Sell 2x The Albums - The Musician's Mailing List Conversion Funnel

Don’t let the term “conversion funnel” confuse you; it’s not meant to be a fancy term. Here’s an example of a conversion funnel:

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A mechanic buys advertising for his website. The conversion funnel would look like this:

  • Visitor clicks on ad
  • They’re lead to the mechanic’s home page
  • The like what they see, and click to the contact page
  • Customer contacts the mechanic (conversion stage)

The conversion steps (or conversion funnel) above simply describe what that customer did before they converted.

Now as a band with a mailing list, your conversion funnel will look a little bit different. Most fans don’t just see an ad and then buy your music - it’s just not how the music business works.

I’m going to show you a particular strategy that marketers have been using for years. If you’re a fan of John Oszajca’s music marketing manifesto, you’ll know that he’s someone who teaches musicians a very similar conversion funnel.

Here’s the overview of the conversion steps. Later, I’ll explain in more detail:

  • Opt-in/sign-up to your mailing list
  • Autoresponder (2-4 emails over 2-4 weeks)
  • Limited-time offer (LTO)
  • Upsell (to those who accept the offer)
  • Optional: add those who purchased to your customer list.

It’s totally okay if that summary doesn’t make complete sense to you. Let’s get into explaining all that malarky!

1. Opt-in

Before you can start sending out mail, you’ll need people to sign up to your mailing list. To get signups, you need to direct traffic to a “squeeze page” (where the sole purpose of the page is to get newsletter signups). You can learn more about squeeze pages in my article “how to set up a mailing list”.

So where do you get traffic from?

  • your existing website
  • online ads
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • pinterest
  • youtube
  • anywhere you can find it

If you can send people to a squeeze page, you can begin the conversion funnel - the first step is them signing up.

Getting newsletter signups actually has it’s own “mini conversion funnel”. The funnel looks like this:

  • traffic source
  • squeeze page (with newsletter signup form)
  • fan signs up (conversion stage

In this case, someone from Facebook (or another traffic source) might be directed towards your squeeze page. From there, you would tell them to sign up for your newsletter.

I recommend you incentivize fans with a free song download - they’re much more likely to sign up.

You might also consider passing around a newsletter signup list during live shows (promise a free download). You can do the same with a tablet (although you’ll probably want to personally carry that one around).

Once they’ve signed up for your newsletter, you’ll want to set up an autoresponder so that they hear from you at least a handful of times in the coming weeks.

2. Autoresponder

You’ll want to set up an autoresponder that sends email out every week for the next 3-4 weeks.

Your autoresponder might look like this:

Fan signs up: they receive a free song download when they confirm their subscription

  • Week 1: sent out a free stream/download of our 2nd most popular single
  • Week 2: sent out some original artwork that was created for our album, in high resolution that can be used as a desktop wallpaper
  • Week 3: sent out an unfinished track that we haven’t released, giving potential fans the “inside scoop” into what we’re doing. This helps to make them feel more connected to our band.
  • Week 4: sent out another free download of one of our songs
  • Week 5: sent out a promotion for a limited time offer.

What’s a limited time offer? You’re about to find out!

3. LTO (Limited Time Offer)

This is the stage where you promote your album and actually make a sale! How exciting! So just send out an email saying “buy our album for $10 on bandcamp!” - badda bing badda boom. So simple right?

It’s actually not that simple.

You see, we humans are funny things - we tend to sit on the fence a bit and don’t really decide. Like a high school student who’s procrastinating homework, we say “let’s put this off to another day”.

“I’m interested in buying the album, but I’ll just wait for another time” - having someone who is open to buying your album is worth as much money as someone who isn’t interested in all; ZERO dollars (and zero cents).

What you need to do to make sales is create a DESIRE that causes ACTION!

Have you ever seen those absolutely mad boxing day sale videos? You know, the ones where customer, store employees, and their grandmothers, are all getting trampled to a pulp until they’re left dead on the floor, asking themselves “do you think the new PS4 will still be on sale tomorrow?”

