If there is one aspect of your online marketing toolbox that you should never, ever neglect, it’s your fan newsletter.
Even though social networking sites have exploded in popularity, e-mail marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels around. Having fans’ e-mail addresses (and zip codes when possible) gives you access to valuable data that you own (as opposed to relying on third party sites to store them), as well as permission to contact them directly.
In order to earn fan loyalty, however, it’s essential to have a strategy for your newsletter. Here are a handful of tips to help you on your way.
Content is King
The content of your newsletter is obviously very important, and you need to pay careful attention to every aspect of it. To make this easier, it helps to set goals for each individual newsletter. What do you want to achieve with each one you send out? Thinking about this will give you focus, and help you remember to do each of the following:
- Be Personal – Always include a personal intro and sign off. Make your fans feel like you are talking directly to them.
- Not Just the Music – Don’t just talk about your tour or your new album. Make your newsletter interesting by involving your fans in your creative process and giving them insights into your daily life.
- Two-Way Conversation – Encourage your fans to reply to your newsletter. Ask them for feedback on unreleased music, or engage them with competitions. You can even get their input on your other marketing ideas!
- Link Up – Include links to all your websites and social networking sites so you are encouraging your fans to converse with you on multiple platforms.
- Opting Out – Always include an opt-out link to show your fans you respect their privacy.
Your newsletter’s branding and design are both vital to establishing loyalty amongst readers. When you are designing your newsletter, always think about its readability. Make sure it’s visually inviting, with a good balance between text and visuals, but don’t over-complicate things either. Also, be sure to keep the color, fonts, logos and images consistent with your overall branding.
Don’t Ignore Analytics
Don’t ignore your campaign reports! You always need to check your click rates with each newsletter. Ask yourself why certain newsletters are more popular than others, and take note of which newsletters receive more feedback. This will help you successfully strategize for future newsletter campaigns and help you track your fan relationships.
Create a Schedule
Once you have started a newsletter, you need to ensure you are communicating with your fans on a regular basis. They need to be reminded of who you are and why they should be interested in you. Creating a schedule and sticking to it is vital. Spread out your newsletters evenly and think carefully about what you want to announce in each one. You don’t want to over-saturate your fans with too many announcements, but you also don’t want to let your e-mail list go cold, as your fans will soon forget who you are.
If you haven’t started your own newsletter yet, I recommend a newsletter service provider called Mailchimp. It’s free to use for under 500 e-mail addresses, and it also has a specific “Mailchimp for Musicians” pdf you can download for free.
Go on, get writing!