270 – How We’ve Collected Over 5,000 Emails

by | Apr 29, 2022 | Podcast

Are you looking to grow your email list and attract your 1,000 true fans? What if you could grow your email list well beyond 1,000 subscribers?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:26 – 1,000 true fans
  • 01:18 – Laying the groundwork to grow your email list
  • 02:24 – Creating an irresistible lead magnet
  • 02:59 – The best type of lead magnet: Content upgrade
  • 04:13 – Which pages do you create content upgrades for?
  • 06:02 – You’ll need to adjust and optimize your strategy
  • 07:37 – Episode summary
  • 09:05 – Setting up your OTR website

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:


Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

Now, the title of this episode is How We Collected Over 5,000 Emails, but in the grand scheme of things, 5,000 emails is nothing.

There are plenty of bloggers and businesses out there that have collected over 10,000, 100,000, even one million plus subscribers over the years.

But we’ve all heard about 1,000 true fans, the idea that you could have a perfectly sustainable, even thriving artistic career if you had a minimum of 1,000 people who bought everything you made.

And a small, engaged audience, is better than a huge database of subscribers who don’t open your emails.

A small, engaged audience is better than a huge database of subscribers who don’t open your emails. Share on X

Anyway, getting to the point of finding your 1,000 true fans is likely going to take collecting more than 1,000 emails, but if you could get 5,000 people on your email list, do you think you’d have a pretty good chance at living out the independent music career of your dreams?

Keep listening to find out how we did it…

Setting the Foundation

If you don’t lay the groundwork, you can’t collect emails. That’s the bottom line.

If you don’t lay the groundwork, you can’t collect emails. Share on X

There are many methodologies out there, and you can experiment with all of them to see what works best for you.

But for Music Entrepreneur HQ and practically any other site we’ve established, there’s only been one reliable way of growing our email list. We haven’t gotten results with putting up a signup form on our website and waiting for people to sign up. I guess that works for some people…

We follow a methodology created by James Schramko of SuperFastBusiness called Own the Racecourse or OTR. By the way, I had an excellent conversation with him in episode 86 of the podcast.

People often think the key to OTR is publishing great content, when really the most critical aspect of it is setting up a platform you own. It’s one of the reasons we believe so strongly in that. In the long run, though, you do want to establish a platform that’s full of content your audience will love. But you can and should start collecting emails from day one.

Once you’ve bought your domain, paid for hosting, and have established your website, that’s the time to start collecting emails. That’s your foundation.

Create Lead Magnet(s)

The next step is to create your lead magnet. That’s a fancy term to describe something free and irresistible your audience will want and will happily give you their email address to receive from you.

Many artists hold back and try to give their prospects and fans something they aren’t all that interested in, or couldn’t possibly care about, like a basement demo they recorded on a cassette player when they were 12 years old. No wonder your email list isn’t growing.

You want to give away an EP, a recording of a radio interview that went particularly well, or some high quality behind-the-scenes videos. Brainstorm and you’re sure to come up with some ideas of your own.

Content Upgrades

We’ve found the best way to get people to sign up, though, is with content upgrades. So, our lead magnets take this form. I’ll share how this works.

First, we develop a great piece of content we know our audience will love. Then, we offer an upgrade. Oftentimes, it’s a transcript, cheat sheet, checklist, or eBook – something directly connected to the content piece they were viewing.

But again, we don’t just drop a signup form in the content and expect them to use it. We get them to click a button.

Since we used to use Leadpages, back in the day, a popup would appear when they clicked on the download button. But nowadays we use 10XPro to collect our leads for us. So, when the audience clicks the button, they’re brought to a landing page we’ve built on our 10XPro installation.

Squeeze page

Best practices and methodologies are always changing. If you’re listening to this in the future, who knows, we may have moved over to a different system, but that’s what we’re using right now.

The truth is you don’t need any fancy tools. An email service provider like ConvertKit has great landing page templates built into it, and like many ESPs, it’s free to use up to a point.

But getting people to click before signing up is a subtle “yes” in their psychology that more seamlessly leads to them giving you their email address.

