Oct 24, 2022

Be an Inbox Rockstar With These 10 Email Marketing Tips for Artists!

Post by 
Michelle Yoon

Email marketing is essential when it comes to converting fans and driving engagement. Higher sales and gross revenue can result from leveraging channels where you directly own the fan data, like email, socials, and your website. In fact, after marketing thousands of livestreams, we found that ~31% of all sales were attributed to dedicated emails–that number jumped to ~42% the week of the show. 

To help, we put together some of our top direct-to-fan email tips to inspire you to create your best music marketing campaigns yet: 

1. Make sure your emails are on brand

From design to copy, you must be consistent across your content. It can be confusing to fans if you’re not. We also suggest that you stick to 2-3 type fonts so your email isn’t distracting to read.

2. Segment your email list

Campaign Monitor found that segmented email campaigns resulted in as much as a 760% increase in revenue. Tools like Mandolin’s Fan Navigator can help you segment your list by demographics, interests, location, or other important factors that make sense, especially if your unsubscribe rates are sky-high.

Here’s how it works: 

You’ll upload or integrate your fan data into Fan Navigator, and Mandolin’s machine learning will predict the level of fandom each individual exhibits. The ranking criteria are unique to every Fan Navigator client and based on the Recency-Frequency-Monetary (RFM) model: how recently fans have exhibited an act of fandom; how frequently they do so; how much money they have spent on your brand.

Once each fan is assigned a Fan Score, they are sorted into Fan Navigator’s Fan Lifecycle Segments. These scores are refreshed daily, so you’ll have the latest pulse on how well you’re moving fans on their path to super fandom. 

Your fans will be placed into the following default segments: 

  • Super Fans: These fans spend the most frequently, at the biggest amounts, for the most quantities relative to your fanbase. 
  • Growing Fans: These fans have recently exhibited indicators of fandom, but have yet to make any significant purchases from your artist.
  • Potential Fans: These fans have exhibited markers of true fandom at some point in the past, but have not been seen recently.
  • Idle Fans: They’ve taken the least amount of action relative to the rest of the artist’s fanbase–either because they’re new fans or haven’t engaged with your brand in a while.

And as a manager marketing your artist, you’ve likely dreamed of segmenting your fans by criteria tailored to your fan marketing needs. Well, Audience Builder can make your dream a reality and ensure your emails get to the right fans with the right content at the right time. Custom audiences can be created using your fan data and whatever filters you’d like, then using those lists to launch hyper-targeted campaigns. Want to target fans who live in a 50-mile radius of San Francisco, attended your last show, and purchased over $50 in merch in the previous year? You can do that.

3. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

You’ve heard it before, but personalization equals higher conversions and engagement rates–studies have shown that personalized emails are six times more likely to drive conversion. Fueling these personalized direct-to-fan relationships with your owned data can help you demystify fans, allowing you to tailor messaging, create very cool experiences and increase conversions. With your audience defined, you know what matters to your audience, so your messaging should be relevant.

And if you are going to email during the holidays–make a promotional plan for your artist that makes sense. It’s the spammiest time of the year, so make sure you’re hitting a segmented list that celebrates that holiday and would be interested in what you offer.

4. A/B test to see what resonates

A/B testing will be your BFF–Litmus found that when you A/B test your emails, you can see as much as a 28% higher return. We love it because it takes the guesswork out of email marketing and serves the best-engaged content to the rest of your audience. You should be A/B testing your content and timing, but pro tip: test only one element at a time, or your results will be inconclusive.

Optimize subject lines and preheaders because it’s the first impression fans will get when they receive your email. Tease what your email is offering in the pre-header. If you’re offering something to fans, call it out in the subject line–but keep it short (30-50 characters, including spaces, so it’s not cut off).

5. Quality > Quantity

Figure out what frequency works with your audience. If you’re noticing a decrease in email opens or clicks, your fans might be experiencing email fatigue, so lay off the gas and slow down the emails. 

Take a step back and look at what value you can provide. Some examples of emails that are worth sending that could result in sales and engagement are:

  • You’re playing in the city/area your targeted audience has previously attended
  • You have a new merch line of kid's items that parents in your audience would love
  • You’ve curated content into a newsletter that resonates with a specific segment
  • Your artist has a new album dropping, and you’re sending out a music promotion email

6. Don’t appear spammy!

Here are some tips, so you don’t automatically get pushed to the spam folder:

  • Don’t use noreply in your email. Many services will filter any email address with noreply straight to the spam inbox.
  • Make sure fans have opted in!
  • Make it easy for fans to unsubscribe from your emails if needed.
  • Proofread your emails before you hit SEND.
  • Follow anti-spam laws and regulations (if you use a professional email marketing tool, you don’t have to worry about all the legal stuff.)

7. Keep the main message and call-to-action (CTA) above the fold

When you look at an email, above the fold is everything visible to you before you scroll down. A study by Nielsen found that 57% of a viewer’s time is spent on above-the-fold content, while only 17% of their time is spent on anything beneath the fold. That’s why it’s critically important to keep your most important call to action as close to the top of your email as possible.

Also, try to limit the number of CTAs in your email to 3 max. Your audience should be tailored to the desired action you want them to take, so having too many CTAs is usually a good clue that the goal of your campaign is still a bit unclear.

8. Pay attention to the metrics

Open rates, click-to-open rates, and unsubscribes are just a few metrics you’ll want to pay attention to. They’ll tell you if there’s room for improvement and help optimize your email marketing strategy.

Here are some key email marketing metrics you may want to know:

  • Open rate: How many of your delivered emails were “opened” will help you gauge the effectiveness of your subject lines, email deliverability, and subscriber engagement. Here’s how it’s calculated: (the number of emails opened / by the number of emails delivered) x 100
  • Click-to-open rate (CTOR): How many of your opened emails were clicked on. This is different from click-through rates as it relies on opens. Here’s how it’s calculated: (number of emails clicked / number of emails opened) x 100
  • Conversion rate (CVR): How many people took the action you wanted them to from your email. Here’s how it’s calculated: (number of conversions / number of emails delivered) x 100
  • Bounce rate: How many of your sent emails bounced or weren’t delivered. Here’s how it’s calculated: (number of emails bounced / number of emails sent) x 100
  • Unsubscribe rate: Measures how many people opt out of your emails. Generally, you will want to aim for less than 1-2%. Here’s how it’s calculated: (number of unsubscribes / number of emails delivered) x 100

You can determine the metrics that matter by the purpose of your emails. For instance, if you want fans to buy tickets to a show, you’ll want to check click-to-open rates and your UTM links to see who converted from your email. 

9. Keep your email list clean

One thing people don’t tell you is that it’s important to clean your list regularly. An outdated email list will cost you a lot of money, and too many bounces and invalid email addresses can see your email campaigns hit spam thresholds.

To reduce the chance of your recipients hitting the spam button while also proactively ensuring you’re hitting engaged subscribers, consider adding a recency filter to all your email segmentations. This could be opening an email in the past 90 days, buying a piece of merch in the past year, or some other action related to your CTA.

10. Be mobile-friendly

A study by Constant Contact and Chadwich Martin found that 75% of subscribers are highly likely to delete an email if they can’t read it on their smartphones. Design your emails with mobile in mind so your emails can adapt to any device. That means keeping it short and sweet while engaging. Think: image, concise copy, and a clear CTA.

As of 2020, email generated over $7.5 billion for brands worldwide—and that number is only growing. If you incorporate these best practices and learn from your data, email marketing can take your revenue to the next level.