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Email Marketing for Musicians: A Beginner’s Guide

You’ve probably heard every online music marketer reiterate how important email marketing is for your music career. The problem is many of them don’t say why it’s important and what steps you should take to make it part of your arsenal. In this post i’m going to give you a beginner’s guide to email marketing for music artists.

Why Email Marketing Matters for Music Artists

Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and even YouTube are awesome places to find your audience. However you don’t own these platforms and they’re constantly throttling how many people you can reach for free over time.

What happens if you build a following of 50,000 people on TikTok, but then out of your control it gets banned in your country? Or what happens when Instagram further throttles your organic reach? This is where an email list is invaluable. It provides you a direct line of contact to your most valuable fans – the ones that have given you permission to contact them.

As long as you’ve grown your email list the right way and nurtured it over time, your email list is generally the most likely place fans will make purchases from you. Additionally the fans that make purchases from you will generally have to give you an email address to checkout on your store, so your list is also where you’ll reach out to your existing customers.

Get an Email Platform

How do you actually send people emails though? Well, this is where an email platform comes in. Sometimes this is referred to as a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Technically not all email platforms are CRM’s, but nowadays most email platforms also function as CRM’s.

Email platforms provide you with a method to collect emails, store all of your emails, segment them into different groups, and write beautiful emails to those people in manual or automated ways. You don’t want to be writing personal messages in Gmail and BCCing everyone (and often this doesn’t work with more than a small group of people).

I use something called Drip, which is amazing for integrating with other services and segmenting / automating my list. However it’s kind of expensive and offers no free tier (but it does have a free trial). There are plenty of email platforms that provide free tiers that provide enough functionality for you to start, but simply limit you by how many emails you can send or how many subscribers you can have.

Here are some great email platforms to start with:

While it can be annoying to migrate your list between platforms, it’s definitely possible and typically only takes less than 30 minutes to do. So don’t feel like you’ll be stuck using whatever you choose for the next few years.

I highly recommend MusicFunnels because not only does it give you email marketing, it gives you a website, an online store, sales funnels, a membership platforms and much more. It’s also designed for music artists specifically and was created by music artists. Plans come with between 100-500 contacts for free, depending on your plan, and you can send each contact 12 emails per month before paying anything extra.

If you absolutely need a free solution then I would recommend SendInBlue because I used it for a few years when I started. They have a free tier and price their plans by number of emails sent per month, not by contacts. For just $25/month you can send 20,000 emails – that could be emailing 1,000 people 20 times per month or emailing 10,000 people twice per month.

The advantage of something like Drip or ActiveCampaign is that you can send unlimited emails. As a result they tend to have much more sophisticated features and you’re incentivized to send more emails, and create automations that can filter out quality leads from the noise. For example, if someone hasn’t opened up your last 10 emails and hasn’t purchased anything from you, are they worth keeping on your list?

Incentivize People To Join Your Email List

Now that you have an email platform, you need to get people on your list. There are a million ways to do this, but it all starts with making a signup form where people can enter their email. Most email platforms provide a super easy way to do this, even if you don’t have a website.

Over at MusicFunnels not only do we have signup forms, you can integrate your forms into funnels to create some really interesting experiences for your fans.

Once you have your signup form you need to give people a reason to sign up. In many cases this is essentially a bribe. For example:

  • Join my list and get a free song download
  • Join my list and hear the new song early
  • Join my list and get access to a vault of unreleased content
  • Join my list to enter to win a free t-shirt

The bribes you choose are open to your creativity, just make sure it’s something only a fan would want. You don’t want to offer $100 gift cards or you’ll attract the wrong people.

Song downloads are super easy but won’t appeal to all audiences since most people stream music nowadays. Despite this many people get reasonable results with a free song download, but you may want to sweeten the deal by offering a free download of an upcoming song or even a free album download. Think about your fans and what they’d want. The better the bribe the easier it will be to get people to sign up.

