You’ve got a show coming up in a few days and your fans are not responding to your live show emails. You can’t understand what the deal is! You told them the time and date, the place, and to be sure, you attached the flyer you hand out in person as a graphic file. Yet, hardly anyone responded. What gives?! So in the heat of the moment, you send another email pleading your fans to come out and support you; or a short sentence to remind them that if they show up they’ll have a good time, enjoy the food, the atmosphere, the music, dancing, etc. Does any of this sound familiar?
There's More to Email Than an Address
Most Artists find that their email list becomes unresponsive after a period of time. You can send targeted messages to fans that are most likely to commute to live performances and disregard fans that won't, to prevent subscribers from getting overloaded with the same email announcements, again and again. Since then, I have noticed another problem growing among Artists emailing live show announcements. What is it? Simply put, lack of information.
What Artists don't realize is that fans stop responding to show announcements and going to live shows because they forget to include information key to finding their performances in a metropolitan area. When Artists repetitively send email that shows lack of attention to detail, some fans start to gradually tune them out, until after a short period of time the Artist's entire list becomes unresponsive.
Help Fans Help You?
Remember that when you perform in a large city or even across several markets, there are multiple area codes and zip codes involved. So when sending out any kind of email message, be sure to include complete information:
- Always include Area Codes with phone numbers.
- Always include Address, City, State and Zip code when listing performance locations.
- Always include a link to your web site.
- Never send an attachment without permission first.
Never assume that your fans know what area code a phone number requires, or the city, state and zip code to an address. If you include complete contact information for a venue, fans won't be left hanging in the wind if they want to call to buy tickets or get more show information. Also, with a full address they can use mapping web sites to get driving directions.
Never assume your fans know your web address. If you include your web address in the correct format (http://www.yourbandname.com or www.yourbandname.com) all the popular email programs will automatically convert it to a link for recipients. With a link to your web site in all your messages, you make word-of-mouth more effective when a fan forwards your email to another one of their friends. Also, if you have to cancel a show, change a date, etc., many fans will double check your site before they leave for a show. Otherwise, you may have to send another last minute email to your list for damage control and pray that everyone gets it before they try to show up.
Never send your flyer as an attachment to your fans. For that matter, avoid sending attachments altogether. They can stop up recipients' email boxes and take too long to download over a modem. You don't want a fan in a sour mood before opening your show announcement because they had to wait for their email program to finish retrieving your message.
Always Focus on Building Your Ongoing Artist Story
The final ingredient to get fans more engaged in what you're doing on an ongoing basis is to communicate who you are as an Artist within every email you send, whether to fans or industry professionals. Tone is everything in your messages. Never beg and plead. The best way to illustrate this is to share an actual show announcement that I receive regularly. Of course, I've changed names, places, etc. to avoid embarrassing anyone:
MUSIC JAM this Tuesday
( Flyer Attached - 300KB in Size)
Hi,Come to our downtown show at (123 Main St.). It's at 8pm.
Please help us promote this show! Tell your friends! See you there!
See you there.
How is this email communicating to me anything about who he is as an Artist? What's his ongoing story and how will my coming to his live performance make me a part of that? He didn't tell me anything unique about his upcoming performance or anything else meaningful about what he is trying to say with his music. All he did was beg and plead for me to show up. Sending this same type of message for every upcoming performance shows me that he his not doing anything interesting, doesn't have anything of substance to say with his music, and isn't making any progress with his music career. Let's tally the rest of the damage?
The Example Message: A Disaster in the Making
Where do I begin? First of all, how many major cities have a "Main" street? All of them! I have no idea what city this guy is talking about. How much are the tickets? What's the age limit of the show? I know the day of the week, but what's the date? What if I opened my email a week later and missed the show? And that subject line. What the heck is a "Music Jam?" What type of music is it? It sounds like only a few people are going to show up. He already sold himself short with the subject line! Then there's that honking 300 kilobyte graphic flyer he attached that takes at least two minutes to retrieve on a modem. Ugh!
After receiving this similar message from the Artist a few times, I finally had to satisfy my curiosity. I cross referenced the venue name with the small piece of address information in a major search engine and I was shocked to find this Artist is out of the Midwest. I'm in Southern California! Do you think I'm going to commute? Heck no! Certainly not for a "music jam!"
In this installment of the Using Email article series we took a look at some of the small things you can do to make it easy for fans to find your shows. As I showed in the email example, never forget to include complete contact information within your messages: area codes in phone numbers; city, state and zip code within addresses; and an active link to your web site. Also, never send attachments of any kind without receiving permission. Above all, always remember to communicate who you are as an Artist within every message you send, to help build your ongoing story. Otherwise, using such poor email practice will detract from presenting yourself as a Priority Artist, and over time, make your subscriber list largely unresponsive.
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About John Dawes
John Dawes is the founder and president of MusicHosting.net, a Taco Truffles Media company specializing in web hosting and design of artist web sites which have become the industry standard. John has consulted hundreds of artists and record companies, and developed several educational music business web sites. He is co-author of The Complete Guide to Internet Promotion for Musicians, Artists & Songwriters with Tim Sweeney, and has written and spoken extensively on the subject of online music business.