In my co-working space, there’s a guy who works in marketing. A few months ago, while having a coffee together, we started talking about email marketing, and he asked me how many subscribers my mailing list has. When I told him, he suppressed a laugh, probably thinking something was really wrong with my marketing strategy.

But when I told him I had an open rate just below 50%, and a 15% click rate, he couldn’t believe it, so I had to show him the stats. By the end of the conversation, we agreed we live in a world of niche markets, where what matters the most is finding your audience, however small, and being genuine while offering something valuable to them.

Email marketing is a powerful tool to promote products and services used by big names and small boutiques alike. You can use email marketing to grow your audience, promote your music career, share important news with your fans, and sell your music.

Today I’ll dive into the intricacies of email marketing and how it can help you with your music marketing strategy. Have you ever wanted to reach your fans in a more personal way? When done right, email marketing can help you achieve that.

Let’s dive in!

Why Email marketing?

If you’re wondering why you should seriously start thinking about an email marketing strategy for your music, think about this: 4 billion people worldwide have an email account that still sends over 300 billion emails daily. There’s no way around it: everyone online has an email address now, and even social media platforms require one to sign up for their services.

If you are worried that email is not used anymore, you can rest assured that email is alive and well and will continue to grow for years to come.

Another reason why email marketing is worth considering is mobile phones. Everyone can carry their email inbox anywhere. The portability of smartphones helps users stay in touch with their contacts, be they family, friends, or business contacts.

I find email more personal than any other marketing strategy. Of course, everyone writes emails differently, but the best result is always a more personalized message. That way, your readers don’t feel like you’re just selling them something.

When starting an email marketing strategy, the most challenging aspect might be figuring out how to grow your list. In the following paragraphs, I’ll give you some ideas about how to kickstart your email list, create landing pages, and use SmartLinks to expand your audience.

Email marketing vs. social media

Social media and email marketing are two sides of the same coin: marketing strategies that, when done right, can increase your network considerably. Although I’d recommend using both, this article is about email marketing, so I’ll focus on this specific strategy.

You own your list.

The most important thing is that you own your subscribers’ list. Every time someone signs up for your list and accepts to give you their email address to receive your newsletter, emails, etc., they accept to be contacted directly by you.

Things on social media can change. We think Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will be here forever, but they might not. Would you risk losing all your fans just because a social media platform is having a difficult time? With email marketing, you’ll never have this problem.

Forget about the algorithm.

If you’ve been using Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or other social media, you know how the algorithm has changed. Sometimes it forces you to change how you produce content if you want to keep relevant and reach a broader audience.

With an email marketing strategy, you don’t need to act according to the algorithm because you are already reaching out to the people who want to hear from you. You might need to worry about it when promoting your subscription form on social media, but with your subscribers, you can share the content you want the way you want.

Email marketing platforms.

Thanks to email marketing platforms, you can create a carefully-designed and professional newsletter to send to your list. Depending on the platform and your subscription plan, some may offer more advanced features such as automation, templates, landing pages, customizable forms, reports, analytics, and more.

5 Tips for your email marketing strategy

Some elements are essential for any email marketing campaign to succeed. First, you’ll need a subscription form to collect email addresses. Then you need to create your subscription list with all the emails you’ve collected and have a clear idea of what you’ll be writing.

In the next section, I’ll give you some tips to help you with each step of your email marketing strategy.

Tip #1: Use an email marketing platform

You want to subscribe and set up your email marketing campaign on any email marketing platform you feel comfortable with. When choosing one, consider whether it has a free plan, the subscription plan prices, and what is featured in each service and plan. (We’ve got a longer list with reviews of different platforms here.)

At Two Story Melody, we use Drip. It’s a super powerful platform – honestly, probably more powerful than some musicians (especially indies)need. But if you’re looking to sell merch efficiently to a large audience, it’s more than up to the task.

Another one of the most popular platforms, and one I’ve seen used by many independent musicians, is Mailchimp. It offers a free plan with basic features to start your first campaigns with up to 2500 contacts.

ConvertKit is another platform with an intuitive user interface and is excellent for beginners. It offers a free plan with limited features, segmentation, and up to 300 subscribers. You can get a 14-day free trial to test advanced features such as email automation which are easy and fun to do with ConvertKit.

Whatever platform you choose, they all allow you to export and import your list in a CSV file. You can switch between services if you need to, and you don’t need to ask your contacts to move to a different platform like you would on social media.

