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Sunday
Jan312010

How to Turn Your Mailing List Into Money and Enthusiasm

The mailing list is one of the most important tools that an independent artist has to market themselves. Hopefully you make it a priority to capture email addresses at every opportunity.

Here’s one way that you might turn those email addresses into money while helping to establish and sustain a win-win relationship with your fans.

First off, you’ll need to setup your mailing list through a company that will allow you to setup auto-responder emails. My favorite by far is AWeber.com. I got turned on to them by the big time internet marketers, people who make boat-loads of money with their mailing lists, like Frank Kern, Eben Pagan and John Reese.

For those who don’t know, an autoresponder is an email that’s sent out automatically to subscribers. It can be immediate or it can be timed to send out a week, a month or any other length of time after the initial sign up. Aweber allows for unlimited autoresponder emails. Constant Contact allows a maximum of 5 and Reverb Nation allows only 1.

Anyway, the basic idea is this: You want to set up a subscription service for your fans where you will periodically send them something valuable like a free download, video, pdf or anything else that you could send them in an email. One way you might do it would be to set up your an autoresponder sequence so that your fans will get something of value once a month for an entire year.

There are only two rules; you have to give them something valuable in each email, and you have to provide a link to buy your music, merch, and/or tickets in each email.

This way you can set up the sequence one time and then every single person who signs up for your list will receive 12 emails from you, spread out over the course of a year. If you do it right then they’ll be excited to open 12 emails that offer them a chance to buy from you. The goal is to enhance your relationship with your fans and to make money in a win-win scenario.

Another cool thing about AWeber is that you can send people directly to a specific web page when they first sign up for your list. One thing you might do would be to create a web page with an embedded video of you or your band thanking the subscriber for signing up and telling them about the cool things that they can expect to get from you. Get them excited about it. Make them laugh, play a song for them, use your imagination. The goal is to make yourself stand out. Give them one more reason to remember you.

Don’t be the band that collects email addresses just tries to ‘get’ something from the people on their list. Be the exception and stand out right off the bat. Give people a reason to want to hear from you in the future.

It’s also a good idea to package your subscription service with a cool name and/or concept. You could call it a ‘backstage pass’ or some kind of membership. Give it a good name. Be creative.

If you implement this or something similar then drop me an email through the contact form and let me know. I’ll sign up for your list.

Of course if you have any useful mailing list ideas or any insights on the topic then leave a comment and let us know.

Reader Comments (7)

I use ccMail for some of my bands and it works like a charm! There are no costs whatsoever (except a web host with FTP access and PHP (almost no programming skills required)). There are a couple of other free sollutions out there that you can run on your own website without having to pay for a third party subscription.

But if you're not at all interested in managing it yourself it is probably worth paying for, anyway..

February 1 | Unregistered CommenterJohan Ronström

I use Aweber as well. The deliverability statisics, as far as I know, are the best.

Tom Siegel
www.indieleap.com

February 1 | Registered CommenterTom Siegel

Good point Tom. A lot of people don't realize that there are dramatic differences between mailing list companies when it comes to deliverability. AWeber has really strict policies related to how it handles spam, which can be a pain in the ass, but it's totally worth it.

For example, people who sign up on your list need to submit their email and then click on a confirmation link that's sent to them. You might think that this is just annoying and unnecessary, but it's one of the factors that makes the open rate much higher than other companies; meaning that a much greater percentage of your subscribers will end up reading your email.

I noticed a big difference in my open rate when I switched from Constant Contact to AWeber. And compared to some of the free services and even Reverb Nation's paid service, which does offer some cool features, it's on a whole other planet.

If anyone out there knows of any other companies that we should consider or any other specific ideas of how to use your mailing list more effectively then I'd love to hear 'em.

February 1 | Unregistered CommenterScott James

Scott,

You do some amazing design work. I just passed your name to a couple of people.

-Bruce

February 1 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Warila

Thanks Bruce. I appreciate that.

February 1 | Unregistered CommenterScott James

Maybe this is me talking nonsense, but it seems like Google isn't a company run strictly by the top and they seem to be doing quite well.

February 11 | Unregistered CommenterJamesDX

Great article!! Another method is to make RSS powered email campaigns with Mailchimp. Mailchimp is great for bands on a budget because their free account allows you to send up to 12,000 per month to a list of up to 2,000 fans. The RSS to Email feature automatically sends an email with your blog's latest posts. If you create a VIP blog category that is not displayed on your site's blog or navigation (lots of ways to do this with WordPress) you could set up a VIP email campaign using Mailchimp's RSS to Email templates and only use the RSS feed of that VIP blog category. This would allow you to craft new exclusive content each month for your subscribers. Mailchimp counts autoresponder as premium feature not included in the free account but a premium WordPress plugin "Gravity Forms" (one time purchase) allows you to create a Mailchimp sign up form in which the plugin itself can create an autoresponder message to your new fan while adding the fan to your list.

December 23 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Wayne

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