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How to grow and engage your fan base using newsletters | Mastering the Music Business 2019



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Learn how to grow and engage your fan base using newsletters so you can have full control over your lists of subscribers and use it without the limitations of a centralised platform. Get actionable tips and tricks and see which artists are leaving social media and focusing on owned communication and promotion channels.

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How to grow and engage your fan base using newsletters | Mastering the Music Business 2019

  1. 1. ALEX CIUCA & ANDRA ZAHARIA How to grow & engage a fanbase using newsletters Mastering the Music Business Conference 2019
  2. 2. Hi there! Here's a bit about us (And why we're talking to you about newsletters) Andra Zaharia Freelance content marketer 10+ years of digital marketing experience Creator of the How do you know? podcast & Newsletter Alex Ciuca Managing Partner @ Superior Media Digital Recap author Blogger @ 10+ years of digital business experience
  3. 3. What's the difference between them? Email marketing or newsletter?
  4. 4. Here's how they work together Email marketing Using newsletters and others types of emails (sales emails, onboarding emails, transactional emails) in a strategic manner Main objective: sales or conversions Intent: commercial Structure: campaign-oriented Focus: what the sender wants to communicate and achieve Newsletter Can be part of an email marketing strategy but it can also work standalone Main objective: engagement and relationship-building Intent: informational Structure: recurring Focus: what the recipient is interested to learn and hear
  5. 5. Why it's worth investing in a newsletter for your fans Owned channel > full control over your list Real KPIs, not vanity indicators Direct, decentralised access to your subscribers A less cluttered context for consuming content vs social media The information doesn't disappear if you don't check your email that day Highly customizable Send almost any type of content you want (not what Mark wants you to send) Segment your list according to your needs
  6. 6. How do you make time for a newsletter? Spend a bit less time on social media. No control over your audience If Facebook shuts down tomorrow, you'll be left with nothing Facebook ad costs keep rising Vanity KPIs are unreliable & often fake Likes don't turn into real-life actions most of the time Organic reach is dropping, reported numbers are doctored to seem bigger Information is highly ephemeral Your posts are one of hundreds your fans see The platform restricts you in a number of ways
  7. 7. Email is king It's been around since the '72 and it's a core part of our online identities and activities Facebook users around the world Email users globally (expected to reach 2.9 bn in 2019) Avg. open rate for emails in the entertain- ment biz Instagram engagement rates across all industries Facebook engagement rates across all industries 0.09% 1.6 bn1.60% 2.6 bn 14%
  8. 8. Artists are making the bold move towards newsletters And leaving social media Nils Frahm announced in February 2019 he's leaving Facebook and focusing on his newsletter. Here's why:
  9. 9. Dear friends, This page is soon not going to be active anymore. After giving it serious thought, I have concluded that Facebook will be the first of many social media accounts I am going to close. [...] Facebook et. al. have become unwanted companions in my life, despite the opportunity they are giving me to promote my music. Followers on facebook work as a new kind of currency today, but I find the political and moral costs that come with it too steep to stay in the game. [...] If anything, I hope that my absence in this space will enhance my presence in the world out there. That is where you will always find me. Sincerely, nils Nils Frahm
  10. 10. Artists are either taking time off from social media to focus on recording new albums (Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift) or giving it up altogether (Michael Stipe, REM, Nils Frahm) based on their principles and needs.
  11. 11. Here's what you need to start a newsletter Use this checklist: Objectives Platform Structure Content Design Development
  12. 12. Before your start, ask yourself: Who am I writing this for? Which fans would be interested and what content could I send them?What do my fans need and what do I need from them? How can I balance these needs? How often should I send it? What's the right structure for the newsletter?
  13. 13. Think about The list of topics - create one in advance so you don't run out of inspiration Call to Action (CTA) - stick to one per newsletter (what do you want your fans to do?) Evaluating results - make a list of KPIs to track progress Making time to write, edit and schedule it, but also to reply to fans' emails
  14. 14. Here are some objectives you can use Grow your community Get direct feedback from fans Deliver traffic to your website Build a close relationship with your fans Create trust in your b(r)and Leverage an owned channel
  15. 15. Platforms you can choose from Expand domestically and internationally. Innovate product offerings. Expand online channels. MailChimp Conectoo Newsman
