TPM 25 | Email List

 

Behind every social media platform is one important account that is typically overlooked: email. If you can put together a comprehensive email list to regularly send messages and engage with, one can reap a huge following and a handsome monetization. Bree Noble brings back Cheryl B. Engelhardt, this time to share her secrets on connecting with fans in a more intimate way through email. Cheryl explains the best number of people to be included in your list, how frequently you should message them, and how concise or complex your content must be. She also talks about the right attitude to have when you see people unsubscribing from you, and why you should focus more on your most loyal fans instead of your losses.

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Cheryl B. Engelhardt On Building Your Following By Engaging Through An Email List

I’m excited to be here with my friend, Cheryl B. Engelhardt. I have had her on the show before, but we have not come on here to talk about email. She’s a super huge email nerd. She’s self-proclaimed. I’m a pretty big email nerd too. This will be an interesting conversation. Before you immediately tune out like, “Email is so passe, I’m not interested in this.” Here us out because this is all about building your fan base. I’d love to know a little bit of your background in case people on here don’t know you yet, which most of them do if they’re in my audience, but if they don’t, how did you get started in music? What has been your background and why do you love email?

I am a composer and songwriter. I play the piano since I was two. I studied Biology at Cornell University and also a lot of music and ended up double-majoring. I started my career in the advertising world writing music for jingles but I’m also working in a cool studio. I put together some albums and put together a band. I started doing the gigs in New York City all over. I started to get placements, licensing, and digging in as an indie musician. Fast forward, I’m doing a lot more writing and less touring. Most people are doing less touring these days, but I stopped touring about a year ago to start doing some different composing projects in theater, social justice, choirs, meditation, music, and have had a piece featured in People Magazine on Grammy.com. I had a number one album in 2020 in the New Age category for weeks. It sat on the number one charts in Amazon and iTunes. I started doing the indie musician thing. The thing that’s been consistent for many years. I’ve been a full-time independent musician. It has been my fan list.

TPM 25 | Email List

Email List: Your subscribers will be determined in those first couple of emails that you send out.

 

When I heard about your thing on People, I was like, “That’s amazing.” The different types of genres that you’re involved in are so awesome. What I love is that you rally your fans around all of that. How do you blend that all into when you talk to your fans?

When I decided I was going to stop touring because most of my fan lists were people who had signed up at a show. That was how I was growing my list for years. I decided to shift gears and pivot, I got into film scoring, and I had a feature film. One of the reasons I stopped touring was because I needed to be in a studio to work on this thing. I was like, “My fans are going to subscribe. They’re going to leave and not care about me anymore.” I realized that over those years, I had been nurturing them to not become a fan of my music but become a fan of my music career and me. That gave me a lot of permission to pivot, which I know is the buzzword of whatever musician had to do in 2020.

That is something that I’ve realized. It’s interesting and works for me versus working against me. It changes things up. Anytime I have a very clear goal or something that I know is happening, I share it with them. For my New Age album, I was like, “Let’s try it again on the Billboard chart.” I shared that over email and they were like, “What does that mean?” They’ve heard of Billboards. It requires me to do a little bit of education and say, “It’s about sales or it used to be. It’s about this and this is what you can do directly that affects us getting this goal.” It always becomes an us. They’re my accountability team because I say it out loud and I’m like, “Go get this thing that I declared.”

If you're not clear on what you want, your audience won't be either and won't take action. Click To Tweet

They want to be on a winning team too. They’re like, “I’m going to go buy it on iTunes and Amazon. That’s awesome.” Every little step of the way this People Magazine feature was a choral piece that I wrote that was based on a Martin Luther King speech. I wrote it about years ago for the social justice choir. A bunch of choirs that had sung it all over the world was like, “We want to do a virtual choral recording of this.” I ended up being able to connect with Martin Luther King’s Goddaughter, Donzaleigh Abernathy was an activist, actress, and author. She sang the solo. That was speaking in her experiences and being in the middle of that civil rights movement in the late ‘60s was so extraordinary.

We were able to garner a lot of press because we released it in February during Black History Month to be able to have that conversation with my fans and to say, “Who do I need to be? What education do I need before I can even open my mouth and say something about this?” I talked to Donzaleigh and her husband about what that means as a white person to be a platform for amplifying that voice and how do I communicate that to my fans to bring them in rather than a sound like, “This is what everyone should be doing. This is what anti-racism looks like for me.” That was tricky to navigate.