There’s a reason that people go so mad; it’s because very smart (and possibly evil) marketers have created a DESIRE for all of those juicy sales. By putting a bunch of items on sale, and making sure there’s only “limited quantities” available, it makes people go nuts.

You can do the same thing with your mailing list, though I recommend you leave out the sprinkling of evil. How do you create this desire?

Create scarcity.

Scarcity means that “there’s not enough” or “I might miss out if I don’t act now”.

Growing up I had (and still have) a friend named Tim. His family is dutch, and they’ve got like 13 people in their family or something ludicrous like that. During dinnertime, it was a free-for-all. You can bet that no one was “waiting around” for someone to pass the turkey, otherwise they’d probably starve!

His brothers and sisters (and me) moved quickly to grab the mashed potatoes; they were going to run out! Food was SCARCE, and only available for a limited-time-only.

You can create scarcity by offering a deal that’s only available for a limited time (hence the “limited time offer”). Here’s some examples of an LTO:

For the next 72 hours only, get:

  • 50% off our newest album
  • 2 for 1 albums
  • our limited release album (only 1000 available)

Feel free to create your own offer that fits your band. It’s not important what the offer is, it’s just important that:

  • it feels like a great deal to your fans
  • it’s only available for a limited time (you can use a script to make the offer only available for a few days)

When a fan is “on the fence” about buying your album, scarcity is like a 10-foot pole that you can use to playfully jab them, knocking them over to the “buying” side of the fence.

Once they’ve bought from you, the magic isn’t over yet! Yes you’ve made a sale, but if you want to really become profitable, you’ll want to upsell them with another high-value deal, and optionally add them to your “customer list” of people who have bought from you.

4. Upsell

Those who accept the offer, get the upsell on the thank-you page they see after their purchase. It usually says something like “thank you for your purchase!” on it, and might give them some details about the transaction.

What you want to do is put an upsell for another offer on that thank-you page.

The offer should be of a higher price, but also with a higher value.

For example, you might say “Now you have a chance to get ALL 5 of our albums (normally $50) for only $20”.

It doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is that you need to provide a really high value with your upsell. Here’s why:

It’s not uncommon for 50% of original buyers to get your upsell on top of their original album purchase. It might be less than 50% for you, but it doesn’t matter - it’s FREE money! Don’t leave all that money just sitting on the table.

These are customers who would have otherwise bought nothing else (they maaaaybe would have bought some more albums later). Don’t let them walk away without your complete discography if you can help it!

The upsell can double the income you receive from each customer - that’s huge money, and if you’re the little guy with the little pockets, you’re going to need to take every opportunity you see.

5. Customer list (optional)

Add customers who have bought from you to a segmented list (and remove them from the regular mailing list).

With a solid “customers” mailing list, you’ll be able to keep track of the people who have bought from you, and you can now pitch them even higher value offers (while of course providing more great newsletters for them).

For example, you might send out an offer to your customer list to say “we’ll play a show at your house for $500 (+ travelling expenses) - who’s in?”

That might land you a profitable gig.

This is an optional technique that’s a bit more advanced, as it requires you to segment your mailing list, but it’s certainly useful if you’re willing.

The main point of this list is that they don’t receive your same-old promotions, giving them a much more dynamic mailing experience. This increases their chances of taking you up on your high-ticket items.

It also lets you know exactly who your true fans are. You’ll know that everyone on this list has bought from you before, so they’re much more likely to buy from you again. If you get something very important to pitch, you’ll know exactly who to pitch it to.

With this whole conversion funnel in mind, you should be in a great place to start selling albums.

Start by getting opt-ins, and then get your autoresponder set up. After that, set up an upsell for your offer, and send the offer out.

Once you’re used to sending out mail, you can even include your “offer” as the 5th sequence in your autoresponder. That way it’s all set up automatically.

I promise you - it will be very hard and take quite a bit of work. But once it’s set up, it’s set up and then you just need to work on getting more opt-ins, and occasionally coming up with new offers.

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About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. 

I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.