Promoting your music can take up a lot of time. That said, ongoing promotion is needed to get things moving for you, as without it you won’t get very far in terms of recognition or finances.
It’s because of this that wherever you can make things easy for yourself in the marketing department, you should.
Automating tasks is one way you can make your music marketing efforts a lot easier, as is scheduling some things in advance. This is what we’re going to look at in this guide, specifically:
- Using email autoresponders to build a relationship with fans on autopilot (after a one time initial set up), and
- Scheduling social updates strategically in advance.
While the above is a very simplified idea of how you can save a lot of time and energy in your music career, using the above two methods can free up many of your hours to work on other types of promotion and music making. Here’s a more detailed look at what we’ll be covering in this guide:
- Why adding automated and scheduled elements to your music marketing campaigns is important.
- How adding autoresponders to your email marketing can help you build up a bond with fans on autopilot.
- What you should include in your email autoresponders.
- How often you should send out your automated emails.
- The free social media scheduling tool which can make your social campaigns a whole lot easier.
- The kind of social messages and updates you should be scheduling.
- And more.
Why Should You Automate Certain Parts Of Your Music Marketing Campaigns?
So before we look at how you should be automating and scheduling your marketing efforts, let’s quickly look at why you should be doing this.
If you could set up a system to promote you on autopilot (even if you’re not there), wouldn’t you do that? This is what you should aim to do wherever possible, as long as the results reflect well on your brand.
By setting up an automated system, you won’t have to invest as much time into whatever it is you’re automating. In this lesson, it’ll be part of your email marketing campaign.
Doing this will save you hundreds of hours over your music career, possibly more. It’ll also encourage people to keep your music in their mind, and to spend more money on you in the long run. This is better then the one off ‘purchase and forget’ model, as you can encourage people to buy more over time.
While automating things can save you a lot of time, scheduling updates will make things a lot easier for you in general. In this lesson we’ll be looking at social updates in particular.
Doing this will allow you to schedule a bunch of updates at the beginning of the week, and make them go out to fans automatically as the week goes on. This will mean that even if you can’t get to your computer on some of these days (due to work or anything else), you’ll still be updating your fans and giving them something to get involved with.
So now we know how both of these things can benefit your music career, let’s get started with the first of these two time and energy savers:
Email Autoresponders – What It Is And Why Is It Helpful
Email autoresponders are a type of email message that gets sent out to fans automatically, and to a set schedule. You’ll have to write these messages before hand, but once you’ve written each email, you won’t have to write it again for each new fan. You simply put it in your autoresponder system (we’ll look at some good ones in the next section), and depending on what schedule you set, anyone that signs up to your mailing list will receive a copy of each email when it’s their turn.
So for example, let’s say you write a message letting people know about your album, and you wanted people to see it two weeks after they’ve signed up to your mailing list. You’d simply login to your email marketing software, enter your autoresponder section, and add your email as they instruct.
You’ll set the ‘conditions’ you want (for example, it goes out 14 days after each person subscribes to your list), and you save this autoresponder.
Now, if someone signs up to your list on say the 14th of April, on the 28th of April they’ll be emailed the message you added to your autoresponder as this is two weeks after. If someone signs up to that same list on the 7th of May, they’ll get that follow up message about your album on the 21st of May.
It doesn’t matter when the person signs up, they’ll always get it 14 days after they do.
This is better then you manually emailing everyone who joins your list, it’ll become time intensive and people will miss key updates if they join a lot later then others. This way though, you’ll be sure everyone who subscribes to you will see all your important messages and at a time that’s most effective to when they find out about you.
How To Set Your Autoresponder Up
So how do you make sure your autoresponder emails get sent out? Well first of all, you need a service which has an autoresponder built in.
There are three main options I’ve used before, all of which can work well:
While Mailchimp offers a free email marketing account, the free version doesn’t include the autoresponder feature, so the cost of both tools is the same.
Within both of these, you’ll be able to easily add multiple autoresponders, and have them go out whenever you want. In my autoresponder for Music Industry How To, I currently have over 25 messages which go out to anyone that subscribes to my email list at the rate of once a week. This helps build a relationship with any subscribers for 6 months after they find out about the site, all without me lifting a finger. Even though the messages were all written a long time ago, they keep benefiting my business without me doing any additional work. The same will work for your music career, saving you a lot of time and effort along the way.
