I am pretty sure we all had that moment when we set up our websites. We picked the best profile picture we had, upload music to SoundCloud, and started to write some original words on who we are, what we offer, and why we do what we do.
Then that magic moment happened when we added the newsletter form.
“Sign up for my newsletter.”
Of course, I am just taking a guess here, but was your first email from your mum, your best friend, or that test email from your account?
Then there was radio silence.
However, one day, the unbelievable happened: A first subscriber signed up to our list.
But what next? Wait until we got 10, 50, or 100? Or even worse: You send out your first newsletter after a few weeks (or even months), and right after hitting the send button, someone unsubscribes with “WTF! I didn’t sign up for this!?! Please remove me ASAP!” … even though they had signed up for it, but don’t remember.
On another note, you may ask why you should build a mailing list at all? What’s the point of it all? You can quickly answer this question with a simple answer:
Imagine sending out a promotional post on Facebook to your 1000 friends/people liking your page versus sending out an email to 1000 people on your mailing list.
While it depends on a lot of actions and algorithms, if your post even reaches those 1000 people on Facebook, you can be pretty sure that an email sent out to your mailing list at least reaches more or less everyone – depending on the subscribers’ spam filters.
As a little side note, people who already opted in to your mailing list are already more interested in what you have to offer or create.
Now let’s hop into more practical stuff. Let’s check how to build an attractive opt-in form, a growing mailing list, how to entertain your subscribers in the long run, and that your landing page doesn’t necessarily have to be your homepage.
At the end of this article, you will find the section “tools of choice” in which I will give you a few valuable suggestions on what service to use for the needed functions.
The first thing you have to carve into stone is your goal. Why do you have this mailing list? What’s the purpose?
Are you a live musician and want to keep people up to date on your next live events?
Are you a piano teacher and want to promote your new online piano course?
Are you a composer offering writing and arranging services?
Or are you a sound designer who is selling sample libraries?
Imagine you’ve built this awesome house. Then people are visiting and want to take a closer look. After an hour, you finally come around, open your main door, and greet them with “Yo, this is my living room!”
Suddenly you are gone for another 30 minutes and come back with the words: “… and this is my kitchen. I cook coffee here!”
Very exciting, right?
Your goal is essential. If this isn’t set up, your entire mailing list won’t make any sense at all. In the example of your house, you want to have a clear idea of why you are setting up this mailing list and what is your ultimate goal at the end of it.
“Sign up for my newsletter.”
To at least 99%, this is what I see on composers and artist websites. Then I, and probably many others, are asking the same question as always: “Why should I sign up here? What makes this person so special among these other 982734345 composers out there?”
A little thought experiment:
Imagine someone having this opt-in form :
“Sign up here and instantly receive 1.000 USD – no strings attached! I am a millionaire, and all I want to do is give back!”
Probably everyone would sign up on this, right?
The problem is, even if that mailing list is packed like the main tent on the Octoberfest at 8 pm, there is no defined target group. Everyone, signing up, would love to have 1.000 USD, disregarding who they are or what they do.
Now, let’s optimize the caption of that opt-in form:
“Sign up for my free email piano course. Receive a daily free lesson for the next five days and learn some of my secrets on how to become confident with the seven modes. Last but not least, get my free piano theory chart.”
Now that is as precise as possible! Visitors will instantly know that they will:
Everything is crystal clear, and visitors perfectly know what they will take away from this! Furthermore, it should be evident that only piano players will sign up for this.
I am pretty sure that this opt-in form will have quite a few sign-ups 🙂
Our next step then would be to find interested people, but we will get later to that.
Let’s stick with the example of the professional pianist who is about to promote his new online piano course. In this case, the nurturing process is pretty straightforward.
Right after someone signed up for the free course, they will receive the first lesson and the so-called lead magnet (remember the free piano theory chart?) via an automated email.
Almost every email service provider is offering the feature of tagging subscribers. In this case, if someone signs up for that free piano course, we would add a tag “signed for the piano course”
Not just the first email would be automated, but the entire sequence of those five emails with a delay of one day in between each of the following emails.
Last but not least, you could even use another automation of adding a tag to the people who went through the full free course (for example “piano course done”)
In your very last email, you could point out that if the reader would love to learn more about your piano playing technique, they can enroll in a flagship course.
The full course, you probably invested several weeks, if not even months building, wouldn’t be for free. To make the offer more attractive, you could add a little 15% to 20% discount on top of it.
There are so many opportunities on how to build your mailing list, so let’s go through a few of the most effective ones.
