Aug 212010

It’s all about the list!

I must admit that working through this book is a lot like going to therapy. In order for the material and the concepts to really work, you have to be honest and you have to own up to a lot of unproductive behavior and negative thought patterns. There’s just a lot of stuff here that I don’t want to do and that I have always told myself that I’m not good at doing. Asking people for help and asking people to do things is at the top of that list. I’m not a salesman – well too bad Darryl – it’s time to sell!

Here I am in a business model that requires people to lend an ear and a hand and I have not been asking enough of them to join me in this effort. I suppose it’s a fear of rejection when I avoid asking someone for their email address. I ask an audience – it’s easy to ask a crowd, but asking individuals is hard.

Why would they want to be on my list? Well why not? I have faith in my art. I put out a fun newsletter. And all they can say is yes or no – if no, then I know that that person is not a person I would want on my list or who would send me money. In week 6 Ariel is not allowing me to “wimp out” as she puts it. I must build my “fan” base and consequently my email list and I have to do it fearlessly.

Here are the suggestions that Ariel makes in this chapter for increasing your email list:

  • Add friends and family
  • Filter your email for potential email sign ups
  • Give something away for them to sign up
  • Trade lists with other bands
  • Start a text message list

Adding friends and family is easy you’d think, but if they only hear from you via your gig list then they might get a little testy about the relationship. My sister once said to me that she was tired of getting spam fro me and never a call to say hello. I’m going through my Holiday card list and sending a carefully worded email to those who are not on my fan list.

Ariel suggests setting up a separate mailbox for emails that come from people who might be potential sign ups. I think that this is a good idea, but one that should be approached with caution. Perhaps a relationship should be established before asking. This is one that I need to think about.

Giving something away is a great idea and was addressed in a previous chapter. I have a sign up box at the top of my website that bribes the potential fan with not one but TWO free tracks. Artist sites like Reverbnation make it easy to set up.

Trading a list with another band is a little sticky. I tell my fans that I don’t share their info with anyone, not even another band that I would love to see get more exposure. An alternative to that would be asking another band to send an email to their list on your behalf. They could say something like: We found this great new songwriter that you should hear! We’re going to go out and catch a show this Friday – come join us. You could then do the same for that band. But I would never share my list with other entities.

I don’t text message. It’s not on my phone plan, so I don’t use it. Therefore starting a text message list is not in my communication DNA. I have read stories of Lady GaGa texting her crowd while on stage. Those people are not in my audience and that goes back to knowing who your fans are and what their preferences are.

I’m getting better at asking people for things like email addresses and such, but it still stings when they say no. It’s my issue not theirs. I have added this task of building my list to my weekly rhythm register and it ends up on my daily to do list at least once a week. I set a short term goal at the beginning of the MSi9W project that I would have 25 new sign ups by September and as of this writing I’m at 22. Thanks for the new suggestions Ariel – I’ll get right on it!