Secrets to Building Your Email List as an Artist

Secrets to Building Your Email List as an Artist

The widely held belief among marketers is that every email subscriber is worth $1 per month.

That means if you have 3,000 email subscribers, you should be able to make $3,000 per month.

The math is a little off, though, because virtually no one gets a 100% open rate on their email campaigns. 20% is considered good, and anything above that is stellar. And this also depends on industry averages. I know from having worked in music for a long time that a 20% open rate would be high when sending campaigns to musicians.

So, that means each email is worth considerably more than $1 per month, if you do things right.

20% of 3,000 is 600. $3,000 divided by 600 people is $5. Meaning an engaged email subscriber is worth closer to $5 per month.

You don’t need a huge email list to earn a sizable income.

You don’t need a huge email list to earn a sizable income. Click To Tweet

Now, when you hear stats like these, it’s easy to think you’re doing everything wrong if you’re not making $1 per month per email.

But I have personally encountered this as well. If all you do is attract a bunch of freeloaders, you can’t expect them to buy much of anything from you let alone support your work.

You shouldn’t feel discouraged if things don’t seem to be lining up for you the way they’re supposed to, though. You’re not some kind of weird exception if you’re not making $1 per month per email.

You’re not some kind of weird exception if you’re not making $1 per month per email. Click To Tweet

But if things aren’t working, it would be wise to go back to the drawing board and rethink your strategy.

As my mentors in network marketing taught me:

What you win them with is what you win them to.

If all you’re doing is giving away things for free in exchange for email addresses, it’s entirely possible that you’re just attracting an audience who will take the free stuff and bolt.

The other possibility is that your lead magnet is too far removed from your core brand. Everyone wants to win a free iPad, but if it’s a mismatch with your messaging, you can bet that most of those people are going to unsubscribe once the contest is over. Which is why a small (but engaged) email list is never a problem.

People make a big deal of lead magnets these days, but the truth is, at Music Entrepreneur HQ, they haven’t worked that well for us in the last couple of years. We’ve had more success with tripwires (irresistible, low-ticket offers) versus lead magnets, so we’ve started prioritizing those instead.

So, don’t just do things because people tell you to. Test them out for yourself and see what works. The conventional method may not emerge a champion at the end of the match.

Quick reminder – you can now pre-order the Kindle edition of The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition (just in time for the holidays). Don’t get left behind – be the first to get my latest work into your hands!

Building a Solid Foundation for Your Music Career

Building a Solid Foundation for Your Music Career

What is the most important part of a building? The foundation.

It’s the same with music careers and businesses. If we want to grow, we need to build a solid foundation.

And this usually takes some digging. It requires some hard intellectual work and research. It doesn’t just come together in a vacuum or by accident.

Extending the analogy further, the part that usually takes the longest to build with any building is the foundation. After the foundation is in place, the rest of the building comes together much faster.

First, we need to know what we’re building towards. We need a blueprint. Otherwise, we don’t know how deep or wide to dig.

And that depends a lot on the type of career you want to have, whether it’s being a songwriter, a touring musician, a work from home music producer, or whatever else you might have in mind. You can create whatever you want, but you’re going to get more assistance from others and the universe if you’re clear on what you want and can stick to your guns.

Starting with the end in mind is an exercise a lot of people don’t do. So then, their building efforts are haphazard, and they end up having to repair their foundation later. It usually ends up being costly and difficult. Much more tedious than if they had started with the right foundation in the first place.

To offer an example, Music Entrepreneur HQ’s most visited blog post is a book review of Dr. Joseph Murphy’s The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.

At first, we were excited to see all that traffic come in.

There was one problem though. The people who came to check out that post? They were mostly interested in Dr. Murphy or his book, and not at all in music or building a music career. We thought we’d found an intersection of interests, when in fact we’d ended up attracting a different niche crowd altogether. So, we grew a lot of traffic and email list “bloat” that was never going to be good customers for us.

The sad part is that it took a couple of years to sort this all out. And my solution was to create an entirely separate email list for these people, in case I ever decided to take the niche more seriously and had other recommendations to send them.

Music Entrepreneur HQ still benefited from having a highly trafficked blog post. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” as they say. But what we learned from this experience was that we had to be a lot more careful about the content we published on our site. We needed to be sure that it was a good fit for our target audience if we had any intention of selling to them.

It’s often been said that if you lead with your interests, your audience will follow you. But sometimes this just isn’t true.

So, let’s start with the end in mind. What is it that you want in your music career? Be as clear as you possibly can. Don’t rush the process. Don’t get frustrated with it. Brainstorm. Speculate. Think about it. Talk about it. Discuss it with your mentors and people you trust. Journal about it. And let the picture form in your mind.

Once you know where you’re going, it’s all about unfolding the journey. The details start to take care of themselves. Instead of “working towards” something, you’ll be seeing the goal as a “done deal.” Then you’ll be unfolding it a day at a time. That’s a journey full of freedom and ease.

Don’t make up the blueprint as you go. Start with the blueprint.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Putting Yourself First

Putting Yourself First

Many opportunities will come your way.

But saying “yes” to everything isn’t a strategy, and it isn’t likely to work out over the long haul.

Somehow, someway, you’ve got to remember to put yourself first.

If you don’t, you could burn out. And you aren’t much good to yourself or anyone else if you burn out.

Your health and wellbeing are a macro consideration because they affect everything.

