What’s the biggest crowd you’ve ever played for? 30 people? 500 people? 10,000 people? Have you ever played for more people than that? You rock!
What does it feel like to stand on stage and connect with that many people? I bet it makes you feel alive. The adrenalin is flowing and your heart is pounding.
While you’re on stage you can say anything to the audience and get instant feedback. You can tell them how much the song you wrote means to you – and why. You can tell them about your new release coming out soon. You can even tell them to buy your new t-shirts. But what happens when the show is over?
Don’t you wish you could take tonight’s crowd home with you? And the crowd tomorrow night? And the night after that? If you could you would soon amass a crowd of tens of thousands of people! And you could talk with them anytime you wanted. Instead of asking 100 people at a time to buy your album you could ask 53,752 people. That would be awesome!
That’s why the Third Step To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing is…
BUILD A FAN DATABASE
A database, or list as I like to call it, is the great equalizer. If you’re marketing your music on a limited budget – and who isn’t? – then a fan list gives you the power to reach fans far more effectively than any newspaper ad or radio spot ever could.
When you’re an independent artist you need to be conscious of every penny you spend. You need to make every dollar work for you. And having a list is one of the most cost effective ways of reaching your fans. And one of the best lists you can have is a list of your fans’ email addresses.
But, Jennine, email is so old school! Everybody’s on Facebook now.
And there is the problem with social media. In today’s world we’re flooded with options for sending and receiving messages.
Here are some of the options available for you to communicate with fans…
Facebook – Do you look at EVERY Facebook post? I know I don’t. Did you know Facebook doesn’t even show your posts to all of your fans? Facebook only shows your posts to about 16% of your fans! If you want your post to show up in every fan’s news feed you have to pay! And even if it showed up in their stream most people do not use Facebook on a daily basis.
Twitter – I currently “follow” 768 people on Twitter. Wow! Even with my semi-reasonable number of follows my stream is completely overwhelming. If I wanted to look at each tweet it would take HOURS out of my day. Even your most devoted fans aren’t going to spend that kind of time on you.
MySpace – What? Is anybody on MySpace anymore? I know there’s a lot of hype since JT bought into the company, but I’m not sure it’s going anywhere soon. But my real point is MySpace used to be the King of social media. If you had relied on MySpace to be your primary communication system then you were in real trouble when everyone went away.
Phone Call – Your fans would probably answer the phone if you called them. You might need to leave a message, but I’m sure they would call you back. But you just don’t have the hours in your life to call each fan individually to tell them about the show you’re playing this week. You need a system that’s one (you) to many (your fans).
Snail Mail – Who doesn’t LOVE getting real mail? By real I mean something that’s not a bill. If you have the budget, snail mail is an awesome way to reach people. But most musicians I know don’t have the marketing budget to mail a letter, or even a postcard, to all of their fans. Not only is postage constantly increasing but there’s also the cost of printing and paper.
That brings me back around to email. Email combines some of the best features from all of the other messaging systems.
Here are the biggest benefits to email:
- It’s cheap – Most mass emailing services only cost about $20/month. If you’re on an even tighter budget there are free options like MailChimp or even Outlook (though I wouldn’t recommend using your own system).
- People open email – If someone gives you their email address there’s a good chance they’re interested in hearing what you have to say. I know I don’t give out my email to just anybody! At the very least, every one of your email messages will be scanned. Most people look at every FROM and SUBJECT line.
- People check email – Statistically speaking most people check there email daily. The same can’t be said for Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site.
- People have email accounts – Not everyone is on Facebook. Even less people are on Twitter. By only having a Facebook page you’re missing out on a large part of the population.
- You control the list – If for some reason your email service went out of business you could take your list of names to another service and never miss a beat. Not the same for Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. If Facebook goes away, you’re done.
- One complaint won’t shut down your account – Did you know Facebook can shut down your account? Ouch! It happens every day. Accounts are shut down many times for reasons not under the user’s control. Someone can file a complaint about you and then YOU must do the defending. Not a good place to be. With email if one person complains about you then they are removed from your list but the remaining fans will still get your messages.
These are just some of the reasons Neil & I think building an email database is the best thing you can do for your music career.
Email is essential to building a grass-roots movement around your music. It’s really the cornerstone of the new music marketing economy.
If you don’t have an email list already, spend some time today looking at the different email service options. Here is a review Neil wrote about some email services to help you get started.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you some things you can do with your fans once you have an email database.