This is the third of five parts on how best to manage marketing during this particular time period…or beyond. While Story Crossroads sees “story artists” to typically mean spoken word storytellers, these tips apply to all performing artists or professionals across industries.
5-Tips for 5 Days:
- Tip 1 – Website – REVEALED
- Tip 2 – Social Media – REVEALED
- Tip 3 – E-Newsletter & Email Lists – TODAY
- Tip 4 – Ideal Client
- Tip 5 – Art of Consistency & Branding
E-Newsletters and Emails Lists reflect your ultimate fans, and every artist needs fans…
For certain dreams and ventures, you need that fan base. Want to succeed with live events? Virtual events? Want a Patreon or other monthly subscriptions like Twitch from those who love what you do? You need people every time. Not a random person. A person dedicated and willing to follow, and, eventually commit funds. To You. To Your Art.
What is the difference between E-Newsletters and Email Lists? As shared in this article written by Kim Cohen with Remarkety, E-Newsletters are to “engage and educate” and focus on “news” while Email Lists are about “sales.”
Always grow your E-Newsletters and Email Lists organically. Never buy lists. These need to be people who have experienced what you do in one way or another. Acquaintances, collaborators, funders, sponsors, and volunteers also fall within “experienced what you do.”
Every event, website, social media, and live and virtual networking MUST provide opportunities for people to choose to sign up. You need at least SEVEN PLACES that people can sign up or connect with you such as: website homepage; website archives/own page; email signature; feedback forms; follow-up emails; hints in advertising literature; written details and/or spoken for any video, audio, or other media shared. Possibilities are endless. When we had live networking, I always carried a clipboard with the sign-up for E-Newsletter as well as our email lists.
Yes, you can have more than one email list. Then you can specialize or honor why people are following in the first place. Are they beyond your geography? Are they local and can collaborate easier? Do they only want events? Do they prefer how-to?
Start at least with one E-Newsletter (more paragraph/event/content focus) and one Email List (regular as well as quick announcements). Get more targeted, “complicated,” and efficient as the years go on.
Quick 5-Question for E-Newsletter Audit:
- Do you have an E-Newsletter? If not, you need to fix that now. Do not worry if you only send to a handful of family/friends at first. Grow it from there. Everyone starts with “zero” but everything later is always more. And ALWAYS permission-based.
- How do you send out your E-Newsletter? Do you use “normal” email or have you invested in an email service such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp (some bad PR lately), etc.? See “10 Best Email Marketing Services for Small Business” by Hosting Facts/Brad Smith put out 4/29/2020. The one we use and enjoy is ranked #8 – Aweber. Do you study the analytics and know the percentage who open, what days, times, etc? Then, do you make any adjustments with this knowledge? Most people open our emails on Wednesdays mornings. Our smartest posts are geared slightly before that ideal time. And…the average open rate needs to be at least 15-25% and click rate needs to be at least 2.5% (like those links/web addresses for call-to-action).
- How often do you send out your E-Newsletter? How good are you at keeping that “promise” of being monthly, quarterly, etc. Having it twice or once a year…is sad. Please commit at least quarterly with a goal to become monthly. If done more often, will people be annoyed or do they welcome this constant communication? Annoyance leads to unsubscribes from people and/or complaints. THOUGH, not having an easy “unsubscribe” button makes people nervous. People like the ability to choose even if they intend to be “forever followers.”
- Besides upcoming events, what content are you sharing that someone can use no matter if this E-Newsletter was opened the same day it went out? If opened/read a week later? A month later? A year or more later? Do people have access to your archives if they missed, joined much later, etc.?
- Are your goals and ideals easily understood by someone within and beyond your performing arts world? Do you use lingo or phrases that need to be explained? Ex. Someone may not understand what is meant by a “story swap”? Do you use abbreviations assuming people know what is meant such as putting “NSN” instead of “National Storytelling Network”? The rule? Never assume.
Quick 5-Question for Email Lists (Some Repeats):
- How many Email Lists do you have? None is an unacceptable answer. You need at least one. By five years, you probably will have two or more. Consider the types of announcements and call-to-actions that people would want? Workshop participant sign-ups? Concert-goers? Connected more for donations? Pure fan with a vague financial commitment?
- How do you send out your Email Lists? Do you use “bcc” or “cc”? Are you great about privacy? Remember, your E-Newsletters and Email Lists could be coming from the save service. See #2 for E-Newsletters above.
- How often do you send out your Email Lists? Again, see #3 for E-Newsletters. DIFFERENT AVERAGE OPEN/CLICK RATES – Do you have the ability to see if at least 20-30% are opening the emails with 20% or more of THAT clicking/opening links? Ponder reasons and re-do wording/approach if not getting those numbers.
- Have you created specific email marketing campaigns? Have no idea what that means or what you need to do? No worries…check out this article “19 Examples of Brilliant Email Marketing Campaigns” by Lindsay Kolowich. (Does warn you at top that this is a 17-minute read.)
- Is it obvious what your Call-to-Action is within the email? Then…do people have access to your archives if they missed, joined much later, etc.?
High Quality Storytelling E-Newsletters:
- International Storytelling Center – Sign-Up at bottom right of website homepage – comes out monthly – mix of news with resources/video/something
- Connie Regan-Blake – Sign-Up is merged with the Contact Form on bottom of website homepage, say “Interested in Newsletter” from drop-down menu
- John McCutcheon – Sign-Up is on left-center of website homepage, mentions how often and expectations with this phrase “Monthly updates on shows, sales, future projects and more!”
High Quality Storytelling Email Lists:
- Timpanogos Storytelling – Pop-Up to join Email Lists after hanging out on website for about 10 seconds – comes out as needed, does not have a regular schedule, yet when it does come it, visuals are stunning
- StoryCorps – Can be found on bottom of website homepage – comes out weekly – always call-to-action of “donate” at the bottom – instead of Pop-Up when going to website to the Email List/Newsletter (they have combined approach), their Pop-Up is about donating
- Please keep in mind that individual story artists can also have high quality email lists. Many performers forget to have an Unsubscribe button and/or Email Marketing Service and/or do not add any images, etc. Let me know if you feel like your email list(s) passes the audit. We want to be part of it.
If you want me to give initial thoughts on your E-Newsletter or Email List(s) and do not mind well-intended bluntness, I am open to letting you know if you email firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, this is complimentary. Also, if we are not already part of your E-Newsletter or Email list, you have our permission to add us if you are a story artist and/or story organization. You’re welcome.
See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities with three options to watch it featuring our panelists: Dr. Caroliese Frink Reed, Sheila Arnold, Darci Tucker, and Brian “Fox” Ellis. We are grateful to funding from Utah Humanities.