For most musicians, social media is the primary marketing tool used to promote themselves and their music. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter are great for putting out content and building a following. A 2016 research about fan-artist relationships on social media concluded that the participation and interaction from fans allow musicians to bring fans into their world of music, thereby increasing fan loyalty and eventually revenue. However, with organic traffic continuously decreasing on these platforms, it’s getting much harder to consistently reach your loyal fans and monetize them eventually. While finding new fans on social media is important, it's just as important to keep your existing ones engaged and loyal.
On social media, finding new fans is doable with the right content strategy, but keeping loyal fans engaged is the real challenge. You want to be able to reach your followers directly, anytime you want. Email marketing allows you to connect with your fans directly. Artists that use email marketing, don’t have to worry about the ever-changing Instagram algorithms to engage with their fans. To promote yourself or your music, you need the possibility to directly reach your fans at any time. This is why it is to your benefit to educate yourself on how to build your email list as a musician.
Why you need an email list as a musician
For starters, with email you can reach 100% of your audience, anytime you want. It should be used complementary to social media. Most successful artists use social media to post content, build their following, and even create a sense of community. However, it is a well-known fact that not every follower will see your posts.
For this reason, it might go unnoticed by some of your closest fans when you post a hugely important announcement. These close fans probably would have loved to hear about this announcement, but the algorithm didn’t put it on their feeds. This problem can be solved by funneling your closest fans into your email list.
Research on the organic reach of 3600 Instagram posts found the average reach to be as low as 0.9%.
Average open rates for emails from artists are 26.27%, according to MailChimp.
There is of course a big difference between following someone on Instagram and joining an artist’s email list. But this is a nice distinction to have since your email list will then only consists of fans that are actually engaged with you.
For this reason, email is a great medium to use for musicians to keep in touch with their close fans, make important announcements, and let them know about any new music, products, services, tour dates, or anything else you've got going on.
How to grow your email list as a musician
1. Give out early access
You can use your social media accounts to incentivize your followers to sign up for your email list. Usually, they expect to get something in return for signing up with their email address. You can use social media to drive traffic to your sign-up page, where they can unlock gated content in exchange.
Fangage is the perfect web solution to post your gated content on and let fans unlock it by signing up with their email address or phone number. Some ideas for early access that fans can unlock with their data are:
- Early access to merchandise drops
- Early access to new releases
- Early access to NFT drops
- Early access to ticket sales
2. Give something away for free
One of the best ways to get people to sign up for your email list is to offer them something for free, like unreleased songs, videos, or an ebook. You can also offer discounts on your products or services in exchange for your fans’ data.
Remember that one clothing brand that’s still sending you emails just because you wanted that 10% discount on your first order? You should from other music brands, but also get inspired by other industries when thinking of how to create an email list as a musician.
3. Use a pop-up on your website
Add an email capture widget to your website so that visitors can sign up for your list without having to leave your site. There are a lot of website pop-up services that offer easy-to-use email capture widgets that you can add to your website in just a few minutes.
4. Do a giveaway
Because there’s always a condition for people to enter a giveaway, they are great vehicles for growth. You can use giveaways to grow your followers on social media, but you can also use them to grow your email list as a musician.
Make sure to give away something that your target group of (potential) fans would be interested in. It doesn’t make sense to give away an Amazon card, because any average person could want that. Give away something that attracts people who would probably want to hear more about you.
Then, promote the giveaway on social media and include a link to your sign-up page.
5. Host a contest
Hosting a contest is a great way to get people to sign up for your email list. Make sure to promote the contest on social media and include a link to your sign-up page.
6. Collaborate with other musicians
Reach out to other musicians who have a similar fan base as you and see if you can collaborate on a contest or promotion. This is a great way to reach a whole new group of people.
7. Keep your sign-up forms simple
Don't ask for too much information from people who are signing up for your email list. Just ask for their name and email address. You can always get more information from them later.
8. Pay to promote your sign-up page (optional)
If you're serious about building your email list as a musician, you can pay to promote your sign-up page on Facebook or Google. This will allow you to reach a wider audience and get more people to sign up for your email list. I’d only advise doing this if you have a really thorough idea of who your target audience consists of, and if you have the expertise and resources to spend your budget on advertising.
For beginning artists, I’d recommend building an email list organically first, so you have an idea of who you should target if you ever decide to do a paid campaign.
Tips for creating great email content
1. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly
More and more people are reading emails on their phones, so it's important to make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. Send a few test emails and check them out on your phone’s Outlook and Gmail in both light and dark mode to make sure the style works out exactly the way you want.
2. Use engaging subject lines
Your subject lines need to be interesting and engaging if you want people to open your emails. Try to avoid using generic subject lines like "Newsletter" or "Update” and make it something exciting.
If your subject line fails, your open rates will decrease drastically and most of your close fans won’t even see the content of the email you spent so much time working on. It needs to be an eye-catching headline that describes something your fans could perceive as valuable.
3. Personalize your emails
Use your fans' names in your emails to make them feel special. Most email marketing tools have the option to collect first names and let you enter them into your emails as custom tokens.
You can also segment your list so that you're only sending emails to people from a certain age, demographic, or even interested in certain topics. Segmentation is key when you want to optimize the engagement of the emails you’re sending.
4. Use images and videos in your emails
People are more likely to engage with emails that contain images and videos. So, if you have a new music video or song, make sure to include it in your email and make sure it’s clickable. This could also be in the form of a GIF.
5. Make it easy to unsubscribe
Of course, you want people to stay on your email list, but you also want to make it easy for people to unsubscribe if they're not interested. Include an unsubscribe link in every email you send. Nobody likes spam, and even if it’s not spamming from your perspective, other people might perceive it this way. Make it easy to unsubscribe, or else people will get frustrated and turn away from your brand in the long run.
6. Send your emails regularly
If you want to keep people engaged, you need to send your emails on a regular basis. Once a week is a good frequency. You can also send more or less often depending on what's going on in your music career.
7. Experiment with different types of emails
There are a few different types of emails you can send to your list: newsletters, loose announcements, or promotions. Try out different types of emails and see what works best for your audience.
Don’t just experiment blindly though. You need to follow a certain procedure when it comes to experimenting with different types of emails. Following a procedure where you explain the experiment’s design, but also evaluate and reflect will help you create a continuously improving process of sending the right emails to your fanbase.
Need some help with finding a structure to constantly improve your emails? Download our Excellent Experiment Template™️ and make sure to reflect and come up with the next action steps every time you try something new.
8. Analyze your results
Use MailChimp's reports to see who's opening and clicking on your emails. This will help you to understand what's working and what's not.
9. Keep growing your list
The more people you have on your email list, the more opportunities you'll have to connect with your fans and promote your music. So, keep growing your list, and don't stop until you reach your goal.
All things considered, email marketing is here to stay. While social media brought great new opportunities for building a fanbase, email marketing remains one of the best instruments to keep your close fans engaged and loyal. On the artist side, an email list is a great asset to have and gives you more control over how and when you reach your fanbase. It will also help you to drive conversions to new products and services that you’re releasing because everyone on your email list has shown interest in you before. If you add it to your marketing mix next to social media, you will reap the benefits at one point in your career, and you’ll be so happy you started building it.
Want to start collecting email addresses from your fanbase today? Try using Fangage to upload content, create landing pages and start collecting email addresses and phone numbers for your fans to use for later messaging.