Email Marketing Reasons and Resources

In my last post I conducted an unauthorized autopsy on an emailLettres de Lou I received in my inbox from a band that I know.
I made a few points on how any musician can improve their email marketing campaigns and mentioned there would be more to come.
This post will give you more insight on the tools that I use to communicate with my audience via email.

What You’ll Learn About Email Marketing:

  1. Why You Need To Be Marketing to Your Audience with Email
  2. How Email Can Help Your Website Rank Higher In the Search Engines (really)
  3. How To Not Piss People Off With Email
  4. A Free* and 100% Awesome Email Marketing Software

Why You Need To Be Marketing To Your Audience with Email

Depending on what circles you travel, you may have heard that email is dead and it’s all about Facebook, Twitter or Text Messaging these days. While it’s true that mobile phone use is exploding and will one day overtake desktop computer use (in the very near future), the reality is that email is the fundamental staple of the internet.

If you’re on the internet – you have an email address. If you sign up for Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest – you need to have an email address.

Yes, people can submit an email address that they rarely use, or delete their account right after – but that’s the cost of doing business online. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

We’re going to ask for the email address by using a squeeze page or email capture page that requires our prospect to leave their email in order to get a compelling freebie. The people who won’t leave their email have just filtered themselves out leaving us to focus on only those who have raised their hand as being interested in what we do. This is good.

Having the ability to reach out to our audience by sending an email is powerful stuff; we don’t want to take it for granted and we don’t want to leave it to chance. So we don’t send email from our gmail, yahoo or hotmail account – we use an email marketing service. More on that later.

We slowly build up a list of people who are interested in what we do.

We have the option of targeting only to the people who:

  1. open our emails
  2. click on the links
  3. the ones who open all of our emails
  4. the ones who have been on our email list the longest etc.

We can also personalize the emails we send so that they are more engaging and don’t feel like a broadcast to a faceless mass of people.

If you read the 1K Fan Formula report or have heard about Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans – you should already be familiar with how important it is to have that magic number of 1,000 supporters who are willing to spend $100/year on your music, merchandise and shows.

When you collect emails, nobody can take them away from you.

This is why having your own email list is more important than ranking on the first page of Google which can change at anytime.

While it’s important to rank high in the search engines for terms that will help your future audience find you – the big “G” giveth and can taketh away whenever they tweak their algorithms. If you’re collecting emails the whole time, you’ll have a list that you can continue to communicate with even if you’ve dropped off the first page and into relative obscurity.

Having an email database is a way to secure your present and future. It helps automate the collection and delivery of communcations to your audience. Used properly, you can engage, educate and entertain your audience and even sell more of your stuff with your email list.

How Email Can Help Your Website Rank Higher in the Search Engines (really)

There are a ton of metrics that Google looks at when visitors come to your website like:

  • bounce rate
  • time on site
  • number of page views.

However, another one is the amount of “returning visitors” coming to your site. If a person is willing to return to your website, this indicates to Google that they are engaged on some level with the content they found there. After all – if you came to site that was complete garbage there would be no reason to come back to it right?

Returning visitors is one indication of a quality site with engaging content – these are the types of sites that Google wants to rank highly. Sites with very high percentages of new visitors and hardly any return visitors is a flag that the content isn’t of particular interest to the visitors.

So how do you get returning visitors? Easy.

  1. You capture their email address when they visit your site
  2. You create engaging content
  3. You email your audience that you have new content on the site

Anyone on your list has already been to your website, since that is where you collected their email address from. Now when they return to your site via email they’ll appear to Google as returning visitors. Also, they will show up as a new traffic source (your email system) rather than from Google. This is another thing that Google wants to see – a diversified stream of traffic coming from multiple locations rather than just the search engines.

How To Not Piss People Off With Email

People are busy. Inboxes are cluttered. The reality is that you often need to email multiple times in order to reach the largest amount of people who signed up for your email list.

It’s been said that it takes 7 exposures to an offer for someone to become a buyer.

So how do we get through to them without pissing people off with our emails? Most people are worried about mailing too much because we don’t want to piss off our audience.

The key is to use segmentation properly.

I hinted at it earlier that when you use email marketing software you can target your audience in specific ways. You can send an email only to people who have opened another email that you sent, or to only those who clicked on the link.

This is how it works.

You send out an email and a certain percentage open it – lets say 30%. Instead of sending out the exact same email again (and pissing off the 30% that already opened it), we can target the people who didn’t open the email. We can come up with a different subject line that may be more enticing to those people who didn’t open. Sometimes you can send the exact same headline but with something like “Second Notice” on it.

A few more people will open this email. You can do this one last time targeting the people who still haven’t opened the email.

Often, the response rate will decrease for each additional email you send, but the second and third emails combined will often match the amount of the first email sent out. So this is a very easy way to almost double your response rate while not pissing off the people who have already opened your email.

Also – never send out an email that has zero value to your audience, that would be spam.

Nobody likes spam.

Even when you have something to sell, add value by stating the benefits for your audience.

If you’re promoting a live recording you can mention how those who live too far away to see you perform live can now conveniently get the live experience whenever they want.

You can announce a new run of merchandise that was created by popular demand.

Adding value and communicating your message by email is an entire topic unto itself, but the point is that you should always consider the people who open your email before you press send.

Avoid the ‘buy my stuff’ or ‘like us on Facebook’ or ‘vote for us’ emails that ask your audience to do something that only benefits you. That kind of stuff just pisses people off.

 A Free* and 100% Awesome Email Marketing Software

To start using email marketing successfully, you need to have the right tools. In internet marketing circles this is called an email autoresponder. It’s software that can automatically collect and manage your email while allowing you to create both broadcast and pre-scheduled (auto-responder) emails.

The auto-responder/pre-scheduled emails are worth their weight in gold. You can create a sequence that is designed to engage with your audience. You can also use it to promote your live shows, your merchandise or even to give them a tour of the membership area of your website.

Aweber is the industry standard for email marketing; it’s simply offers the highest delivery rates and the latest cutting edge technology – however it starts at about $20/month with a one month free trial.

The software I use and recommend is MailChimp. It’s free for the first 2,000 names that you collect into your database on the free plan. This is more than enough to get you started.

It’s very easy to create an email template, to segment your list, track open and click rates and there are a lot of free plugins and software that integrates with it.

I’ve been using MailChimp since March 2010. When I first signed up they offered 500 free names. Within the last two years they’ve bumped it up to 2,000 along with various other upgrades and improvements. They have high email delivery rates as well – so I fully stand behind them.

If you’ve read this far, take the next step and sign up for an account at Mail Chimp (affiliate link – I’ll eventually earn some credits at some point down the road should you choose to upgrade to a paid account – just sayin’) and start building up an email list asap. It’s one of the best moves you can possibly make to put your music career into your own hands rather than waiting for lightening to strike and win the “rock star lottery”.

Do you have an email list of your audience? What email service do you use? How often do you mail your list? Share your comments below.

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