Archive for the ‘ Direct to Fan Marketing (emails) ’ Category

Facebook Introduces New “Modern Messaging System” (pt. 2)

Hypebot posted an update to the story on facebook’s new modern email system earlier today.

I think this new service could elevate the importance of a single message. If Facebook does a good job of making sure users are getting only messages they really care about, then there will be a heightened expectation level when checking your inbox.

As a 22 year old I hardly check my mail box because there’s RARELY anything of importance to me in it. I check my voicemail a little more because maybe just maybe there might be a diamond in the rough. I check my email eagerly multiple times a day because there’s often important messages. And I get most excited about Facebook notifications because 95% of the time it is something interesting about me or someone I care about. If a marketing message was slipped in there every now and then I would be a little pissed but if it happened less than in my email I would still enjoy my fb notifications more.

Here is the follow up story on Hypebot:

image from t3.gstatic.comThe new service, which will debut Monday with an iPhone app and roll out over the next few months, mimics the behavior of teens who are already abandoning conventional email to converse across multiple platforms in short bursts. But Facebook Messaging could also make social music marketing more difficult. Here’s why:

Messages May Be Filtered Out – While a email address is offered, it’s not required. Whatever the source of email, Facebook promises to use “Friends”, “Likes” and other clues to filter email. So a fan who signed up for a band’s email updates, could find their emails automatically shuttled into an “other” folder if they have not also friended the artist on Facebook.

Facebook says that their system will get smarter over time, so that people that aren’t friends on Facebook but communicate often will show up in the stream. How repeated one way communications like email newsletters will be filtered or allowed to pass into the users main stream is unclear

Too Much Of The Same – A major selling point of the Facebook’s system is that it unifies email, SMS, IM and Facebook messaging into a single stream somewhat like Google’s failed Wave. But that means that artist and marketers who automatically post the same updates to multiple channels risk overloading users of Facebook Messaging.

Is There A Solution? – It’s important not to judge a system that no one has used, and its likely that some of Facebook’s new features will actually enhance the artist/fan relationship. But a first look at Facebook Messages should encourage artists and music marketers to step up their friending efforts now to avoid flitering later and to closely monitor future developments.


DJ Shadow’s Marketing Tips (fb, myspace, mobile, and email)

This post is 3rd in a series of posts on Hypebot from DJ Shadow, who has been sharing his experiences while on tour. It’s about marketing, and what works and what doesn’t. Previous posts have been about how he stays connected with fans, and how he markets to fans. The advice Shadow offers is very helpful and I agree with most of what he says. But I feel like he downplays the importance of a Facebook “like,” because it can mean more than just a fan’s desire to follow posts and share you with their friends. A Facebook “like” is like a gateway drug that can lead to all sorts of other commitments from fans. Because it’s so easy for fans to click that they like something an artist needs to see how much further a fan is willing to go with them.

DJ Shadow’s First Post, and Second Post on Hypebot.

image from

Key Takeaways:

1.  Why Does Facebook work?

When I think of Facebook, I think of a community under control.  Almost it’s own country with its own President and Government.  When I think of Myspace, I think of Anarchy.  Of course, Facebook has its issues, and I can’t tell you how tired I am of seeing the “OMG, I just won a new ipod touch!” and similar spam pop up on Facebook, but in general, they have a well-balanced online ecosystem, with good security.
Bottom line: Facebook works because they figured out the ultimate formula for data portability.  The fact that I can post a geo-targeted update on Facebook, and that update will post to users within a specific geographic location, who can then share it with their entire network, is marketing gold.  When I update Shadow fans about a show, I only want to update the fans in the region of where that show is.  The beauty is, those people can then go and share it with ALL of their friends, wherever they may be, who in turn may click the link, and be redirected to the Shadow Facebook, or better yet,  This takes away the problem of mass-marketing a show for a specific region, but gives it the ability to go viral on a wider level than just the region targeted.  This also creates the ability for 1 show to begin an online buzz for the entire tour.

2.  Why I think Myspace, although “Anarchical” in terms of a social network, is still relevant.

Plain and simple: they still get a lot of traffic to music profiles, because Facebook has not fully committed to music.  I still hear bands sending people to their Myspace pages, and people saying “I heard their new track on their myspace page.”   Root Music is a great option for “Myspace-izing” your facebook Band Page, and there are other options out there for doing this, like, and (I recommend for an inexpensive solution for creating a nice-looking Band Page on Facebook).  But these tools are not “Facebook” products.  The other problem with these solutions is that once a fan “Likes” your Facebook page, they no longer see that custom page (created with one of the latter tools), as the default Facebook landing page for the artist (this is a weird Facebook constraint).  Facebook tried to have Music profiles, but they never really pushed it, and that is one of the main reasons why people still go to Myspace for music.

