How to Create and Utilize Your Newsletter
Your mailing list is your direct connection with your fans (consider it your VIP fan club).
On social media, it’s estimated that less than 10% of your followers see your posts at one time (so if you have 5000 followers, only about 500 see each of your posts). So if you have 1000 followers or less, only 100 people are seeing each post.
So imagine if you had all of your followers email addresses? You would be able to get directly to their inbox!
Having someone’s email address gives you direct access to them. When someone gives you their email they are giving you permission to market to them.
How Your Mailing List Can Help You
Sending newsletters is one of the best forms of promotion because you can get your message directly to the person instead of relying on people to see your social media posts. Plus, you can reach a lot of people at once (which saves you a lot of time).
Your mailing list can put a stronger push behind your releases. Your video views and song plays will go up quicker since it will be sent directly to everyone's inbox.
Your newsletter can also turn into a big source of income since you can sell everything from merch and show tickets.
It will also allow you to see who’s really paying attention:
You can track exactly how many people have opened your emails as well as WHO opens them and what they click on.
You can see where everyone on your list is located (which will show you where you should book your tour).
You can even break up your list into different categories, like “super fans” - which would be fans that always open up your emails. You can also create another list of people who already purchased merch from you (if someone bought from you before they’re more likely to buy from you again so those people should be in a separate list and they should get the biggest discounts).
You can also use your newsletter to hold contests and send out polls (maybe to see which song you should shoot a video for). The possibilities are endless…
What Is Your Newsletter Used for?
You send newsletters to your mailing list to keep your fans in the loop and you give people incentives to subscribe by treating your list as VIP by offering exclusives to your list.
For instance, your fans that are subscribed to your list will get sneak peeks of new music, free downloads, discounted merch (by using discount codes), discounted (and free) show tickets, and more.
Imagine this, you have 500 people subscribed to your newsletter. You have a new t-shirt that you are going to sell for $25. Since your subscribers are your VIP’s, you create a newsletter that gives your subscribers early access to your store (maybe 1 day before the product goes public) and you give them a discount code that gives your subscribers 20% off. To spice it up even more and encourage people to act now, you can make a discount code that expires in 48 hours. Even if only 10% of your subscribers buy, you still made $1000 by sending 1 email.
How To Set It Up
Setting up your newsletter is really easy (and free). Follow these steps:
1. First we need to create your email database (where you will create and send your email blasts).
Go to mailchimp.com and create an account. (that was easy huh?)
2. Once you sign up, you’ll need to create your list.
Once you’re logged into Mailchimp you’ll see a menu at the top. Click on “lists” and once you’re on the page click on “create list” in the top right hand corner. You might see a notification that says something about “tags” but just skip over that and continue to click “create list.” Here’s where you’ll name your list, add the default from email (add the email that you want your newsletters to be sent from), and write a message that lets people know why they are receiving the email (put something like “You are receiving this email because we've exchanged emails in the past (either via social media, or you opted in at my website) and you are an appreciated connection.”
3. Now that your list is created, you’ll need to design your subscribe form:
To do this, click “lists” on the main menu, and then click on the list you just created. On that page you’ll see a new menu. Click on “Subscribe forms” on that menu, then click “select” on the right side next to “form builder.” On the form builder page you’ll see a direct link to your subscribe form. You’ll want to take that link and add it to your Linktree. Underneath that you’ll see the option to design your list. I suggest only collecting someone’s first name, email address and city. If you want to get fancy feel free to add a place where they can input their birthday as well (so that you can send fans emails on their birthday).
4. Now that your list and subscribe form are created, you’ll want to start collecting emails and adding them to your list. If someone signs up via your subscribe form, their email is automatically added to your list. However not everyone will sign up via your subscribe form; sometimes you’ll have to manually add them to your list. Here’s how to add subscribers manually:
Go to “lists” on the main menu and then click on the list you want to add subscribers to. Once on the page, click on “add subscribers” on the menu. If you’re only adding 1 subscriber simply click “add a subscriber” but if you’re adding multiple then click “import contacts.” Most of the time you’ll be copy and pasting emails into your list, so on the next page click on the “copy/paste from file” option and then click “next” in the bottom right corner. On that page you’ll be able to copy/paste all of the email addresses you collected.
5. So you’ve created your list, designed your subscribe form, added some emails and you’re ready to send your first email. In order to make your life easier, I recommend designing a template that you can use every time you send out an email (that way you don’t have to redesign the email every time you want to send out a newsletter). In order to design your email template do the following:
On the main menu, click on “templates” and then click “create template” in the top right corner. On the next page you’ll see that Mailchimp already has a bunch of templates to choose from that you can customize to fit your brand. My favorite template to start with is the “make an announcement” template. If you want to start with this template, click on it and you’ll see that you’re now able to edit it as you please. When I use this template, I add my logo at the top, keep the heading just as it is, and then I delete the photo gallery right under the heading and one of the text boxes under that. That way you’re left with a logo at the top, a simple headline, a simple paragraph and a button at the bottom for people to click on. Like this email for example.
How to collect email subscribers and grow your list
Once your newsletter is created, you’ll need to promote it in order to collect subscribers. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few suggestions:
Add the link to your subscribe form to your Linktree.
Add a mailing list subscribe form to your website. (Mailchimp has many ways to integrate this)
Put up a post on Instagram saying something along the lines of “I have a lot of new music coming! Comment with your email if you want it!” and have fans comment with their email addresses.
Promote your newsletter on Twitter. Example: “To be the first to get my new music, discounted show tickets and exclusive updates, be sure to sign up to my mailing list right now by clicking here: [link to your subscribe form].”
You will also want to get in the habit of collecting emails at shows (using an iPhone/iPad or even a regular notebook at your merch table). And of course you’ll collect emails from event RSVP’s too.
