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Interested in getting your email list set up? Good call.

Email campaigns are extremely effective for music marketing, to the extent that, categorically, they work better than social media posts.

So, let’s get you set up in five simple steps. It’s easier than you might think.

Step #1: Sign Up for a Mailchimp Account

We suggest signing up for a Mailchimp account. It’s free to start (meaning you will pay once your list reaches a certain size or if you take advantage of additional marketing features) and relatively easy to use.

Once you’ve secured your account, create an Audience (name it whatever you like – give it a memorable name for extra points). Fill out the forms as required.

With your Audience created, find “Signup forms” under the “Manage Audience” dropdown. Set up your signup forms (we suggest limiting your form to one or two fields) and put them on your website immediately to start collecting email addresses.

Step #2: Build the Foundation

It’s time to build your foundation.

Your family, friends, co-workers and other acquaintances are a good place to start. Of course, you need to ask their permission if you want to add their email addresses to your list. So, go ask.

These people are probably the most receptive to joining your list early on, but may or may not stay engaged long-term. That’s okay. It happens.

I can’t tell you how many people told me they would buy my first CD when it came out, but didn’t. This is human nature.

Still, when your list count reads 0, you’re not going to feel overly motivated to write and send emails. So, get some emails and add them to your list, manually if you must. There’s nothing wrong with putting in a bit of sweat equity here. I encourage it!

You’ll get some signups from your website too, of course, but if you don’t have much traffic, it’s going to take some time. Keep building and be patient. Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day.

Step #3: Continue to Collect Email Addresses Everywhere You Go

You can collect email addresses from friends and family. You can ask people to sign up on your website. But there’s no ceiling on what you can do to grow your list.

I suggest collecting email addresses at every show you play. Keep signup forms at your merch table. Make the station as visible as possible. Mention it from the stage.

Always think from the perspective of your fans. Why should they sign up? Let them know you enjoyed their company so much that you want to create a closer relationship with them (i.e. be cheeky). Maybe give something away for free in exchange for their email.

Further, come up with as many ways as possible to grow your email list and experiment with different tactics. It’s worth it.

Step #4: Send Your First Campaign

You’ve got a list. The next step is to send your first email campaign.

Now, it might be tempting to mess around with templates and so forth. My best advice would be to pick a simple one-column layout for now, and just add your content. You can worry about branding and fancy graphics later.

To be perfectly honest, though, emails tend to be better when they are simple, and your delivery rate will stay higher if you don’t add all the extra flare. So, don’t worry about design too much.

My motto in business is “don’t overthink anything” and that goes for emails, too. Simpler is generally better.

Keep in mind that no one’s in your head and can’t read your mind, so don’t enter an imaginary conversation with your audience. Get straight to the point in your communication.

So, your first campaign could simply be titled “Welcome!” and in the body, you could thank your audience for joining your list. Simple, right?

Important Note About Unsubscribes

People will unsubscribe from your list. It’s just how it is. But counter-intuitive as it might sound, you’ll keep more of your followers by sending emails more frequently, not less.

Several people unsubscribe from my lists every single week. It’s no skin off my back. They’ll come back when they’re ready (or, they won’t, and they weren’t going to support me anyway).

Don’t concern yourself with unsubscribes, except in extenuating circumstances (e.g. you receive a bad piece of feedback because you unintentionally broke a rule).

If something goes wrong, try to make it right.

Step #5: Send Weekly Email Campaigns

Since we’re just covering the basics here (there are advanced techniques for growing and engaging your lists), this is my final piece of advice. Commit to regularity.

I know it can be tough to come up with new content every week. Fortunately, you can refer to this podcast episode for ideas (transcription also available). I’ve outlined 10 types of emails you can send your fans. That should keep you busy for a while.

Sending weekly campaigns will help you stay top of mind with your fans, and in today’s noisy and competitive world, that’s a must.

Pick a specific time and day to send your emails and stick to your schedule. It’s worth it.

Final Thoughts on Email List Building

We hope you found this guide helpful.

Do you have any questions? Anything we missed?

Let us know in the comments below.

David Andrew Wiebe

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