Bands: Here Are A Few Tips For Improving Your Emails

Hello, everyone! I know we took a little time off yesterday without warning, but a close friend of the Haulix family passed away and we needed some time to mourn. Fortunately, many of our close friends in the industry reached out to help us continue our content creation efforts while we reflect on our recently deceased friend. The piece you’re about to read was created by Seth Werkheiser, and it offers insight that could help bands and artists of all sizes improve their digital marketing efforts.

This blog exists to promote the future of the entertainment industry, and to do that we need input from people like you and your entertainment-loving friends. If you have any questions about the content in this article, or if you have an artist you would like to see featured on this blog, please contact james@haulix.com. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve talked to a handful of musicians and bands lately about the subject of “social media.” I usually steer the conversation towards email marketing, and explain how it converts better than the “social media flavor of the week.”

“But I don’t want to just email out our tour dates,” they usually say, explaining that they don’t like those emails.

There’s a simple solution: don’t be like the lazy bands who do just that.

Copying and pasting your tour dates into an email is very boring. An unpaid intern could do it. In their sleep.

Instead, try this: out of the 34 photos you posted to Instagram and Facebook during the course of your last few shows, or tours, pick a handful that “clicked well.” What dose that mean? That means the photos that got the most "likes,” or shares. Take those, and put a few of them into your next email.

Now, here’s the part where an unpaid intern can’t do what you do.

You write the back story. The location. Explain what happened. You lived it, bled it, slept in it. You drove all those hours, got sick, met an amazing character in a small town, hung out with coolest people.

Everyone loves a good story, and as a traveling musician you’ve got stories to tell, so stop “blasting” your tour dates every five minutes like every other hack band out there.

As Betabrand founder Chris Lindland says, “the assumption is that not everybody wants to shop every single time they get a newsletter.”

Think about that for a second: not everyone is ready buy tickets to your next show or watch your new music video (they might be watching Netflix at the moment). But if you tell a story about how cops nearly shut down your video shoot, you might distract them from ‘Orange is the New Black’ long enough to at least get a click!

For example, there’ a new video out from the Cancer Bats, for their song ‘Satellites.’ In the video they shoot fireworks at their drummer in a field the whole time.

Wait, they what?

How did they not get arrested shooting that video? Did anyone get burned? How much did they spend on fireworks? Who came up with that idea of shooting fireworks at their drummer? 

Their YouTube description field? "SATELLITES!! Hope you like it!” Snooze.

So don’t do that with your own email newsletter. Get creative. Just because every other band out there sends a list of tour dates and nothing more doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

Share some photos, stories from the road, and then paste your tour dates at the bottom of the email. Heck, list the mileage between stops, or the tourist destination you’re planning on visiting. Ask your fans for suggestions on places to check out, the best food stops in town. Invite a few out for pre-show pizza. 

These are the people who might may to come see you, right? Maybe buy a CD or shirt?

Remind your fans what you’re about, not just where you’ll be two months from now.

Seth Werkheiser is the quiz master of metal trivia at Skulltoaster. He’s also the founder of some music sites you may have heard of, including Noise Creep (2009) + Buzzgrinder (2001). He’s anti-Facebook, anti-clickbait, and anti-growth hacking. You should most definitely follow him on Twitter. Yes, right now.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.