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« LSD is great. Don’t let the Internet cure it. | Main | The Artist 2.0 Manifesto »
Thursday
Aug122010

Structuring an E-mail Newsletter for Your Fans [Free Template]

One of the most valuable assets you will obtain during your music career is a healthy list of fan e-mail addresses. Unlike posting status updates on social networks, which tend to get lost in the mess of everyone’s news feeds, sending an e-mail to a fan is a direct channel of communication. A fan that opts into receiving your e-mail newsletter usually means that he or she wants to hear from you, and is interested in you and your music.

Since you are communicating directly to your fans, it is important that you get it right from the beginning. One big element of developing a newsletter strategy is the overall look, feel, and presentation of your newsletter. Is your newsletter just simple, plain text at the moment? If it is, consider livening up your newsletter a bit with this free HTML template download.

Design your own HTML E-mail Newsletter

If you have very basic HTML & CSS knowledge, this should be a breeze for you. There are several mailing list services (ReverbNation, FanBridge, AWeber, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc) that provide you with customized templates, but I always found that they rarely seemed to work nicely with the look and feel of the artist. So why not create your own?

Here is a free e-mail newsletter template that you can snag for free, if you wish…

 

I know it looks pretty generic, but that’s the point — spice it up with images and colors that reflect your overall online presence to make it your own! Get creative, just like if you were sitting down to write a song. Open the “newsletter-template.html” file in any text/code editing program (Notepad, TextEdit, TextMate, Dreamweaver, etc) and change fonts, background colors, images, borders, and more.

 Download for free!

Also, I’d like to point out that simplicity with e-mail newsletters is becoming more important, since more and more people are reading e-mails from their mobile devices. If you have an elaborate newsletter design, it is very possible that your e-mails will not look right on cell phones and other handheld devices.

This template uses inline CSS, which means that it is embedded within the HTML that creates the template’s structure. Many mailing list services don’t allow you to attach separate stylesheets, or even include them in the “” section of the same document, so you have to write the CSS “in line” with the HTML.

Here are two examples of newsletters that I have created in a matter of minutes from this template:

ej-newsletterjj-newsletter

Chris Bracco is currently the digital marketing coordinator at Intrigue Music, LLC, a boutique music management company in NYC. This post was originally published on Chris Bracco’s blog, Tight Mix.

Reader Comments (13)

Awesome, thanks so much for this. It will totally come in handy for my plans to take over the world.

August 12 | Unregistered CommenterMark D

Hahahha. Awesome, indeed.

August 12 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

Way too much information IMHO. A simple and highly personal text mail notification with ONE link to a certain post of your (hopefully properly structured and designed) website is the way to go from my experience.

Of course, you can still add your social profiles in the sig, but I don't think it makes sense to spend hours designing your HTML newsletters to finally find out that most e-mail clients can't render HTML properly and most block images by default. Point the users to your webspace, they're online anyway.

August 12 | Unregistered CommenterFabien

What I find most curious is musicians and labels that collect e-mail addresses and then do nothing with it. I've provided this info a number of times (primarily to get free downloads) and have never received any followup communications. The e-mail format is irrelevant if nobody bothers to send any e-mails.

August 13 | Unregistered CommenterQwipster

@Fabien and @Qwipster - both valid points. If your fans are fine with plain text e-mails, then shit dude keep using them! This info is just there for people who want a fancier looking e-mail, and have a fan base that would enjoy or prefer that format. Thanks for the perspective though, guys.

August 14 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

Hi Chris,

great work!
I think it's exactly what a band newsletter should look like!

Cheers

Sven

August 15 | Unregistered CommenterHEADSHOCK

I think this article is missing the "why". Do HTML emails have a higher CTR? Do you have any empirical data in regards to the branding benefits of HTML driven email templates?

For example:

Only 33 percent of those surveyed have images in their email provider turned on by default. This is a vast difference from 2006, when the figure was a still concerning 55 percent.- MarketingSherpa, (2010)

16% of mobile users' permission-based email is viewed on mobile devices - five points higher than last year. - Merkle Interactive Services (2009)

64% of key decision makers are viewing your carefully crafted email on their BlackBerrys and other mobile devices, according to new data. - MarketingSherpa, in partnership with SurveySampling (2007)

Fewer than 50 percent of marketers create emails that render appropriately.- Email Experience Council (Jan 2007)

One in five emails are invisible and ineffective due to blocked images. - Email Experience Council (Jan 2007)


However:

Mostly image based transactional emails received 50% higher clicks through rates than text based transactional emails. - Silverpop "How Top Retailers Use Transactional Emails" (2007)

I think some context with analysis around your subject matter would have made this article more interesting, relevant and useful.

August 17 | Unregistered CommenterAlen Bubich

Maybe this is a silly question, but what program do you use to open the email template in to edit it and add text and images? Thanks.

August 18 | Unregistered CommenterAshley Gatta

@Chris: Yeah, it definitely depends on your target audience.

For tour updates, PR related news and announcements a HTML newsletter might be the right thing.

From my experience, music product related mail send-outs always have the problem that you technically can't include an audio player. You always have to point your fan to a website to either preview music or ofter him a quick checkout process. In this case, the HTML email may be too much work for nearly no functionality and redundant information - since the user will most probably see the same bunch of information again after clicking a link to your Website/Shop.

@Ashley: Any HTML editor will do. The most popular is probably Dreamweaver, but you'll also find a dozen open source alternatives. Keep in mind that specific best practices are required for e-mail HTML (image blocker detection, no javascript and flash, cross compatible layout etc), it is definitely not the same as designing for the browser.

On a general note, I'd like to mention that HTML E-Mails should also contain an alternative text version. This is a fixed part of the mail protocol, all clients should support it. So it might be a good idea to offer two mail "bodies". Most Mailing tools ofter this option, but it is not that easy to do with "consumer" mail clients like outlook or thunderbird.

August 18 | Unregistered CommenterFabien

@Alex - The purpose of the article was to provide a free template, not to analyze anything. But thank you very much for all of those helpful statistics!

@Ashley - You can edit the template in any basic text editor (Notepad, TextEdit, TextMate, etc...NOT Microsoft Word) or if you have a more robust program like Dreamweaver or Flux, you can use those as well.

@Fabien - you are right, the work is slightly redundant. However, presentation is very important to some people, and if those people are your fans, it could be worth the extra work if it means you will see more click-throughs. Great advice about the alternate text version, too, I forgot to mention that in the article.

August 20 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

So many words,I will feel scared,I think more pictures will be better.But it is just my opinion ,depends on you!runescape gold

Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift... how to write a resume

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