So like wow…I’m really DOING it. I’ve thought about doing all this stuff: Getting an online presence, twittering, bloginating, designing a newsletter, getting out of bed, etc. I’ve thought about this stuff A LOT. But I’m finally doing it. This “build up a music business by the numbers” thing really works!
Now I come to the Week 7 assignment: How to Build Your Mailing List. When I went to the ASCAP Expo last spring, I heard over and over and OVER that the most important thing you can do is build up your email list. It is your most important asset. So, okay, yes I totally get it. I’m a believer. I have drunk the Kool-Aid. Now you may ask, how exactly does one build up an email list? Simple:
One person at a time.
Thanks to the free song giveaway, I am already getting a respectable handful of people signing up for my newsletter. I also went back through my CD Baby sales reports and gleaned the email addresses of my customers. I sent them a personal email and asked if they would be interested in getting on my list. Another respectable handful of people signed up. I have a couple of gigs this week and it finally occurred to me to have a signup sheet at the table where I sell my CDs and to practice real live networking. What a concept!
One person at a time. Instead of this mass-market broadcast mentality, I realize now the importance of building this thing one brick at a time. And I am enjoying it.
Do You Know What Happens When Someone Signs Up?
I happen to be the type of person who has to research and analyze and ponder EVERYTHING before I make a final decision. (It’s why we still haven’t purchased laminate flooring yet.) True to form, I analyzed the various mail list management providers. Besides testing to see how easy it was to manage mail lists, I also tested how easy it is for a person to signup for the email list and get their free song download. So, here is a comparison of the steps a person needs to go through when they are presented with a download widget by the three providers I have used:
What observations did I make from this? Although I had the ReverbNation free download widget on my site far longer than the BandCamp widget, I got more signups from the BandCamp widget. Why? I think because of two reasons. First, because you can hear the entire song on the Bandcamp widget instead of just 30 seconds. I think people feel a bit ripped off when they’re just getting into the song and it stops. But I think the biggest reason is that it is just too painful to complete the signup process through ReverbNation. It takes eight steps to get a free song, really? In (Reverbnation) step 4 above, the email that was sent out when my wife tried to sign up got sent to her junk mail folder. Not good. Then in step 5 it makes you enter your birthdate. Your birthdate? What’s that all about? If I got something in an email that took me to a form that required my birthdate I probably wouldn’t click on it.
I am managing my email list with FanBridge. I think the tools are the easiest, although not as easy as having a service like Band Letter manage your list for you. Since I am also using ReverbNation and BandCamp (for different reasons), I have to get new signups from their sites and consolidate it with the FanBridge list. If I do all this stuff just once a week, like I’m supposed to, then I don’t think this will be too much of a bother.
Building this business is going to take a lot of hard consistent work. While at times this seems overwhelming, I now have the tools and I can see better how it all fits together.