Tip #2: How to grow your list?

To attract new readers, you can create a form and post it on your webpage or create a social media post letting your followers know you have an email list where they can get exclusive news on your releases.

The most common practice is to ask for the email after a free download. You can offer a new song, a private backstage video, an unreleased demo song, an online streaming event, songs’ chords, or lyrics eBooks. Get as creative as you want; if you offer something valuable to your followers, they won’t have a problem giving you their email addresses.

You can ask for your customer’s email at the checkout if you have an online store. Remember always to be clear about the content you’ll be sending, and do not send Spam, or you’ll get a bad reputation and lose subscribers.

In this first step, focus on directing people to your sign-up form. Then, keep your audience engaged with every email you send. People often unsubscribe after getting what they signed up for. But if your emails can deliver more than just a download, they’ll stay with you.

Tip #3: Create sequences

Email automation is a great way to create a personalized journey for your list. They are only available in some plans or platforms, but there’s no doubt they’ll make your job easier.

Different sequences are used in email marketing; the most important thing that many people still need to pay attention to is the welcome sequence, which is crucial to making your new followers feel you are there talking to them.

Try to include these sequences in your strategy:

Welcome sequence.

This sequence is sent to people when subscribing for the first time to your email list. It’s a series of four to six emails, sent automatically to introduce yourself, your challenges and achievements over the last few years, and an opportunity to ask your list what they’ll want to hear from you next.

If you want examples of creating your welcome sequences, check this post from ActiveCampaign with handy information.

New release sequence.

Creating a sequence whenever you have a new release can help you achieve different goals. If you’re running a pre-save campaign, you can run a short series about the new album’s production to drive momentum and make them pre-save your music. It can also work for live shows; create a small sequence to prepare your followers when the tickets become available.

The abandoned cart sequence.

It’s a simple sequence that reminds people they were buying something from your store. When someone adds an item from your shop to their cart but won’t checkout, they receive one. You’re probably familiar with this type of sequence if you buy stuff online.

Shopify has some examples you can use as a source of inspiration for your abandoned cart sequence.

Specific sequences.

You can get creative and create a unique sequence on specific dates. Some examples are Black Friday, Christmas, and even your birthday sequences! Every day offers an excellent opportunity to give a shout-out to your list.

Tip #4: Be personal

You may have your email marketing platform, your list growing, and maybe a few sequences in mind, but how do you start writing? This part will be very different for each artist because, essentially, you have to be yourself.

Address the email’s receiver using their name. Don’t panic! If you use an email marketing service, they have tools to help you with this if the subscriber has given a name upon registration. Make the name a required field in your sign-up form so that you won’t have issues with it.

Even if you are a band, you can sign each email with the name of one of the members who wrote it or change the sender’s name whenever a specific member is sending it.

Emails are more personalized than social media posts because, on social media, you are talking to everyone out there. In your email, you will address each person individually (even if the email is the same for everyone on the list). Just as if you were writing to your closest friends or conversing with them in a coffee shop, you should sound casual and personal. Stay true to the way you speak to your fans.

Tip #5: Create great subject lines

What’s the purpose of a well-written email if no one reads it? Subject lines are like the titles of your emails. They need to be attractive, generate curiosity, or cause emotion. Make the person want to open it and see what’s inside that email.

Take your time writing subject lines and opt for the one you would open if you were subscribed to your newsletter. If you’re struggling and feeling stuck writing subject lines, try these marketing tips:

  • Use questions to trigger the reader’s curiosity to find the answer.
  • Avoid clickbait subject lines. People are already tired of these and won’t even open the email.
  • Keep it short and consider mobile phones have a limited space to display subject lines, unlike the desktop version.
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep.
  • Write many versions of a subject.

The people at MailerLite have created this ultimate guide to subject lines with many examples you can use to improve yours.

Final thoughts on email marketing for musicians

Use these tips to improve your newsletter, and don’t get stressed about how long your email is or how frequently you should send it out. Creating an email marketing strategy will take time and will be an ongoing process.

The first time you send an email campaign will tell you a lot about your audience. You can even ask them for feedback. Sometimes, your best marketing ideas come from them. You’re writing to your fans; after all, you need to know why they subscribed and read your emails and what you can offer them in return.

Email marketing can look scary when you think about the analytics, content, and ways to grow your list, but it can be fun and bring incredible benefits when done right. If email marketing still terrifies you, think about what you’d like to receive from your favorite artists and take it from there.

Good luck!