1. Put an email signup box on your website — Place the signup box in a prominent place on your website so all your visitors will see it.
2. Put clear calls-to-action on your website — It’s not enough to have an email signup option on your website. You have to make it obvious for visitors what you’d like them to do. Something simple, like “sign up for my monthly newsletter” or “get email updates about our music.” Also, let them know what the benefits of subscribing are: that they can keep up with all your band news, concert dates, and more.
3. Give something in exchange for an email address — Most email marketing programs, such as ListBaby, will allow you to offer your fans a free download after they sign up to your list. So give away an MP3 of your best song, or perhaps a PDF with sheet music, or an eBook of your tour and recording diaries.
4. Give your email newsletter subscribers access to exclusive content — Let your subscribers know that in your world, they’re VIPs, deserving of the special treatment. They get to hear your new music first. They get to listen to demos that aren’t made available elsewhere. They get behind-the-scenese glimpses that nobody else does. Make them feel like insiders.
5. Prominently feature your email signup list at your merch booth — Create a template in Word or whatever word-processing program you use, print some out before every show, and bring them to your concerts. Put the same call-to-action that’s on your website on this sheet, make the benefits clear, and then be sure to draw attention to it, pass it around, announce it from the stage. Don’t just hide it in the corner and hope folks will sign up.
I pulled this list from an article on Fast Company online. It was written by Don Peppers, the author of Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage
In it Don writes:
"If you want to generate more innovative ideas, then you should purposely expose your mind to radically different facts and unusual, often conflicting concepts."
This is great advice for musicians stuck in a creative rut. Try some of the Don's ideas on the list and let me know if they worked for you by commenting below.
- Move to a different apartment, or a different office location, or a different job. Change your environment, for no reason other than to make the change.
- Drive a different route to work or school, or to church, or to the club. Take a long cut, on purpose.
- Spend 30 minutes a day for two or three weeks with a language course from Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone in order to learn how to ask directions and order food in a new language.
- Brainstorm different ways to use a common tool (like a hammer, or a Phillips screwdriver).
- Go on a physical-fitness campaign. Work out until you break a sweat at least one time every day. Seriously. Every single day.
- Memorize something useless but ambitious, like pi to 100 digits, or the names of all the major chess openings, or all the U.S. vice presidents and the presidents they served.
- Meet one new person a day for a whole month. Talk to them, converse with them, get to know them. Talk with each of them frequently in subsequent days. You can easily do this online.
You can read the entire article over at Fast Company magazine.
Singer/Songwriter Ralph Murphy shares his insight and experiences from his 30+ years of being in the music "business". This is a fantastic lecture that took place at Layola University. He stresses over and over about how this is a business.
He also stresses that all artists need to know how to craft a song so that it appeals to your audience/fans. If you can keep you fans entertained and wanting more then you will remain in the business and potentially make a pretty good living. If you neglect the basics of songwriting you will more than likely not be in the business for very long.
Below are a couple of gems I picker out as points to remember for up and coming artists like yourselves.
"What brings you to a song 100% of the time is melody. What keeps you there is lyric."
"For you artist or singer songwriter a song is not a song, a song is a linear lyrical conversation between you and every single person in that room."
"Music is the underpinning of society."
"The three things you ask yourself when you're finished with your work are, what's in it for the listener? What's in it for the listener? What's in it for the listener? If there's nothing in it for the listener you're wasting your time."
Here's a post from Brian Thompson over at MTT. He raises some very good points about the downside of becoming an overnight success. I posted a comment on his original article, but I'll reiterate some of my points here.
I've been in this business a long time. I've seen artist come and go. Sometimes they burn out, maybe they want something more or they simply want a laid back lifestyle. Starting a family and creating a "normal" life is probably the biggest reason for voluntarily leaving the music business.
More often than not, however, the biggest reason an artist or band is no longer in the business is because they received too much too soon. They weren't prepared for the potential consequences of being an overnight success. If you're in the music business, no matter what level, you want to make a living creating art. We all do. There are, however, some pitfalls and I think Brian has outlined a few below that most new artist should be aware of.
When one of my clients says "My dream is to get signed and become famous!" I always reply with "Be careful of what you wish for. It just might come true."
1. You won’t be mentally prepared to deal with all of the fame, fortune, and international attention.
2. You won’t be well-rehearsed or experienced enough and your performance won’t be ready for overnight global attention.
3. Critics and fans will eat you alive for every little misstep you do, crushing your soul and spirit in the process.
4. You will have a very short career. Overnight successes do not create life-long fans.