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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Best Day Of The Week For Email Marketing?

What's the best day of the week to send your email newsletter? This is a critical decision because if you send it on the wrong day, you'll have fewer of your fans open it. Why? Usually because the timing is bad and their attention is on something else. That's why you want to be sure to pick the right day.

Like record releases, I've always felt that Tuesday was the best day to release or send anything. It's usually a slow news day, everyone is over the rush and pent up obligations that Monday brings, and you're not caught up in the business craziness that grows ever crazier as the week progresses.

That being said, I recently found an article on a site called gather.com that analyzes every day of the week as a potential email day. The article drew no conclusions but did give a compelling argument for almost every day except the weekend. Here's an excerpt (by the way, I'll still stick with Tuesday).


MONDAY
Pros: After a long weekend, many email users make it a priority to organize their inboxes. This means there is a good chance that they will run across your message and open it.
Cons: Some consumers in the workforce don’t have the time or access to email during the day.
Recommended Approach: Send email late in the morning, preferably just before lunch, as this is when they are more likely to have the time to check their inbox.

TUESDAY
Pros: By now, many consumers have organized their work week and have a little extra time to devote to checking their inbox.
Cons: Campaigns aiming for recipients to take action over the weekend may trigger responses too early.
Recommended Approach: Make sure all the messages you send on Tuesday are designed to convince the recipient to react during the week.

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY
Pros: People are preparing for the weekend and how they will spend their personal time.  On these two days, they often have a little extra time to spend in their inbox.
Cons: There is still business that needs to be handled and only two days left to get it done. Depending on the recipient, they may hold your message off until next week, or forget about it altogether.
Recommended Approach: Keep your marketing message friendlier and less aggressive as subscribers plan their time off.

FRIDAY
Pros: People tend to receive less email on Friday, which in turn, increases the visibility of your message.
Cons: By the time Friday rolls around, some consumers are in such a rush, they may automatically ignore any email that doesn’t pertain to the job.
Recommended Approach: Send your message early in the day so the recipient has more time to read it and take action.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Pros: Believe it or not, people do check their inboxes on the weekend.  This factor gives your marketing message unlimited potential.
Cons: By sending business emails on Saturday or Sunday, you run the risk of coming off as too intrusive and annoy your subscribers.
Recommended Resolution: Try to avoid sending email on Saturday and Sunday.  If you must, limit your mailings to subscribers who are the most responsive on these particular days.
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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Booking Gigs With Live Music Machine

Artists can do so much online these days. Thanks to the Music 3.0 world we live in, artists and bands can directly communicate, market, and sell directly to their fans, which is the definition of Music 3.0 itself.

The only thing missing in the whole scenario was being able to book gigs, which is maybe the most critical aspect of any band's survival. If you're not playing in front of fans, you can't easily expand your audience, you can't make much money, and you can't feel good about yourself as a musician.

Now comes a way for bands to get gigs online with a services called Live Music Machine. I can't vouch for how effective it is, but I do know that something like this is much needed and important.

I was turned onto Live Music Machine in an interesting post on the Musicians Wages blog. Here's the excerpt from that post regarding the service.


Live Music Machine is an online booking tool that enables anyone to book a band anywhere. The band puts the Live Music Machine widget on their website and social networking sites, and talent buyers or even fans can easily see the bands availability and booking requirements before making a booking request. Once a gig is booked, both parties are charged a $10 fee for using the service.
This service brilliantly streamlines the booking process. The most difficult issue of booking shows is simply communication. Live Music Machine presents talent buyers, bookers, and fans with all the information they need to know before they even contact the band. Once a request is made, the band simply reviews, accepts, or rejects the offer. No miscommunications, no unanswered questions.
Live Music Machine Highlights:
  1. The widget is a complete calendar system, making it easy to post your shows wherever you put the widget.
  2. Bands can post their requirements up front, so potential bookers know exactly what the band costs for a show, how far they will travel, backline requirements, and even their rider.
  3. Fan generated bookings. Fans can make offers to book your band directly, or Live Music Machine can connect them with other fans and venues in their area that are also interested in booking you.
  4. Other LMM features will help you sell tickets and promote the show.
  5. Get paid securely with GigPay.
Learn more at the Live Music Machine FAQ.
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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why Traditional Radio Is No Longer A Factor

Here's another excerpt from chapter 2 of my the Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook, entitled "The New Music Business." It's about the current state of broadcast radio and how it got that way.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Direct To Fan Platform Overview

Oniracom (who's vice-president and creative lead Jacob Tell was recently featured in my Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook) recently posted a great overview of three of the most high profile direct-to-fan platforms (D2F for short).

D2F marketing is what every artist and band should be doing, but it takes a lot of time and a good bit of expertise. As a result, a number of companies have developed services that enable you to do D2F quicker and easier than you could do yourself. Let's take a look at an excerpt from their post. You can go directly to Oniracom's site for the full overview and their conclusion of who does the best job.


