Email Marketing Tools for Your Band

Last time I gave you very top of the line marketing advice for your music and band, to show you how big a difference you can make by adopting the right attitude and considering your band a bit more like a business. Or at least going for a more professional approach. 

I'm guessing this might have been a bit frustrating for those of you looking for concrete tips to promote your music. But really this was such an important revelation to the team I was working with at the time that I knew it was worth sharing.

Adopting and adapting your digital marketing strategy remains essential. If you don't go about this with the right mindset, you are going to struggle much more and feel like you have no idea where things are going.

Even if the path to success (whatever it means), does look like something like this:

path-to-sucess

The idea of a more professional approach is precisely to minimise the feeling described above as much as possible. It should help you to set smaller milestones for your band so that you get a sense of where you are going.

As this feels like the start of a new series of articles on music marketing, I'm going to cover here the free email marketing tools you should (or shouldn't in certain cases) be using.

As always, use the right tool for the right job.

And please don't spam people. The Internet is already dodgy enough as it is, try to always add value to the web, make it a space people enjoy using. Ideally, I can't recommend enough marketing your music on a blog-by-blog basis, but I know that too few of you are actually going to do it... ;). 

So here are some important tips and advice regarding email marketing.
 

Email marketing softwares

mailchimp-vs-aweber-email-marketing

I'm sure most of you are already making good use of these. If not excessive use. There are tons of options out there, so the most common ones I know of are: 

  • Mailchimp (great free plan)
  • Aweber (cheap and very powerful too)

There are two things you should know about email marketing softwares:

  1. You probably use it too much
    • with your subscribers
    • to promote your music
  2. You probably don't use it correctly
     

newsletter Subscription list

A typical newsletter subscription button used in many websites

A typical newsletter subscription button used in many websites

Email marketing is great to keep in touch with your subscribers and if you have a website you should absolutely try to get your fans on-board so that you can send them your biggest news (EP launch, new online store or products, important gigs or deals signed) and even ask for a share. 

Just don't overdo it by sending millions of messages or they'll hit that "unsubscribe" button faster than you can say "flop". Don't over-promote your list or don't even start one if you don't have enough followers yet. You risk losing your very first fans by asking too much out of them. If you're just starting out a quarterly newsletter is perfect (or monthly if you feel very confident and you have tons of newsworthy items to share).

Promoting your latest music

Poor use of email marketing softwares such as Mailchimp is usually your biggest sin. Using these tools is okay if you've personalised your email to the point that the reader almost can't realise it's a mass email. The minute it feels too "marketing", you've lost and ended up in the junk folder.

I'm sure you're aware that these music blogs and magazines you contact receive thousands of emails everyday from bands trying to get their latest tunes listened to and reviewed. It is an over-saturated market. 

So at least make sure that you make them feel like the email you're about to send was directed specifically at them. Personalising your mass emails is possible but it takes time and it's a rigorous exercise. Each software works differently, but they all have a help section to guide you. Essentially this is what you have to do: 

Building up the correct database to promote your music through email marketing.
Click on the photo to enlarge it.

  1. Collect all the information you need (blog name, blog post title, author, date,...) into an Excel file. This is really up to you and depends on the message you're sending out. The more original the better.
    • SIDE NOTE: I know you hate Excel - who doesn't - but it is really a powerful tool. In this case you're going to make extremely simple use of it, so keep calm.
  2. Upload all your information to your email marketing software by creating a new contact list and choosing the option "upload from Excel/CSV".
  3. Write an email template that contains personalisation fields. The way these are written depends on each software. For Mailchimp, the format is *|FIRSTNAME|* - you can find more help here.
  4. Send a test message to yourself and some friends to ensure you've got it right.

In the end, you should have an email that looks like this: 

[Subject line] Nice post on *|BLOGTITLE|*! Thanks for sharing it.
Dear *|FIRSTNAME|*,
I've stumbled upon the post *|ARTICLETITLE|* that you shared the other day on Twitter on this or that new music trend. I'm totally in love with it too, thanks for sharing it. 
*|YOURBANDNAME|*
+ links to your music

Wherever you see a mention to *|TITLEXYZ|*, there should be an equivalent field in your Excel spreadsheet saying TITLEXYZ so that Mailchimp knows where to pull the information from.

Also did you see what I did?

I didn't ask for a share of my own music. I've simply let the person know that I liked his post and added some links in the bottom for his consideration. It's very passive but it's a lot less aggressive than asking for a share, a listen or a review. 

If he's interested, he'll get back to me, and that's when I can slowly start engaging with him and hopefully build a relationship. I can but don't have to bring up my own music in the second email, or maybe he will have mentioned that in his reply. Whoever the blogger is, believe me, he or she will enjoy having a normal, human interaction - for once.

This is the kind of template I would recommend to get in touch with bigger music journalists and bloggers as they get asked a million times a day to listen to this or to that. For smaller ones, especially websites where they say they welcome music submissions, you can change the last part of the email (or better, come up with your own!), then suggest that your music is similar to the post you've spotted and that he or she might like it too.

Serious outreach

One last thing, for reaching out to BIG players in the field such as: 

  • major journalists
  • managers
  • labels

I can't recommend enough using a normal email that you've personally crafted for the occasion. Feel free to also interact with them on Twitter first, to leave some comments on posts they've written. This has to be a soft marketing process - ditch the "in-your-face" approach.

In the next post, we'll look at monitoring mentions of your band online, social media analytics and what to do with all this information.

NOTE: This is part of a series on music marketing, read our other articles below: