We all know that marketing your music to new fans is tough. And while marketing your music to people who are already fans and supporters is much easier, it comes with its own unique set of traps you shouldn’t fall into: If you push people too hard, they might back off. If you don’t keep them engaged enough, you risk them forgetting about you.
What’s an ambitious independent musician to do?
Now, when I say “marketing emails,” I’m not talking about a monthly newsletter where you keep people updated and maybe include a few “buy my CD” links. I’m talking about your straight-up “Here’s something I’d like you to buy” emails; the ones designed to get people to take an action and spend some money with you.
There’s a tendency these days, displayed by many the overeager musician, to barrage people at every angle (social media, email, etc.) with repeated calls to “BUY MY ALBUM,” almost like they’re trying to pummel a weakening opponent until they’re on the ropes, and that final “GET MY CD NOW” is going to be the knockout punch that sends them to the ground, spilling the contents of their wallet all over the canvas. This is not the way to market your music. In fact, this is probably the worst way to market your music. It’s boorish, lazy, and transparently self-serving. When was the last time you bought something because somebody stood next to you and wouldn’t stop yelling the same thing about it over and over?
When it comes to email, if someone has been nice enough to join your list and opt-in to receive messages from you, don’t make them regret it. It’s absolutely OK to email your fans and encourage them to purchase your music and/or merch, and exceptions can obviously be made for album releases and special promo, but if you’re making a sales pitch via email more than about once a month, I’d say you’re pushing it. Email is different than Twitter or Facebook: people are protective of their inbox, have a real sense of ownership about it, and won’t hesitate to send you straight to the junk folder if you get too pushy or repetitive.
In the end, you know your fanbase better than anyone, and you’re the one who can ultimately gauge what works best for you. But be careful! Once people start to view you as a “spammer,” it’s hard to shake that label.
Do you agree or disagree? What has worked for you? Let us know in the comments!