I was like, “I can’t bring them in here either, because this is one of the biggest pieces of press I’ve ever gotten and it’s an important conversation to have.” No matter what it is, I have to swallow my pride and my fear of what the outcome will be. It took me about two weeks to send that email I want to be on the Billboard charts. I was like, “Can I send it? It’s real and I have to go for it. What if I don’t get it? What if I do?” All of those fears. I tell them all the things. That’s my strategy to talk to them.

It is anyone in your life that you want to help keep you accountable, get their advice, their help, or whatever. There are people behind it. When artists sometimes get into email list, they just see numbers. They forget to see that there are people behind there and you’re connecting with them. One of the strategies that you recommend is to ask them a question or to get them to respond to your emails. Do you find that you get a good deal of people writing back to you?

TPM 25 | Email List

Email List: Email, while more intimate, has exponentially higher returns and engagement than social media.

 

When that’s my intention, absolutely. One of my favorite ones was the subject line should I do it. That was when I was deciding whether or not I should take out a full-page ad in Billboard Magazine’s Grammy Preview, because I was going for a Grammy in the New Age category. My fans know that my big pie in the sky and game goal is a Grammy nomination. I was going back and forth with what the cost was. As an artist, it was a 10:00 at night email send, but that subject line got the answer. I woke up to 30 emails and half of them were, “Yes, you should do it.” The other half, “Yes, you should do it. Where can I send some money?” I wasn’t thinking I’m going to crowdfund this. It was doing three days.

I had it designed, but I was still wondering if I should pull the trigger on it. One fan was like, “I will match $2,500 for the first $2,500.” I had a fan matching. I had to send another email that day and be like, “This is what I woke up to. Here’s my Paypal.me link.” That was literally how fancy it got. We funded the whole cost of that ad in 48 hours. It’s worth saying that my list is not tens of thousands of people. I grew up when I was touring and I haven’t put money into ads yet. There are strategies around that. I have tested out with some other lists of mine, but my fan list is under 2,000 people. This is not like in 48 hours we raised $5,000 and you need 5,000 or 10,000 subscribers, you don’t.

You just need the right subscribers and to developed a relationship over time.

The name of the game is to find the ideal fans that's going to stick around for decades. Click To Tweet

The right subscriber that has been nurtured and who gets it.

Let me ask this because I was in the Clubhouse and there were some younger artists that were in the group I was in. I have this feeling in my mind as everybody knows about email. A lot of people know they should do it but aren’t doing it. Most people know they should be doing it. There were some people in there like, “I’m glad you mentioned email. I didn’t even think that I needed to do that.” My mind was blown because in my world, that’s a common thing. Do you still get a lot of people who are like, “Email? I should be doing that?” Why is that important in this day and age?

I know that conversation is out there. I personally don’t get it because my mastermind in my courses and stuff for musicians that are in it for the long haul and have done the hemming and hawing over “Do I want to be a musician or I’m doing my very first song ever.” That’s a different crowd I’m not into. Maybe it comes up there. What I hear more is, “I know it’s a thing I should be doing and I don’t know either why or where to start. What’s the tech?” The tech block of setting it up and making it not be a thing that stresses you out is a big thing. The younger people that are starting out, thinking that it’s not a thing, or that people aren’t on email, there’s a ton of statistics that show it’s not true. You cannot sign up for any social media platform without an email. Everyone has an email.

It’s a good point that there’s social media but what’s behind that email. They want to keep in touch with us on Facebook and Instagram. All of them know that they want to get us on their email train as well. This particular person I was talking to was fresh out of school. They were going to be releasing their first album, single, or something and they were like, “What can I do?” I was like, “Do you have an email list yet?” “What’s that?” I find that people are overwhelmed by the idea of an email list and also the stress of needing to produce content. I’d love to hear your advice on that.

As a musician, you are a content creator by nature. I suggest 2 to 4 weeks total to set up your content if you’re going to do or, “I set up automated emails that are ready to go and sent out when someone subscribes, then they get this series. When I have a pre-save or a release coming out, I have these emails already written.” If you give yourself 2 to 4 weeks to create that content and you got to get over yourself like, “I only like to create music. I don’t want to do that.” Put that hat on, sit down, and write. It’s talking about yourself.