BANDBOX
Bandbox is a widget that you embed on your blog, website, and/or social profile that enables fans to directly purchase digital downloads, order full CD’s, and other merch bundles without having to navigate them away from your website or social profile.

Why it’s cool
It’s free and it’s right there! The fan doesn’t have to go looking for your songs on an online store or separate download application. Which is why Bandbox is great for independent and up-and-coming artists. This platform also enables you to set your own price for songs and physical products, which means each artist controls their own store.

In addition, Bandbox also gives you access to consumer data (e-mail and shipping address) to see who is buying your songs. This information is great for geo-targeting fans later on down the line.

TOPSPIN
The Topspin D2F platform consists of three components; a retail channel on social sites, blogs and websites, promotional widgets that drive and track traffic, and campaign management through integrated Google Analytics E-commerce reporting.

The embedded shopping cart enables you to sell customized merchandise and product bundles, where you are able to set your own prices and promotional agendas. Topspin is one of the few platforms that advocates a fan/customer support system.

Why it’s cool
Topspin is the only site that accepts international currencies and allows you to fulfill physical product shipments from any warehouse in the world. Topspin provides detailed information about each fan, which allows you to track specific fan behavior profiles.

The Topspin Knowledgebase is a great way to learn the basics of direct-to-fan marketing and how using their product can benefit both you and your audience. They did an excellent job at providing a user-friendly resource to go to with any questions or concerns, check it out here.

NIMBIT
The Nimbit D2F platform is comprised of three parts, Marketing, Direct Sales, and Business Management. Managed all from one Nimbit dashboard. Nimbit does not choose to utilize a marketing widget like the other two platforms, instead they capture fans through e-mail lists and sign-ups, in a customized store front that matches the skinning on your site or social profile.

Every time someone downloads a free track or purchases anything from your site, they automatically get added to your e-mail list. Which allows the artist to see what each fan is purchasing, where they are purchasing from and gives you a means to contact them, in order to sustain that reciprocal relationship between artist and fan.

Nimbit also utilizes very detailed analytics, click thoughts and geo-targeting features, that enable you to easily segment and customize your marketing campaign. Features include a fan list manager, content manager, campaign manager, message editor and custom search windows.

On the storefront, every Nimbit account includes digital and physical fulfillment, which means you don’t have to worry about shipping anything out to anyone, anywhere. Other features include nimbitskin, (allows for the customization of the retail store), Mystore and nimbitOMT (a channel to embed across your social profits).

Why it’s cool
It’s totally easy and user-friendly. Catalog and content management allows you to submit content once into the Nimbit dashboard and you can instantly add it across all of your social networks, blog, calendar and website, (I’m still uncertain about how this works for tour dates). But, it does provide the fans the opportunity to instantly buy tickets from you website or social profile.

People who don’t know how to write professional messages to send out in an e-blast can choose from a template and fill in the blank with a promo code to get free tracks. It tracks each fan’s activity for you, which allows you to foster a better relationship with the “super fans.”

Nimbit provides a means to capture fans as soon as they purchase a digital download or any other product from your customized storefront. This site also integrates text messaging into their marketing campaigns more so then any other site, which is definitely the next step in social media.

For the complete article and their opinion of who does the best job, go this page on the Oniracom's site.

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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Your Merch Doesn't Sell

Here's an excerpt of the  most salient points from an excellent post by Bruce Warilla from the music blog Music Think Tank. It's regarding selling your merchandise (actually not selling your merchandise), a subject that every musician with swag to sell is concerned with. It was actually supposed to be the top 10 reasons, but for some reason he left out number 8, so that's one and the bonus tip are from me.

10) You never create anything different. It’s the same merch you were pushing two years ago, but you tried to change 2008 to 2010 with a Sharpie.

9) Your merch looks like your little sister drew it…using crayons.

8) There's nothing different between your merch and what other bands sell. Try another kind of product, get a better design, or try a different color. Do some market research before you spend money on inventory.

7) There’s not enough lighting on the merch table; everything looks monochrome.

6) The merch table is next to the dance floor / mosh pit.

5) Your manager (smaller acts) has too much pride to be hawking merchandise, but he or she should be…

4) You can’t process debit cards. Get a wireless solution.

3) You underestimate the importance (to the band) of grabbing that extra $100 to $200 per show, so you don’t bother making the effort.

2) The lead singer refuses to promote merch. Solution: give him or her a pitch speech that doesn’t sound desperate or cheesy. Wrtie and then sing your signature “buy my stuff song…” three times a night.

1) You don’t connect with your audience; you don’t make eye contact; you don’t know the name of the bar you are performing in; or you forget that you were in Portland last week (Seattle this week).

Bonus tip: Announce from the stage that the band will be at the merch table to talk to the audience directly after the show. It's amazing how much you'll sell just by your presence.

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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

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