Marketing Your Band With Postcards
By: Jerry A. Greene
Question: We have an email list and a regular snail-mail mailing list. Is it a good idea to spend the money on physical mailings, or should we stay with email, which costs us next to nothing?
Answer: If you have a physical mailing address for your fans, then sending them postcards whenever you have a big gig coming up, or a CD release, can be one of the best ways to ensure your fans know what is going on.
Physical Mail vs. Email
When you check your email, how do you feel? Most likely, it's such a repetitive task that you don't even think about it. If what you receive is spam, then it's obviously not going to make you feel good. Well what if it is from a friend? You usually are happy to hear from them, but it's not usually a life-changing experience. What if you get a e-newsletter? You may read it, you may not. They also seem to clog up an inbox after a while. Make sure that your emails stick out and give people incentives for reading them so that they don't start to feel like spam, but rather something from a friend.
Now...think about how you feel when you get a piece of physical mail that means something to you. A lot of people still feel like they are checking under the christmas tree when they open the mail box. "Did I get anything good?" "I hope I got a check...no bills please!!!" Well, if you can send a little present to your fans, through the means of a post-card, then you have a chance to make them feel great...meaning they connect with you more, spend more money on your music, come to more gigs, and spread the word about you! They're also likely to save your card and show it to others if it looks really cool!
Use Both Email and Snail Mail
Just because this article is on physical mail, don't forget to use an email list. It's just that there is more of a perceived value attached to physical mail. After all it does cost money to produce and send. The combination of email and physical mail can really keep your music/band in the front of your fans' minds.
Post-card vs. Full-size Letter
If you have the money and can affoard it, the best thing to send to your fans is a personalized (hand-written envelope) with a letter that has been professionaly typed and actually signed by you. If you can't affoard the expense of mailing a letter to each and every fan, then a post-card can certainly do the trick! First of all, they're not expensive to design/reproduce, but they stand out in a pile of mail. Plus, they cost a lot less to send. If possible, try to hand-write the address. If you have a lot people on your list, then get all of your band mates together and have a post-card mailing night. Have everyone help in getting the postcards to look as personal as possible. Even a little note like "Thanks for coming to our last show" in hand-written ink is a great touch! (make sure they actually came to your last show...track everything!) The more personal it looks, the more it means to your fans.
Give Your Fans An Action To Perform
Remember I said "Send them a present"? Well, why not give a free download for visiting a special page on your website, while telling them about your news? How about a special, free piece of swag for coming out to a show and presenting the post-card to someone at your merchandise table? Give them a V.I.P. experience! First of all, this makes the fans feel great and makes the people that are not on your mailing list want to be! Make sure that you openly remind the crowd to pick up their free present for showing the post-card. This makes people that aren't on your list curious, if not envious, and gets them on your list!
A Great Way To Test Your Marketing Efforts
Whatever you do when communicating with your fans, make sure that you measure your marketing. If you do point them to a special page on your website, make sure to measure how many people react to your mailing. You can even get more techincal and have them enter their email address, or special code (telling you who your best fans are) in order to access your download. Once you know what works, you'll be able to duplicate it with new fans as they come on board. If something doesn't work, at least you'll know and wont waste your money on that marketing effort in the future.
Treat Your Best Fans Like Gold
As a side note, their will be a group of individuals that seem to follow you everywhere and tell everyone they know about you and your music. These people need to be treated like gold. How do you know who these people are? Test! Like I said in the last paragraph, make it easy for people to tell you that they are reacting to your marketing.
Also, talk to your fans at your shows! You'll start seeing who the ultra-fans are. Send them something special, like an autographed headshot. Maybe even some back-stage passes. Make their experiences with you unbelievable and you will see dividends paid to you in the future because these people are going to spread the word like wild fire when you make them feel like a close friend of the band.