For the following suggestions, let’s stick with the example of the pianist promoting his new course.
Social media videos and posts: Every week, post a YouTube video of yourself, playing a little piece of music, and explaining what you did.
The ideal would be a length of ten minutes per video because you also generate some decent watch time, and YouTube will favor you over other peoples’ short videos.
At the beginning and at the end of that video, you could feature your free piano course by pointing out to subscribe to the link in the video description below.
A great thing to do now is to consider “content duplication.”
Break down this ten-minute video into small 15 seconds clips providing some valuable information to the viewer and post these on Instagram.
Besides using a proper tagging of your video, you can write a motivating caption and refer to the link in your Instagram bio.
Let’s say you were able to create seven small 15-second-videos, post one of them every single day.
Go ahead and create a few dozen screenshots of your original video and put some nice and beautiful text quoting the essential information of your video, and there you go with a bunch of tweets for the next days!
You can go even further and turn the whole video into a blog post!
You are a pianist, so you eventually own a few piano sample libraries? Review them on YouTube and refer to your free piano course once in a while.
Host a giveaway
You have connections to sample library developers? Ask them if it is cool to host a giveaway for one of their newest products. When doing contests, there are so many different opportunities on how to do it.
One way could be a sign-up contest. People leave their email address and participate in the giveaway.
When announcing the winner, do it live by writing the names down on a few slices of paper or record a video when doing it and post it on YouTube – link to your free course!
Always. Drive. Traffic!
You can even dig way deeper into the giveaway mechanics and initiate a viral contest. People would have to sign up and share their viral links so others can sign up for it and receive points.
However you do it, your mailing list will grow, sometimes slower, sometimes faster, but it will grow!
Also, remember when I said above that your landing page doesn’t necessarily have to be your website?
From a marketing point of view, the only goal of that specific landing page should be to turn an interested visitor into a subscriber!
Therefore you could host the sign-up form at a dedicated landing page!
Again, please keep in mind that the professional pianist promoting his new piano course was just an example.
It doesn’t matter if you are:
… as long as you set your goal!
The internet is full of email service providers, landing page builders, and opt-in form services. I had the pleasure to try probably too many of those, so I want to trim it down to a few very effective and well-working ones.
The last thing we want is to create a problem for a solution here 🙂
In my opinion, not the best solution when it comes to building your mailing list. I believe the major reason why Mailchimp is successful, is because you can have up to 2000 subscribers for free.
However, Mailchimp can be very confusing and especially when you want to have several sign-up forms, simple automation processes and easy segmentation (which will become very important in the long run), it is frustrating to use!
In fact, Mailchimp can the that confusing that even support members don’t know how to work something out! Let that sink in!
I simply have to give it some credit, because you can test out very basic functions for free.
This will be my all-time favorite email service provider! It is not that expensive (starts at 29 USD a month) and is probably the most intuitive and most logical solution.
Even better, it provides you with a simple landing page builder and some decent opt-in forms (which you can easily embed into e.g. an existing blog website.
The automation setup is a charm and the segmentation and tagging process of your subscribers is done in seconds.
I even got back to it after spending a long time with the email service provider flagship ActiveCampaign, which was just a tad too expensive and too much for my needs.
I love Leadpages because of a simple fact. The team behind it really knows how to build landing pages that are loading quickly and focus on one thing only: Converting interested people into email subscribers.
Once you understand the core functions of Leadpages, setting up a dedicated landing page will be a thing of joy and may take just a few minutes!
In fact, I was so fascinated by it, I build my entire artist website in Leadpages 🙂
Besides building beautiful landing pages, there are some other functions such as creating cool looking and functional popups and delivering lead magnets like no other.
I should also mention that you still need an email service provider to “transfer” the people, who signed up for your content, to your mailing list.
The service itself may appear to be a bit costly starting at 37 USD a month, but it is definitely worth it.
Divi (WordPress theme)
I tried many WordPress design tools such as Thrive Architect or probably too many Themeforest templates from the Envato Market and other stuff.
I actually had my eye on Divi for a very long time but was never sure if I should give it a try or not … until recently I took the plunge, tried it and didn’t stop loving it!
Divi is so beautiful, easy to use and besides a lot of design options, it also offers opt-in forms, call to action buttons and other stuff which you usually need additional WordPress plugins for.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
Last but not least, I really hope that this article was helpful to you! Please keep in mind that you can always hit me up via my contact form!
In case you got any suggestions or comments, I would be happy to hear from you in the comment section below.
If you would like to know more about this, you may want to head over to my course section and sign up for some more info about the Audio Artist 3.0