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Band Newsletters
by Marc Gunn - The Bard's Crier, August 2002


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I first started publishing my band newsletter during the Summer of '98. I tried the snail mail route. It was exhausting. Electronic newsletters (aka ezines) were the way to go. I must've tried it all too. I promoted gigs, told of our latest accomplishments, gave away a free mp3 every month. Some of it worked. Some didn't.

Here are some tips I've learned about running my band newsletter:

1.
Give away something for free. It can be as simple as an MP3 download at MP3.com. Or a sticker. A free CD once a month. Well worth the cost for their loyalty. And it can be a great promo tool to draw people into signing up for your newsletter.

2.
Hype your band. Tell your fans about all the band news. Who's reviewed your latest CD? Post rave testimonies by your fans. Post them on your website too. Be positive and let them know you are the best!

In the two years I've managed my fan newsletter, I've had scores of fans write, saying, "Wow! I'm glad you're doing so well." We weren't. And I didn't lie. But our many small successes sounded like big ones to our fans. That is what hype is all about.

3.
Keep it short. Write as if you were writing for a newspaper. Compose brief paragraphs about your greatness. Use headlines that make your fans want to read it. Provide frequent links to your website where you can post articles or more "further info".

4.
Publish every 7-10 days. This depends on how much info you get. But as long as the content is short and informative, people won't mind. If you add a little drama, like how you're doing on MP3.com, and how they can help, you'll keep the fans reading. But if you're not gigging much, and don't have much news. Don't publish. Give your fans what they deserve, the best.

5.
Don't get upset if people unsubscribe. It happens. If you lose half your list, consider adjusting your publishing schedule. But expect that some people can't deal with a newsletter every 7-10 days. Perhaps every two weeks is better. I was doing every two weeks until I realized how much more effective a 10 day schedule was for our fans. But less than two weeks, and you are no longer on the fore front of your fans' minds.

6.
Choose a great inspiring name. Something that has meaning and is fairly informative. Certainly you can can get by without one, but a good name could attract people just out of curiousity.

7.
Make it visually appealing. Keep lines short--60-65 characters followed by a hard return. Have a decent amount of space between sections. Add a table of contents at the beginning of the newsletter. Text newsletters work best, at present, but if you decide on an HTML ezine. Make sure you test it out extensively beforehand. Graphics need to be attached to your message. But keep it visually interesting on all accounts.

8.
Content is King. You hear it all over the internet marketing circles. Make sure the info you provide is useful and relevant. My biggest problem is that my newsletter has subscribers worldwide and until we got hooked up on MP3.com, it was useless telling our fans about gigs in Austin. So have info that is interesting for EVERYONE!

9.
Reward your fans. Give discounts for their loyalty. Have your CD on sale to newsletter subscribers.

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Marc Gunn, Bard of the Brobdingnagian Bards has helped 1000's of musicians make money with their musical groups through the BardsCrier.com and the Texas Musicians Network.


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