A few months ago, ReverbNation surveyed artists and asked what digital tactics they use to promote their music.
Surprisingly, we found that Artists don’t think it’s important to use email marketing to communicate with fans. Why?
“I’m not a senior citizen, that’s why I don’t do email marketing.”
“Email is for old people.”
“Nobody cares about email anymore. They care more about social media.”
Ferol Vernon, SVP of Artist Services at ReverbNation (and our resident digital marketing expert) analyzed the survey results firsthand. I sat down with Ferol to learn where this perception of email came from and why he thinks it’s a dangerous view for artists to have.
Ferol is not alone in suggesting that artists can no longer afford to ignore email marketing: research from ExactTarget shows that 95% of online consumers use email and 91% of consumers check their email at least once a day. And those numbers are going up because email is now a mobile platform. Mobile email opens increased 123% from 2011-2012, and today mobile opens account for half of all email opens.
Ferol encourages artists to think of email as a “classic” that never goes out of style:
“It’s a reliable platform that puts you in direct connection with your fans, and it’s here to stay.”
ReverbNation Artist Marina V has been using email to connect with her fans since she began her music career in 2003. “I realized early on that email was really the best way to stay in touch with my fans and let them know about everything related to me and my music,” says Marina.
“A lot of artists forget about email, and rely mostly on social media, which I think is a mistake. Social media will come and go – look at what happened to Myspace – and you’re at a risk for losing fans if this is the only method you rely on.”
What about artists who haven’t been using email? Watch Ferol explain how to begin building your mailing list:
It’s Never Too Late To Start Email Promotions
Step one: build your email list. As Ferol mentioned in the video, starting is as simple as asking fans to join your mailing list. And that’s where social media can help. Post a request to join your list on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media site.
If you decide to use FanReach, ReverbNation’s email newsletter product, you’ll be able to share a link with fans so that they can join your mailing list with one click. The addresses will be collected within the tool, with no extra work required on your part.
Marina V. has been using FanReach since 2007, and she collects emails from her fans at every show she performs. For smaller shows, she might collect emails using an app, or just a traditional pad and paper. For larger shows and festivals, she told us about a more unique approach.
“One thing I like to do at bigger shows is announce that fans can send me an email at a generic address like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org,’ and when they do, the fan will instantly receive a reply email with four free downloads,” says Marina.
Marina says giving away free downloads or other “gifts” to fans is a great way to begin building a relationship, and to show who you are as an artist. It’s also an opportunity to give something that stays with your fans.
“My joy in life is to share my music with people. Even if they don’t buy my CD immediately after joining my mailing list, they still have some music from me. I have had fans who will write me years after seeing a performance and say, ‘I just rediscovered your music on my iPod and bought your latest album.’ Those lasting fan connections matter,” says Marina.
You can learn more about FanReach here and get started in minutes. Check back for our next post on email marketing, which will provide more information on best practices and experimenting with your email strategy.