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Here are some interesting stats for you -

If you post on Facebook, as little as 2.27% of the people who like your page are going to see it. Of those 2.27% who see it, 11.83% engage, according to an AdWeek study. This means, on average, 0.3% of followers are engaged on Facebook.

As people post more content to Facebook, organic reach will continue to drop.

On Twitter, it's more likely that your posts will be seen, since their feed is real time instead of algorithmic like Facebook's, but even then, Twitter engagement averages at around 0.07%.

On average, emails from musicians receive a 22% open rate and 3% click-thru rate. This means that if you send out 1000 emails, 30 people will click the link inside. This is a huge improvement when measured against social media metrics.

Additionally, email is still bigger than any individual social network when it comes to number of users. 2.6 billion people use email, while the biggest social network (Facebook) has 1.65 billion users.

Still not convinced about the power of email? Take a look at this video:

This doesn't mean social media isn't a great platform to promote your music. It definitely is, and there are ways you can increase engagement. However, your mailing list is your most valuable asset when it comes to communicating with your fans.

So, how can you set yourself up for email marketing success? What information should you gather from subscribers? How do you promote your mailing list?

Let's take a look.

Your Music Mailing List - Things to Consider When Creating Your Email List

If you haven't already created a mailing list, there are a few things to consider when putting one together, such as choosing a provider and what information to request from subscribers.

Limit Fields to Only What You Need

When asking subscribers for information to sign up for your mailing list, too many fields can scare them away, but not collecting enough information can can hurt you in the future.

Here are some things to consider asking for on your mailing list signup form.

  • Email Address
  • Duh.
  • Phone Number
  • Text messages perform much better than emails, with a 98% open rate and 36% click-thru rate. However, sending text messages can get expensive quickly.
  • Zip Code or City, State/Province, and Country
  • Remember, you want to promote tour dates, and sending irrelevant emails can result in a large number of people unsubscribing from your mailing list. Sending geo-targeted emails with links to buy tickets can result in more sales than simply mass-emailing a link to your tour schedule.
  • Keep in mind that zip codes don't exist everywhere, and many mailing list providers limit the use of zip code level targeting to the U.S. Maybe for U.S. fans, ask for a zip code, but for international fans, ask for the city, state/province, and country.
  • Address
  • If you want to send your fans something through the mail as a token of appreciation, ask for their mailing address.
  • Keep in mind that you shouldn't ask for an address for the purposes of geo-targeting. It takes much longer to type a whole address than a zip code or city.

Choosing a Musician Friendly Email List Provider

There are a number of email providers, and it's important to choose one that aligns with your objectives and meets your needs.


Aweber is great if you want to provide a number of incentives for mailing list signups. For example, you can give fans a free download of your new song if they sign up for your mailing list from your website, while providing a different incentive for Facebook signups, and completely automate this process. Aweber is one of the most commonly used email marketing platforms among serious marketers.


  • Awesome drag-and-drop editor. Easily format text, add hyperlinks, and insert images.
  • Schedule emails by time-zone.
  • 700+ email templates to choose from.
  • Clean, easy to use interface.
  • Take spam very seriously.
  • Split A/B testing.
  • Mobile Apps.
  • Solid customer service.
  • Shopping cart integration with PayPal, Shopify, and Google Checkout.
  • Add attachments to emails.
  • Extensive tracking and reporting of email campaigns.


  • Lacks Google Analytics integration
  • No social media tracking or reporting
  • You can't build your own email template.
  • You can only import xls, xlsx, tsv, csv, txt files.


Mailchimp is the go-to choice for most musicians. It's easy to use, and has many musician-friendly elements that make it a great choice.


  • A free plan - up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month
  • Competitive pricing for paid plans - starting at $10 for 500 users/unlimited sends (see more here)
  • Good templates and an easy to use editor with awesome RSS feed support.
  • Track where signups come from.
  • Customize signup forms for mobile devices.
  • Easy to import and customize your lists.
  • Easily share songs from iTunes or YouTube.
  • Segmented email campaigns, such as by location (great for tour alerts).
  • Mobile apps available.
  • Lots of integrations with website providers.


  • Many advanced features require a Pro plan, which starts at $199/month.
  • Can have very slow load times.
  • Some segmentation features require a paid plan.


Mailigen is less known than other providers, and doesn't have a free plan, but the ability to send text messages to fans can prove helpful, since text messages receive a 98% open rate and 36% click-thru rate, which is much better than email. You get 200 free text messages with any plan.


  • Competitive pricing (see here).
  • Offers option for annual billing with discounts.
  • The best text message integration of any provider.
  • Solid integrations with Facebook, Google Analytics, and Shopify.
  • Impressive social media sharing options.
  • Awesome drag-and-drop editor.
  • Best value for the features you get.
  • Dynamic content with behavioral segmentation lets you target subscribers with specific interests.
  • Offers storage for images and audio.