You will want to use “bait” to collect email subscribers to give people an incentive to subscribe. For instance, you can say “If you want to get a free download of new song before it goes on iTunes, you have to subscribe to my newsletter” or “Subscribe to my newsletter for 20% off merch” etc.
helpful tips and things to remember:
You’re sending an email out to a bunch of people however you must remember that each person will read the email 1 at a time. This means that you should always write your emails like you’re talking to one individual person and not like you’re talking to a group. (example: your greeting should be “hey there!” Instead of “hey guys”).
You will need to craft your email around whatever action that you want the reader to take and make sure that it’s easy for them to accomplish. For example, if you want them to download your new single, make sure they can click a link right in the email that will lead them to where they can download it. The easier you make things, the more results you’ll see.
As you know, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. In the marketing world, there is such a thing as a “call to action,” which is basically a button or a link that makes a person want to take action. For instance: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD NOW, or TWEET THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE - make sure that your call-to-actions are clear and that you only have ONE call to action per newsletter.
In Mailchimp, it rates your subscribers from 1-4 stars according to who opens and clicks the links in your emails on a consistent basis. You may want to put those people who always open your emails into a separate list by creating a SEGMENT (you’ll see that option in Mailchimp). Those people with 4 star ratings that always open your emails can get the REALLY good stuff (everyone on your newsletter is VIP but these guys are in YOUR section).
When do I send out an email? How often?
When you’re just getting started you should aim to send a newsletter once per month. As your list grows and you’re more active, you can send weekly or biweekly newsletters. Just as long as they are consistent and you’re giving your subscribers informative and entertaining info (you have to keep people interested so they don’t unsubscribe).
The weekends tend the best time to send an email (or if you’re sending during the week, mornings between 6-8am or evenings between 8-10pm are best).
Sample Emails to Send to Your Fans
You may be wondering, “What do I even say in the email when I send out a newsletter?” So we’re here to clear that up for you.
Your newsletters should be in your own voice. It’s literally you speaking directly to your fans.
They don’t have to be really long and drawn out unless you’re more of a storyteller and writing really long emails is something that fits with your brand and your fans will appreciate it.
Your emails can be short and to the point.
We’ve sent out plenty of emails for artists in the past so below are a few examples for you to start with:
Since you’re just launching your mailing list, you’ll want to send out an initial email that introduces everyone to your list, thanks them for joining and tells them what to expect. This “welcome email” can also be automated in Mailchimp but we’ll go into Mailchimp automation at another time as it’s a bit more complicated to set up.
Sample intro email:
SUBJECT: Thank You
CONTENT: Hey what’s up! I just wanted to thank you for giving me your email address and allowing me to keep you updated on my new music and shows. Don’t worry I promise not to spam you or send emails every day lol. You will only receive important updates and I’m even going to throw in some “goodies” just because you’re on my mailing list, so stay tuned!
By the way, if we’re not following each other on Instagram already, let’s make sure we are! I’ll be sure to follow back!
CALL TO ACTION BUTTON: CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM [link to your Instagram]
If you have a list that’s segmented into cities, you’ll want to send a newsletter out letting those in the area know that you’re coming to a venue near them. You’ll want to send an email out as soon as you confirm the date and details of the show (make sure you have the flyer to include). You should also give everyone the link to purchase discounted tickets or give them some type of an incentive to come to the show (offer discounted rate or free tickets to the first 10 people that put up the flyer with a certain hashtag) and then be sure to send another email the week of the show as a reminder.
Sample email #1: Announcing a show.
SUBJECT: This is Exciting!
CONTENT: So I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be performing in your area at VENUE on DATE. I would love for you to come out!
CALL TO ACTION: Click here to purchase tickets [give link to tickets].
Sample email #2: announcing a tour
SUBJECT: Coming to a City Near You!
CONTENT: I’m excited to announce that I’m going on tour and I might be coming to your city! Check out the flyer below for dates. Don’t see your city on the flyer? Want me to come to your city? Reply to this email and let me know where you’re from!
CALL TO ACTION BUTTON: Buy Tickets Now [link to page on your website with all tour dates and links to purchase tickets]
Sample email #3: Ticket Giveaway
SUBJECT: Here’s Your Ticket
CONTENT: Have you been to one of my live shows? If not, I actually have 20 free tickets that I’m giving away for [venue] on [date]. All you have to do is choose 1 of the following:
Like my Facebook page
Share the attached flyer to one of your social networks with the hashtag _____
Once you do it, respond to this email and i’ll mail your tickets!
Introducing your new single:
Your mailing list should always be the first to get your new music. You can send them a sneak peek a week in advance or send them the full track a day early or at least the morning of the release. The key is to make them feel special and hopefully get them to listen and share the record, or give you some feedback (all are good things).
Sample email for sneak peek:
SUBJECT: should be something along the lines of “You Hear it First” or you can go with the typical “Sneak Peek” or “Check Out My New Single Before Everyone Else”
CONTENT: Hey! So I’m getting ready to release a song that’s really special to me, mainly because _______, and I would really love your feedback on it. No one has heard it yet, so I figured I would release it to a select few because I’m just dying to release it! You can check out the song by clicking here [hyperlink to song]
CALL TO ACTION BUTTON: Get a sneak peek [link to song again]
Sample email for official release:
SUBJECT: New single/video/EP/album out now! (choose one of those things of course lol)
CONTENT: Hey! I just released [write a line or two about what you’re releasing]. Check it out now!
CALL TO ACTION BUTTON: Listen to [insert song title] or Watch [insert video title]
You should now understand the importance of having a direct connection to your fans through a newsletter.
Did you send out your first email yet? If so, head on over to the MBHT Facebook group and tell us how it went!