Did you hear the story of the artist whose social media account got hacked and locked her out? Just like that, she lost 10k + followers. The worst part? This was the second time it had happened to her! The truth is, it happens far more often than you think, and not just to accounts with tens of thousands of followers. While sometimes it can be fixed, oftentimes, these users end up having to start from scratch and all those followers. Those potential buyers and supporters of what you offer are just….gone.
This is just one of many reasons that it is so important to have and maintain a healthy email list. Email lists might sound like something reserved for the big corporations. But when done right, your email list is the glue that holds you and your fans together. It’s a space for your most loyal followers, it’s a way to build connections, get vulnerable, and give them exclusive access to you. And best of all, unlike with social media, you don’t run the risk of losing those fans. There’s no risk of someone locking you out of your mailing list provider (and even if they do, odds are you’ve downloaded csv files of your followers and will still have their emails), or changing the algorithm (your emails will always be delivered to their inbox).
Simply put, having an email list is the best and most important way to truly stay engaged with your fans. But, you have to know how to not only get them there but keep them coming back.
After all, think about how many newsletters you’ve signed up to, only to let them disappear into the email abyss, never opening them again. There has to be something that keeps you coming back.
So, how can you make sure your fans are staying engaged?
Create a nurture sequence
In a nutshell, a nurture sequence (which you could also think of like a funnel) is where you find new subscribers via your freebie (this might be a free song download, being entered into a raffle, etc) and then use automation in your email marketing platform of choice to deliver a series of emails over a period of time. It starts with delivering what they signed up for immediately. Then, continue to send a new email (usually every few days) that has related content inside.
The idea is, if someone has shown enough interest in you to sign up in the first place, then you want to take that opportunity to show them who you are and capitalize on a time when people are naturally most interested in hearing from you. This set of 3-5 emails is a great way to nurture your audience and sets you up for long-term success.
Email lists do not work when they’re sporadic. Set a time to send your email, and stick to it. For instance, every Thursday at 11am. If you’re sending emails only when you think of it or feel like you have a specific piece of news to share, it won’t work. A good way to make this happen is to set up times and batch your email sequence. For instance, once a month you might sit down, put together 4 emails, and schedule them all out. That way you can set it and forget it, but know your audience is still hearing from you consistently, and you can stay top of mind.
Give them exclusive freebies
One of the perks of being on your email list should be access to enticing, exclusive freebies. Sometimes this can be as simple as getting the first look at your new merch or tour dates. Try to think outside the box as well.
It could be a contest where you pick one of your most engaged fans at random and write them a custom song (this doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and could take under an hour to write and record a video for them). It could be sharing an unfinished track and asking for their feedback. Perhaps a stream of a song that never got released, a contest for a free concert ticket, or an exclusive online concert for your email list. There are so many ways to make them feel special.
Always be offering something
It can be tempting to only send out an email announcing new shows or music, but that would be doing yourself and your fans a huge disservice. The point of an email list is to really strip away the business side and serve your fans in an authentic way. This doesn’t mean you can’t share that stuff with them (of course you should!) but rather it shouldn’t be the sole focus. Instead, you should be serving them up with value every single week.
Maybe this means you write a weekly blog and share that in your emails, or each email is a quick note about your process and what you’ve been up to, and the battles and triumphs along the way. You could share your ideas and process and ask for feedback. Perhaps even do a YouTube video series where every week you talk about the process behind a song, release a new acoustic cover, or interview other artists and share their music. Whatever you offer, it should be all about bringing value to your audience and not turning the spotlight on you.
Tell a story
Last but certainly not least, you always want to be telling a story in your emails. People naturally connect to stories. Being able to connect through those stories is an incredibly powerful way to keep fans engaged.
Talk about the real stuff. Did you have an aha-moment in the grocery store last week that made you think about your career in a new way? Share that. Are you in the studio right now? Share the process of what that’s been like. Writing a new song? I want to hear about what that feels like. Did you learn a new IG strategy when messing around with it last week? Tell me about it! Stories connect us. This one honestly might be the most powerful tip on here, because it speaks so much to natural human nature and behavior.
No matter what you decide to do, or how you decide to manage your email list, one thing is for sure—you have got to show up for your fans, and present them with your most authentic self—the good, the bad, and (especially) the messy. That authenticity is what will keep them engaged and keep your emails from ending up in the dreaded email abyss.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.