Advice Is What It Is
In present times, people are often skeptical of those who give advice. You may be, too. In so many indie and general marketing guides, I’ve read/heard that having an active email list is crucial.
On the flip side, marketing can feel like “putting myself out there” to many unsigned musicians. If I’m going to do that, I want the return to be worth it. Sometimes social networks can give that feeling. Similarly, email marketing often feels very vulnerable.
Yet so many marketing avenues can seem like a huge vacuum. Sending a tweet or a toot can be much like sending a shout into the void. Real-world examples show that responses or engagement on social media can be less than 1% of your following. Even paid ads can seem to produce too little to make their expense worthwhile. (And don’t even get me started about how much the statistics provided by social networks are skewed.)
Email marketing is very similar. Typically, estimates range from 15-35% for how many recipients will open a message. Even worse, people who will click a link or reply to you drops under 5% on average. That does not seem like a great return.
At the same time, the effort to create an email message with potential impact can be very challenging. All of this makes email marketing seem unappealing.
I wondered if other unsigned musicians had similar experiences. Do most of my peers send regular newsletters? I was doubtful.
Sure enough: when I asked my indie musician friends, they confirmed my doubt. Both informal queries and polls on a few social networks verified that indies don’t email. 91% of the musicians I polled said they never or rarely send email. In fact, 41% don’t have an email list at all.
Does this mean I’ll never send another email to my fans? Of course not. However challenging it may be, the real return is the interaction.
It’s true: I send an email to my fans about once a quarter. And it does take me a while to create the message. Another time-consuming effort is getting the courage to press send. (OK, I’m half joking about that.)
Even so, every time I send one of these, I start to get the replies. And that’s when I remember why I keep sending out my little announcements. Because I enjoy those responses so much. Even when I only get a few notes back, that connection makes the message sent feel worthwhile.
Image of emails going into a mailbox is by Tumisu via Pixabay.