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Editor's note: has provided the following article, one of a series of marketing articles written with unsigned bands in mind. The articles, which will be reprinted at MTC over a period of several weeks, cover topics such as social networking, email marketing, press releases, forum creation, blogging, and other step-by-step guides.

Fan Email Marketing Made Easy

Using emails for online music marketing proves to be a very difficult task to master, but a very important one that every artist must master. Fan club newsletters allow fans to stay connected with the artists without the added effort of returning to the artist's site. I have simplified it into three key areas for a successful fan club email newsletter.

Perking Interest

One of the hardest parts in compiling a music newsletter is getting subscribers to read it!

1. Create an interesting subject title. Just like blogs and articles, no one will start to read the newsletter if the title or subject line does not generate interest in the fan to read the publication. "August Newsletter" does not perk interest in a subject line.

2. Make it personal to the subscriber. Instead of writing a general "hi," make the newsletter specific for everyone. This makes the fan feel important to the artist because their personal name is used. Similarly, use the band's name or specific artist's name when closing the letter to add to the personal effect.

3. Write for the reader. The newsletter is not a place to sell products and promote music, but rather a place to write interesting content the reader wants to read. Occasionally mentioning new fan merchandise is all right, but always keep the reader in mind. Target your content to the reader and make sure it is relevant to their needs.

4. Personalize it more. Have options the user can choose makes the letter just for them. For instance, allow them to insert their zip code for the option of receiving info when the band is touring in their area. The more personal and specific towards the fan, the more apt they will want to read it.

5. Provide relevant links. Hand-in-hand with writing the newsletter for the fans, provide the fans with relevant links they would want. Direct them towards other music related sites or services.

Perfecting the Newsletter

1. Find the perfect layout. The design and layout of the newsletter may need several revisions before finding the perfect look. Having color and formatting are necessary but can be overdone. In addition, inserting picture and video that the fans would like make the newsletter stand out more.

2. Choose the correct day and time. Fans need to expect the newsletter in a consistent manner, whether it is every week or every month. EmailLabs reports the best day to send emails is Tuesday or Wednesday in the morning hours when people regularly check their email. After picking a day, stay consistent with that day and time.

3. Encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Add a "Send to a Friend" button where your fans can easily send the newsletter to anyone they believe would enjoy it. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective, so encourage it as much as possible.

4. Check the newsletter before emailing it to fans. Based on the type of server your fan uses, (Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, AOL, etc.) the newsletter may show up differently. Sign-up to all the major email servers and send the newsletter to yourself to check the formatting in each before sending a faulty newsletter to all your fans.

Track Email Stats

Track all statistics relevant to the email campaign. Valid metrics include:

  • Click through rate
  • Open rate
  • Click to open
  • Bounce rate
  • Referral rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
If these statistics do not meet standards, chances are the design format or content is not relating to the fans. Start by asking these basic questions:
  • What are your fans not getting out of the newsletter?
  • Why do they not find it valuable?
  • Does the content need to be more targeted?
Email campaigns are an ongoing process requiring constant attention and direction.

Email newsletters are important for maintaining a constant fan base. To gain more subscribers, refer to the newsletter as a fan club and offer exclusive offers to fan club members only, like pre-sale tickets or discounts. Your band will instantly see a bigger subscribing list / fan base after implementing these techniques.

By Lance Trebesch

Copyright © 2007
Reprinted with permission.