The other reason being that SO MANY artists made their Myspace page their web home (in place of a proper website), when the Myspace craze began.  Big mistake.  Get out now.

My advice: setup your Myspace as a portal to your band’s website… And my wonderful example is of course: Train people to go to your website first for new content.  Not Myspace, and not even Facebook.  Keeping Myspace up to date with News, and Tweets has proven to be useful for this tour.  And who would have guessed- just after my last post on Hypebot, complaining about Myspace changing their concert listings setup- they re-adjusted it.  Thanks guys!  As long as Myspace is getting traffic (and is in business), I will keep it as up to date as time permits.

3. Why Mobile is the future, and why it works.

Everyone will have a smart phone eventually, and all smart phones will be equipped with Apps.  I disagree with the whole “Web is dead” thing (sorry Prince).  I think the web is just beginning.  The web in the traditional sense will continue to evolve and expand.  Answers and solutions on command, just on smaller and much more powerful pieces of hardware.  The mobile space is becoming and will be the same on-demand solutions and content, on hyper-drive.  Because of this, the artist App, is the new, most important addition to the artist website. Think of the App as the bare-bones version of the artist website, for people to access on the go.  That is what it is.  This will change, and mobile capabilities will certainly grow, but for now, get in the door.

Creating, maintaining, and expanding Shadow’s mobile fanbase has been one of the most interesting projects I have ever worked on, and I am really looking forward to seeing how this space will evolve.  One thing is for sure: mobile fans are for the most part die-hard, and are into technology, these are great factors for monetization.

In terms of using the app on tour, the response to our iPhone photos in sync with the show pages at has been amazing, and this is really just the beginning of what could be a very engaging and expansive campaign.  We have more ideas on the way for the next tour…

4. Email Marketing: the MOST important tool in the marketing arsenal.

At the Bandwidth conference, a question came up as to WHY an email address is more valuable than a Facebook fan, and I believe I have scanned through some residual articles on the topic since then.  But the bottom line really is: a valid primary email address for a fan is essentially a fan saying: “Contact me whenever you want to.”  This is MUCH MORE valuable than a fan on Facebook saying “I Like You.”  All “I Like You” says is: I like you and I want to see some updates from you stream on a News Feed on my Facebook homepage, along with my 900 other friends’ updates.

I don’t know any exact statistics off-hand, but I do know there has been plenty of conversation and studies recently about the amount of time we, as humans, spend on email, and the numbers are staggering.  Many people have email on their phones. Obtaining an email address is the single most important thing for bands to do in terms of Direct to Fan marketing.  I can definitely say, that we have done it well at  Set yourself up for optimal fan acquisition.  The challenge then may become getting those fans to open the emails, but that is another conversation in itself.

Direct to Fan Marketing Services

As I build my email list I am looking at a few services which help with organization and results. I need something that can easily showcase the new music, photos, videos and what I’m up to. I also need easy interconnectivity to my Facebook Artist Page (ideally a “like” button embedded in the email, and the ability to suggest music to fb friends). I’ve been looking at ReverbNation’s FanReach, Nimbit, Topspin, and FanBridge.


FanReach – Since I am already using ReverbNation as a base of operations for getting messages out to my social media sites and I already have 40 contacts in my FanReach mailing list it would be very convenient to be able to use FanReach as my email system. ReverbNation offers a free service as well as a paid service called FanReach Pro. The free service allows you to create widgets to sign up people for your mailing list, set up an auto response when people sign up, group your contacts into different lists, and view analytics of who receives, opens and clicks through to you desired pages. The pro service allows for more customization with templates and colors, one-click addition of ReverbNation content like music, videos, and photos, and links to social media, and a service called Fan 360 that collects info about your fans based on their emails.

Nimbit – Nimbit is actually a complete support system for independent artists. One of Nimbit’s features captures info about fans whenever they make a purchase. You can add email list signup to your social media or website, and also create email lists based on geographic location, purchasing patterns, etc.

Topspin – Topspin offers professional marketing services to artists that are somewhat established. Not everyone can sign up for Topspin. You need to either work with one of their label/management partners or meet 2 out of 4 of these criteria: 1. make $5,000/yr or more on music, 2. Have at least 2,500 email addresses in your database, 3. Website gets 10,000 unique visitors/month, 4. Have at least 15,000 fans on facebook. From the Topspin website, it looks like they offer very professional services, but, apparently, I’m not ready yet.

FanBridge – FanBridge has the looks of a more professional service than Nimbit or FanReach, yet it is available to beginning artists unlike Topspin. Everything is aimed at getting more value out of your fan relationship, and that can be very important for beginning artists. I will experiment with FanBridge and write a more in depth review as I understand the service more.

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