Brenda K’s progress with the Great Mailing List Set-up Operation 

Now that I’m over two months into my experience of getting a “real” fan development effort/ email newsletter subscription operation up and running, it’s time for an update. I am not overjoyed to report that my progress with populating my email list has been painfully slow, and I still haven’t actually sent out my first newsletter yet (it’s composed but not yet designed and sent), however given the competing priorities of a heavy performance schedule, being in pre-prod for a new album, recording/ editing/ copyrighting a mega-batch of new tracks, being in the thick of a massive online PR infrastructure construction project, and constant domestic chaos (my marriage is sort of the emotional equivalent of living on the Gaza Strip, i.e., the best I can ever hope for is “relative calm”), it is moving forward at the pace that traffic will bear.

Something I have really come to appreciate about ReverbNation’s FanReach email list management service and the various hoops it makes the people who sign up have to jump through, is that it lets them specify which of their email addresses they want to use to receive our newsletters, and for that matter, gives them the choice of whether they really want to receive it at all, and has a readily identifiable “unsubscribe” link in addition to the robust security protocols to protect their personal information.

In Music Success in Nine Weeks, Ariel does us the great service of informing us that it is NOT COOL to add people to your list unless they specifically “opt in”, and quite frankly, I am finding it increasingly annoying when people I give my business card to automatically sign me up for their lists (without giving me any options anywhere in the process at all), and then proceed to send all of their general announcements (in one notorious case, it seemed like I was getting spammed to death by the same operation every 10 minutes for some period of time) to an email account I have set up specifically for inquiries regarding booking my band! I mean, come on! If the email account has a purpose-specific sounding name, do you really think the owner of that account wants to have to spend time every day clearing it of unsolicited announcements and newsletters? It is far more courteous to give people the option.

That said, I do find it useful to get to see various examples of other people’s e-newsletters since I am in the process of developing my own, but PLEASE, for the love of God, give me a choice about which email address you send them to, and whatever you do, DO NOT spam every address you have of mine with the same mass mailings!! Another particularly infuriating thing is lists you sign up for (or for that matter, did not sign up for in the first place!) and later decide to unsubscribe to, but they don’t make that option available.

On another note, my WordPress blog stats told me that someone searching for information about ReverbNation’s FanReach service was wondering to what extent the email list sign-up widget can be customized. Here is my experience: The one I selected pulls in your main profile picture you use for your ReverbNation account masthead, and the title of the track you upload for that purpose, i.e., the title you assign to that track when you upload it to your RN account, and then designate it as being a “fan exclusive”. It also let me modify the background color of the widget, and it became increasingly unreadable the more I messed with it, so I think I just did a custom color for the border.

I have to find a way to shoehorn populating my list into the top of my endless to-do list, (I think I’ve said that before!), which is the subject of the next chapter of Music Success in Nine Weeks, and as I am working on my blog for that effort, expect to see results in the near future!