Create Email Marketing Automation Sequences

You don’t want to be writing every single email manually. Also, when people join your list to receive some sort of perk you promised, you want that delivered to them within seconds or minutes and not days. This is where email automation sequences come in.

Sometimes these are called automations, workflows or something else. But the idea is the same. An action (such as someone joining your list from a specific form) triggers another action to occur. At MusicFunnels we call them Workflows.

For example, consider this sequence:

  1. Someone joins your list from a form that promises a free song download
  2. That form tags the person’s email with the tag ‘free-song-download’
  3. The addition of that tag triggers an email automation sequence
  4. They’re sent an email immediately with their free download
  5. The next day they automatically get an email that asks them what they thought of the song
  6. Three days later they automatically receive an email with all your streaming links

The sequence can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be. Each email platform will have different tools you can incorporate into your email sequence but generally it all revolves around triggers and actions.

Here are some example sequences you might create…

Email Marketing: Welcome Sequence

If someone joins your list on their own from your website, you can create a welcome sequence that delivers 7 emails over 14 days to that person. The idea is you’re welcoming them to your list but then providing them with a bunch of value that makes them happy to be on your list.

Technically that free download sequence I outlined above is also a welcome sequence, it’s just triggered from a special page that promised a free download.

Email Marketing: Abandoned Cart Sequence

If you have an online store it likely has a way for you to integrate the store with your email platform. Most stores will also have a way to trigger an abandoned cart sequence. The purpose of this is to fire a chain of emails that convince a person to go back to your store and complete their purpose.

Sometimes this is done entirely inside your store without integration to your email platform, so it depends on what you’re using exactly. But the purpose is the same nonetheless.

Email Marketing: Sales Sequences

If you have a new product releasing such as a Vinyl or a new record, you probably want to tell your list about it first. You could email them directly and ask them to buy it, but a better strategy might be to add them into a sales sequence that does something similar to the following.

Assuming this is a new album release that releases in 28 days:

  • They get an email informing them about the release date
  • Two days later they get some behind the scenes content from the upcoming album
  • Three days later they get a free song download, as a thank you for them being on your list
  • Three days later you tease the product offering you’re going to have for the pre-order
  • The next day you send out a pre-order link that shows off your awesome new album bundles
  • If people don’t buy the pre-order, you send them more emails every few days giving them more awesome content and periodically mentioning the pre-order again
  • If they do buy the pre-order you kick them out of the sequence and enter them into a ‘thank you’ sequence

This example is a lot more complicated than our previous ones, and it introduced the idea of ‘if’ statements. That’s right, you can have your email list change paths depending on what the person does!

Tell A Story

One of the most impactful things you can do to improve your email marketing is learn how to tell a story and spark curiosity. People don’t click on headlines because they’re super accurate. They click on them because they’re curious, and they keep reading your email because they want to hear what happens next.

This is where doing some research online about storytelling and good email marketing tactics can be helpful.

For example, questions in email headlines tend to have a higher open rate than non-questions. Also, emails that leave an ‘open-loop’ that will be answered in the next email make people excited to read your next emails (ever notice how your favorite TV show always ends the episode or season on a dramatic cliff-hanger?).

I won’t go through all of that here because it deserves it’s own dedicated post in the future. But in the meantime if you go online and watch videos or read articles about email marketing you’ll drastically improve your results with email marketing.

Learn More

If you’re struggling with setting up your email software, website and online store you’re not alone! Most music artists don’t have to deal with this stuff on a regular basis so it can be quite daunting to do it for your first time. Thats why I created my Fan Growth Machine course…

Fan Growth Machine Cover

This course is designed to help you set up your website, your online store and mailing list. Additionally it covers how you can use both Facebook ads and organic marketing strategies to get people to join your mailing list. I’ve used the techniques in this course to collect thousands of targeted leads for both my music projects and my online business.

Click here to learn more.

Additionally we’re also available for one-on-one hourly consultation calls if you prefer a more personal touch. Click here to learn more about our consultations.