#7 Truly Direct To Fan

[alert type=”success”]Win $100 this month! Sign up at http://freemusicgift.com[/alert] In this episode of TIM Talks we’re gonna talk about the buzz phrase “direct-to-fan”. I’m going to give you my take on it, what I think it really means, and how the best way to do this is with your email list.

We’re going to talk about some of the different email marketing tools that are out there and I’ll give you my recommendation and my reasoning behind it.

And then I’m going to give you a few quick-start action items for starting your email list today.

Ready? That’s today on TIM Talks episode 7

Episode 7

Happy Thursday!

This whole internet thing can get pretty crazy and confusing….

So I wanna help.

Head over to theindependentmusician.com to take the “TIM Marketing Health Check”

This will help you get an honest look at your online efforts. It’s pretty great. It will give you a little grade at the end and everything.

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Direct To Fan

“Direct to Fan” has become the quintessential indie music buzzphrase of the last 10 years or so.

In this episode I want to tell you why developing an intentional email marketing model around your music and message is THE BEST way to cultivate the direct-to-fan heartbeat of your music and your business.

You want to cultivate relationships with your fans. At the end of the day that’s the true meaning of “direct to fan”. It’s all about building relationships with real people.

Nothing beats face-to-face of course at a show… getting off the stage and shaking someone’s hand and doing more than just signing an autograph, but having a genuine conversation and asking them questions, showing interest in their life.

Serving them.

We talked about that in episode 6. Making it all about helping PEOPLE.

But there’s a problem:

Face-to-face doesn’t easily scale.

In other words you can’t possibly have genuine, caring, helpful conversations with thousands of people. It’s not possible.

So what scales?

Email does.

Email is truly direct to fan.

I have a very specific method to email marketing, and it’s all about building relationships and providing value. It’s that face-to-face mindset but done through a simple message to someone’s email inbox.

Offer value, solicit feedback, cultivate relationships.

If you’ve been on my email list for any length of time you might recognize that.

I try to always keep things conversational, yet to the point.

I try to always have something of value and giving to you or letting you know about.

And I try to be consistent.

[alert type=”info”]Upcoming Series On Email: Kicks Off March 26th[/alert]

We’re going to be kicking off a little series on email marketing and list building in episodes 11 through 14 are going to be all about email marketing in detail.

It’s a big subject, there’s no possible way to cover it exhaustively here on the podcast, but I wanna get you pointed in the right direction. So you’ll definitely wanna pay attention to those episodes.

But in this episode I simply want to persuade you…

I wanna drill down a bit more on this point:

The email inbox is the last sacred channel of communication.


Social media and your blog isn’t as private as your inbox. It’s also not as direct. When you get an email from someone you know. What do you do?

You open it.

You listen.

They have your attention.

Yes, email inboxes can get crazy chaotic and a little overwhelming at times, so a little inbox management is always good to do, but if someone gives you their email addy, they’re giving you their attention.

They’re giving you permission to reach out to them.

And this brings up a whole host of thoughts….

One being the old saying….

“To whom much is given, much is required.”

It all comes back to serving and helping the person reading your email broadcast.

There’s that acronym.


But how does it scale?

I brought up the scale factor a moment ago….

When I first started building an email list I was using the free account with Mailchimp – and by the way we’re going to address the different email marketing programs in the upcoming series on email. Episode 11 to be exact.

But I started with the free account and with Mailchimp you don’t get the autoresponder included in the free account.

I was getting sign ups, but I was manually emailing everyone a welcome and thank you email every time someone signed up.

Of course there was something exciting about this, because it was definitely more hands-on, but it got very hard when more people started signing up.

This is the scale part.


Defining Autoresponder

You need to have an autoresponder.

Now that word, for some, needs a definition.

It doesn’t mean:

“Hey I’m out of the office on vacation and am not checking email until I get back on July 2nd.”

That’s what some people think of when they hear the word.

In the digital marketing space, an autoresponder is simply a tool that allows you to automate follow up emails so you don’t have to sit there and write a new one every single time.


It’s not scalable.

Some folks might have an objection to this:

“That doesn’t seem as personal!”

And to that I simply say, it all depends….

It all depends on the email you send.

If all your doing is sending out a cold marketing eBlast, with no conversational tone, and no authentic desire to connect, then yeah it won’t be personal.

But you can write a personal email once in your autoresponder; put in the first name field (to make it even more personal) and then you’re done.

You only write it once to your list of 500 instead of 500 different times.

When I was manually following up with new sign ups when I first started, I actually pre-wrote an email and would copy and paste them every time. I might do some tweaking here and there, but I got tired of writing the same thing every time!

What it comes down to is working smarter not harder.

And again…. scalability. That’s what it’s about.

If you want to reach more people, while having a personal direct-to-fan approach, you need an email autoresponder.

But it really depends on what you’re sending to your list.


Offer value, ask questions, make it down-to-earth and conversational, solicit feedback….

This is cultivating your list.

And people actually respond. Many of you who are signed up have responded to my main emails sent out from my autoresponder….

And here’s something that will take it to the next level. Follow up directly with those emails in the normal one-to-one way.

REMEMBER the acronym…. WIIFT…. what’s in it for them.

They’re giving you permission to reach out to them.

“To whom much is given, much is required.”

It all comes back to serving and helping PEOPLE.

Do this, and you’ll not only be able to scale up to bigger numbers, you’ll have a loyal fan-base. You’ll have people who are engaged with what you’re saying.

This is really at the heart of direct-to-fan marketing.

Cultivate relationship, nurture your list, give, give, give.

Action Items For Episode 7

  1. Stop using GMAIL – Understand SPAM.
  2. Use an Email Marketing service – WATCH THIS VIDEO
  3. Start collecting emails! (sign up with LeadPages)