It’s up to you which you go for, but Active Campaign is what I currently use as it’s the most powerful. All however are typically considered the industry standard for consumer level email marketing tools.
What Should You Include In Your Autoresponder?
So now you know you can use Active Campaign to host and send out your autoresponders on autopilot, what should you include in these messages?
Well first of all, it’s important to remember one thing:
As a general rule, autoresponders shouldn’t contain time sensitive information.
The reason for this is simple: These messages will be going out to people at different times and potentially for years to come. It’s because of this that you probably wouldn’t want to mention the date you’re launching your second album for example. Yes it may be relevant to people who get the email before your second album is launched, but for anyone who receives it after that time period, it will be a out of date email. And that doesn’t look good on you.
While you can always include dates and edit them out after the date has gone, it’s easy to forget to go back and edit things, especially when you have a lot of these autoresponders and other marketing things going on. My advice is to send time sensitive information out as a regular email, not as a autoresponder.
So that’s what not to send out, now for what you can include…
A Welcome Email With Next Steps
One thing you should always send out is a good welcome email to anyone who’s subscribed to your list. In it you should include what they get for signing up (offering a song or E.P is always a good idea, you might want to try this strategy), what they can expect from your newsletter, and how they can connect with you in other ways. This email should be scheduled to send as soon as the person has confirmed their subscription to your newsletter.
Another type of autoresponder message you could add are exclusive songs just for subscribers, and possibly exclusive videos. You’ll want to make these songs that people can’t hear on your website, and let your subscribers know this too. Inform them the only way they can hear more of these exclusive songs is to stay on your list. Everyone likes to feel they’re getting special privileges, so give it to them.
A good idea is to offer discount codes to people who have been on your newsletter for a certain amount of time. Hopefully they’ve grown to like you enough to buy some of your material after a month or two of them hearing from you. If they haven’t bought anything yet though, a well timed coupon code for say 20% off the price of your album can often encourage more sales which you may not have made otherwise.
People relate to people. It’s a good idea to sometimes send an interesting story about yourself, allowing people to get a deeper incite into who you really are. This can make them feel like they know you better, and generally help keep them interested in what you’re doing.
Ways They Can Get Involved
If you have an ongoing way for people to get involved in your music career (e.g. send in a picture of them holding up your album, them sending you suggestions for a song, them sharing your updates, them being active on your forum etc), be sure to mention each one in a separate autoresponder. This will allow people to feel like they’re involved in what you’re doing, and hopefully become an active member of your fanbase.
There are other things you could include in these autoresponders, the only two requirements are that they’re not time sensitive, and that your fans will find them interesting. So start sharing.
How Often Should Your Autoresponder Go Out?
So how often should you schedule autoresponder emails to go out? Well, that’ll depend on a few things. First of all, it’ll depend on how much you have to say. If you’re a new musicians without much material and who is only working on their music part time, you’re not going to have a lot to say. If however you’re doing music full time and always have interesting updates for fans, you’re going to be able to send emails out a lot more often.
What I’d suggest first and foremost, is don’t force it. If you haven’t got anything interesting to say, don’t send anything.
That said, you’ll ideally want to set a new autoresponder message to go out at least every two weeks. This is so that even if you fall behind with manual updates, you’ll still have communications with your fans in some form or another (and without you doing any additional work after the autoresponders are first scheduled).
While it will vary based on what you’d feel comfortable with, you should aim to send out say one email a week, whether it’s a autoresponder or a manual update. Two emails a week max, but often one is a good amount for musicians.
If nothing else, ensure you have at least one autoresponder going out a month along with manual emails alongside it. Any less then that and you won’t really get your money’s worth on the Aweber subscription.
Scheduling Your Social Media Campaigns
So now you know why you should automate part of your email marketing campaign and know how to get started (Active Campaign, Aweber and Mailchimp will all give you the instruction videos for how to use their software when you sign up), let’s look at how you can make your social marketing a lot more hands off too.
While a lot of social updating can only be done live in person (E.G. Replying to people’s comments), there are a bunch of updates you can make which can be schedules hours, days or even weeks before hand. Doing this will mean you don’t always have to be tied down to your phone or computer to constantly feed your followers information, and will mean you can schedule a load of updates for the coming weeks in one sitting when you have some spare time.
Which Free Tool Can You Use To Schedule Your Social Updates?