Getting people to click before signing up is a subtle “yes” in their psychology that more seamlessly leads to them giving you their email address. Share on X

Determining Which Pages to Create Content Upgrades for

Now, if you’re starting from scratch, you can build your content with content upgrades in mind. You can take your time, publish at a cadence that makes sense to you, and ensure all your posts have lead magnets your audience will thirst for.

But if you already have hundreds of pages of content like we do, what do you do?

Here’s what we prioritize:

  1. The top 10 posts and pages on our website. These are the most visited and viewed pages on our website. This is effectively the 80 / 20 of the entire strategy. This is where most of your results are going to be coming from. So, prioritize the creation of content upgrades for your most visited pages.
  2. The podcast. We have a long-running podcast. You’re listening to episode 270 as we speak. For each episode, we continually go above and beyond the call of duty by providing media highlights or timestamps, resource links, transcripts, click to tweets, and sometimes even pictures, images, Spotify embeds, videos, and other media. We wanted to create a reason for our listeners to go to the website whenever there’s a new podcast episode, and to cater to as many learning styles as possible. We haven’t done all this perfectly. There are still episodes missing timestamps and transcripts, but we’re adding more each week.
  3. New content. We have a lot of practice creating content that appeals to and serves our audience. So, when we create new content, it’s often with the mile high view of adding a content upgrade in mind.
  4. Other popular content. Once you’ve finished setting up content upgrades for your top 10 pages, you can start drilling deeper into your top 20, 30, 40, 50, and so on. But always keep in mind there’s a point of diminishing returns.

Adapt & Iterate

Okay, so what I’ve just shared with you is the crux of the strategy.

But is it really that easy?

Well, as with anything worthwhile, it’s simple and not easy.

Because your content doesn’t always connect, and you need to keep creating. Sometimes you need to wait six to 12 months for SEO to kick in. Feeding the Google dragon with fresh content is kind of a necessarily evil. So, you’ve got the content to think about.

Then there’s the lead magnet. We recently found a winner in our PDF Vault offer, but the one we published before that, Music Money Machine, didn’t connect as well. Maybe it just sounds too slimy, I’m not sure. But we’re always leaning in the direction of what works rather than what doesn’t.

Failed lead magnet

We’ve tried many lead magnets over the years that didn’t work, and that’s why we believe more in content upgrades, as nice as it is to think there’s some catch-all download everyone is going to want. The PDF Vault happens to be the perfect intersection of lead magnet and content upgrade because it’s where we host all our transcripts, cheat sheets, eBooks, and so on.

Additionally, setting up the system takes time and effort. It’s not a full-time job, but more than likely you will have weekly tasks to complete, unless you’re able to delegate it.

You’ve got to create content consistently, attract an audience, build traffic, offer something your audience wants, and get them to sign up for it. And just as I discovered, it can take a few years just to get to that point.

That’s not the end of the road, as the next step is to nurture and put offers in front of your audience. But that’s another topic for another time.

Episode Summary

  • Create your platform. If you want to use the OTR methodology, you’ll want to set up your own content and keyword rich blog on a domain you own. WordPress works great. 10XPro can also act as your content management system. But the bottom line is it needs to be a property you own and control.
  • Publish. An OTR installation involves setting up a news site covering the topics your audience is most interested in. If you don’t have content to attract your audience, you won’t generate any traffic. You’ve got to commit to publishing consistently to keep the engine humming.
  • Set up your lead magnet and / or content upgrades. Find the top 10 posts and / or pages on your site and create content upgrades your audience can’t resist signing up for.
  • Adjust as needed. You may need to adjust your content. You may need to adjust your lead magnets or content upgrades. This is an ongoing process and it’s not set and forget until you’ve nailed the formula. Even then, there will still be work because you’ll have new content and new upgrades to promote.

Closing Segment

In the past, setting up an OTR website was costly, time-consuming, and effort intensive. While there is still work involved today, it’s easier than ever thanks to tools like 10XPro, which is an all-in-one website, landing page, course, and membership builder. It has everything you need to build a website that helps you get results. You can go to davidandrewwiebe.com/10XPro if the timing is right for you. That’s the numbers 1 and 0 followed by x – p – r – o.

This has been episode 270 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

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