  16. 16. MailChimp (Our favorite, but don't tell anyone) international platform free for up to 2000 subscribers free for up to 12000 emails/month low costs once you run over the free plan pay per use option easy to use and manage tons of templates to choose from drag & drop to customize your newsletter
  17. 17. Conectoo (A decent option, if you want to go local) built in Romania the cheapest of all these 3 options free for up to 2000 subscribers free for up to 12000 emails/month no pay per use option fewer customization options
  18. 18. Newsman (Another decent option, if you want to go local) built in Romania free for up to 1000 subscribers free for up to 5000 emails/month pay per use option fewer customization options 1 custom design included in the paid option (they'll do it for you)
  19. 19. Newsletter design Here's how to make it easier for your fans to enjoy your newsletter Don't use too many images (some email clients block them) Use short paragraphs & sentences, make it scannable Use buttons, not links, to highlight clickable areas Make sure it looks good on mobile (don't make people squint) Use BIG fonts & good contrast Ab CTA
  20. 20. Here's a quick example Not GDPR-compliant (applies even if you're not in the EU but have fans from the EU). Doesn't set any expectations Uses a button with no contrast (ghost button) which has a much lower click-through rate
  21. 21. Here's another one Newsletter subscription option placed in the website footer (not visible at all) Ghost button makes it difficult for people to see there's something clickable there Not GDPR-compliant at all (that link to Terms is not enough) Only sets vague expectations about the content of the newsletter and doesn't say anything about frequency
  22. 22. How Romanian bands do it - Alifantis Menu option > dedicated page
  23. 23. How Romanian bands do it - Vama Core website call to action > dedicated page
  24. 24. And this is how a GDPR-compliant subscription form looks like
  25. 25. How to get subscribers Promote it on social media Drive your fans from channels you don't own (FB, IG, YT, Snapchat, etc.) to a channel you control. Incentivize them to subscribe! Talk about it during gigs Tell your fans about your newsletter when they're at their most excited about your music: after concerts. Promote it in interviews Talk about your newsletter in articles you're featured in and in media appearances. Make it a habit to mention your newsletter. Promise exclusive info in it One way to make your newsletter appealing is to deliver exclusive stories and info in it. Make sure to keep that promise!
  26. 26. If everything else fails...
  27. 27. What to do once fans subscribe 1. Welcome email Set up an automated welcome email and use it to tell them what they can expect to receive and how often. 2. Move to inbox Ask your fans to move your newsletter to their inbox in case ends up in their Promotions tab in Gmail or worse, in spam.
  28. 28. Newsletter etiquette Include a reply option so you fans can write back and share thoughts and feedback Include an unsubscribe option that works - no reason to keep uninterested people on your list Give them the option to read your newsletter in the browser (makes it easier to share) Stick to 3 main ideas per newsletter Always have a call to action (the button type) Test it both on desktop & mobile before sending it to make sure everything looks good
  29. 29. Never ever ever ever ever EVER Subscribe people without their consent > GDPR Buy email lists - they're useless for you and make you look like a spammer Send emails from a personal email address (BCC sucks, CC is a PR disaster) Turn your newsletter into a channel you use just for brand collaborations Send emails to confirm they're been unsubscribed (annoying AF) Use your newsletter just to promote concerts & commercial stuff
  30. 30. Here's something to keep in mind: Sursa: Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies - By Bruce Clay, Susan Esparza
  31. 31. Types of content Original content: personal stories, tour journal, video shooting stories, show highlights, backstage stories, stuff that makes you unique and human Content curation: keep your fans in the loop by filtering info and news that matter both to them and you Surveys: ask your fans thoughtful questions, get to know them better so you can make the newsletter more engaging for them Community-driven content: replies you receive to the newsletter (get consent before publishing), pictures and stories, etc.
  32. 32. Keep an eye on: Your Open rate - improve it by creating better subject lines Your Click Through rate - improve it by using visible call to action buttons Spam reports Subscribers statistics (where they're from, who are the ones who open your emails most frequently, etc.) Unsubscribes Inactive subscribers (ask them why) Website traffic sources to see if the newsletter is bringing in any traffic
  33. 33. Recap Have a plan Be human and personal Start with something simple but well thought of Plan for time and resources for the newsletter Get to know your community
  34. 34. Resources >
  35. 35. Thanks! Andra Zaharia @andrazaharia on Twitter & Medium Alex Ciuca @hoinaru on Twitter & Instagram Find us on the interwebz (and subscribe to our newsletters!)