Video: How to get fans to open and respond to emails

This is the first-ever guest vblog by Chris Rockett at Music Marketing Classroom.

Chris is a very animated speaker from the U.K. whose mission is to uncover the dark secrets of music marketing and share them with everyone who is interested. Warning: he talks faster than you could probably keep up with, but don’t worry about taking notes as he’s included them below. Enjoy!

Notes from the video

Email Marketing in a Nutshell

  • Get fans on the email list, entertain them on a regular basis, and then link to something they can buy. (0:15)
    • Start off with low priced products (downloadable songs, for example) and move people up the ladder to higher priced items. (0:26)

When to Send Your Emails?

  • Use your email service provider to schedule your emails to go out at 4:30am, so that you’re there when people first check their messages in the morning. (0:47)
  • If you want to send two emails per week Tuesday and Thursday are good because Monday is a busy email day and people are a little bit distracted on Friday. (1:14)

Ideas for Your Subject Line

  • Use odd looking numbers – “Why did this video get 53,345 views?” (2:38)
  • Ask a question – “Did You See This?” (3:03)
  • Stack the value with brackets – “My Guitar Got Set On Fire! [Video Inside]” (3:30)
  • If you send two messages in a week send the second with the same subject line as a reply – “RE: Why did this video get 53,345 views?” (4:28)
  • Use the words YOU and YOUR in the subject line – “Your F’REE Tickets…” (5:20)
  • Old favorites: Try out “Thank You” and “I’m in love…” (6:04)

Increasing the Clickthrough Rate in Your Emails

  • Keep your emails short and sweet – people may get bored and hit delete if you send something massive. (7:05)
  • Have three links per email. One after the first line, one in the middle and the last one after the PS. (7:30)
  • Including an image in your email that looks like a video increases the chance of a click. (7:43)
  • Make sure that you include a PS because people sometimes skip the rest of the message and just read that. (8:26)
  • Make each email about one topic to keep your fans focused on the message. (8:38)
  • If you want to send people to a blog post then consider pasting the text into the email itself because it skips the step of fans having to click through. (8:50)

Creating Customer Happiness

  • Instantly send fans an email after they pay with detailed instructions on how to get their thing. Make it “Homer Simpson” simple and give them your email address to contact you if they have any problems. (Also consider making a ScreenR video to show them how to access the product) (9:44)
  • Surprise and delight your fans with bonuses and freebies they did not expect. (Remember my favourite FRENCH CHEF who delights his customer with unexpected treats!) (10:23)
  • Set up Survey Monkey to get an idea of how your fans found their experience with you and continue to improve your customer happiness based on the feedback you get. (11:18)

16 bonus tips


Let’s look at a few more things you can do to improve the effectiveness of the email messages you send to your fans.

By the way, if you have not already set up a mailing list signup form on your website, then I’m going to use the power of my mind to chain you to your computer until you do it. It’s that important.

Good ol’ ReverbNation actually runs a killer service called Fan Reach Pro which is one of the most powerful services seen for serious musicians to collect fan data. You can get started with your first 500 subscribers for FREE. (Ain’t no better deal than that :))

Do it today, people, not tomorrow, or the next day… your website is a leaky bucket if you don’t have a way to follow up with your fans directly.

So anyway, let’s dig into this… I have personally tested this stuff and have only included the things that have shown a positive result.