Many things people consider “macro” aren’t, whether it’s traveling, taking a new job, entering a relationship, or buying a house.

These opportunities need to fit within your ecosystem. If they don’t, they will take away from it. That makes them “micro” considerations.

So long as your heart is beating, there will always be more opportunities.

I don’t know how we’ve gotten away from this, but we have. We are putting other people and other priorities above our own wellbeing. And we are suffering the consequences.

What’s workable is putting yourself first – ensuring that you’re ready for opportunities that come your way and having enough space in your life to say “yes” to the ones that fire you up.

Why “Follow for Follow” is a Bad Idea

Why “Follow for Follow” is a Bad Idea

Everybody, their dog, and even the fleas on the back of their dogs want a bigger social media following.

Which is fine. We all know that we can do so much more as creatives and creators on the back of a larger following – we can send traffic to our websites, grow our email lists, get more sales for our eBooks, develop a long-term relationship with our audiences, and more.

But of all the tactics people employ to grow their followings – from posting daily to paying for fake followers – the all-time worst idea to grow your following is categorically, “follow for follow.”

Follow for Follow is a Specific Tool for a Specific Situation

For the uninitiated, follow for follow means following someone with the (unexpressed) expectation that they’re going to follow you back.

Now, please understand what I’m saying. Most tactics and tools, outside of complete black hat, “this might almost be kind of illegal and might even violate the terms and conditions of the social network,” all is fair in the game of social media – even follow for follow.

But recognize that follow for follow is a specific tool for a specific situation. Even the best philosophies, devastatingly clever strategies, and quotes of wisdom are only effective in the right situations.

Walt Disney said:

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

I tend to agree with Mr. Disney. I don’t like sitting and talking endlessly about what needs to be done. I like to go out and do!

But if you’re working with a team, and they have no clue what they’re doing, let alone what’s expected of them, talking would be key to the team’s success.

If you’re in a relationship, and things have been going awry, communication is key to making things work. That might include “doing,” but without a sense of what “doing” is going to make a difference, talking to sort out the issue is your only option.

See what I mean? The Disney quote is amazing, but it’s not 100% applicable, all the time, in every situation.

When Does Follow for Follow Work?

Follow for follow works when there’s an established pretext. Generally, when two parties agree to follow each other and engage each other’s content. There’s a win-win, and maybe even a win-win-win (if the audience following each page or profile benefits from the shared content).

You can’t have that pretext without communication. It’s not going to happen by happenstance or accident. You’ve got to be able to articulate expectations and goals – come up with a plan or strategy for both parties to benefit.

Follow for follow is useless where there is no communication. It can be summed up in two words – self-interest.

Wonderful. You’re like every other human being on the planet if you’re interested in yourself. That’s not where breakthrough happens.

Breakthrough happens where you seek out and create mutually beneficial, easily actionable propositions.

If I had a friend approach me today with a plan that was easy to follow and action, I would have a hard time saying “no” – especially if there was a benefit. But just so we’re clear, there would be no benefit in me promoting an online poker site, for instance. It’s not aligned with what I’m up to. The opportunity would need to be aligned with my values and direction.

Why Follow Anyone?

Follow me because you’re interested in me. Follow me because you get value from my content. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time. Frankly, you’re wasting the time of the person you’re following too, because they have no idea who you are, what you’re about, or why they should be following or engaging you in the first place.

It takes but a paragraph or two to introduce yourself and suggest a workable, mutually beneficial plan. How hard could that possibly be?

No, not everyone will accept, and perhaps rejection is what you’re afraid of. But the traction you’re trying to create is on the other end of being of service to others. It’s simple if a little counterintuitive.

Stop being so selfish. Work on inspiring, entertaining, or educating others. Then you will give them a reason to follow you.

If all you do is show up to the party (make no mistake – social media is a party) a loud, incoherent drunken mess, you shouldn’t be surprised when others avoid you.

Let’s be strategic and considerate. Not just one or the other.

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#StrategySunday – April 11, 2021

#StrategySunday – April 11, 2021

Welcome to another #StrategySunday, champ!

This has felt like a rather “standard” #StrategySunday if there ever was one. But that’s a good sign that I’m staying consistent and moving in the right direction. I don’t think I need to make any huge shifts now. Just stay steady, keep doing what I’m doing.

Here’s this week’s #StrategySunday breakdown.


Here is what I went over during this planning session:

  • I reviewed my content duties for the week.
  • I went over what I’m looking to accomplish in terms of product development.
  • I reviewed my project queue.
  • I listed out my admin duties for the week.
  • I reviewed current musical projects. One has been completed and will be posted soon.


Was there anything that came out of this week’s reflection and planning session?

  • There is value in experimentation. I’ve been doing some spontaneous live streams as of late, and to my surprise, they have attracted an audience and I have been having fun doing them. Compared to a variety of other things I’ve been experimenting with, which either don’t produce much of a result, or haven’t been much fun, I’m far more excited about live streaming now.
  • I have been using Mondays to “ease in” to the week. I am not always successful, but this feels like the right approach.


Were there any ideas that came out of this week’s session?

  • Nothing aside from the fact that I plan to do weekly live streams now.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for joining me, champ!

If you need more inspiration, refer to yesterday’s weekly digest.

That’s it for this week’s #StrategySunday. Wishing you the best of weeks!

For more inspiration, be sure to sign up for my email list.