5 Tips to drastically improve your email efforts

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Compiling and maintaining an email list is a great way to engage your fans, and a surefire way to directly reach people who might not visit your home page or social media sites. Plus, emails can be easily forwarded, connecting you to potential fans with the click of a button. However, if all you do is copy and paste the date and time of your next gig and shoot off an email, you’re probably not going to garner much excitement. Check out these 5 easy tips to improve the effectiveness of your emails by focusing your email strategy.

1. Don’t spam – Fans want to know what you’re up to, especially when you have new songs and shows to announce.  But they don’t need an email from you every time you blow your nose, or every time you’re struck by the beauty of your scrambled eggs. That’s what things like Twitter and Google Buzz are for.

2. Give them something – Don’t just send them a bunch of words on a page. Give your fans a picture, a YouTube video, a link to download a live song, b-side, or demo. Heck, even a picture that relates to your topics or catches their attention is better than nothing.

3. Keep it simple – While you might want to share every detail of the exciting possibilities that are opening up for your musical career, most fans don’t have the time or patience to sit through a 2000-word epic. Keep your information clear & informative, and let your fans know why you’re writing. If you must include tons of info, include a mini “Table of Contents” at the top, so they’ll know what to scroll down to.

4. Use a service – There are lots of companies out there who make it easy to manage your email list – some are free, some aren’t. Do your research and find one that works best to fit your needs. Some of them have some very cool templates that make it easy to just input your info, and presto – you’ve got a great looking email, made in almost no time.

5. Subject matters – Think twice when deciding what the subject of your email should be, because every word is important. If the subject is something really engaging, like “Free Live Songs!” – your fans will be more inclined to open the email and devote some time to you.  Also, some email providers will automatically filter out emails that have certain “flagged” words in the subject line. There are the basic “dirty” ones you might expect, but some emails with references to medical supplies or drugs get automatically marked as spam.

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  • Nate

    Good tips.

    Anyone got a recommendation for a good FREE e-mail list service?

  • T

    try Ezinedirector.com, if your list is not too large and you send out less than a certain number of e-mails every month it is a free service.

  • reverbnation does a good job of a free email list if you're under 500 subscribers

  • Yes Vertical Response and MailChimp are good ones. They don't start charging until you have thousands on your list.

  • I totally agree about MailChimp. It's easy to use and has a lot of partners that whose services are tightly integrated with their service – makes it easy to look professional.

  • Ken K

    I use Reverbnation for my list and the word "FREE" is actually one of those 'flagged' words. Don't use it in your Subject: if you want to avoid the spam filters. peace.

  • Max

    Beware Reverbnation. The small print says that they will own any email addresses of people who sign up to you via their site. That means if you ever decide to leave Reverbnation (or it dies) you can't take your email addresses with you – ie. you can't download them into a file.

    I went with Mailchimp & have been very happy.

  • Email lists are great. Unfortunately, I have not gotten one single email address from any custumer who has bought my CD since CDBaby was sold. I've been selling CDs since 2001 on CDBaby, and it use to be that with EVERY SINGLE CD SALE, I received the custumer's email address. However, ever since CDBaby was sold, I have not recieved ONE SINGLE CUSTUMER EMAIL ADDRESS from CDBaby when I sell a CD. Could a spokesperson from CDBaby please tell us all the reason for the switch, and when the email situation be working again? thanks, steve

  • Mailchimp!

  • Brooke

    I use FanBridge, it lets you send out a certain number of emails a month – works well for me!

  • admin

    Steve – In order to comply with current privacy laws, we had to give our customers the ability to hide their info. We're working to implement some features like requiring contact info when they get a free download.

  • I use Fanbridge. Four hundred emails a month for free. If I send more than that I'll gladly pay for the service. Good templates. Opt in service for your fans.

  • Didn't the original CDBaby also give their custumers the ability to hide their info?

  • Rob

    I use Mailchimp for email list services. It's free if you have less than 500 subscribers, plus you get 3000 emails per month that you can send. This means 6 emails a month to a list of 500, and a lot more if you have less subscribers. The amount of emails resets to 3000 every month.

    A lot of people use Fanbridge but you aren't given the customization options that Mailchimp provides. With Mailchimp you can customize everything. The dealbreaker for me with Fanbridge was that I could not REQUIRE the 'first name' field, which is important because I use merge in my messages. And the sign-up forms for fanbridge also look terrible.

  • admin

    Steve – No, the original CD Baby did not give customers the ability to hide their email address from the artist.

  • Hi guys, I use Constant Contact, which is totally pro and costs me @ $15/month. I do have a question though. What would be the best way to automatically give a free download to new sign-ups and also to offer fan exclusive downloads? Is there a service that excels in this?

  • Hi Dave Hoskins. I have been wondering about the same thing… Indiemusic.com
    allows you to upload files for streaming or mp3 downloads. I think that they allow 1 for free, but you could change the track anytime you wish.

  • Fanbridge makes interacting with fans much simpler and less time-consuming without breaking the bank.

    Find out more in an interview with co-founder of Fanbridge, Noah Dinkin here:


  • The thing I hate when I receive email from bands is that my e-mail is in a list with a hundred other addresses do any of these mentionted services seperate the fans address so when he/she recevices an e-mail just there address is viewable. So the music fan feels like his or her address is private.

    • PatanjaliS

      Having a list of clearly visible email addresses allows:
      – everyone else on the list access to your email WITHOUT your permission
      – harvesting programs to get access to your email if other recipients are lax with who they forward it to.

      1) ALWAYS use the BCC field (blind copy) for the list of actual addresses.
      That way, none of the recipients sees anyone elses addresses.

      2) Create an email address alias for each of your target groups, and use that in the To field.
      For example, your could use ‘Dear fan’ for emails to your fan list. The idea is for it to be generic but directed at ONE person, so that the recipient does not feel like they are just one of a crowd.
      The actual email address corresponding to the alias can be the same for all or even a no response email bucket. The advantage of having an actual address is that you will automatically have a list of all successful emailouts in that address’ Inbox.

      Whenever I have received an email with a list of addresses, I have immediately emailed back stating that I do not give my permission for general publication of my email address, and recommend they use the above guidelines.

  • Why can't you just do up a nice email and use ListBaby?

  • I thought you might like this 🙂
    Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life. 🙂

  • Constant Contact, but we use the text email option and get substantially more 'reads' than with HTML.

    AND, you can offer fan downloads, sign-up downloads etcetera and automatically make them available when fans sign up (look at "auto-responder" in Constant Contact's help index).

    Our manager prefers AWeber, so you might want to check them out also.

    Reverbnation, FanBridge: they have major drawbacks if you ever leave the service. Guard your list: letting those companies sell your email list… I don't know that they would, but they can.

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