  1. You should collect subscribers on every page of your site. (Reverb Tip: Our new HTML5 Fan Collector widget can help you while making you look cool. Well, it will at least try.)
  2. Make sure that your fans don’t have to scroll down to see your signup form. There will be people who won’t scroll down when they hit your web page which means they will never see your free music offer.
  3. Create an irresistible offer for your fans to join your list and make it very clear. Try something like “Signup to Download 7 FREE TRACKS and our latest music video”. (An offer like that will set you apart from everyone else because you’re stacking the value)
  4. Test different versions of your free offer to see what your fans respond to the best.
  5. It’s a good idea to sign up for your own mailing list so that you can get an idea of how your messages are looking from the fans point of view. If you start to annoy yourself then it’s time to rethink your communications.
  6. Whatever you offer your fans in exchange for their email address, make sure you give it to them on the “thank you page,” or in the confirmation email. This will build trust right away. If they don’t get what they signed up for within a few minutes you’re dead to them.
  7. Good email marketing is like a bank – the more you put in, the more “interest” you will receive. Every morning ask yourself, “What can I do to be cool to my fans today?”.
  8. Whenever somebody emails you through the contact form on your website, make sure that you offer them the chance to join your fan list as well.
  9. Go around personally after every show and offer to send enthusiastic people some free music. Then collect their email address so you can keep your promise. (Reverb Tip: You can easily do this with your smartphone or iPad. Just download the free Control Room app and use the Fan Collector feature. BOOM.)
  10. Whenever you connect with a new contact in the music industry ask if you can add them to your list. This is like networking on autopilot and having influential music people in your gang can be very powerful as they watch your progress and become fans.
  11. In every email you send you need to let people know what you want them to do next. This is known as a “call-to-action” and it does not have to be about buying your music, it could be “liking” your Facebook page or listening to your newly recorded tune on YouTube. Every connection with your fans should have a call-to-action.
  12. Split test the subject lines of your emails to see what your fans respond to the most. (Reverb Tip: FanReach can help. It proves open rates for each email you send and make it easy for you to resend a previous email, possibly changing the subject line, or tweaking the styling of the content.)
  13. To come up with catchy subject lines, go through your own email inbox and look for the emails you always open first. Ask yourself why that is and then use what you learn to make your own headlines POP!
  14. Set up a series of auto-responders to introduce new fans to your musical world. You want to get them engaged in your story and ultimately lead them towards financially supporting your work. My favorite way to do this is something called the “7 day sales funnel.” In a nutshell, you’ll deliver a song a day for 7 days and a video to go along with it that gives the fans part of your story (think of it as your own little rockumentary). It’s a good way to make a connection fast and at the end of it, you might offer a special deal for one of your products to break the ice. Even if you just make simple videos the results from this approach work so much better than the common way which can often be just “BUY MY STUFF” in every email.

Great example of a well positioned email signup box Iras World’s homepage. See tip #2.

What should you write in your emails?


Rather than getting bogged down in a load of weird sales tactics, I want to share a simple formula for updating your people with regular content and always giving yourself the chance of picking up a new paid customer as well.

All you have to do is send people a golden nugget of free content and then link off to something they can buy.

This boils down music marketing into its simplest form.

With that in mind you can use the ideas below to make sure that you never run out of things to talk about:

  1. Let them listen to your new music. (Don’t worry, it gets better!)
  2. Videos of gigs, backstage, practice sessions, tour diaries and recording sessions.
  3. Get fans involved with designing your merch.
  4. Ask people to send in their artwork or photos for your blog, Facebook page and even your album covers.
  5. Interviews – with key players in your music scene, band members, fans, your producer, manager, agent and anyone else who works on the business side of things.
  6. Updates about live shows NEAR THEM! (To do this segment your list by location)
  7. Schedule an hour to connect with your fans personally and send bulletin alerts for Facebook and Twitter chats.
  8. Keep a songwriting diary and send updates via email.
  9. Deconstruct one of your songs, the lyrics and meaning.
  10. Ask fans to send in their own lyric ideas and write a song with them.
  11. Have people send in questions then do a Q+A video.
  12. Run a special limited time discount on one of your music products. This can get people off the fence and buying something, but you’ve also set them up with a sweet deal which builds the bond.
  13. Let them know about any press or radio play you get. This is interesting content and great social proof that other people are excited about your music too.
  14. Send links to new blog posts and ask for feedback and comments, then respond personally to each one.
  15. Giveaway re-mixed and acoustic versions of your songs.

Phew! My fingers are tired so I’m going to stop there 😉

But just remember each time you send an email to your fans, ask yourself if you would send that same message to your best friend?…that will keep you on the straight and narrow.

Hope this post kind of sparks off a few ideas for you. As ever, I’d love to hear any suggestions for things that have been working with your own fanbase.

P.S. If you enjoyed this and want to learn more check out my free Music Marketing Cheat Sheets.

If you have any thoughts or questions about this video, Chris will be available to chat with you in the comments area below. Follow him on Twitter.

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