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January 26, 2016

How to Build Your Email List at Concerts

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Have you visited a Barnes and Noble recently? Or a Container Store? Then you must have been asked during check out: “Can I have your email address?

Do you know why they ask? They ask because:

  • you’re here
  • it can make sense in the context of a purchase, when loyalty is rewarded (“Do you have a profile with us?“—heard at Wellmade)
  • it is hard to say no in person.

Now in the context of music, can you think of a time when similar conditions are met?

Showing up equals intent

Depending on where you live, concertgoers have a lot of other options. But they showed up. They might not know who you are or what kind of music you play (in a multi-act bill) but they care for music.

I would argue that this shows more intent that watching a YouTube video, clicking on a link on Facebook, etc. This crowd has more potential to be engaged with what you do.

MailChimp Subscribe

A few tools

A concert is a great time and place to grow your list. You can collect emails using:

  • a piece of paper, a pen, and maybe a clipboard. Low light and an awkward writing posture can make names and emails impossible to read. Read the info out loud or ask questions if you have doubts.
  • MailChimp’s free email collection app, Subscribe. Available for iOS and Android tablets, the app lets you create beautiful forms that connect to your MailChimp lists. You don’t even need a connection: The data is stored locally and you can upload names+emails in bulk when there is wifi/4G available.
  • an online form. You could create a simple form on Google Forms or TypeForm to collect your data directly from your smartphone. Using an API service like Zapier, you could pass the data from your form to your list.

An incentive

A question always worth asking is what’s in it for them? Why would they give you their contact info? What’s your promise?

An immediate incentive could be small merch: stickers, buttons, etc.

For a greater incentive, offer some exclusive content: a download of a live track, or maybe an video of the same concert. If you decide to go this way, new subscribers will expect to get these files/videos shortly after. Be prepared to be nimble.

Track and follow up

When adding contacts to your list, make sure that you store the subscription source somewhere: which concert, when, etc. You will want to use this data to segment your list later.

What’s next? Following up. Think about what you have to offer, and what people might know of you and your music. For example:

  • you got a few new subscribers at a solo show but you might want to share that you also play with a full band in other venues
  • you could recap your discography and invite them to see what your musician’s path has been
  • you could talk about the community work you’ve been doing in local schools
  • etc.

Sometimes, joining en email list is going from 0 to 100 in one email. A lot of musicians assume that their audience is familiar with their music, their values, etc.

Email series are a great way to bring people up to speed and to be in control of your narrative. I will write about this topic soon—make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you won’t miss this post.

What about you?

Do you collect email addresses at your shows? How is it working for you? Do you use this info for segmenting? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section, or on Twitter.