How To Build A Fan Mailing List

So you’re thinking of embracing email marketing but don’t know where to start.

Where setting up a social media profile seems to be intuitive, email lists seem a little more foreign.

Once you start playing around with them you will realise that they are still built around the same premise.


The more engaged your followers, the greater the return you will see.

So like with Facebook or Twitter, the more engaging your updates, the more likes, comments and share you will receive, with email the more engaging your emails the greater open and click through rates you will receive.

So how do you make your emails more engaging?

Email Marketing Guidelines

Don’t Spam People

I’m going to leave this to Seth Godin to give you some rules on sending emails.
Seth Godin’s Email Checklist

Don’t Add People, Invite Them

Firstly, you shouldn’t add people’s email addresses to your list. Instead send them an email with a link to sign up to your list.

Make Sure The Right People Are On Your List

There is no value in having someone on your list that isn’t interested in being there. If you are hiphop act there is little chance that a hardcore metal fan is going to want to join your list. Don’t ask them, it would take less effort to find hiphop fans to promote your list to.

Engage Them From Day One

Don’t invite people to join your list and then not email them for 6 months. They will have forgotten why they are on your list and won’t open your emails.

Relevant Content

Think about what your readers want to read and don’t send then irrelevant emails.

Don’t Just Sell

If every email you send is about asking people to buy then your open and click through rates will go through the floor. Be a human and start a conversation.

So now you have some guidelines…

Here are 18 ways to build a fan mailing list

1. Invite friends and family to join your mailing list.

But don’t make the mistake of adding them without their permission. Instead send them a link to a sign up form and ask them to join.

2. Offer free content in exchange for e-mail address.

A free download of a song or video. Better still offer an EP or Album.

3. Optimise your website to make it easy for your fans to sign up.

Have a sign up widget in your sidebar and on your bio page.

4. Collect e-mail addresses at gigs.

When you’re on stage and you have their attention, ask them to sign up for your newsletter and pass around a sign up form.

5. Promote online contests.

 Offer a signed copy of your latest release or a couple of tickets to one of your gigs. If you get booked to play a popular festival you could buy tickets for that festival and offer them as a prize.

6. Create remarkable email content.

 Like your music, your newsletters need to be both intriguing and relevant to your fans. If your e-mails are dull then your fans will inevitably stop reading them.

7. Promote your free download on radio.

8. Host invite-only free events with e-mail registration.

9. Ask your fans to forward your e-mails to their friends.

10. Partner up with similar bands.

Find bands in your genre with a similar size mailing list and promote each others lists.

11. Create a street team.

Entice hardcore fans to promote your music by offering exclusive content and products.

12. Add a sign up tab to your Facebook page.

13. Promote your free download offer on Twitter.

Link your Twitter profile to your offer page and tell new followers about your offer.

14. Add links to your Youtube videos.

Add annotations to videos and place a link in the first two lines of your video’s description.

15. Look at other social networking sites.

From Instagram to Google+ to Pinterest. There are many possibilities to gain new subscribers. Keep to the sites you are comfortable with or you’ll waste your time with little return.

16. Promote a live stream performance and collect e-mail in exchange for access.

17. Send sign up widgets to bloggers who are reviewing your music.

This way their readers can sign up from within their blog post.

18. Create a mobile site for collecting e-mail.

A simple one-page mobile optimised site, which can be linked to using QR codes, SMS or simple web link.

19. Set up Autoresponders

Creating a series of automated emails that get sent to new subscribers in the first two weeks of joining your list, will make them more engages and they will be more likely to share your content with others.

20. Facebook Advertising.

Facebook is very cost effective and and be used to boost email signups with the right ad.

The more of these you use, the sooner you will start selling out venues. The most important one on the list is  collecting emails at gigs. Think of how many people you will play to over then next 2 years and how great it would be if you could email them to tell them that you will be playing again in their area.

Have any other ideas for building your list? Share them in the comments below.