Effective Use of Email


By David A. Barber
Author of Gigging, Everything You Need to Know About Playing Gigs (Except How to Play Your Axe)

Collect as many addresses as you can from your fans.

Ask them to sign up on a list at your gigs and ask for email addresses on your website. Give them something for free (like tickets) and they will sign up in droves.

 Don’t be a spammer!

  • If you must email out to your list via Outlook or something similar, always use “BCC” (Blind Carbon Copy) instead of “To”or “CC” this way you are the only one who sees everyone’s email addresses. Nobody likes to scroll down through a list of hundreds before getting to the message. Also, if you don’t BCC anyone can hit “Reply to all” and send an email to your entire list or, worse they might swipe your list and send them emails that are unwanted. Likewise, don’t steal someone else’s list if they forget to BCC.
  • Use a mailing list program or website. ReverbNation, Fanreach, Constant Contact, MailChimp and many others can handle your list as well as YMLP.com.  These are wonderful, as people will be able to subscribe/unsubscribe without you having to bother with anything. Automation rocks!
  • Don’t send out more than one email to your fans each week. If you send out too many people will stop reading them, or request to be removed. Once or twice a month is about right.

Use proper netiquette

  • Don’t add people to your list if they don’t ask to be (it’s usually OK to make an exception for the email addresses published for media contacts, such as newspaper music editors).
  • Take people off the list promptly if they request it. And tell them how they can request this.
  • Take bad email addresses off your list. It may not seem like it’s hurting anything if you get a bounceback from a bad address, but it ties up bandwidth on the server, which slows things down for everyone and will eventually piss off your ISP.
  • Don’t use large attachments or fancy graphics.
    Many people get their email at work, and attachments are routinely removed and deleted as a safety precaution.The only thing you can be sure will go through as intended is plain text.

Answer your email

A personal response from a band member can make a huge difference when it comes to fan mail. When a fan makes a personal connection with the band they are much more likely to come to shows, buy CDs and spread the word. They might turn the corner from saying “Let’s go see this cool band” to “Let’s go see my friends play.” On the other hand, If someone keeps emailing to the point of annoyance, it’s Ok to stop responding. If the volume of email is just too big to handle, recruit a trusted friend, relative, or fan to help answer it.