  • Lacking in some areas of security.
  • Contact importing is limited to Excel, csv, and txt files.
  • After you send your 200 text messages, you need to pay for additional credits.

Build Your Bands Mailing List

Once you've chosen a provider, set up your campaign, and figured out what information you're going to ask subscribers for,
it's time to get as many subscribers as possible for your mailing list. Remember, a huge mailing list can help score reviews with influential music bloggers, help you book more gigs, and help with viral marketing strategies.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Promote it on Your Website

Your most dedicated fans are going to be the ones visiting your website, so make it easy to sign up for your mailing list quickly. You can provide a full screen ask with apps like SumoMe, or stick a bar to the top of your website asking visitors to subscribe with Hello Bar.

At Checkout

If you're selling music or merchandise online through your website, be sure to include a checkbox that lets buyers opt in to your mailing list. They're already giving you their money, so it's highly likely that they're interested in what you'd be sending out in emails.

Add a Call-to-Action to Your Facebook Page

On your Facebook page, instead of using the call to action button to promote an old music video or an album on iTunes, you can use it to promote your mailing list.

Simply click the "Create Call to Action" button on your cover photo.


Select "Sign Up" from the button options dropdown.


Then enter the url to your mailing list and click "Create"


Then, you'll have a button at the top of your Facebook page linking to your mailing list form.

Promote it on Social Media

Remember the social media rule of thirds? Only one third of your posts should be promotional. In those promotional posts, plug away at your mailing list and the benefits your followers get if they subscribe.

Collect Emails at Shows

Print out a mailing list signup sheet and place it on your merch table with an incentive. After the show, add the email addresses to your mailing list, and email your new subscribers thanking them for coming out. Don't just place the list at your table and hope for signups, encourage fans to signup for your mailing list on stage during your set and with incentives.

Give Something Away or Offer Discounts in Exchange for Emails

It's basic psychology - people like getting stuff for free or cheap. Here are some incentive ideas you can use to build your mailing list.

  • Free stickers or buttons.
  • Early or exclusive access to music videos and behind the scenes footage.
  • 10% discount on merchandise.
  • A free download of a new song before it's released.

Have Exclusive Content for Your Subscribers

Super fans love exclusive content. It makes them seem cool when they talk to their friends about your music.

Offer something exclusive to your super fans, such as jam session videos, early recordings of songs before they're produced, or even an entire song written exclusively for mailing list subscribers.

Encourage Forwarding of Your Emails

If you use Mailchimp as your mailing list provider, here's how to add a "Send to Friend" button to your emails.

Add a button to your template.


Click "Edit" on the button in your template.


Change the "Link to" dropdown to Web Address, and add the Forward tag to the Web Address box.


Doing this will make it extremely easy for your mailing list subscribers to refer their friends to your merchandise, music, concert tickets, and mailing list.

Cross-Promote Your Mailing List with Other Artists

If you and another artist are releasing new music, see if they'd be willing to work together to cross-promote your release. If done correctly, this can double the exposure of your release. You can even work with multiple artists together to multiply your reach.

Consider Advertising

Facebook has a cool type of ad that lets people quickly fill out a form with information already entered into their profile. They're called lead ads. Check it out:

If you're paying for Facebook page likes, lead ads may provide a greater long run return on your investment.

Stop Subscribers from Unsubscribing - Top Reasons People Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists

You want to keep people subscribed to your mailing list for as long as possible. Here are some reasons people may unsubscribe, and how you can prevent them from doing so.

They never signed up, or didn't realize they signed up.

If you collect email addresses through checkout or another source that isn't specifically for your mailing list, be sure to make it clear if you intend to add them to your list, and give them the option to opt out.

Buying lists of emails to add to your mailing list can also result in a high number of unsubscribes, and subscribers from these sources are likely not well targeted, so stay away from buying email addresses.

You're emailing them too often.

Frequent emails can work if every email is of value to your subscribers, but it's likely that most of your emails will be alerts for new merchandise, tour dates, or music releases.

When 2,057 adults were asked how often they'd like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with, here's how they responded:

Play with the frequency of your emails to see what works best for you.

Your email is poorly designed

A poorly designed email not only results in fewer clicks, but can lead to unsubscribes. Here are some ways you can improve your email design:

  • Use only one short, simple call to action. If you include other links in addition to your main call to action, don't make them into buttons, just hyperlink them.
  • Don't include too many buttons or links. It can distract from the main purpose of your email.
  • Be on brand. Choose a color scheme that is representative of your music.

Check out this article for some examples of good and bad email designs.

You may also be interested in this article about the importance of album art.

Hopefully this guide provided you with some valuable insights into the world of email marketing.

Do you have any unique email marketing experiences? Share your stories, ideas, and experiences in the comments!

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