We all like to talk about ourselves, but when you got a structure and a strategy in place and an outline, you’re going to have such an easier time than sitting with a blank slate and being like, “I should be writing emails. I don’t know what these are.” That’s what I get to the core in all the things I teach, the challenges I do, and all that stuff. “How can we simplify this so that our brain easily wants to write that email, tell that story, share that one link, and do that one thing, so it is not overwhelming?” It does take having a linear strategy.

They don’t realize that they may have already created some of this content. Maybe they’ve done a live stream already where they told their story around this thing. All they need to do is go back and watch that, take a few notes on what were the high points, and then write it out.

Grab a clip of that and share the video and say, “We made it for you.” Plop, done, send, schedule, or put into the series and automate.

A lot of them know that they needed to be creating stuff for social media and they were doing it, they think email is a whole new ball game. It doesn’t have to be because you’ve been creating stuff already you can repurpose.

The stuff that you want to create if you want to get into some actual things. Your welcome series is the most important four emails that you ever send. Your subscriber will determine in those first couple of emails that you send out whether or not they’re sticking around for the long haul. They’re also going to be your highest open rate emails that you ever sent. Those four emails are so important, the welcome series, and you’re setting up expectations, you’re catching them up, and what you missed. There are what I call the nurture series and the rise series. Nurture series are small, short, and easily consumable. They can be videos or a variety of different things, but they’re going back and telling your story. They’re telling about the people in your life. You’re sharing little anecdotes or stories behind songs or videos. You’re sending those out maybe once a week for four weeks.

A rise series is also known as a selling series where you’re promoting something. One thing, whether that’s to get people to follow you on Spotify or to sell a bundle of your past CDs that are still sitting in your closet. You can have these ongoing campaigns that can be working for you in the background. Those are the three main series. Once you get those written and then put into whatever email platform you end up choosing and getting masterful at, you’ll be ready to go. I always like to say that the point of setting it up that automating, you can get kidnapped by aliens or go on vacation for four weeks. Your fans are still going to be getting stuff from you and you’re not going to be like, “I have to get back. I can write for a newsletter.”

TPM 25 | Email List

Email List: If someone understands what you’re talking about and the message you’re sending, it’s probably what should be in the email content, not the subject line.

 

I always talk about the newsletter thing and I am still finding that so many musicians I talk to are still doing the newsletter thing. I’m like, “How could they be doing this? Cheryl and I are preaching this all the time and people are still doing it.”

Let’s define between you and me all the bad things about the newsletter because people are like, “I do newsletters.” Newsletter is what we call a broadcast. Meaning the people that are on your list now are getting it. If you send out a newsletter now, someone that signs up tomorrow won’t have received it. It’s going out in real-time based on your time. They tend to be fancy versions of, “Here’s what’s up with me,” with a lot of links, probably some pictures, and it’s a little overwhelming.

“Here’s everything I did.”

They’re like little bit diary entry meets trying to advertise all the things that you’ve got going on and get someone to do something.

If you throw enough links at them, they’ll click one of them, right?

Yes. I understand the logic behind that. If you walked into a shoe store and you have enough choices and there are 1,000 shoes, you will walk out a pair of shoes but if I walked into a shoe store and there are ten shoes, if they were the shoes that I wanted, that would probably be an easier choice. Here’s the thing. We are in a society in an online culture of a single topic scrolling. Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter have taught us that when we scroll, we see a picture, there’s a caption about the picture, the comments about the picture, and the caption is all one topic. That is our experience with social media and our swiping and all that.

The job of the subject line is to get subscribers to open the email. Click To Tweet

You will have exponentially higher returns and engagement over email versus social media. There are tons of studies that prove that. We still want to honor what we trained ourselves from social media, which is the one-topic scroll. We want that email to have one focus. The link can be in several places. It can be the picture that they can click on. It can be in the text or a PS. It’s one thing that you’re talking about and sending them to, and that is what’s going to get them to click, not the hundreds of options. People want to support your dream, not your 700 dreams. If you’re not clear on what it is you want, they’re not going to be clear either, so they’re not going to take any action. When you give them all these different things going on, you’re not telling them what’s most important to you. Therefore, they don’t think anything is important hence no clicks.

