Why musicians should set up automated email series

Why you should automate emails so your music fans are taken on a journey.

[SUBMIT YOUR AUTOMATED EMAILS FOR CRITIQUE! On Wednesday, September 19th at 2pm EST, Cheryl B. Engelhardt and CD Baby’s Chris Robley will be discussing email for musicians live on Facebook, and they want to take a look at YOUR automated emails to highlight what you’re doing right and where you could improve. If you’re interested, leave the URL in the comments below that links to the email you’d like us to critique.]

Email automation sounds like some futuristic, robotic way of accessing email in your car or something. But it’s a phrase that has been used in e-commerce, retail, and marketing spaces for over a decade. And there’s a reason for that.

Unfortunately, the music industry is taking a while to catch on. Enter me. Once I learned about email automation, I found that my relationship to my fans totally changed. I also found that my stress around writing my monthly “newsletter” was lifted.

I decided to seriously dig into this concept and went to marketing conferences, got certified as an “Email Marketing Specialist” through Digital Marketer, and have now compiled everything I’ve learned for you. I’m dripping it out through blog posts, web trainings, workbooks, and, my very complete course for those who are truly ready and serious to optimize their email lists 100% in the most effective way.

What is email automation?

But before diving into the in-depth strategies, content-creation, and mapping out what it takes to have a completely automated email system, let’s talk about the basics of what email automation is and is not.

Email Automation Is NOT:

  • a quick fix where you never have to handle email again.
  • a way to avoid writing great content that keeps your fans engaged. Automation is not mean to replace real-time interaction with your subscribers.
  • a process that removes the need for replies, follow ups, and sharing about your email list.
  • a way to replace having great music, clear goals, and a great looking website.
  • a newsletter! Repeat: It’s NOT a newsletter!

Cool? Cool. So…

Email Automation IS…

Email automation is the process of setting up your email system so that your email content takes your fans on a journey from subscriber to superfan (and beyond!)

Read that sentence twice! It’s a good one!

Automation happens… YEP! AUTOMATICALLY! Meaning, without you having to do anything (once it’s set up).

Setting up automated email series

The idea behind automation is that you batch-create emails that get put into series. The series are automatically scheduled based on the subscriber’s actions.

Different email series include:

  • Welcome Series — a series of emails welcoming your subscribers
  • Nurture Series — emails that tell your story, are not selling anything, and are about growing your relationship
  • Monetization series — I call these a Rise series – introducing a single product or service and inviting the subscriber to purchase or contribute

In Real Life: the difference between automated emails and a newsletter

The opposite of an automated email is a newsletter. A newsletter, or broadcast, is sent out based on YOUR timing, to the current list. So if you send out a newsletter about an upcoming tour on Wednesday, and Johnny signs up for your email list on Thursday, he won’t receive the email about the tour.

If Johnny signs up on Thursday, and Molly signs up the following Sunday, they’ll both receive the same welcome email series. Let’s say this welcome series contains four emails, scheduled to go out every three days. Johnny will get the last email in the sequence four days before Molly receives the last email. They will both have received all four emails, based on when they subscribed.

The Technology

Most designated email platforms like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Constant Contact all allow you to create a variety of series and campaigns. I dig into how to navigate a variety of platforms’ automation processes in Rock Your Email List, but you can also search your platform’s tutorial videos for basic walk-throughs of how to get started and set up the technology. (I could write another 6000 words on the tech behind email automation, but I will spare you!)

In Conclusion

Email automation is your friend: it helps you create content that you know will support your subscriber through a journey of getting to know (and love!) you. Once you’ve created the emails you need for each series, and connect them in your email platform, you can sleep easy knowing that your subscribers are receiving quality content exactly when they should be.