How To NOT Market Like Nine Inch Nails (And Why)

When you start a new email marketing campaign, you may want to invite subscribers from previous lists to subscribe. That can be perfectly okay.

Or it can be a disaster. Cross-promotion is a bit like a minefield: you have to step carefully.


Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has impressed us in the past with his fan-focused, grassroots, defy-The-Man marketing. But when his campaign recently invited subscribers to a new list, someone wasn’t watching their feet carefully enough.

To keep yourself on solid ground when cross-promoting your lists, you’ll need this guide. Follow it, and the only explosion you’ll see will be the size of your list.

Your Guide to Cross-Promotion

We recently got this email from Nine Inch Nails. When we clicked the call to action, this is what we saw:

Trent Reznor Invite Landing

In some ways, this process is handled well. In other ways, not so much. Here’s what to take away for your own cross-promotions – and what to leave behind.

Do explain how the new campaign relates to the old. The NIN email explains how Reznor is involved with The Social Network, so readers understand why they’re being approached as potential subscribers.

Don’t send to an old list. We’ve been signed up since 2008, but haven’t actually received an email before this. Sending out of the blue like this is a no-no for three reasons:

  • Old lists contain a surplus of zombie addresses. That’s going to depress the sender’s deliverability.
  • People who never got a message might not remember signing up and report this as spam.
  • If messages were sent before we joined, faithful readers are still getting this request out of nowhere. They may resent the request after a long period of silence.

If you haven’t sent to subscribers in awhile, but you’d still like to send them the invite, try these techniques to reactivate them.

Do explain what your new campaign is for. Present enough information in your email to intrigue readers, then when they click through to the landing page, explain the rest.

No one’s going to sign up for your campaign if they don’t understand what it is. Curiosity won’t make people compromise their inbox, so it’s on you to make your offer clear.

Don’t hedge about the fact that you are asking them to subscribe to other emails. You’ll only benefit from setting correct expectations. This email promises a free download. The strings attached aren’t evident until the landing page.

And that could be forgivable if the wording here wasn’t so chaotic and unexplained. Sign up to what? Will I start getting emails from signing up here? Are they going to flood my inbox?

Do consider offering an incentive – something you’ll trade for their email address. This can win over the fence-sitters. Plus, it’s always nice to say “thank you” for subscribing.

You’ll want to avoid people signing up, collecting their promised prize, and immediately unsubscribing. So approach this carefully, and keep the value of your newsletter itself high!

Want to Learn More?

For more information on email marketing for musicians, view our complete Email Marketing for Musicians Guide.

Have You Ever Invited One List to Another?

How did you present your invitation? And what kind of response did you get?

If you’ve ever cross-promoted one campaign with another, tell us about it below!

14 Comments

  1. Kimberly Bohannon

    1/4/2011 10:37 am

    Hi,

    Very interesting article, and we have had great success with cross-promoting with our lists by doing the exact same thing. We found that people are willing to subscribe to other offers if in fact they relate to the same niche and they get a gift for signing up. We also found by using a professional copywriter to help write or tweak our copy made the world of difference.

  2. Gobala Krishnan

    1/4/2011 10:43 am

    That’s ok as long as they still play good music 🙂

  3. Steffen Beyer

    1/4/2011 2:56 pm

    That already is true, if longer one mail nothing and then again active becomes, some check out also again. Therefore, it already is something very important to explain one wants. I thanks you that again your me at it reminded.

  4. Tati Leoni

    1/4/2011 3:11 pm

    Nice article:)

  5. Ivan

    1/4/2011 3:45 pm

    Great title!

  6. Bill Nickerson

    1/4/2011 11:07 pm

    I’ve invited people on my Goal Setter’s Newsletter to sign up for 2 different lists that I’ve created — one for healthy weight loss and the other for a read-through of Leo Babauta’s focus.

    I made it clear that they were both new email series and that I was responsible for them. There was also an incentive to sign up for each.

    My original list was quite small for both of these cross promotions (less than 80) but I did get a few people join the other lists as they relate to the content of the original.

  7. Samantha Dermot

    1/5/2011 4:10 am

    Nine inch nails is not one of my favorite bands but I didn’t use cross promotion before for the exact reasons you mentioned in this article.

  8. Amanda Gagnon

    1/5/2011 9:27 am

    Richard ~ The problem was that the form promised a free download, but didn’t explain that the email address might be used for further communication. Some people might assume this, but others may not, so if they later get emails from NIN, they may mark them as spam.

  9. Roy and Sherry Curtis

    1/6/2011 8:35 pm

    Being totally new to internet marketing, we are VERY careful about what we do. We are, however, very excited and motivated to make progress, but we want to do it right the first time.

    Old adage we all are guilty of – Why is it that we never seem to have the time to complete a phase, but we always find the time to go back and correct our mistakes?

    We want to avoid those mistakes.

  10. Rob Judge

    1/8/2011 1:49 pm

    I like how Trent is ahead of his time (even if NIN was sort of a 90s thing). All bands need to learn marketing and email campaigns. These tips go beyond the “social network”.

  11. Vishnu Kumar

    1/13/2011 1:07 am

    Informative sharing…let me give it a try to leverage it…

  12. Yee Shun-Jian

    1/19/2011 6:28 am

    “You’ll want to avoid people signing up, collecting their promised prize, and immediately unsubscribing. So approach this carefully, and keep the value of your newsletter itself high!”

    – I handle this by including in my email a paragraph whereby I tell my subscribers to look out for an unadvertised mystery bonus as a thank you gift for joining my newsletter.

    Works like a charm! =)

  13. Clarence

    2/3/2011 11:32 am

    I handle this by including in my email a paragraph whereby I tell my subscribers to look out for an unadvertised mystery bonus as a thank you gift for joining my newsletter.

  14. N

    8/16/2011 1:13 am

    I like the way Trent is ahead of its time (even if NIN has been a sort of thing for years 90). All bands need to learn and email marketing campaigns. These tips go beyond the “social networks”.