You’re overwhelming them. You’re making their decision very difficult. You want their decision to be yes or no. Not like, “Do I want this or this? I can’t even decide, so I’m doing nothing.”

For every link, there’s a yes or no. “Do I want to click on this decision” they have to make? The more links you have, the more micro-decisions they’re making versus the one, as you said, “Am I going to click or not?” One big decision. That’s it.

I love what you say about the subject line. The job of the subject line, first line, and all that with the email. You can outline that.

One of the other big mistakes that I see a lot, and you probably see too, is when the subject line is summarizing the email. A good example is, “My CD comes out tomorrow.” That’s a subject line that most of us have used. There’s an exclamation point or emoji or something, but you told the reader everything they need to know. Unless they are already a fan that they want the link, they don’t have any reason to open the email. You told them the jeez. The job of the subject line is not to summarize the email but it’s to get them to open the email. The job of the email is to get them to click.

If you’re trying to get someone to purchase your new sweatshirt at your merchant store, you want to be getting them into the feeling of the sweatshirt, how soft it is, there’s a picture of a fan wearing in, or how great they look. There’s the feeling that will get them to click. You don’t need to be getting into the price, the checkout process, and all that stuff necessarily because the job of the email is to get the click. The job of the landing page, wherever they land after they click, whether it’s your webpage, Instagram, or whatever you’re trying to get them to do is to close the deal.

Even if that is, you’re simply asking them to follow you on Instagram, your Instagram account is going to have them follow you, or it’s going to look like a mess and they’re not going to follow you. The job of the page is to get close to the deal and in that case, it was to get the follow. A lot of times, I see musicians trying to bring the job of the landing page into the subject line like, “Buy my sweatshirt, it’s only $19.99 for this week only.” I don’t want a sweatshirt because you haven’t read this great story about this fan of mine drinking their hot chocolate with the sweatshirt. They don’t want it yet because we gave it away in the subject line. The job of the subject line is to get the open. The job of the email is to get the click. The job of the landing page is to close the deal, whatever that is.

I want to highlight that the subject line is all about curiosity. I’m not saying that I don’t ever put subject lines that say, “Come to this free class.” Sometimes, you want to be very specific, but you also want to build up curiosity. I did one. “I recorded my first album at 2:00 AM” was my subject line. They probably think like, “That’s weird. I wonder what’s she talking about.” They’ll open the email to read my story about why I recorded my album at 2:00 AM, which was a funny story. That will lead them into, “She’s talking about this class where you can learn to produce music from home. This is why she was doing it at 2:00 AM because she was able to do it from home. That would work for me too. That might be cool.” They’ll click on it. If I say that in the subject line, they’ll immediately make a decision instead of being led down the path that you want to leave them.

The curiosity is a huge part like, “Should I do it.” Being one of my most opened emails and one of my other ones back when I was touring, I said, “I’m playing the same one as Dave Matthews,” then I opened the email. You can only get cheeky so many times. I was like, “Dave Matthews is playing in San Francisco. I’m playing in New York.” You can’t trick them a lot. Every once in a while, I’m cheeky with my list and they know that about me. Curiosity is one of four different types of subject lines that I encourage people to use. Curiosity is one of the greatest ones. Related to curiosity but slightly different in terms of semantics is FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out.

There might be something that other people are going to. It’s great with live shows or streaming, things like that, or there’s any events type of things that fear of missing out like all the cool kids are doing it kind of thing. The third one is value for them. There’s something that they’re going to get. In your story about writing the record at 2:00 AM, you could have had four different subject lines. One is the curiosities which you did. The FOMO, all the cool kids are producing. This idea that this could raise your bottom line. Value doesn’t necessarily mean money but being able to produce your own music is going to save you money. What’s the value for them?

The last one is urgency. This is going to run out. We all have deadlines for pre-saving campaigns and things like that. The time factor can be a good reason to open an email. People are going to be like, “What am I going to miss?” They’re all related in some ways. There’s curiosity and FOMO. If you’re thinking from one of those four places, you’re going to write a good subject line. The other litmus test that I have for the subject line if you read the subject line to a total stranger and they have a question. I’m going back to, “Should I do it? Should I run my billboard ad?” The subject line wasn’t, “Should I run a billboard ad.” It was, “Should I do it?” There’s curiosity.

