You Don’t Have to Start a TikTok

Oh, no. You’re missing out if you’re not on TikTok.

“TikTok’s average monthly time spent per user grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, including 70% in the US and 80% in the UK – surpassing Facebook. TikTok is on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021.”

Social Media Today

Every social media network has an audience, just like every television channel has an audience. And you don’t have to be on the History Channel to be relevant.

You don’t have to be everywhere.

Have you mastered Twitter and Facebook and Instagram? Probably not.

If you have 58 followers on Twitter, those are your 58 people. Cherish them.
Only got 100 followers on Instagram? Would you be okay with 100 people at a show on a Tuesday night?

Work with what’s in front of you.

If the thought of starting from zero followers and learning a new social media network fills you with dread, don’t do it. It’s your art, your music, your career. You make the rules.

Have focus, have a plan. Schedule some social media posts (use Buffer), start an email list (use Mailchimp), and work on your art.

Revue Joins Twitter

I played around with Revue back in late 2019 for Metal Bandcamp Gift Club, but moved to Mailchimp because I needed to control more of the sign up process. Fair enough.

Then today Revue announces they’ve joined Twitter, which is an interesting move, and I think plays into what I’ve been talking about for awhile: use social media to build your email list.

Social media can be great for the quick, off-the-cuff conversations, and lots of good can come from those conversations! But having an outlet for longer form thoughts, fleshed out ideas – email is a great medium for that. And no doubt Twitter is going to make it easy to build your list with this integration.

And if you’re still wondering what you’d even put into your own email newsletter, please read ‘What Would I Even Put in an Email Newsletter,’ which I wrote back in 2018.

The Inbox is Work

Love this, in the most depressing away ever…

… office workers have come to think of email as non-work, or partial-work, or at least work that shouldn’t necessary be compensated, or performed during work hours. In her study of office workers, she hears a similar explanation over and over again for why employees spend their Sunday nights and weekday evenings attending to their inboxes: it would be wasteful to spend the workday emailing, and clearing an inbox ahead of time means the workday itself is less stressful.

how email became work

I make a point during the week to close all my email (and Slack) to work on specific tasks. If I don’t, the allure will be there to check, to make sure I didn’t miss anything.


But you’re not available when you’re at the dentist. Or in a work meeting / zoom call, right? When you take your animal to the vet. When you’re driving.

Those are all things where you need to be fully present, yet doing our work – the thing we get PAID TO DO, to earn a living – we allow ourselves to be semi-present, constantly being distracted by incoming notifications.

Build That Email List

My buddy Bill Meis on Twitter:

Friendly PSA for young bands and artists.

Start your email list now and don’t stop.

No, seriously. The fact that even big bands don’t have landing pages feeding a general info mailing list is BONKERS.

Facebook and Twitter aren’t in the business of sending you traffic and clicks for free. And you can’t export those connections (hello, MySpace) when they go belly up.

Build. That. Email. List.

And Instagram is OWNED by Facebook. More algorithms. More noise. They’re 1000% gonna fuck it all up. But an email from a fan, someone who bought your album on Bandcamp? That is gold.

Your email doesn’t have to be ALL BUSINESS either. Remember – some people have left Facebook and Twttr. You can use the stuff you write on social media, repackage it, and send it to your list!

Hell, this post is just from a handful of Tweets, and can be found three years from now from a Google search, or linked to from another website.

Have you stuff somewhere, and not just sitting on social media sites.

Switched from Revue to Mailchimp

When I started the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club email newsletter, I wanted to try something different, and I picked Revue. It turned out to be simple to use, and easy to manage, but as the list and my process has grown, I sort of outgrew it pretty quick.

Previously I was using a Google Form to collect people’s birthdays and other info for the Birthday Club. This is important stuff, as whenever there’s a birthday, an email gets sent out.

Even more important is people being on the email list! What good are these emails if half the people who sign up aren’t on the email list?

So I moved everything into Mailchimp, and set up the sign up form like the Google Form.

I just couldn’t add all that in Revue, which is okay, since they’re built more for growing a list and then monetizing it, or selling ads – and it’s great for that. I just needed something different.

Exporting my user date from Revue and uploading to Mailchimp was simple enough. I just needed to set up the extra fields in Mailchimp (Birthday, First Name, Last Name, etc.), and everything lined up just fine.

Now when people sign up to be in the Birthday Club, they’re on the email list as well. This removed an extra step from the process for the person signing up, and honestly not everyone who joined the club went and subscribed to the newsletter. Extra steps matter! So now it’s streamlined, which means I get to grow the newsletter at a better clip.

Another reason for moving back to Mailchimp is that the emails will look a little better now, too. Revue only had a few different templates, and didn’t let you add to much to the design, so it’s nice to have some of that control back.

