How To Grow Your Mailing List

Your Mailing List is an important tool that can help you stay connected with your fans and tell them about your upcoming shows. Many times artists will play a show for 100-200 people and only come away from it with fewer than 20 new people on their Mailing List! You should easily be able to get 50% or more of the crowd onto your Mailing List if you use the right approach. Most artists have a “Mailing List Sign-up Sheet.” Generally, we have found that people are not going to rush over to sign up on your mailing list sheet just because you mentioned it onstage once or twice during your set. Also, by having only one or two mailing list sheets, people would have to stand in a line to sign up for your list! No one wants to wait in line to sign up for your mailing list--you need it as convenient and easy as possible.

Mailing List Cards Work The Best
A Mailing List Card is an individual card where soon to be fans can write down their info for your Mailing List. You can look at an example Mailing List Card PDF at the following site:
Mailing List Card

*Note: We highly recommended including the question on each card asking if the person was mainly there to see your band play. That way, you can differentiate between your existing fans and the people who were not yet fans until that show. This also helps you more accurately determine how many “NEW” fans you actually made at the show. You're only fooling yourself if you believe you acquired 30 new fans, when in reality only 8 of those 30 fans are actually “new.”

Once you see the example Mailing List Card PDF, start to make your own Mailing List Card template in any word processor such as Microsoft Word or Appleworks. We recommend at LEAST having the following fields on each card:

First Name
Last Name
E-mail Address
Zip Code

This way you have information on where they live and gender so that you can tailor E-mails specifically by geographic region, (So that you don't bother fans about shows that are really far from where they live), or by gender (in cases where you're having “Ladies Night” or “Date Night,” or special deals for the guys).

Experiment with what types of additional questions you want on each card. This is a GREAT tool to easily conduct Market Research on the people who see your live show! You can include a question that asks, “On a scale from 1-10 how do you rate our live show?” or ask, “Do you already own a T-shirt and/or CD?” You can even ask which bands they listen to or how many local concerts they attend each month, anything that will help your band better understand your audience. This way you can target market your promotion and E-newsletters to different types of people on your Mailing List, or use the data you collect to better serve your fans.

Once you have edited the Mailing List Cards to read just the way you want them to, print off the master copy and make copies onto CARDSTOCK. Use whichever color cardstock you think looks best, but make sure to use cardstock (as opposed to paper) because it will look much more professional and reduce the chances of completed Mailing List Cards getting damaged when getting packed up after the show. After copying off what you need, cut apart your mailing list cards and you're ready to go.

(Tip: Kinko's can print and cut your Mailing List Cards for very cheap). Be sure to look into their pricing for this BEFORE you do it manually, it could save you hours of tedious work to have the print shop print and cut up all of your Mailing List Cards! Most bands find that paying Kinko's to copy out 500-1000 Mailing List Cards and cut them with their “cutting machine” not only makes each card uniform in shape and size, but also saves many hours of doing the job yourself. So be sure to look into pricing for this before you do it manually!

By using individual cards and having a box of black ball point pens (which costs about $2 at office max for 20 pens), there is no more line to get on your Mailing List--up to 20 people or more at a time can be signing up on their own Mailing List Card. ALSO, you should no longer rely on simply announcing onstage that you have a Mailing List… You should PERSONALLY meet as many people that you don't know in the crowd as you can! If you want to acquire new fans you cannot just rely on playing a good show, you MUST work hard before, during, and after your show to acquire as many new fans as you can. Otherwise you are effectively missing out on 80-90% of the fans you could be making at each show.

(Note: do NOT, do NOT, do NOT do this while other bands are actually onstage playing).

Have EACH Band member walk around before the show and during other band's set changeovers and MEET people at the show that you don't know. Have each member carry your newly made Mailing List Cards, and some pens. Introduce yourself to the people in the crowd that you don't know and ask them to fill out a Mailing List Card. While they fill out your Mailing List card, use this as an opportunity to tell them about your music, about your art, and about YOU! Make a CONNECTION, let them know WHY they should stick around to see you play, and tell them what time you will be going onstage. Invite them to your merch table after you play. If they seem cool, invite them out for drinks or to hang out with you and your group after your set or after the show. New fans and existing fans LOVE to hang out and talk with the band.

You should also offer them a FREE sticker, button, or 1 song sampler CD if they fill out a Mailing List Card and then return it to you at your Merch table AFTER your set. (You do have stickers and buttons, right? Big Value Comes in Small Packages). This will entice them to stay and see your set since afterwards they get to come talk to you at your merch table and redeem their FREE item. Remember that a sticker, button, or 1 song sampler CD only costs your Band about 10-35 cents! This is a small price to pay to make a new fan, get them on your Mailing List, get them to come talk to you at your Merch table, and give you a chance to further connect with them!

If EACH member of your group does this, you can easily get to most of the new people in the room and get them on your Mailing List. Some people may not want to be on your Mailing List, and that is FINE. Just move on, don't worry about it, and meet someone else. It is amazing how much of a difference this can make when each member is committed to doing this. Instead of only getting 10-20 new people on your Mailing List, now you'll start getting 50-100 or more. Not only are you GROWING your Mailing List, but you are also starting a CONNECTION with your soon to be fans and reaching these people on a more personal level before you even take the stage. This means that when you do take the stage most of the crowd will have met one of your group members and will be more interested in seeing you play.

As you continue to put this into practice you will start to learn what works best when introducing yourself to new people, what to say, and what not to say. If each member stays committed to doing this at EVERY show you play you will quickly grow your Mailing List and grow your fan base--as well as start a connection to your new fans that will be the foundation for the rest of your career.

*For More Info On How To Get Other Band's Fans To Stick Around For Your Set Visit: Other Bands Fans: Love'em or Lose'em.