If I said that to a stranger, they’d be like, “Do what?” For you, it was like, “Why did you write your album at 2:00 AM? Why did you write it in the middle of the night?” If there’s a what, why, or a how question, imagine walking down the road and saying the subject line. If someone understands exactly what you’re talking about and the message you’re sending, it’s what should be in the email content, not the subject line. There are exceptions to every rule. All of the things I’m saying, take this all with a grain of salt. These are generalities to get out of our what we think we should do, if we’re stuck, and we’re summarizing the email.

Not using the worst subject line ever which is, “March update.” That makes you want to open it. That sounds boring as heck. I know that your fans love you as your kids love you but you got to give them the incentive to do stuff too.

If you’re getting a 40% open rate with that, I wouldn’t say, “Keep doing the same thing.” I would say, “Try doing a good subject line and you might get a 60% open rate.”

As far as open rates and stuff like that, I see artists getting all freaked out about, “Is there unsubscribed rate?” I’d love to talk about that.

TPM 25 | Email List

Email List: If you are doing email correctly, you will be making up to $2 per subscriber per month.

 

You can look at your report. If it’s around 1% of the people that don’t freak out, if 15% of your list unsubscribes from an email, I would take a very good look at what you were writing and if more than 3% unsubscribed on every single email, we got to take a look at your emails. For the average musician that I work with that I see, there are always 1 to 5 people unsubscribing each email or around 1% or under and it’s okay. There are exceptions to this. There might be something extraordinarily awful that you’re doing and you might be sending four emails a day every day of the week. That would be a good reason to unsubscribe.

If you’ve got your welcome series set up, you’re sending an email once every month, when you’re selling something and you’ve got something exciting, you’re sending an email every day for a couple of days. That’s fine. People who unsubscribed are not your ideal fan. That is okay. The name of the game is to find the ideal fans and the person that’s going to stick around for the decades, through the pivots, slow times, and the times where you forget about your listening. Those are the people you want. If they’re unsubscribing, they’re saving you the trouble of having to go through all the people that haven’t opened your email in six months and sending them through a re-engagement series to try to get bring them back. If they don’t click or do anything, you’ve got to delete them because your deliverability is being affected.

You don’t want to have a big list that is mostly people that are not opening. It is telling the internet gremlins that you might be spam so less emails will get delivered. I’m not talking about open. If there’s a little techie thing, you want to keep a “clean list.” People that are engaged and you want to keep that open rate above 20% ideally and the high 30% is better, so don’t freak out if someone unsubscribes. It always bums me out. Here’s the thing. I’m an empath. I want to be liked. I have all my stuff that I’ve brought with me from my childhood. We all have our stuff. Every time I go and check my statistics, even if I have a 60% open rate, which happens with some of my emails sometimes, and I see 0.02% unsubscribe rate, I get a little sad. Not about my awesome open rate but the unsubscribed.

I’m like, “Who would dare? Look at this 60% of my list.” I still do it too but it’s data. When you start getting your series going, it’s going to be great. I have five email nurture series. I have a 50% open rate, 40%, 52%, 49%, and 27%. Let’s look at the subject line for that 27%. My list is ready and opening, but something happened with that 27%. I changed subject lines every once in a while. I’ll go in and do an audit at least every four months to look at those stats and unsubscribe. The unsubscribe rate is high. If it’s 1% and 4%, I’ll go to that email with the 4%. I’ll be like, “I was leading into a PS which was a sell rather than tell a story and leave it. If you’re curious about this and the PS,” it felt a little slimy, manipulative like old school or car sales. I was like, “It was a little bit of language Tetris that I needed to do,” and change that. As you get going, you start to use that information as data versus making something personal that you have to go journal about for four hours. You got to stripped the emotions out of it. It’s good data to have.

I love that you’re talking in percentages because I know as my list has grown, I’m like, “Many people every day.” Sometimes, people get into that mode of like, “I’m afraid to write an email because I know I will get unsubscribes.” They don’t write anything and they’ve got this list that’s doing nothing, so what’s the point of it. If you’ve got an asset, you’ve got your money under your mattress, you’re putting it into mutual funds, and you’re going to get a return from it.

