How to Automatically Send Your Fans an MP3 Download

Every music marketing guru will tell you to offer your fans a free download of a song in exchange for their email address.

email an mp3 downloadBut how do get your song from your computer to theirs?

It may sound simple –just add the mp3 as an attachment to your email. Not so fast!

If you’re using an email service provider, then that’s not an option.

Email Service Providers, such as MailChimp, aWeber, Sendpepper and our own Music Fan Attractor, won’t allow you to attach a large file to an email.

Attachments from an email service look spammy to email filters. Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo all are on the lookout for spam and do their best to keep it out of your inbox. Because of virus threats, files are a major red flag to the spam filters.

Your email service provider knows this. They want your email to get delivered, so they protect you from yourself by not allowing you to attach a file.

Some services will allow you to attach a small file – usually less than 1MB. Others will only let you attach a PDF or JPEG. So what’s a musician to do? Here a few options…

email an mp3Send an email out manually

If someone signs up for your email list you could send them a manual email from your regular old email account with the song attached. If you only get a few email signups a month this might be practical. However, it doesn’t make for a very good experience for you or your new fan.

You’ll need to constantly be on the lookout for new signups. You’ll also need to find time to send each of them an email.

Your new subscriber won’t get their download instantly. Nowadays, folks are very impatient. If you wait more than an hour or two to send them their song they may forget they even requested it. You’ve lost the momentum and the excitement.

Generally, sending emails manually is a bad plan. Besides, there are much better ways to handle it.

Send them a link to Dropbox or Google Drive

Dropbox is a great way to get around using attachments. Simply upload your song to your Dropbox and email the new subscriber a link to the file.

If you don’t have Dropbox, you can do the same thing with Google Drive.

Dropbox and Google are better options than uploading the file to your website. You won’t be using up your hosts bandwidth and the files aren’t crawlable by Google. You’d hate for someone to be able to download your song without signing up on your list first!

Also, your hosting provider will likely frown on hosting your media files for you. Most of them explicitly prohibit hosting media files if you read their fine print. Download speeds are not always the faster either from your own website. Especially if you’re on a shared hosting plan.

That’s why Dropbox and Google Drive are better options.

Use Bandcamp or Bandzoogle

Both Bandcamp and Bandzoogle will send your new fan a download in exchange for their email address. As far as the delivery of your song goes it’s a pretty painless system.

Both systems have an option to select a song to give new subscribers of your list.

However, Bandcamp doesn’t have an email service. They stop at the delivery of the song. From there you’ll need to download the database of new subscribers and add them to your list. Not automatic.

Bandzoogle has an email service but without autoresponders built in. If you’re using email as a sales system for your music you absolutely need autoresponders. If you’re just doing monthly newsletters, then this may be an option for you.

email for musicUse an email service that hosts your mp3 files for you

A few email service providers will host your file for you and make it available for download from their servers. Our own Music Fan Attractor is one of those systems.

Music Fan Attractor hosts your song file (up to 10MB) on our super-fast Amazon S3 server. Your fans will get instant access to their requested song and it will download fast. Automatically!

And because we offer full-service setup of your autoresponder system, you don’t need to know anything about hosting files, or even setting up an email sequence. We’ll do it all for you!

That’s got to be the easiest way to get your songs to your fan yet!

 

 

 

How Can You Copy Record Store Day?

Liner Notes April 22, 2014

Record Store Day is becoming more and more popular each year. How can you use the same concepts as Record Store Day to promote your music?

Did you get out on Record Store Day to your independent record store? Chime in below…

How to Double Your Income From Music

Liner Notes April 8, 2014

There are many ways to make more money in music, but this week I focus on one of the simplest.

It’s often overlooked as artists rush to chase more fans and fame. But it really is one of the easiest ways to instantly increase your income.

Register for the PLUG networking event on April 15th.

What products/services do you offer to your fans to increase your average fan value? Chime in below…

What’s the Purpose of Your Band’s Website?

Liner Notes January 28, 2014

You’ve heard us talk about calls-to-action….probably more than once. lol 😉

It’s hard to get people to your website. It takes a lot of time, money and effort. Don’t let them just wander around when they get there. Have a plan.

So what should be the call-to-action of your website? What’s its job?

If you’re an independent artist or band then you should have only one answer. See if we agree by watching this short 2 minute marketing drill.

 

What is the purpose of your website today? If it’s not to gather emails will you change it?  Leave your answers below…

Liner Notes January 14, 2014 – Dealing with Multiple Calls-to-Action on Your Homepage

Have you ever wondered how to deal with different types of people visiting your website?

Reporters, bloggers, fans, super fans, and venues all have different agendas when they come to your website. How do you as an independent artist create a site that speaks to all of them?

In this week’s video I’ve got some tips on how to help all these folks, yet still stay true to the one page, one action rule. Plus I’ve got a sneak peek inside The Indie Bible, a great resource for independent artists to find press, venues and other resources.

 

From the video:

The Indie Bible

 

Leave your homepage address in the comments below. Jennine and I will look at your site and let you know what we think is your call-to-action.

Artists Grab a Piece of the Cyber Monday Pie

Sell Music For ChristmasOn Black Friday over 45 million people went shopping in the United States. Over 45 MILLION! They spent an average of $407 each. Wow!

As an indie artist did you grab a piece of that pie?

If you didn’t – it’s not too late. Today is Cyber-Monday and millions more people are hitting the web to spend-spend-spend.

I opened my email inbox today to dozens of ads from Amazon, Calumet Photo, Cannon, WaterFilters.net, Dave Ramsey, Quill and many more. All of these corporations know that I’m in a buying mode today. They know that my credit card is ready, willing and able to purchase. (in Dave Ramsey’s case he wants my debit card 😉 ) So they are lining up to make sure their company is in my thoughts as I start my Christmas shopping.

