Why your fans aren't getting your e-mail.

There's an interesting new trend in spam protection that impacts the results you could be getting from your e-newsletters. I often encounter bands that, desperate for attention, add folks to their mailing lists without permission. Ideological issues aside, there's a bigger reason this strategy will cause you harm.

What's concerning me is that, when a recipient uses a spam filter to mark e-mail as "spam," new programs catalog that message and look for links and keywords. If you're linking to your site or if you have a fairly unusual band name, spam filters might use your URL and band name to filter messages to all of your recipients at an ISP -- even the ones that want to hear from you.

Follow the rules to stay out of e-mail jail:

  • Use "opt-in" technology. Run your list on a good platform like Bandzoogle or EzEzine that automates signups and unsubscribes, while confirming that new members really want the subscription.

  • Never add addresses to your list unless the recipients have specifically asked to hear from you. That applies to "press" and "industry" contacts, as well. If you want to send newsletters to reporters or A&R folks, drop a line and ask if you can add them.

  • At the top of each newsletter, remind folks where and how they subscribed to your list, so they don't mistakenly report you to the spam cops.

  • Give clear instructions for unsubscribe requests. Increasingly, if folks don't know how to unsubscribe, they'll hit the "spam" button to filter your messages.

Remember that a smaller list of folks that really want to hear from you will yield better results than a list of addresses you harvested from some trade magazine or online directory.

Track these topics: music+business, spam