Again, not a knock on Revue – their service is great for what they do! I’ve just been using Mailchimp since forever, so it was nice to “come back home.”

P.S. If you want to sign up for the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club Birthday Club, just click here to subscribe!

Seriously, Just Use SaneBox Already

It’s true – email newsletters are great. But when you subscribe to a few, well, it can be a bit overwhelming. Let me tell you about one of my favorite services I pay for and could not live without. It’s called SaneBox.

It works by making some new folders in your email account, like SaneNews and SaneBulk. So when you get that email receipt that coffee shop that uses Square, you drag that email into SaneBulk. Now the next time you go to the coffee shop, that email will automatically go into SaneBulk.

That means when you pull out your phone, or log into your email after your lunch break, you won’t see that email in your inbox because – face it – it’s not urgent It’s not inbox worthy!

Maybe you’re a writer and you get a zillion press releases a day. Well, you can start dragging them into your SaneLater folder, and the next time you get an email from them, it won’t sit in your inbox.

The important emails, well, you leave them in your inbox. And SaneBox will always leave them there. So then, after a week or so of using SaneBox, when you get a notification on your phone, or a ding on your laptop, you’ll know there’s actually something important in your inbox.

I’ve been through two pretty major life events in the last year, and having Sanebox was wonderful. In this GIG ECONOMY world I still had to check email on occasion, but at least when I saw a notification and decided to check email I knew it wasn’t going to be some stupid 10% off offer from a website that I visited three weeks ago.

And all those newsletters I subscribe to? I drag them all into my SaneLater folder to read, you know, later.

Seriously, give SaneBox a shot. I can’t recommend it enough.

Fuck Off with Your Partners

Recently I signed up for an email from a media outlet. Since I do a bunch of email marketing, I like to see what some of these companies are up to, and how they work.

The first email was a bunch of links to their stories. Headlines. Big photos. Yawn. Okay.

The second email was from their partner. As in, they put together an email campaign on behalf of an advertiser and sent it to me.

The email was a give away that was 100% useless to me. Like, it was practically for tampons, which – as a dude – I literally have no use for.

The company assumed I was into “tampons” (I’m avoiding mentioning the actual give away, email me if you want the details), and just blasted it out.

They could have written a series of articles about tampons, menstruation, recent stories about feminine hygiene products being withheld from women in prison. Then, over the course of several emails they could track who clicked on those links to those stories, and safely assumed, “hey! I think these people are possibly interested in feminine hygiene products!”

Then they could build a smaller but better-targeted segment and get better opens and clicks for their client.

Instead, they sent an “email blast” and I unsubscribed. I’m sure they’re not losing sleep over me leaving, but they sure ain’t doing their “partners” any favors.


What Would I Even Put in an Email Newsletter?

When friends complain that only 12% of their fans are even seeing their social media posts, I like to mention EMAIL NEWSLETTERS.

Well, “newsletters” is a silly phrase, but hear me out.

The usual come back is, “I don’t even know what I’d put in an email newsletter.”

Which is a total lie.

For years you’ve been providing social media networks with your content for free, willy-nilly. You, and 324328 other bands and labels and distros and brands. All those behind the scenes photos, updates from the road, show reports, new product announcements.

Yeah, that’s the stuff you put into a newsletter. Then you start “sharing” less of that on social media.

And instead of telling your fans on social media, “join my email newsletter for updates!” (because that’s about as exciting as a local insurance company pitch), you instead say things that media outlets say:

Subscribe for behind the scenes photos of recording, touring, and/or writing.

Subscribe for a “first look” at our limited edition vinyl.

Subscribe to see the new places I explore and find out how you can be cool like me, too.

See? Now instead of giving Twitter and Facebook and Instagram your exclusive content (for free), and being asked to pay for the privilege of letting your fans see it, well, you keep it for yourself and email it directly to your fans.

Oh yeah – those 2,340,982 fans you got on social media. The 0.8% of them that you’re reaching on a good day. Yeah, those 2,340,982 people aren’t suddenly going to join your email list. That’s okay. It’s a process. Work on getting five people to your list. Then 10.

It sounds lame and boring, but have you considered those 5 or 10 or 25 people are TRUE FUCKING FANS? They stepped away from social media for eight god damned seconds to sign up for YOUR email list.

In 2018? That’s impressive.

Plus it’s a start from getting away from the stranglehold that social media has on you reaching your fans.

Seriously – it’s a new year. Sign up for MailChimp and start a damn email list like it’s 1997 again.

P.S. Yes, I recommend MailChimp because I’ve been using it hardcore since 2012 and have sent over 1,300 campaigns using their service (my own and for clients), and it’s always been positive.