email marketing for musicians writing emails your fans will loveEmail is one of the best ways to get in touch with your fans and promote your music these days. But make no mistake, this isn’t a 100% thing. Most people get hundreds of emails per day.

The big question is, how do you stand out? How do you make sure your fans are clicking on all (or most) of the emails you send their way?

Email marketing for musicians is plain and simple: You write quality emails filled with awesome value. Think stuff you would want to receive from your favorite musicians. That means your emails need to have valuable or entertaining information, they need to be easy to read, have great offers, and feel like something personal.

Here’s what I recommend:

I know as musicians sending out emails can feel a little pushy and overly promotional. And it definitely can be if you write your emails to be really spammy and treat it like a push marketing outlet (hint: don’t do that).

BUT, if you’re writing more personal letters to your fans and you’re giving them all kinds of great stuff for being a part of your email list – then it stops feeling pushy and starts feeling like an awesome community.

So let’s take a look at a few easy ways you can make your emails more effective than ever before.

1. Know Your Fans (And Write for Them)

Your emails are going to real people. I know, groundbreaking! But so many musicians write emails that are either completely irrelevant to their fansbase or totally generic.

But, if you keep your fans in mind as you write, they will find your emails much more interesting.

Take New Artist Model member Lee Norman for example. He’s in his 40’s and he know’s his target fanbase is around the same age. So when he writes his emails he’s going to talk about things they can relate to.

The first step obviously is getting to know your fanbase. Here are some places to start:

  • You can get some quality data from your social media analytics as a start. Look for age, gender, and interests.
  • Do some market research. Subscribe to bands and musicians who you know have a similar target fanbase to you. What do they send to their list?
  • Talk to your fans at gigs. Get to know them and talk about their interests.

Once you feel like you know your fans a little better, use that knowledge to make your emails more relevant.

2. Use Actionable Language

Actionable language just means you’re not beating around the bush. If you want your fans to watch your latest music video, tell them – seriously.

Here’s a really passive way to say it:

We have a new music video out! It was really fun to make and I hope you guys will like it too. [insert link]

Here’s a more actionable approach:

Hey guys our new music video is finally here! Click here to watch it. And leave a comment on the video letting us know if you can spot my dog trying to sneak his way into the video 😛

3. Align Your Subject Line with Your Body Copy

Your subject line should sum up what’s in the actual email. Think of it like a little preview of what they will get if they open.

That means you should never (ever) use click-baity and irrelevant subject lines just to boost your open rate. Your fans will most likely feel betrayed or see it as spammy and never open another email (or unsubscribe). Getting a high open rate on one email isn’t worth it if you tarnish the trust your fans have in you.

Some people say the subject line should be the main benefit of reading the email. Others say it should sum up what’s inside the email. Still others will pull out a small, catchy piece of the email and leave the recipient hanging so they have to open the email. I say go for a variety of all three. 

Just like with the email copy itself, it’s best to keep subject lines fairly brief. Many email readers like Apple’s Mail will cut the subject line off after a certain amount of characters, so keep it short and to the point.

4. Add That Personal Touch

Most email services will have some personalization token function. Basically this just automatically inputs personalized words or phrases that are specific to each fan on your list.

The easiest option, of course, is to add a personalized greeting using your fans’ first names.

This may seem like a trivial thing, but I want you to think about the emails that you receive… What do you prefer to see:

  • Hey Graham!
  • Hey guys!

Of course, if your name is Graham you’d probably prefer the first option. The personal greeting is just a nice sentiment.

Keep in mind that you can only use information you have collected to personalize your emails. If you only ask for an email address when your fans opt in you obviously won’t be able to address them by their first name.

5. Write in Your Own Voice

The most successful emails are written in a more casual, conversational voice. It’s important to remember that although you’re sending to hundreds of people (or thousands if you’re awesome), each email is going directly to a single person.

And that means you should write like you’re talking to that specific person – almost like you were talking to them face to face. This instantly makes any email feel less “salesy” and more like a one-on-one conversation.

A good rule of thumb is to switch between the first and second person. You should refer to your fans as “you,” not “her” or “him.”

You should also throw in some of your own thoughts and experiences in a more first person style.

If you’re not sure, try reading your email out loud to a friend. If it feels like you’re talking to them (not at them) then you’re probably good.

6. Get to the Point

As a musician you’re obviously pretty passionate about your work. And no doubt you could go on and on about it for hours. While it’s great that you’re so excited about what you do… email is not the place for that.

The very first line of your email should get straight to the point. That means if you want to share a studio vlog with your fans you shouldn’t go on a loosely-related tangent at the beginning only to get to the actual vlog at the very end of a 2000 word email.

