Multiple Levels of Engagement for Musicians

Tom Hespos writes from the point of view of a music fan, frustrated that he feels left out when his favorite bands come to town and he doesn't know about it until it's too late. For too long, record labels and music managers have just assumed that fans will find out about gigs on their own. The result: Lefsetz's weekly rundown of why stadiums and sheds aren't selling out like they used to.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, baby bands tend to overuse tools like e-mail newsletters and MySpace bulletins. As I wrote about in More Gigs Now, your fans in Baltimore really don't care if you're playing in Pittsburgh this week. And yet, I get invites to gigs in Denver, Seattle, and Los Angeles: three cities I have yet to actually visit. (You would think I would have gotten around to visiting L.A. at least once by now, right Jay & Jen?)

Hespos sets a further challenge -- all he wants to know is when his favorite acts are coming to town so he can see them. He doesn't really care about all the fluff and filling in most band newsletters. And he, like most of your fans, doesn't want to deal with tracking that stuff through PollStar.

So, a technical solution to create multiple levels of engagement between yourself and your fans:

  • First, when creating your newsletter signup form, use a system that will allow you to collect the zip code (or postal code) of your new fan.

  • Next, give that fan a choice of whether they want to receive *all* of your newsletters, or just news about when you're playing in that area.

  • Finally, use e-mail segmentation to send your weekly newsletter with *no* gig alerts (other than a quick rundown) to everyone on your list who has opted-in. Then, send out very specific, personalized gig announcements to just the folks within a 30 minute drive of each venue.

This ensures that you're communicating to all of your fans, and you're not burning anyone out on your messages.

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