As an artist, it can be difficult to keep up with social media algorithms, and to effectively game the system enough to make social channels an effective promotional tool. Luckily, the old-school option of email still remains a highly effective avenue for musicians, provided you can keep your fans from unsubscribing.
Guest post by Evan Zwisler of the Symphonic Blog
Social media algorithms can be annoying. They change daily (so it seems) and make it so your fans don’t have the chance to see all of your posts.
That’s why people say email lists are the future. As of right now, email inboxes are not being algorithm-ized. It’s just a feed of chronological messages that other people or businesses have sent you.
But the question is: how do you make your email list, as a musician, irresistible to fans? How do you keep your unsubscribe rate to a minimum?
There’s a lot you could do to, but here are just a few tips on how to add value to your email list.
Tell Your Story
People connect with stories. I mean, aren’t we all just a collection of stories?
This is why people enjoy watching movies, reading fictional books, and hearing their friend talk about that time they almost fell into the lion exhibit at the zoo.
It’s a way to connect with others.
So tell your story to your email subscribers. Instead of just telling your subscribers you want to connect with them, show them you do. Share stories about how you started in music, how embarrassing your first song is, and what’s happening in your personal life today.
Obviously, you may want to put up barriers for yourself on what you will and won’t share about your personal life. But get as personal as you feel comfortable and do it in a personable way. Let your personality shine when you share your story.
Giving is good thing. I think we all know that. It adds value to other people’s lives, it makes you feel good — it’s a win-win.
For example, I’m on Aaron Espe’s email list. Around Christmastime, he sent his subscribers a community giftcard to Starbucks. No strings attached. He just encouraged us to post pictures of our drinks in a special Facebook group.
What a great idea it was! I had some fancy-shmancy grande-latte drink for free. It made me feel like Espe actually appreciated that I was a subscriber.
You see, giving builds relationships. When you give your fans a free goodie, they’ll see that they matter to you. The act of giving is an act of love, really. And when your fans feel the love, they may be more likely to reciprocate that love.
Now, if they don’t reciprocate it, that’s fine. Still give to them. Because giving adds value, and that makes this whole music-making thing worth it.
Humans like clubs. We like to be a part of the “in” crowd, and we take pleasure in knowing there’s an “out” crowd. Those of you who are philosophers can discuss whether or not that’s an ethical mindset.
What I do know is that this way of thinking can benefit you and your email list.
If you offer unreleased music or early access to stuff, your email subscribers will love you for it. You’re giving them something the rest of the world doesn’t get.
It goes back to making your subscribers feel special. Exclusivity makes us feel special.
You know how marketing writers ALWAYS put some of the WORDS in ALL CAPS to apparently make an IMPACT?
Yeah, don’t do that to your subscribers. They can see through that like a eagle can see through an invisible door. Plus, it’s annoying.
Also, don’t say something in your title if it’s not in the email. Don’t ask rhetorical questions that you’d hear a used car salesmen use in one of those cheesy TV commercials. And don’t use one of those “countdown timers” that clearly resets each time you visit the link.
Just be you. Be honest. Write your emails like you’re writing them to your mom. Literally — when you write your next email, start with “Hi, mom,” and go from there. See how it changes your tone.
Evan Zwisler is a musician in New York City. He plays with his band The Values, and does music production and show booking on the side. He has found great success in New York and looks to share his expertise with his readers.