Think about if you’re in a room with 100 people that you’re performing for. It’s like a mid-sized small club. Imagine 100 people in front of you that 1% unsubscribe is essentially one person in the audience, not clapping after every song. If you’re going to get super bummed out and that’s going to mess with you, we got to do some personal work there to get some tougher skin. This is not the industry to have that be missable with. You got to be a little unmissable with but that’s what it looks like if you’re a visual person. It’s one person that either doesn’t clap or leaves in the middle of the set. You’re like, “There are 99 people who get it. What’s wrong with you?”

Maybe they got a call in their kid is throwing up in the babysitters. You never know what’s going on.

We don’t know but all we know is that they can’t be with us.

The last thing I want to touch on that I get a lot of questions about is how often should they email their list? Let’s say they don’t have all their series yet. They’ve got to do that work. Maybe they have a very small list of 150 people. How often should they be emailing them? What should they be saying?

If you have a small email list, treat it like a big list. If you have a big list, treat it like it's the smallest. Click To Tweet

I’m talking 50 people or 200 people. I don’t know if people that you’ve asked in person like your friends and family, “Can I put you on my mailing list?” If you’ve gone ahead and created a little form for people to sign up. If you’ve created a form, even if you’re using the form on BAND Google. I know you’re a fan of BAND Google which is not a platform that yet allows you to automate but you can give a free MP3 very easily through that and send an automated first email. That first email needs to be set up so that you can manage people’s expectations that you’re going to be sharing stuff with them. I know you don’t have all of the series set up yet and that’s fine but you need to have that welcome email at the very least set up.

Assuming you don’t have anything else set up, tell them how often you’re going to write them. If you love writing and sharing, and you’ve got a lot of stuff going on or you’re coming out with an album, you’re doing a single a month, and each week you’re talking about the iTunes pre-saved and then the next week you’re talking about Spotify pre-saved and then the iTunes pre-order, each week you have something to talk about. In your welcome email, I’ll say like, “I’ve got a lot of stuff coming up this year, expect to hear from me like once a week or once every two weeks. I’m always open to hearing what you want to say.”

If you’re in between projects and you’re going to tease out your story slowly, talk about what’s going on, and where you have been then you can tell them that in the welcome email, too like, “You can expect to hear from me a couple of times a month, maybe once a month.” I would say a minimum is once a month. If you don’t have anything set up, people are like, “How often do you write your email?” I’m like, “I’ve got all my series set up. I know people are receiving emails from me and I can get kidnapped by aliens or go on vacation for two months. It would be fine.” I shared when I got in People Magazine.

I announced that I’m going to drop an album in 2021 so I’m doing singles for the first time in many years. I definitely got stuff to say but before the people thing, it was 3 or 4 months that I sent a broadcast. If you’ve got the stuff set up, you’re in a good position. If not, I would say once a month, and here’s the thing you don’t need to sit down and write essays. I used to make this mistake where I would have to take like five-hour chunk out of my day to sit down or what am I going to write. I have a note on my phone. That’s an ongoing email idea. It’s like little blips of things. It’s so easy when you have an idea already to sit down and write a couple of sentences.

People don’t need to read essays. If you use Loom.com, it’s a free Google plugin, you can go on a video and it creates a link. You can send people to a Loom link. You don’t need to edit it, download it, upload it to YouTube. You save a bunch of steps. You could make a video message for people like, “It’s been a while. I have no idea what to talk about, but this is what’s happening in my world. I would love to hear from you. Are you back in your office? Tell me the things.” If you have nothing else other than that, touch base very quickly. To answer your question in a very long-winded way, I would say a minimum of once a month feels good to me, but you got to know your list and you can also set them up for whatever you want to do.

I tell people, if you got 150 people on your list, once a month is fine. As their list gets bigger, it’s not only is it better to connect with them more often maybe twice a month as it gets to maybe 500. Also, there’s going to be more to talk about because if your list is growing like that, that means you’re doing stuff so you got more to say.

I like that but half of me was like, “Yes,” but the other half is like, “I disagree with that.” If you have ten people on your list, treat your list as if there are 100,000 people on that list, love them, ask them to go share, and bring them in. You have an opportunity to bring this small group of people in but they don’t know that there are only ten people on the list versus 100, 1,000, or 10,000. If they can tell the difference, how are you writing differently? If you get 1,000 people on your list, are you writing, “Hey, guys,” and not treating them like individuals anymore. You’re going to lose those people fast.

