Case Study: 3 Easy Ways To Grow Your Audience And Get More Responses

Corey Koehler didn’t plan on making music his career. He was the guy that picked up the guitar by the campfire for fun, but his friends saw talent and encouraged him to record. He now has a full schedule of shows and music sales on his website. Smart email marketing helped get him where he is today.

Why Email Marketing?

“Somewhere along the line, I heard the phrase ‘the money is in the list.’ Once I had a deeper understanding of what it meant both monetarily and for relationship building, it was a no-brainer,” says Corey.

Overall, Corey wanted to use email to help better establish his audience. Musicians especially rely on a loyal audience to thrive and email is perfect for cultivating that audience. Corey explained, “I want to be as authentic and as open as possible while keeping an eye on sound marketing practices.”

Corey knew he had to both attract subscribers and keep those subscribers interacting with his site and music. There are three important things he did to reach these goals: set up a pop up form, make the welcome message more clear and send emails to people who were not opening.

The Tried-and-True Pop-Up

If you’ve been reading marketing blogs and case studies for awhile, you’ve probably come across a pop-up form success story. For those of you who haven’t heard of them, pop-up forms appear above the web page and visitors can either close out the box or fill it out. Why do these forms do so well? Most likely because:

  • They focus visitors’ attention on the form. Some types, like the one Corey uses, will even gray out the rest of the page.
  • Visitors are forced to take some sort of action when the form appears.
  • Unlike pop-up ads, which might not be relevant to the website, these forms offer more information on something the visitor appears to be interested in.

Since Corey put the form up, there has been an 80% increase in subscribers.

This graph shows the growth on Corey’s list for the past year and at what point the results were affected by the pop-up.

Another factor for growth rate is whether or not subscribers stay on the list; if you have a high turnover rate you won’t see as much growth. The next two things help Corey keep subscribers on his list.

A Welcome Message Remodel

The welcome email can do great things, and when Corey asked me to look at his, I was eager to share my thoughts.

The welcome email is the first email a subscriber will get. A good welcome email should:
1. Deliver on any promises you made at sign up (like free downloads).
2. Reiterate what subscribers will get out of your emails.
3. Set expectations for future emails and how often you plan to send.

Corey’s email did the first item, but left out the rest. His email was also all text, making it harder to skim. Here’s what I recommended:

  • Use a template to make the email more visually appealing and keep the width contained to less than 600 pixels. Anything over will most likely get cut off on subscribers’ screens.
  • Add images to break up the text monotony and make the email less intimidating to look at.
  • Add the welcoming text I described earlier.
  • Make the links stand out so people know what to click on.
  • Include a photo in the signature to make the email from a real person.
  • Add social media buttons to get people to spread the word.

Here’s what the updated email looks like:

This email has brought in almost 20% more clickthroughs than the previous version.

Success With Sending To Specific Groups

Corey often sends emails to subscribers who haven’t opened a particular email. “For larger campaigns, I send an email broadcast on a Monday morning, then send the “unopens” the same email on a Wednesday evening and then the remaining “unopens” on a Saturday or Sunday morning when they may have some extra time to sit down and read the email with a cup of coffee,” says Corey.

Corey set up like this because he believes that what time you receive an email will affect what you do with it. He’s not alone. Laura Vanderkam talked on Money Watch about how her emails get open more on Sunday afternoons.

The Marketing Experiments blog also talks about timing and how it all depends on your industry. Copyblogger takes a similar approach, calling across-the-board rules on timing “B.S.”

Based on all these sources, it’s really about finding what works best for you.

Corey reports this tactic has nearly doubled his open and click rates compared to past campaigns. Here’s a look at how one of these Monday-Wednesday-weekend sends turned out:

Notice that the second send brings in the most new opens. If you’re looking to boost response rates, consider sending to unopens at least once.

The Benefits of Email Marketing

“The biggest thing for me has been the relationship building,” Corey said. “As a musician, it’s very powerful for me to be able to be accessible and have an ongoing, open dialogue with people who can relate to my music.”

“For example, I recently had a women reply to an email to tell me that my music was helping her get through chemotherapy. Sure, this sort of thing happens without an email marketing mechanism in place, but it is a hell of a lot easier for someone wanting to reach out to hit ‘reply’ and send a message than it is to hunt down contact information.”

“In addition to that, it has helped me gauge the success of my marketing efforts and create a recurring stream of revenue – which, for musicians, is not the easiest thing to do these days.”

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