You give a little, you get a little. It’s the way of the world, and most people in the music biz will tell you that when it comes to building your email list, the easiest way to do it is by offering something of value in return for a potential fan’s contact info. More often than not, that “something” is your music. And I’m here to tell you that it’s a great idea, it’s worked for tons of artists, and you should totally do it. Unless you don’t want to.
And that’s fine! Not everybody wants to give away their music, and after all, it’s yours and you don’t have to. But you still want to build an email list, right? Of course you do. So here are 5 ways to do it without parting with your product:
1. A great call-to-action featured prominently on your site.
The classic. Have an email signup form on the front page of your site and make sure it’s an eye-catcher. That’s good, but if you want to make it great, add a sentence or two telling people what they can expect when they join your list. Do you offer exclusive content, special offers, tour updates, etc. to your email subscribers? Say that! People want to know what’s in it for them.
2. Your merch-table signup sheet.
Another tried-and-true method that you’ll still see at shows everywhere. The biggest advantage to this one: new or potential fans are rarely ever more excited about your music than they are right after they’ve seen you play. Maybe they’ve had a few drinks and are really excited – these people won’t think twice about wanting to hear more from you, and more about your music. Just make sure everyone sees or knows about it: mention it onstage or even have somebody pass it around while you’re playing.
Remember: there’s no reason to feel weird about taking 10 seconds toward the end of your set to say “We’ve got an email signup sheet back there, so put your address on it if you want to keep up with our music!” Everybody does it, and it’s a request so simple that even drunk people can make it happen.
3. Give away a pdf.
Maybe you didn’t include the lyrics to your songs in your CD jacket. Maybe people can trade you their email address for a quick download of those lyrics. Or your hilarious fake tour rider. Or a story you wrote. Or your famous lemon meringue pie recipe. You get the idea.
4. An email address for a quick discount.
This one can work on a number of levels, though it’ll take some pre-planning. If you can rig it, offering discount tickets to your next gig in exchange for an email address is not only a good way to grab contact info, but it’s also a perfect way to bump up attendance at your next show.
5. From sales.
Don’t forget about the people who have purchased your music! Are you adding every one of these names (if they opted to provide them) to your list? Do you have a list of names from a previous project – people who purchased your music in the past and would want to know what you’re up to now? Don’t leave these people out!
Have you built an email list without giving away your music? Let us know how you did it!
[Mailing list image from Shutterstock.]