If you have a small list, treat it like a big list. If you have a big list, treat it like it’s the small list. The bigger the list gets, the more strangers that are on it. That’s going to start to put up some personal walls. You’re not going to be sharing as vulnerably as if a few know your list is only 25 closest friends and family. I’m of different minds. There are lots of different ways to look at this. I would say that if you’re in your head, your list was 1,000 or 10,000 people, and you feel like with a bigger list, you would want to write more often then you should get in the habit of writing more often.

The reason I give those guidelines is people begged me. They’re like, “Tell me how often it’s like.” I’m like, “Here’s something you don’t have to abide by this.” I love that idea of treating them like gold and as if they were a list of 10,000, but not speaking to them like a list of 10,000. It’s super important. The great thing is nobody knows that there are only 50 people on your list. It’s not like when you go to a performance and only ten people show up. It’s clear that people are there. You can give them the best performance ever.

You try to. You’re like, “I’m going to perform as if there are 1,000 people in this room.” When there are 1,000 people in this room, you’re like, “I’m going to perform as if there’s one person in this room.” It goes both ways.

Let everybody knows where they can find out more about you, what you do as far as your music career, and your obsession with email.

Everything for me is a CBEMusic.com like me as a musician. You can get to all my musician resources stuff from there. On Instagram, I’m @CBEMusic, Facebook, Clubhouse, TikTok all the things except on Twitter, I’m @CBE. But I will tell you all this stuff around email, the courses, and all the things that I provide for musicians that I’ve learned from myself and gone down the deep dorky rabbit holes is that In The Key of Success. I do have an Instagram there. If you go to InTheKeyOfSuccess.com, there’s a free workbook on mastering email. It lays out the linear strategy to help wrap your head around this whole big nebulous thing that is email. You can go there and grab that.

It’s so funny because back to the first time we did an interview, it was 2015. It was in the very first year of my Female Entrepreneur Musician show. Here we are, in 2021 and we’re still doing stuff together. You’re still rocking and I’m still rocking.

A couple of times a year, I run a 5-Day Free Email Challenge. You can tell your people about that because there’s always one coming up.

I will keep anyone that is on my list or in my world informed about her challenges because they’re amazing. I am a huge proponent of email. I do talk about it a lot but I don’t focus on it as laser-focused as she does. That’s why I like to bring her in for people that want to geek out and create an amazing list. As she said, it brings in money for you as an artist.

My favorite fact that I say about email is when you are doing email correctly and there’s a right and wrong way to do email, across industries, the golden number is you will be making $1 to $2 per subscriber per month. If you have 1,000 subscribers, you’ll be making $1,000 to $2,000 per month by the end of the year. By the end of the year, you can look at it and that would be $12,000 to $24,000. That could look like a campaign. If you did a Kickstarter for the CV, that might all show up in one month, your Patreon over time, it might be pre-releases, pre-orders, or merchant, all sorts of things. You might have ebbs and flows for one month. It might be not a lot. It doesn’t mean that every person is paying you a dollar. It means that it will come out in the wash. Those are the numbers $1 per subscriber per month is what it’s going to look like when you finally got your email up and running.

I’ve done that calculation on all the lists that I’ve had and it always ends up being true.

I was always great with my email list. That’s why I was like, “There’s something here I need to know more about.” I got certified as a digital marketing expert through digital marketer and their program on email that’s super techie deep dive. It was all about selling mattresses. It doesn’t matter. My email course, Rock Your Email List is geared for musicians, but then I’ll have an artist or someone like, “Can I do your course too?” If I can learn about selling mattresses, you can come to sell it. We talk about selling your merch, digital products, services, all things. It’s applicable to everybody.

It is a universal skill. Thank you so much for sharing all this and letting us geek out about email. I love it personally. I don’t think enough people are taking advantage of it. I’m so glad you’re out there teaching it.

Thanks for having me.

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About Cheryl B Engelhardt

TPM 25 | Email ListCheryl B. Engelhardt is a composer, songwriter, and music business guide. Her newest record “Luminary” hit #1 on iTunes and Amazon New Age charts.

Her pop records have over 40 TV placements and she’s fan-funded many projects for over $20k each. Cheryl is committed to helping other independent musicians expand their careers and provides programs and coaching on her site In The Key Of Success.

She hosts the Key Conversations podcast, the musician mastermind, AMPLIFY, and has been dubbed the “Email Marketing Queen”.