Tips to Build an Artist Email List

Last week, I outlined my three keys to building a following on a social channel:

  1. Get in front of groups that already exist.
  2. Pay for growth (ads) if you can.
  3. Nothing works if you’re not consistent.

(And again, you can check that out here.)

This week, I want to move a step down the marketing funnel and talk about how you can convert people who follow you on social media into people who actually care about your music.

For reference, here’s the funnel again:

Okay, let’s set the stage.

Say you’ve collaborated with another artist on Instagram. You cover one of their songs, they cover one of yours, you tag each other, and some of their followers start following you. It’s great. You have a mimosa to celebrate.

But if things stop there, then you’ve gained nothing.

First, your new followers haven’t really committed to you and your music. They’ve just clicked a button, which means they’ve given up virtually nothing to support you other than .5 seconds of their attention.

Second, if you only have followers on social platforms, you’re at the mercy of those social platforms. If Instagram’s algorithm changes and your posts don’t reach your followers (which is basically what’s happened on Facebook over the past five years) – well, tough luck.

You need to transition your followers onto a platform that you control.

The most common next step is to get people onto an email list. By doing this, you a) encourage them to take a minor sacrificial action to support you – give up their email – and b) get them onto a platform that you’ll own forever.

Artist email lists are the jam.

Two tips toward converting social followers into email subscribers:

1. Create a landing page on your site and link it in your bio.

A “landing page” is just marketing-speak for “the first page users land on when they visit a website.” 

You’ve seen Linktree links, right? They’re just prebuilt pages that have links to any and all relevant profiles an artist wants to feature. The concept is great, but I’d recommend that, instead of using a third-party service, you build a page on your own website that does the same thing.

This isn’t too technically difficult; just make a page on your website that has your email signup and your links.

Two benefits to doing it on your own site:

First, you can customize things more. At the very least, you can put your email signup form right at the top of your page, above your Spotify link and whatever else you’ve got there. You can even try just having an email signup form, which, if people sign up, redirects to a landing page featuring all your links.

Second, you can track data without the limitations of third-party platforms. Like, you can put your Facebook pixel on this page so that you can show ads to people who view it. You can have Google Analytics on it so that you can see user flow to your site. You get the idea.

Again, it comes back to control. Using something like Linktree is easy, but if you go that route, you’re at the mercy of a third-party platform. While you’ll usually get some data and customization this way, you probably won’t get as many options.

(If you want to skip the technical stuff and use Linktree it’s okay. I still think you’re cool and it still works.)

2. Give people a reason to sign up.

This is the crux of converting people from followers into fans. They need a reason to support you.

Three thoughts, here:

First, show people what it’s like to be on your email list. Instead of just having a form on your page, write a few sentences about what email subscribers get. Or give an example; on Two Story Melody, I have a little link to view a previous newsletter right below the signup form. That little detail has significantly boosted conversions.

Second, actually incentivize signups. The most straightforward way to do this is to offer something free that people will get for signing up – maybe an unreleased track or a demo, maybe a ticket to your next livestream… something worth giving an email for.

Third, the more you get your form in front of people, the more chances you’ll have at converting them. So get it in front of people. Your Insta bio is one thing. You can link your landing page from your Spotify bio, too (and Soundcloud and YouTube and wherever else). You can mention your list in your actual social posts or on your Stories.

Don’t be spammy, obviously – do what feels right for your community. But don’t bury your signup where nobody will see it, either.

I really believe that building and maintaining an email list can be a major step toward building a meaningful community.

Hope these thoughts are helpful, and good luck in making it happen.

Want to build a meaningful community around your music?

The Bundle

I’ve packaged years of experience running Two Story Melody (a top-ranked music blog) and Two Story Media (a music PR firm) into a book called How to Promote Indie Music.

It lays out a roadmap to better indie music promotion – promotion that doesn’t suck. You can check out the first chapter for free.

Get Chapter 1 for free.

Want a sneak peek? Download the first chapter here. It’s called “The Problem”, and it’s an honest look at the difficulty involved in successful promo. Promo can kind of suck, but understanding why it sucks is the first step toward making it not suck.

Check it out in .pdf form.