An email list? It sounds old-school, but even in the age of social media a mailing list is still the best and most reliable way to stay in touch with your fans, and some of today’s biggest names in comedy are putting a focus on collecting emails.
How Kevin Hart Used an Email List to Sell-out Tours
In a must-listen episode of the WTF podcast with Marc Maron, he interviews comedian Kevin Hart (listen here) who talks about how he used his mailing list to sell-out shows early on in his career.
When Kevin started out, he did the comedy club circuit 4 years in a row, and at every show, he got email addresses from audience members by leaving cards on each table with the message “Kevin Hart needs to know who you are”. People would leave their email address, and Kevin made sure to get the cards back from everyone before they left the club.
His assistant would then log all the email addresses in a spreadsheet organized by city, so the next time Kevin was performing there, he would reach out to every person individually to invite them to his show. This personal touch helped to sell out his shows and build a loyal fan base that follows him to this day.
Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan & Aziz Ansari Want Your Email Address
Building a mailing list is not just for young comedians just starting out. Some of the biggest comedians in the world have put a focus on collecting fan emails.
When they decided to go direct-to-fan with their latest standup specials, besides asking for just $5, Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari all asked for one more thing from fans: an email address.
Why is that? Here are 3 reasons why collecting email addresses is a good idea:
1) You own it
Remember all those fans you had on MySpace? Well, MySpace owned their data, not you, and chances are if you didn’t get them signed-up to your mailing list, you lost contact with many of them.
Facebook? Same deal. They own the data, and they too can disappear. Or, as it seems to be happening, it gets too crowded and noisy. Statistics regularly show that only a very small percentage of people actually see your updates on Facebook. So if you have important news to announce, your mailing list is your best bet to reach most of your fan base.
Twitter? Same issue with data, and tweets only last for a few hours, so again, it’s hard to tell how many of your followers actually see your updates.
Bottom line is that social media sites are great tools for interacting with current fans and finding new ones, but you’ll want to get them signed-up to your mailing list so you can stay in touch with your fans over the long-term, regardless of which social media site is popular at the time.
2) It’s the ultimate permission marketing
An email list is the ultimate in permission marketing. Once a fan gives you their email address, they’re telling you that they want to hear about your career, that they want to know about your next show, your new merchandise, etc. That’s an incredibly powerful thing, and those email addresses should be treated like gold.
Note: Don’t ever, EVER add people to your mailing list without their permission. Spamming people can do irreparable harm to your career, and you will likely lose those people as potential fans forever.
3) Best way to sell to your fans
And finally, when it comes to cold, hard cash, studies consistently show that email newsletters are still the best way to convert fans to paying customers.
As noted manager Emily White from Whitesmith Entertainment has said, an email list “is an artist’s retirement plan”.
Offer an incentive
And finally, don’t forget to offer an incentive to the person who will be giving you their email address. Getting the “latest news” or “inside scoop” on your career is nice, but offering a little something more might be the difference between getting that email or not. It could be as simple as a free MP3, or even an exclusive live recording from one of your shows.
Use your creativity to find something unique, exclusive and fun that will give a potential new fan no choice but to hand over their email address.
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