Email marketing by Matt Ottewill (March 2014)

Email marketing is valuable because it falls under the category of permission marketing whereby visitors have given you explicit permission to contact them directly. Their engagement is strong and it is likely that they have considered becoming “customers”.

We could write all day about email marketing but fortunately the leading provider (Mailchimp) provides great advice and help as part of their service. We recommend you sign-up (it’s free) as soon as possible, and integrate email marketing into your plan immediately. You will want to make it worthwhile and easy for visitors to become mailing list subscribers.

Here are a few points to help you ..

  • create a single (subscribers) list but segment it by including a field in your sign-up form to differentiate subscribers, so you can target particular groups with different campaigns. We use a “Subscriber groups” field where subscribers can choose a group that best describes them (student, educator, studio owner etc)
  • add sign up forms to your social media channels and website
  • incentivise subscriptions with free stuff and offers
  • tailor your emails by creating generalised and targeted campaigns
  • consider your subject line carefully, it will have a huge impact on open rates
  • always send a test email and check it carefully to see if it arrives in good shape, and the links in it work as expected
  • don’t run a campaign unless you have something to offer of value
  • use effective calls to action in your emails
  • use Mailchimp’s music specific features (read about them here .. http://mailchimp.com/resources/guides/mailchimp-for-music/)
  • use the analytics (reports) feature to analyse open and click-trough rates and alter your targeting strategy to address any failures

Building your first mailing list

You can start your list off by adding colleagues, family and friends who you think will be supportive, but do not add the email addresses of anyone you think may not be receptive, or who are only an acquaintance or stranger. Emailing subscribers who have not given their consent is illegal.

Creating email campaigns

When you are creating an email campaign, you will need to consider several factors. Here’s a few tips ..

don’t send a campaign when you have nothing new to offer
ensure your campaign has a clear purpose
add value, give your subscribers something, a new video to watch, free advice, a coupon/discount etc
use images, not just lots of text
don’t give it all away - provide a teaser to content and a button which takes subscribers to the complete story on your website, where once they have finished reading they can be directed to your videos or music
if you are promoting a video, include a screenshot of the YouTube player which links to the page on your site where it is located
once again - consider your subject line carefully, perhaps make it a teaser (eg “Guess which famous guitarist I just saw at the gym?”)