Why shouldn’t your music be in that list? People are always looking for great gift ideas that are tangible and wrappable. Yes, wrappable is a word now!

Seriously, CDs make awesome Christmas gifts. Remind your fans that a wrapped CD of your music is a great gift idea. It’s affordable, easy to mail and unique.

Start today by sending out an email letting your fans know you have a great Christmas special running. You could go with the old 20% off idea. But here are some better ideas for a special:

  • You will sign their CDs
  • Buy a CD and get a Tweet
  • You will custom sign their CDs for the recipient
  • Every order gets a used guitar string ornament
  • Buy X number of CDs and get 1 free
  • Every order comes with home made Christmas cookies
  • Include copies of song lyrics they can use as wrapping paper

Be creative!

Once you have a special, make sure you give it a deadline. They’ll need their order in time for Christmas so try December 9th as your deadline. This will give you a reason to follow up with them multiple times and remind them your special is ending soon and they must act fast.

Speaking of, send out your offer at least three times. Like I said earlier, their is a ton of email hitting everyone’s inbox this time of year. By sending your offer multiple times you’ll ensure it gets seen. Also, I bet you get a better response from the third email than from the first two. People tend to procrastinate. That’s another good reason to remind them multiple times.

Make sure your share your special on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If you’re really adventurous you could even run a Facebook ad that targets friends of people who like your fan page. Whoa! Now that’s some high-tech cyber stalking. But it is possible and fairly easy.

After you run your holiday special drop me a note and let me know how it did.

 

What The Heck Is Direct-to-Fan Music Marketing?

Direct-to-Fan Music MarketingDirect-to-fan is probably a term you’ve heard thrown around online by many sources in music marketing. But what’s the essence of direct-to-fan (DTF) marketing and how do you know if it’s right for you?

What is direct-to-fan marketing?

Using the word ‘marketing’ when talking about DTF is probably misleading. DTF is much more than a marketing system. DTF is a mindset and a business model.

I think of a direct-to-fan musician as a true entrepreneur. Someone who understands the value of a fan (customer) and knows how to leverage every encounter to further their career.

Most people casually define DTF as cutting out the record companies and radio stations while taking your music straight to the fans. That may be a start. But I don’t think relying on iTunes, CD Baby, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation or any other platform makes you any more of a DTF artist than if you had a label. Not that I believe these platforms are bad. In fact, they all can be a significant part of a DTF strategy.

No, the real key for me is that a direct-to-fan artist is self-reliant. They have a direct line of communication and relationship with their fans. And the single biggest factor – the DTF artist collects a database of their customers/fans.

Direct-to-Fan Equals Database

Any entrepreneur will tell you “the money is in the list.” Large corporations spend millions of dollars per year developing their CRM (customer relationship management) software. Companies selling CRM software and data management solutions are some of the fastest growing organizations in business today. Why? Because businesses understand the importance of being able to communicate with their customers without relying on a third-party.

I believe this same concept applies to DTF musicians. Relying on Facebook or Twitter to reach your fans is not a sustainable business model. As Twitter becomes a publicly traded company today, they will be forced to make money for their shareholders, just like Facebook. And we all know how Facebook is making money – by forcing you to pay each time you want to reach all of your fans.

Building a database of fans is essential to being self-reliant. Most commonly, artists build an email list, but beyond that, having someone’s physical address is even more powerful. Having multiple forms of contact for your fans ensures you can reach out to them when necessary.

Even if you’re on a record label or have a management company handling your career, please do yourself a HUGE favor and insist on building a database. I’ve met multiple artists who used to have a major label deal or were with a large agency and when the ride ended they had nothing to show for it. It’s so sad to me that an artist could tour the country doing dozens of shows per year and walk away with only the short-term rewards of ticket and merch sales. Being a DTF artist means thinking for the long-haul.

A Database Puts the Power in Your Hands

Once you’ve built a list, that’s when the marketing can begin. A list of fans allows you to do something the major labels can’t do – reach your strongest customers with the least amount of marketing dollars.

Spray'n'Pray MarketingSee, the major labels and most large corporations (Coke, Pepsi, etc.), use what I refer to as the “spray’n’pray” approach to marketing. They have the marketing budget to allow them to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of advertising each year. By flooding the market with ads they will eventually reach their target audience. As my friend JW used to say, “Even a blind squirrel will eventually find a nut!”

But the direct-to-fan marketer is smarter; they know that their best customers are current fans and friends of current fans. By building a list of fans, the DTF approach lets you spend your marketing dollars reaching the people most likely to buy your show tickets or new album.

Instead of buying ad space in newspapers announcing their upcoming show, the DTF artist can simply mail postcards to fans living within 50 miles of the show. That’s the power of a well-built database. It allows you to segment your list of fans by geography, age, purchasing habits, anything that will let you marketer strategically. A strong database gives you the power to get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars.

Develop an Attitude

As I stated before, the direct-to-fan model is not for everyone. In fact, just reading this article may have made you uncomfortable. Referring to your fans as customers or clients is not something every artist wants to hear. Being a direct-to-fan artist requires you to become an entrepreneur. Not everyone wants to do that.

But I think being a DTF artist will actually make you a better artist. Or maybe I should say a more marketable artist. Don’t be the next Vincent Van Gogh -only revered after you’re gone. By building a relationship with your fans, you can create art they are sure to like and share.

Again, that statement might make you cringe. But I think that’s part of direct-to-fan marketing. And that’s why I’m sure its not for all.

If it is for you, then start building a list, start studying direct-response marketing, and start thinking of your music as a business. Don’t leave your music sales to chance – be intentional.