While it’s possible to schedule Facebook status updates beforehand via Facebook themselves, if you’ve ever tried this, you’ll know it’s not very handy to do. You have to manually enter in the date and time; there’s no easy visual calender to help you do this quickly and easily. Furthermore, the process is a very slow one.
Twitter currently doesn’t have a built in schedule updates function.
To schedule both your Facebook and Twitter updates in advance, I recommend using the free tool Hootsuite. While there’s also a paid version available, the free version will work well enough for what you’re going to be doing. The paid version is more for companies or if you need multiple users.
I’ve used a few social scheduling tools before, and this is hands down the best one.
Once you create an account on Hootsuite, you’ll need to add the details for your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once you’ve done this, in their ‘publisher’ section you’ll be able to schedule updates for both of these accounts weeks in advance. It’s pretty easy to use, but have a look at their instructions to get to grips with it all.
So now you’re set up, what kind of updates should you be scheduling?
What Kind Of Updates Should You Schedule Before Hand
One of the great things about scheduling updates, is you can free up your time to do other things. Let’s say for example you’re about to play a gig tonight. You know you’re going to be buzzing to get on the stage, and you’ll be excited while you’re waiting to go up. That said, this isn’t usually the kind of time you want to tweet an update. You’d prefer to focus on the show in question, and how you’re going to perform it.
What you could do before you leave to go to the show, is schedule some social updates based on what you know will happen. So you can schedule one for say 10pm (of course edit times to suit your needs) saying:
“Performing soon at the *Venue*, can’t wait to get on stage and do my thing!”
You can also schedule another for 2am saying:
“Still buzzing from my earlier performance, did any of you manage to come and see it? Let me know. Pictures coming tomorrow”
You could always tweet or Facebook share other things live on the night if you like, but if you’ve scheduled those two or more updates, you can always leave any others updates till another time if you like.
Another example of scheduling updates is if you won’t be able to get on your computer much over the next few days. Let’s say you’re going on holiday, or you’ll be working long hours. You could schedule a few updates a day to go out. What I sometimes do is schedule a week’s worth of updates on Sunday night.
Things you could add include:
- Links to your new song or video. You can remind people to check out your new song if they haven’t seen it already.
- Competitions. Maybe you could let people know the person who sends in the best fan photo will win a signed copy of your new album. Or they’ll get to have lunch with you at your expense. Just be sure to make the closing date a day where you’ll be able to wrap things up and be online in person.
- Exclusive new content. You can launch a new freebie without even being there. Simply add the link to the freebie in one of your scheduled updates, and it’ll go out when you set it for.
- Photos. If you performed a show at the weekend, you can set your photos to go out at the rate of one or more a day, over the days where you won’t be able to manually update people.
- Questions. If you’ve been reading the Music Industry How To Facebook page for a while, you’ll know that I strongly suggest you get fans involved in your music career. You should ask for their feedback on things, and you should ask them what they think you can do moving forward. For example, you can schedule an update asking people if your next song should be about ‘subject a’ or ‘subject b’. Have them vote, and when you get back you can announce which option the winner was, and that you’ll be going with that one.
- And more. There are a load of things you can schedule to go out when you’re not there. Use your imagination and I’m sure you’ll come up with even more.
A Restriction To Scheduling Your Social Marketing Campaigns
While scheduling social updates can free up your time and allow yourself to always be on top of your social efforts, as with the autoresponder updates, there are some restrictions when scheduling social updates. The main one that comes to mind is that you can’t reply to people via scheduled messages. Yes you can put out updates and get the conversation started, but you can’t predetermine who is going to reply and what they’re going to say.
While scheduling will allow you to free up a lot of time and get a load of social updates down in one seated session, if you want to make your social marketing a two way process (which you should), there will be cases where you have to update things manually at the time. That said, still keep the scheduling element of things as it will make things a lot faster and easier in general.
What To Do Now
- Set up an Active Campaign or Aweber account and get used to using it.
- Set up an autoresponder series which will send out emails to fans who subscribe to your mailing list. Be sure to have at least four there initially, then add to it over time as you get more things to share with fans.
- Set up a Hootsuite account and add your social profiles.
- Get used to using Hootsuite, adding a few social updates and scheduling them for future.
- Set up a system for when you add scheduled social updates. I personally schedule a lot of them once or twice a week, to go out across the following week.