!
Try and stick to a regular schedule, for example the last Friday of the month at 2pm, so that people begin to anticipate your messages.
Avoid sending late at night or first thing in the morning, these times tend to have the lowest response rates. 
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but the easiest way to learn is to get started and experiment. If you’d like to read more there are loads of free resources available at


email marketing, unsigned bands, unsigned artists, music fans, music promotion,


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