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August, 2004

"Fan Lists"

by Webmaster

There are a lot of techniques to marketing (read: self-promotion). Many articles and books which help performers with marketing mention fan lists. Some articles call fan lists a critical piece of marketing, your "grass roots support network" ("DiscMakers Guide to Independent Music Publicity")

It is strongly recommended that performers collect fan information at every performance. It's an easy enough task to put out a clipboard with a form for fans to sign up with their name(s) and e-mail ids.

Just e-mail ids? Well, you could ask for a snail-mail address. In many cases, it would be a home address. This technique might not be as effective for two reasons: 1) people are learning to guard their privacy and may not want to reveal their home addresses, and 2) snail-mail costs money. You could ask for phone numbers. That would solve the cost problem. But, the privacy problem still applies, and you would have to spend time calling your fans.

E-mail seems to be a good solution for keeping in touch with your fans. Of course, there may be some issues associated with spam:

  • Be sure to give your fans the ability to request removal from the e-mail list.
  • Make sure your fans know to allow you to e-mail them: some use their e-mail program to block spam.
  • Ensure your fans' privacy by only blind-copying them when you send an e-mail to them.

Now, why would you want to contact your fans?

Many businesses have found that newletters are a great way to keep in touch with those folks who have already displayed an interest in their products and services. A newsletter keeps the performer in the fans' minds, informs fans about new products (not just CDs), and lets fans know where to go to see and hear the performer. And venue owners are interested in hiring performers with a following.

The best suggestion for an e-mail newsletter is to be friendly, a little newsy, and clear. Make it easy for the folks receiving the e-newsletter to read it and tell where you are performing and what products are available for sale. While lots of fancy fonts and colors and formatting could look terrific, keep in mind that not all people have e-mail programs that display all those enhancements. Photos add punch, but take time to download.

Plain text e-mail is easy for all recipients to read. If it contains pertinent info, it will be used. What is pertinent info? Gigs need to include the following:

  • Where are the performances? Not just the name of the club, but the street address and city.
  • What time does your performance start? Is this different than the time the doors open and/or the time the show starts?
  • Is this a single-act performance or will there be a split bill?
  • Is there a cost to get in?
  • Who is the contact for other questions? (phone number, e-mail id, website link)

If you are notifying your fans of new products, include a brief description of the product, the price (including shipping costs), and how to order. Keep it simple and get it read.

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