Email marketing is a key component of developing an artist's brand and cultivating a dedicated following, but for it to work, you need find a way to ensure your fans are actually taking the time to open and maybe even engage with the content you're putting out. In this piece, we look at four strategies that can help to improve the open rate on your next eblast.
Guest post by Cait McMahon of the Symphonic Blog
A big part of developing an artist’s brand is managing to create a dedicated following while continuously helping those relationships flourish, and this includes the utilization of email marketing.
It’s important to remember that each part of your email marketing strategy holds a different key that encourages users to open your emails and better yet, take action. While some steps may seem minimal in the overall development, each step is just as important as the next to ensure you aren’t sending updates to a disengaged audience.
Follow these 4 Tips to Help Increase Your Open Rates:
1. Ensure your contacts are receiving your emails and that your audience is up to date
This may seem like an obvious step, but increasing email open rates can’t happen if your users aren’t even receiving your emails. Emails can get lost in overwhelmed inboxes or could be sent to the wrong folder, never to be seen by a large chunk of your audience. Since the open rate of an email campaign is determined by how many members of your audience opened the email compared the number of your audience, a large inactive audience will drastically decrease your open rate.
This means that you need to sort through your audience every now and then to check out who hasn’t opened your last three or more emails. Three or more unread emails more than likely means the emails are hitting their spam folder or they are simply uninterested. Keeping them on your list will only hurt your overall open rate.
Every few months, do a little digging and make a list of which audience members haven’t opened the last three or more emails you’ve sent and try sending an “I miss you!” email. Think about including a merchandise coupon or encourage them to open the emails for new updates. Make sure the email is as personable as possible so the audience member truly feels like an important part of your success.
It is also important to remove any contacts that result in a hard bounce immediately. Hard bounces are caused by closed, invalid or non-existent email addresses, and are one of the key factors internet service providers use to determine if your email is spam. Sending too many emails to these hard bouncing addresses can land you in the spam inboxes of the rest of your audience.
2. Avoid spam filters
Removing hard bounces from your audience is just the first step to making sure your hard work doesn’t end up in spam inboxes. It is important to understand that there are two main ways your emails can be deemed as spam.
Either the user flags your emails as spam themselves or their internet service provider determines you’re a spam sender. Users flag emails as spam for a multitude of reasons, and a lot of those reasons have to do with having a negative UX, all the way from the subject line down to the footer of the email.
To avoid both of these spam outcomes, check out some do’s and don’ts below:
- All capital letters
- Word triggers (car salesman words, excessive exclamation points, cheesy phrases)
- Too many exclamation points
- Red font (commonly used by spammers and is an immediate trigger)
- Create clear and concise subject lines
- Personalize both subject line and email body
- Ask subscribers to add you to their address book
- Include obvious “unsubscribe” link in footer
- Use a familiar sender name and email address
3. Improve General User Experience
Like stated above, negative user experience can drive a fan to mark your email as spam or even block your email.
It’s important to avoid automatic spam filters while also making sure your email campaigns are relevant and interesting. Your email list probably isn’t the only one your fans are signed up for, so you need to create your own email “brand” so to speak. Create different taglines, host giveaways, shout out new fans and subscribers, tell stories that only your email subscribers can read, etc. The point of an email campaign should be to deliver updates and keep your audience interested in your product, which is your music.
Offer insights that are unique to the platform, things that the users can’t access unless they subscribe.
It’s important to remember that user experience is also about general design. You want your email campaigns to be on-brand with your music, so remember to use consistent fonts, colors, and themes. Make the content blocks more interesting with borders and images, and try not to use too much plain text in order to catch the reader’s eye.
News should be short snippets that link to where fans can read more and should only be included if the topic is interesting. On the flip side, don’t overdo the design of your email campaigns. Your goal is to keep fans engaged, not to make their eyes hurt from obnoxious fonts or graphics.
Keep in mind:
- Double-check all your links to make sure they are accurate.
- If your email platform doesn’t track clicks, use a link tracker like Bit.ly so you’re able to analyze how your fans interact with the emails.
- Don’t forget to add all social media links at the top and bottom of your email!
4. Use reports to your advantage
Your email campaign platform most likely provides some sort of reporting that displays open rates, link tracking and the behavior of your audience. Using these reports makes A/B testing extremely simple, so test out different subject lines, formats, and send times.
Perfecting your timing is also extremely important. While there are some suggested, general rules for when to send emails, this is unique to each sender. Your emails might perform better on weekends for your younger fans, while older fans might be the opposite.
Regardless, you won’t know this information unless you check out your previous email reports. These reports can also provide insight into the devices your audiences use and help you tailor your emails for each device.
Don’t let all that juicy data go to waste!
There is a ton to be said in terms of creating the perfect email campaign, but these four tips are a great start to improving your open rates. If you use testing, good housekeeping, avoid spamming and create meaningful audiences, you’ll have a skyrocketing open rate in no time.
Cait McMahon has an undeniable passion for music and developed her self-starting drive when she realized she had to create her own opportunities. She achieved a Bachelor's degree in Communications and International Public Relations through loans and three jobs at a time, and without the ability to pursue unpaid music industry internships like many other underprivileged dreamers, Cait's entrepreneurial spirit bubbled up and she founded a boutique PR firm, Nü Echo Media PR. Running successful campaigns for artists nationwide with one assistant and the help of a few amazing mentors inspires her to tell her story of rising from ashes.