In my last article, 1 Thing Your Band Sucks at Doing Online…And Off, I spoke about how important e-mail marketing and collecting e-mail addresses is to your band’s career.
Today, I will give you an overview of the typical features provided by e-mail marketing services such as FanBridge, Mailchimp, Mad Mimi, Constant Contact, and Aweber.
I will also provide price comparisons of these 5 companies.
E-mail list building and marketing services tend to offer the same set of features so I will simply list an overview here instead of repeating similar features and their slight differences throughout this article.
I will break up each feature set into categories and provide a brief description.
Remember, these features will vary from service to service, but each service provides the same basic foundation.
Building a List
- Customized forms, mobile apps, and full featured APIs
- Autoresponders that allow you to automatically send out e-mails when new fans join your list… This allows you to offer incentives such as free downloads of your music without having to do any extra work.
- Integrate sign up forms with your Facebook Page and other social media with social integration.
- Custom templates for your e-mails
- Drag and drop editors so you can craft high quality e-mails easily
- Image and file hosting so you can upload and send images or files
- Ability to automatically send out articles from your blog to your subscribers (daily, weekly, etc)
- FanBridge offers their Social Digest and Social Posting which further engage fans via social media
- Segementation – if you collect enough info from your subscribers, you will be able to segment them by location, age, or gender which can provide valuable insight about your fan base. It will also allow you to send out e-mails to specific groups of your fans [in the event you were playing a show in Denver, CO, you could e-mail all your Denver fans to let them know without bothering all your fans who live hours or continents away].
- Drip campaigns and Autoresponders – you have the ability to set up an ongoing e-mail campaign that allows you to build community with your fans on auto-pilot. For instance, 1) send out a welcome e-mail when a new subscriber joins, 2) send out an e-mail 7 days after joining thanking them again and providing a link to watch a video or stream your music, 3) send out another e-mail 21 days later just to say hi and maybe ask how the person is doing… This allows you to stay in touch, not be forgotten, and build without extra work.
- Resources – most of these services provide full support in the form of educational articles and videos. FanBridge has their Fan Marketing Institute which focuses on band to fan communications via e-mail.
- Widgets, Plugins, and Embeds – Each service provides you with customizable embeds for your sign-up forms as well as widgets and/or plugins for platforms such as WordPress.
- ability to keep track of how many people open your e-mails, click the links inside, and (if the information is available) where your subscribers are from.
- some services provide you with custom campaign reports as well as helpful things like Tweet Trends
Tracking everything you do online is a must but I will write an article about that in the future.
- a few of these services have affiliate and partner programs. For instance, when I refer someone to Mad Mimi (with my affiliate link) and they purchase a package, I earn a small commission. FanBridge is another one that offers this type of program.
*Editor’s note: Mad Mimi discontinued their affiliate program in 2016.
As I said before, in general, these features exist across the board of e-mail service providers but each will have variations.
All of these services have pricing structures based on the number of subscribers to your list.
For instance, 0-500 subscribers = XX/month, 501-1000 = YY/month, up to 100,000+ which can become quite expensive.
I will not include every level of pricing because this article would become very lengthy. However, I will include direct links to the pricing pages of each service at the end.
A few services offer free plans up to 100 or 200 subscribers.
FanBridge offers Personal plans and Enterprise plans. Here I will only cover the Personal Plans because it is relevant to the majority of indie bands.
I should also note FanBridge offers mobile/SMS marketing (if you collect mobile numbers). These messages are included in the monthly limits.
One thing that confuses some about FanBridge is the limit on how many messages you can send per month. Let me break it down a little further.
When it says you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and you can send 20,000 messages per month, this means:
- You have 1,000 subscribers on your list.
- Each time you send out a campaign you are sending out 1,000 messages.
- With a limit of 20,000 messages per month, you can only e-mail [all] your subscribers 20 times a month.
- If you had 2,000 subscribers, you could only e-mail 10 times in a month.
Fan Bridge Pricing
- Free for 30 days
- $19.99 / month up to 2,000 subscribers. You can send 20,000 messages per month.
- $49.99 / month up to 25,000 subscribers. You can send 50,000 messages per month.
- $129.99 / months up to 150,000 subscribers. You can send 130,000 messages per month.
If you need anything more than this, you will need to check their Enterprise plans or give them a call.
- Forever Free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 messages
- Full features, unlimited sending
- Ranges from $10 / month for 500 subscribers up to $240 / month for 25,000 – 50,000 subscribers.
Pay as you go
- Mailchimp offers a prepay structure which starts at $9 / month. You can prepay up to $250.
- The pricing is determined on a per message sent basis which breaks down to cents per message.
- Free – up to 100 subscribers. Limited features available.
- Basic – $10 / month up to 500 subscribers. E-mails sent at normal speed and you have unlimited e-mails and storage
- Pro – $42 / month up to 10,000 subscribers. E-mail sent at 2X speed with unlimited e-mails and storage
- Silver – $199 / month up to 50,000 subscribers. E-mails sent at 4X speed with unlimited e-mails and storage
- Gold – $1049 / month up to 350,000 subscribers. E-mails sent at 8X speed with unlimited storage and 1,750,000 e-mail limit.
- join for $1 for the first month, $19 per month / $49 per quarter / $194 per year after that up to 500 subscribers and unlimited e-mails
- Subscriber pricing for 501+ contacts starts at $10 up to 25,000 contacts for $130
- 60 day free trial up to 100 subscribers
- $15 / month up to 500 subscribers
- Ranges up to $150 per month for 25,000 subscribers
- Prepay for 6 months and save 10%
- Prepay for 12 months and save 15%
- Non-profits can prepay for 6 months and save %20 or prepay 12 months to save 30%
Which one is better? Which is best?
It all comes down to personal preference.
As promised, below are the direct links to each services’ pricing page. Once there, you can dig deeper into their features as well as skim through all the other info about each service.