That being said, it’s perfectly okay to send longer emails if you have something really interesting to say. But make sure you establish the email’s relevancy and connect the content to the subject line right up front.

As an example, let’s keep going with the studio vlog idea. You could use a catchy subject line like, “You’ll never guess what happened when we hit record…” The first line of your email could be a call to action to watch the vlog. You could then go on to tell a little bit of the story.

7. Be Brief

We’re all busy. And people don’t have a ton of time to read huge emails, so keep that in mind.

Now, I’m not saying to skimp on the value for the sake of brevity. There’s just a bit of a balance to be found. In short, if you can say something in less words, do it.

Here are some guidelines to help:

  • Each email should have one main purpose, idea, or goal. That means if you’re announcing pre sales for your new album, don’t try to squeeze in your latest blog post. Make sure every sentence in your email is related to that purpose or goal. You can always send another email, so don’t feel like you need to cram everything in.
  • Edit, edit, edit. Give yourself enough time when you’re writing emails to edit. A good approach is to write the email, save the draft, do something else for an hour or so, and then come back with fresh eyes. You’ll usually find a lot of stuff you can cut out that you missed the first time around.

8. Make Being on Your List Rewarding

Your email list can really be viewed as a special community of your more serious fans. These are people who have actively taken the step to opt into regular communications from you, so they represent your superfans and more dedicated fans.

That being said, it’s the perfect place to share some rewards and give back a little for their support. Now, “rewards” don’t need to be actual things (like freebies or music). Think of “rewards” as anything your fanbase will find valuable.

Here are some ideas:

  • Share a phone wallpaper download of your album artwork
  • Give out downloadable lyric sheets
  • Host private streams or Q&A sessions
  • Feature a “Fan of the month”
  • Share exclusive coupons code or discounts

If fans know they will get awesome valuable stuff if your emails, they will be much more likely to open when you do have something to sell (like a new album or merch). Plus many fans are more likely to support artists that give instead of just sell, sell, sell. It creates a much more authentic relationship.

Another quick tip is to segment your email list by interest and activities. Not all fans on your list will have the same interests, so the more you can target your messages, the better.

9. Ask for the Click

Every (or most) emails you send should have some kind of call to action (CTA).

A “call to action” is just marketing-speak for asking your fans to take some step – usually clicking a link.

After all, your career depends on your fans clicking through and supporting your crowdfunding campaign, or buying tickets for an upcoming gig, or purchasing a t shirt from your online store, or buying your new album. (I mean, the worst that can happen is the choose not to and close the email, right?)

Let’s say you’re trying to get fans to support your crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Use an email to tell them about all the cool benefits they’ll get for supporting you and then ask for a click to your campaign.

Here’s some guidelines if you’re still nervous about asking for a click:

  • Keep it short. You don’t need to beg. You don’t need to justify or explain yourself. Just ask.
  • Make it distinct. Your link should be a different color from the rest of the email text to draw attention. Format it like a standard link (with an underline and an alternate color) so fans know it’s a link or create a button.
  • Focus on the why. Instead of just using “Click here” as a CTA, try something like, “Click here to support the Kickstarter campaign and get exclusive merch

10. Present a Clear Deadline

This one really builds off the previous point. Well-crafted CTA’s will get you far, but putting a deadline on the thing you’re offering will add a sense of urgency.

Why is urgency so powerful? We all like procrastinating and putting things off, right?

We say, “Oh I’ll do it tomorrow.”

… And the next day we say, “Oh, I forgot. It’s fine, I’ll do it tomorrow.”

… And after a few days sometimes it gets lost or forgotten.

Sound familiar?

But if there’s a deadline, we’ll get our butt into gear and take action for fear of missing out.

If you share a discount for your merch store, have it expire after a few days (and actually mention that deadline in your email).

Obviously some things like crowdfunding campaigns and gigs have a deadline built in.

Email Marketing for Musicians: Conclusion

If you’re not experienced, sending emails is going to be a bit of a learning process – and that’s okay! The best advice I can give is to just try things.

Experiment. Play with subject line ideas (heck, run split tests on subject lines if you want an “A” for effort). Try shorter emails or longer-form emails. Checkout how plain text emails and formatted emails with images perform.

For everything you try, look at your data (your open rate and click rate). Use the data to decide what works best and go from there.

Of course, email is only one piece of the “promote your music” puzzle. If you want to see how email and social media work together to grow your fanbase and market your music, checkout this free ebook.

Click the ebook image to download your free copy:

How to Promote Your Music Ebook cover copy

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