Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros

August 21, 2012

How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read

Last year I spent more than an hour on the phone interviewing Joe Vitale. He’s the author of more than 50 books on hypnotic marketing, the law of attraction, and more. You may have seen him in the movie The Secret, on “Larry King Live” or “The Donny Deutsch Show.”

The interview was amazing and wide-ranging, but I want to share one specific piece of marketing advice that Joe offered during our conversation.

Putting a question in the subject line of your email can be a great way to create a “hypnotic” message that compels people to open and read it.

But not any question will do!

The key, Joe says, is to ask a question that can’t be answered unless you dig deeper to find out more. For instance, here are two examples of weak email subject lines:

Would you like to buy my new album?

What’s your favorite love song?

The problem with these questions is that the recipient can answer them and resolve the issue without any further action on their part. It offers no compelling reason to open the email.

However, here is an example of a more powerful, “hypnotic” email subject line question:

Which one of these three beautiful women inspired my latest love song?

A question like that creates a mental state of dissonance. It’s an incomplete thought. And for many people, unresolved ideas compel them to take action to uncover the answer and complete the thought before they move on.

Here’s another example:

Have you ever made THIS big mistake on the dance floor?

See the beauty in a question like this?

It’s similar to when you can’t think of a person’s name that you should know. It often drives you crazy and you can’t concentrate on anything else until you resolve the issue by remembering the name.
Curiosity-inducing questions offer a great way to create a hypnotic message that demands attention. Another related method is to make a provocative statement that doesn’t include all the details, such as:

Don’t let your parents watch this new music video

You could also use the word kids, boss or lover in place of parents and get the same effect, depending on your audience and subject matter.

The point is that the statement creates curiosity and an incomplete idea that begs for a resolution. So start thinking about how you can use hypnotic questions to increase your email open rate.

Important: If you're going to use tactics like this to inspire action, you should put a priority on delivering an interesting message inside the email. If you mislead people or simply don't offer a story that's funny or compelling in some way ... they may not trust you the next time you use a strategy like this.

Also, you wouldn’t want to use questions and statements like these with every email you send. Just sprinkle them in here and there when you have really important info to get out.

What do you think of this email subject line approach? What have you done to get fans to open more of your emails? I welcome your comments.


P.S. You can hear part of my interview with Joe on my Artist Empowerment Radio podcast here. The entire thing is part of this massive audio collection.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:14 PM   5 comments

August 07, 2012

Pack Your Live Shows & Rock Your Local Music Scene

Admit it. You want butts in seats and feet in front of the stage. The venue requires beers in hands and lots of transactions at the bar. And the promoter needs to see bodies through the door and lots of ticket sales.

The solution to meeting everyone’s needs is simple: Get lots of people to show up and spend money at your live shows.

But the question remains: How are you going to get them there in sufficient numbers?

Of course, you can slap up fliers in all the usual places, spam everyone on Facebook, and stalk all your friends until they buy tickets out of guilt. But long term, this strategy isn’t going to work for you.

Eventually, your friends will stop responding to your emails and texts, and Facebook and fliers will only get you so far. If it was that easy, wouldn’t every show be a success? Acts that consistently draw fans do more than this.

Look at the performers in your city who are truly creating a buzz. Chances are, they are doing three things that you’re not.

1) They promote more than just themselves

Whenever they do put up fliers to promote a show, they ask how they can help first. It’s not just about them. Instead of pestering local businesses for free exposure, how can you give them back something of value? Build relationships with those who are willing to support you. It’s human nature to want to help someone who wants to help you first, especially when you genuinely like the person and they show their appreciation.

Can you offer to do some cross promotion with a local radio station or business that goes to bat for you? Maybe you could print their logo for free on your fliers, or give them shout outs at the show as a sponsor in exchange for their support.

2) They tell people about other artists’ shows

Don’t just bombard your fans with information about your shows only. If you already know they like to attend concerts, why not tell them about other great shows going on that they might enjoy? The great thing about this is, when you promote other artists’ gigs they’ll often return the favor.

It may take some time to build these types of relationships with other bands, but it can pay huge dividends in the long run. The best thing is, it doesn’t cost you anything when you promote other artists’ shows. Offer to hang a few fliers or post some updates online about other cool shows in town. Help others first.

3) They support other bands and go to their shows

This means buying a ticket and standing in the crowd – not just asking to be put on the guest list then lurking by the bar all night. Yes, support other artists the way you want to be supported. As long as you appreciate their music and like them as people, show up and support them. They may do the same for you.

If you’re lucky, they might even give you a plug from the stage. But be there as a true fan for them, not because they might put you in the spotlight for showing up.

Bottom line: Quit making it all about you. As an artist, if you help others build their empires first, many of them will eventually return the favor. When the heavy lifting needs to happen, many of them will show up for you. But you need to make a lot of deposits into your “good will account” to earn it.

I know this may surprise you, and many reading this may have conflicting experiences and beliefs. If other artist and local businesses aren’t supporting you, ask yourself when the last time was that you truly helped them grow first? Also, don’t keep score. There will be times when you give more than you get; that isn’t the objective.

Work hard to support your local music scene and the businesses that foster its growth. Build relationships that aren’t one-sided. Relationships are what lay the foundation for a thriving music career. You need to nurture and build them slowly and genuinely.

Yes, it is about who you know (and who knows you). But what have YOU done for these people? How have you helped them and brought value to their lives?

Focus on what you can do for other artists and cross-promotion partners first, and before long you’ll find more doors opening and more people coming to your shows to support YOU!

Do you agree? Disagree? I welcome your comments.

Want to link to this article on Twitter, Facebook, etc? Feel free to copy and paste this text:

How to Pack Your Live Shows & Rock Your Local Music Scene via @MrBuzzFactor


The image above is by Andrej Vovko and
Get more tips like these when you subscribe to my free Buzz Factor ezine — the longest running music career tips email newsletter on the planet. Since 1995. Learn more about the free subscription here.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:15 AM   11 comments