Gravestone image with social media icons from Shutterstock.It’s hard to believe it’s been over 12 years since the launch of Facebook. Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. That’s good news for marketers, musicians, and entrepreneurs. You have this incredible platform to reach every one of those followers you painstakingly cultivated. Or do you?

Social Organic Reach is a Harsh Reality

If you’ve been paying attention to the recent developments in social media, you know the rules have changed for business pages and profiles. Now you have a choice: You can post for free, and reach an infinitesimal amount of people within your massive group of followers, or you can pay for exposure. So here’s how it goes down: You get the sound and lighting just right. You shoot an amazing video and take some awesome pics. You sort through the best of them, edit your video, and remove the red eyes from your photos. Everything’s cut, polished, and pretty enough to present to your fans. So you craft a clever headline and upload. Then you wait for the likes, shares, and comments to come… but they don’t. Or they do, but the numbers are puny. When Facebook suggests you pay for more reach, you know you got punked.

If you continue to post on social media without paying, it’ll be like setting up for concerts, pouring yourself into the music, playing your rockstar best, and then you realize the room is mostly empty, the sound is off, and there’s just one row of seating anyway.

Can you still use social media for music marketing?

So maybe you give in and pay Facebook to reach your existing fans. And that’s great, because advertising is rarely free, so why should social media be any different? But there’s a better way. There’s a more effective tool you can access that successful artists are already using – It’s email marketing.

Surprised? Did you think that email marketing was obsolete? Research says it’s 40 times as effective as Facebook and Twitter combined. Tweet that! Or don’t, because it’s really just a waste of time. Here are the facts when it comes to social media versus email marketing…

Social Media vs Email Marketing

Don’t get me wrong, social media is useful and you should have an online presence if you’re an artist or business. Try to grow your followers, and don’t stop posting fresh content. But don’t rely on social media as a sole means of marketing, and do yourself a favor: Use email to drive sales.

How do fans rate email marketing?

A study by ExactTarget says 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications in their inboxes over other advertising avenues.

How does email marketing rank in terms of ROI?

For every dollar you spend on email marketing, the average return is $44.25.

Read that again. For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect to receive an average of $44 back in return. Social media can’t even come close!

What Are the Odds of Reaching My Fans Through Email Marketing?

Ninety-one percent of consumers use email every day. Your odds of reaching your fans with email: pretty damn good.

What’s it Worth?

Wondering if email marketing is really worth the effort? Statistics prove consumers spend 138% more when they receive an email offer.

We could go on, but why bother? You’re smart enough to know now that email marketing trumps social media when it comes to connecting with your fan base. So what now?

Use email marketing to build your fan base

So where do you go from here? If you haven’t already started building an email list, it’s time to get cracking!

How exactly do you get people to give you their email?

Offer your music.

Instead of offering a free download through SoundCloud, ask people for their email address to receive the song. There are many great tools to help automate this, like DropTrack, FanBridge, and ReverbNation. (Note: Never just ask for an email address, but always offer something in return, like free downloads, promotional content, or tickets to shows.)

When it’s time for your next release, you can spread the word by sending out an email to your fans!

Ownership is where it’s at

Unlike social media, with email marketing YOU own the data. You are in control. So what exactly does that mean? According to Blue Hornet, it means opportunity. Because 72% of consumers sign up for an email list with the intent to get discounts, there’s your cue to give the people what they want. Send them an offer they can’t refuse, and chances are, they won’t. Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, and consumers prefer to communicate with brands by email.

Give the people what they want: promotional content via email.

If they’ve given you their email address, they expect something in return. When compared to social media, email users have a higher tolerance for promotional content. When they’re logged into social media, they’re probably connecting with friends and family or scrolling through posts and memes. When it comes to email, users are more likely to be hunting for offers, taking care of business, and handling correspondence that isn’t necessarily of a social nature. Social media can only take you so far. And with Facebook limiting your organic reach, the message is clear: it’s time to master the art of email marketing and start making essential connections.

About Paul Loeb: Paul Loeb has been at the intersection of music and tech for 20 years. He is founder and CEO of No Ego Records and DropTrack and a prolific producer currently operating under the name Really Cute Cats. His goal has always been to give musicians like himself the tools to stand out from the rest, get heard, and get deals.

About Drop Track: DropTrack is music marketing software that helps artists manage their relationships with music industry contacts and provides a complete toolset for sharing and marketing digital music. DropTrack offers a selection of tools for music producers and record labels, including a platform for uploading and storing music, then accessing it from anywhere. DropTrack’s customer management system, download gate, shortlink URLS to playlists, and other features make creating successful marketing campaigns simple and precise. Instantaneous feedback and analytics complement branding tools to promote music in a more personal and professional way