If you do some quick research on how to get more music fans, you’ll find plenty of suggestions for getting your name out there and getting heard. But once you’ve captured someone’s attention, how do you keep it?
Email marketing is the most reliable way to communicate with your fans, strengthen your relationship with them, and get them to take action, whether you want them to stream your new single on Spotify or buy a concert ticket. And, unlike your social media pages, you own your subscriber data forever.
Your email list is the most valuable direct line to your fans that you have. In fact, a study showed that email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.
Try putting these nine ideas into action to grow your email list.
1. Make it the main call-to-action on your website
Rather than burying your signup box under a bunch of links directing visitors to check out your music, videos, and merch store, make it as easy as possible to sign up for your email list by making it the primary call-to-action on your website.
Place it right up top where it can’t be missed (hint: if you have to scroll to find it, it’s not in the right place), and try not to clutter the surrounding space with anything that will pull attention away.
2. Direct people to your email list through social media
Use the power of your social media following to drive traffic to your email list landing page. Let your fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram know that signing up for your email list is the best way to make sure they don’t miss any big news or updates.
If you have an active presence on YouTube, mention your email newsletter at the end of your YouTube videos, and include a link in the description box.
3. Exchange an email address for a download or stream
There’s a reason why this is common practice, and why websites like NoiseTrade have become so successful — because it works! Offering a free download or an exclusive stream in exchange for a fan’s email address is a powerful incentive, and it’s a win-win all around.
They get the instant gratification of a free track from an artist they love, and you get permission to email them whenever you have concert tickets, merch, or new music to sell.
4. Bring a signup list to your live shows
If people dig your music enough to come out to your live show, there’s a good chance they’ll want to stay in the loop about future shows, too. Mention your email list from the stage towards the end of your set to make sure people know they can sign up right then and there.
But if that feels too awkward for the type of venue you’re playing, you can always enlist a friend for help. Have your friend encourage signups at your merch table, or they can even walk around with a clipboard or an iPad and directly ask people if they’d like to stay up to date with your band.
If you’re playing a small gig and you don’t have anyone around to help, take a couple of minutes before your set to pass out cards and pencils at tables that people can fill out at their leisure, which you can then collect afterwards.
5. Offer access to exclusive content or presales
If joining your email list is the only way to get access to presales or content that isn’t available anywhere else, fans will absolutely sign up. Offer an unreleased song or music video that you haven’t publicly shared anywhere, or give fans a code that lets them access presales for your next show or album before anyone else can. It’s a smart way to build a loyal following and turn casual fans into superfans!
6. Sell direct-to-fan through your website
Anytime you sell your music or merch direct-to-fan, it’s a great opportunity to add contacts to your email list. Give them the option to opt in right on the checkout page, or even send a personalized follow-up email thanking them for supporting your music and asking if they’d like to receive your email newsletter.
7. Require an email opt-in for a contest or giveaway
This is an all-around win for creating buzz, increasing engagement, and growing your email list. Put together a simple contest or giveaway, promote it on your social media channels, and require an email address to enter. Just make it clear in the terms that they’ll be subscribed to your list by entering.
8. Cross-promote with similar artists
Have any musician friends with an audience similar to yours? Join forces and promote each other! Whether it’s mutual social media support, a collaborative YouTube cover video, or shout-outs at a show you’re playing together, use the opportunity to encourage your fans to check out your friend’s band — and they’ll do the same for you!
9. Encourage forwarding and sharing
If you’ve just made a big announcement in your newsletter, encourage your subscribers to forward and share it with their friends who might be interested. Word of mouth is the best kind of marketing you can hope for to grow your email list!
Also check out: The Complete Guide to Email Marketing for Musicians
Lisa Occhino is the founder of SongwriterLink, a free songwriting collaboration website that matches you up with exactly the kind of co-writers you’re looking for. She’s also a pianist, award-winning songwriter, and graduate of Berklee College of Music.
Bandzoogle websites have a built-in mailing list tool, and you keep 100% of your sales when you sell music, merch, & tickets online. Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.