The Importance of Email List Management as a Music Business Strategy

by Matt @ Kurb on January 29, 2009

Alright, right now we’re talking about why Email List Management is important and what we’re really trying to achieve with it, which is managing the opportunities to create revenue when you can control the way the interactions and relationships with fans are managed.

You cant do this stuff on myspace. I guess you could but you’d be pushing it. Myspace was made so that myspace could make money. Not you.

When my music clients jump on to our promotion packages, this includes me administering a professional paid email management service, which is valued at US$50 for the duration of what is commonly a 3 month term that I will work with artists.

In the first 3 months working with a client in online promotion, a lot of that’s mainly just taken up with set up, dozens of things to set up, an email list is just one of them. Much like many strategies, we launch and then refine. We put it in place and then we customize, otherwise it just gets too precious, you’re better getting the mistakes and fails out of the way sooner than later.

It’s one thing to get these tools working, it’s another to get them actually earning.

I use a paid service for our artists known as aweber because it’s probably the most highly regarded of the services available. There are free solutions but when I saw the caliber of individuals who all use aweber I felt there was obviously something to it.

The “something” usually turns out to be leverage. In this case, leveraging the technology available to easily manage and maintain a large and diverse group of fans, so you can leverage the relationships you’ve created through your efficient management of mail outs for recurring revenue. Oh and the “power of your music” and all that too, I spose. 🙂
Email list management is something I’ve been putting right up there in terms of priorities in Music Promotion over the last few months. What’s so important about Email List Management?

Let me go over some quick stuff:

– New Models in the music business are largely based on going directly to fans and developing relationships so that you begin to build hundreds of loyal followers that you can access directly with propositions. In order to go directly to fans you need to create an efficient system for communicating with large amounts of them at once, as well as qualifying the communications so you can target specific messages at specific groups of fans.

– New Models in the music business that I discuss are largely based on leverage. When you have the attention, influence, and relationship of trust like an artist does with their fans, you can leverage that insanely and this is one of my key strategies for future success in the music business. But in order to leverage that fan commitment again, it comes back to having an efficient solution to ongoing regular communications and providing real value to fans in those communications.

So yeah there’s a common theme here – managing fans, building relationships with fans, and having control over that communication so that you’re able to turn that relationship into revenue. This can be as obvious as selling them your new music products, but that to me is not the smartest way of leveraging your fanbase through email. The point I make is that I am confident that when you come to me with a list of 1000 committed fans who are looking forward to your next mail out newsletter I dont see how we cant make money. We just have to get those 1000 fans first and maintain the commitment while we grow towards that approximate goal.

– I realise now this has to be an individual point because it’s important. Don’t listen to those other stupid blogs that are telling you to be all about the fan if being all about the fan means spending hours a day having dumb little interpersonal email sessions because THATS NOT ROCK STAR BEHAVIOUR – I read some stupid bollocks about writing to a fan 6 months later to see if their kid had died yet and I just thought THATS NOT MUSIC MARKETING!!! Thats DEPRESSING!!!

The reason I’m in this is because I love music and I love making money, and both those things just so happen to make it easier to meet lots of beautiful women. It’s all like a perfect circle, and I’m sorry my perfect circle doesn’t involve writing to find out if some poor womans kid is dead yet, and offering to have lunch with her next time i’m in her town.

I’m sorry but if you want to be more christlike, maybe you should think about becoming a nun instead.

You’ll find me over there in my beamer with the models. End of rant/

Point of making: Email management is about EFFICIENT communication management. You’re trying to raise money as an artist quickly and effectively by tapping those who have invested a small amount of commitment and support by signing up for your email list.

I dont know on what planet artists who respond personally to each fan email make money but I dont think its this one.

– We’ve talked about a SALES FUNNEL. when we’re talking about sales funnels, we’re talking about online business models that are rock solid, tried, tested and true then we might even roll out some more internet marketing jargon, talking about upselling, downselling, cross selling . . .

Some of the stupidly richest internet marketirs in the world have built their fortunes just by having such deft automated sales processes runnng through their email list management.

It’s all automated, it’s all timed so that a timetable of messages automatically goes out from when somebody signs up for your list. There’s a formula – value, value, sell. For every mail out where you try and sell them something there should be 2 genuinely valuable, interesting or useful mail outs.

Again most artists will need our help to keep those newsletters coming out fresh and hot, but again, this is only something you can develop as far as your capacity as a developing artist will allow.

But because you’re smart and you’ve been working with us to develop your range of products and services, then you’re able to offer a steady stream of items to your list, and of course, it’s all automated, it basically just does all the work for you. And of course I’ll be in charge of getting those sign ups so you can just focus on being generally awesome, which is only what your fans would expect.

– last point I want to make is again related to your capacity as a developing artist. I like to push artists towards the concept of membership or subscription based models, that is, back to the classic 1000 true fans model, if you can $100 out of each of those fans in the course of the year then you’ve got a business, and that’s just one leading form of income. But these are models that would take years of development ot implement successfully so we use email management as the first step towards interacting with fans in a way that creates opportunities to extract value from the list whether through direct sales or a number of more contemporary models that allow the value that the artist provides the fan to be converted to profits for the artists.

So as we look to finish up on our general overview of why an email list is so important for artists, we know direct fan relationships present opportunities and we can see that email management allows us to manage those relationships in a way that can be profitable.

I’ve got proven examples of how powerful funneling and onging upselling as well as recurring revenue models can generate really viable business from a growing email list.

But to me, what gets me excited is that when I talk about “leverage” it’s not like what I mean is that we should get 1000 people to sign up for your emal list in exchange for a free mp3 and a competition just so we can try and sell them your new CD once a month for the rest of time.

Leverage to me means that you earn trust by offering value, you develop a relationship with your audience through meaningful interactions, and then you can find stuff they can do with their credit card that will make you like . . . US$30. Every month. US$30 x 1000 per month.

That’s more my scene! I want to see that plastic fly!

Need Online Music Promotions and Strategy? I charge like, US$200 p/month.

Got 4 or 5 guys in your band with credit cards? Might not cost you anything at all . . .

Contact me, Matt @ Kurb: kurbpromo@gmail.com //  +64 27 684 8250

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