Another element you should have on your website is a sign-up form for your mailing list. Email sounds pretty old-school, but the reality is that a mailing list is still the best way to stay in touch with your fans. Here’s why:
Top 3 Reasons to Have a Mailing List
1- You own it
Remember all those fans you had on MySpace? Well, MySpace owned their data, not you, and chances are if you didn’t get them signed-up to your mailing list, you lost contact with many of them.
Facebook? Same deal. They own the data, and they too can disappear. Or, as it seems to be happening, it gets too crowded and noisy. Statistics regularly show that only a very small percentage of people actually see your updates. So if you have important news to announce, your mailing list is your best bet to reach most of your fan base.
Twitter? Same issue with data, and tweets only last for a few hours, so again, it’s hard to tell how many of your followers are actually seeing your updates.
Bottom line is that social media sites are great tools for interacting with current fans and finding new ones, but you’ll want to get them signed-up to your mailing list so you can stay in touch with your fans over the long-term, regardless of which social media site is popular at the time.
2- It’s the ultimate permission marketing
An email list is the ultimate in permission marketing. Once a fan gives you their email address, they’re telling you that they want to hear about your career, that they want to know about your latest album, your next show, your new merchandise, etc. That’s an incredibly powerful thing, and those email addresses should be treated like gold.
Note: Don’t ever, EVER add people to your mailing list without their permission. Spamming people can do irreparable harm to your career, as you will likely lose those people as potential fans forever.
3- Best way to sell to your fans
And finally, when it comes to cold, hard cash, both inside and outside the music industry, email newsletters are still the best way to convert fans to paying customers.
As noted artist manager Emily White has said, an email list “is an artist’s retirement plan”.
Where to position your sign-up form
So where do you place your mailing list sign-up form on your website? Right on the Homepage, “above the fold”; which is to say visible right away, without having to scroll down. In fact, you should make your mailing list sign-up your primary call-to-action on your website.
If you’re an emerging artist, focus on building that mailing list before anything. Don’t worry so much about selling music & merch just yet, build a strong mailing list and over the long term it will be worth much more than trying to get that 0.99$ download right away when people visit your site.
Offer an incentive
And finally, don’t forget to offer an incentive to the person who will be giving you their email address. Getting the “latest news” or “inside scoop” on your career is nice, but offering a little something more might be the difference between getting that email or not. It could be as simple as a free MP3, and even better would be an exclusive track that can’t be found anywhere else.
Some bands use their live recordings to offer up a free/exclusive Live EP in exchange for an email address, and I’ve seen some even give away a free download of an older album. Use your creativity to find something unique, exclusive and fun that will give a potential new fan no choice but to hand over their email address.