As you well know, gathering new fans is the lifeblood of every growing artist. And with the world at our feet as far as possibilities and the numbers of people we can reach, it’s both easier and harder.
Easier because we have way more people that we can be in contact with, giving us the possibility of opening up markets we wouldn’t have suspected. Which is what I think about every time I get a new fan from Sweden or somewhere.
Harder because now there’s too many possible people and too many things to keep track of. If you do gather some new fans from far flung parts of the world, you have to keep them engaged, even if you can’t tour where they are yet.
What You’ll Learn
- Why building and email list is still important
- Your basic system for funneling people into your email list
- What I’m offering to get them signed up
- How my autoresponder series works
- Changes I’ve made and things that didn’t work
I’ve noticed that if my favorite sites or performers don’t constantly remind me that they’re there, I will often forget to go check in with them. And the best way be consistent with your fans is still through email.
But wait, what about Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Google+ (just kidding… who the hell uses Google+?) The problem with those sites is that you get lost in constant soup of humanity flowing through the timeline at all hours of the day.
Facebook, because of all their EdgeRank horse shit won’t even let most of your fans see your posts. Twitter posts last all of 30 minutes if you’re lucky before they’re shuffled off into digital oblivion. And YouTube still hasn’t gotten the art of connecting people quite right outside of subscribing to channels.
Besides that, any of those sites can take your fanbase away from you in seconds because they think you did something wrong. You want control over your list of people. The only way to do that is with your own site and your own email list.
All those other sites should feed into your website and list. Of course, you need your own site. I’ll write about that another time. For now just know that a Tumblr blog or one of those atrocious Wix sites ain’t gonna do it, Chuckie.
For awhile now I’ve been trying out the use of autoresponders, which has been a marketing staple for internet marketers for years. And more recently has been proscribed for musicians and other performers by John Oszjaca and Chris Rockett.
Essentially, it goes like this:
– Set up a page on your site with a compelling offer and a form to fill out that places that person on your email list.
* That offer can be as simple as two tracks from your latest CD. Chris Rockett has another package that includes video, audio, pictures, and some other stuff.
– Set up a series of autoresponder emails that deliver the promised package and follow up with further content and offers.
And boom! That all runs on autopilot while you’re writing songs. An autoresponder is just an email that you set up to be sent at a certain interval. Immediately on sign up or 2 days after signup or whatever you need.
If you’ve never used a mailing list company and autoresponders before, the kingpin in town is Aweber.com. I use a company called Your Mailing List Provider – YMLP.com . They’re a bit cheaper and pretty easy to use. Thought not as robust as Aweber.
I started out by offering a package of 8 tracks. It’s a lot, but I’ve got a pretty extensive back catalog that encompasses both comedy and serious music plus standup. So I like to give them a good overview of my stuff and let them hook into whichever aspect they prefer.
I also spread out those 8 tracks (actually 10 – I surprise them with two more) by doling out 2 per day for five days. I’m trying to avoid having them just download and dump them into the iTunes shuffle black hole, hoping they might surface sometime in the future. We all do it. I figured if I give out just two at a time they might take a few minutes to actually listen to them.
Since I started with this, I’ve had 34 people sign up. 2 almost immediately cancelled, but that’s the nature of the beast. By the end of the 5 email series only 2/3 of the people are opening and clicking. Not too bad.
Why fewer opens and clicks? Maybe too many tunes. Maybe they emails are grouped too close together. Maybe I just suck. 🙂
And sales? About 10% of them have bought something afterwards. Decent, but I’d rather get that up to 20%. Some may have gone to iTunes or whatever to buy. But probably not as I offer all my downloads on a name your own price basis (a topic for another post).
So I’m switching things up to something a little more normal (shock!). I’m going to give them all the tracks at once in a zip file in the first email. Also included is a “read me first” text file that does a few things: Gives insights to the tracks for some context, tells them which albums they come from, offers them a “you might also enjoy….” idea for each, and let’s them know where to go to buy my stuff.
After the first email, I’m following up with these about every 2-3 days:
– A blog post that gives them some background on who I am as an artist and how important this career (and by extension, they) are to me.
– Another blog post with a funny story connected to one of my songs. And they get to download the song for free.
– A 72 hour sale email. John Oszjaca does “buy my new CD and get my last one free.” I’m doing “buy my latest DVD and get both my very first album and a new live bootleg recording free.”
– One last email to remind them that the 72 hour sale is ending and they should jump on it.
I’ve just finished changing all this over today. Now I need to drive some traffic to it and see how it does.
Over the last few months, I’ve changed up my strategy here. I’ve been going through a music marketing bootcamp put on my Chris Rockett from Music Marketing Classroom.
His thing is an amplification of John Oszjaca’s stuff. I’ve put together not just a package of songs to give away, but a whole new free members area of my website where people get to download a ton of stuff. Songs, videos, my ebook, etc. It’s the “give them so much stuff they can’t possibly say no” strategy. And I’ve begun releasing my new stuff in the members area about two weeks before releasing it to the public as well.
So how’s it working? Pretty good so far. I’m getting a lot more new subscribers to my email list. It’s still not a windfall, but usually 4 or 5 a week. I was getting that per month before.
Another big part of the thing is going out and promoting my content to other sites to post and/or giveaway. That, of course, has always been given as vague advice, but Chris really goes step by step on how to find promo partners and what to say them.
As with anything in that realm, the 80/20 rule applies. And in fact, with this it’s closer to 10% or less sometimes. I’ve had a 4 or 5 sites and facebook pages post my videos. And I just did a giveaway with a geek-centric site in the UK for my song “Geeks Don’t Care”.
For that we did 1000 golden tickets into the VIP site. I do a special splash page and video just for that audience and gave him all the graphics and text he needed for his site. And really, upon posting it, I expected quite a large number of new subscribers. Unfortunately it didn’t work that way. Maybe it just wasn’t a good fit or after hearing the song they weren’t into it. American geeks dig the song, but it hasn’t had a lot of exposure to the international community yet.
As of this writing, I’ve only gotten 21 visits from that site. And none of those people subscribed. So next time I think I’ll leave a little more mystery in the pitch page on the partner site and see how that goes. For this one I let him post both the video and the Soundcloud track.
Still overall this new setup is working better. I’m going to keep finding new promo partners that have an audience that match themes in my releases and something will click eventually. It often only takes one really solid placement for something to go ballistic.
More updates to come.