When I first started my record label over 10 years ago I included 8.5×11 sheets of paper inside ever single record with information about the songs, label and artist (see below right). When the web started to flourish I stopped killing trees and sent email news. At the beginning I had only about 250 contacts but I knew almost all of them personally. At that time my promo emails were all text and I would send about one a month. As people sent fan mail or I met “kids” at shows I would collect their email addresses. By 2001 I had several thousand people on my email list. Around that time I started sending my “eNews” every two weeks and was sending graphic pretty HTML email. Each time I sent an email news out I would get about twenty responses from close friends and family, a host of questions about where to buy merchandise and usually a promoter or two asking to book one of us.
Well eventually and unfortunately spam took over the worlds email system. We all remember that right? I remember in the early 00s going from 10 spams a week to well over 100+. Because of that my ISP blocked me from sending my own newsletter out too. I pleaded with them and explained that everyone on my list was “opt in” it but alas no luck. I then discovered a piece of software called Maxbulk Mailer. Maxbulk allowed me to throttle my newsletters so they would get past my Host’s blocking system. For about two years this worked fine. About a year ago Maxbulk was also rendered useless. My host and by the look of the Maxprog forums most other people’s hosts knew how to stop Maxbulk Mailer. I know some people still use the software with success but dealing with blocked ports simply made my day way more boring than I could handle. Sadly, I stopped sending my newsletter.
I put some thought into how mid to large size companies were sending their own pretty spam to me. Then it hit me: They pay someone to do it! Immediately my super smart friend Google pointed me to companies like Constant Contact and Mailchimp. I was almost sold on using them but to be honest I couldn’t look at the PC style Contant Contact website and well the price was just too high for my to justify. To send my my list of about 4800 people it was going to run me about $50 per month.
A few weeks ago I made a very happy discovery called Mad Mimi. This is not an advert for them. I would tell you early on before you read this far if I was leading you to buy something. Mad Mimi is similar to Constant Contact however it’s gorgeous and cheap (or even free up to 100 contacts). Anyone who wants to shoot a newsletter out can use the service it but I discovered it was originally designed for musicians. You design really nice email Promotions using templates and your own images. You can also customize the CSS to perfection. It saves all the different promotions you make in your profile. You import your contacts (called Audience). After Mad Mimi sends your Promotion out it lets you know email addresses that bounced and lets you delete them from your Audience list. You can also track if people clicked or forwarded your promotion (how does it know that?). It also handles unsubscribing for you. Lastly Mad Mimi gives you an HTML snippet so you can embed a sign up page on your websites. This is another thing I used to do locally now moved into the cloud
Never ever spam. Don’t use anyone else’s list. Don’t buy lists. Slowly create a list of people who are really interested in what your doing. I also recommend that you don’t send more than two promotions a month because it’s just plain annoying (Beatport are you listening?).
Have you ever tried email marketing? Are there any pro-audio companies or bands that have notoriously bugged you with spam?
Check out: www.madmimi.com