THIS IS NOT SPAM (blog post)

Gotta love it. Just got a spam message from a band. The subject line read: THIS IS NOT SPAM. The content: Check out my this that and the other thing. 


No, no, no, no, no.

I wish I could pop your nose with a newspaper. 

But, in case no one has explained it to you before, here it is.


The definition of SPAM as it applies to email/internet correspondence:

Any direct and unsolicited self promotive communication.

This includes, but is not limited to, sending emails to people who have not personally opted in or signed up on your email list or inquired about your services (exceptions would be close friends and family who “know you like that”) and posting promotion without permission on someone’s website, message board, fan page, wall, comment box, etc. 


Again, I’m not saying “Don’t promote yourself”. We have to and we can’t all afford to buy ad space. I’m just saying, connect with people first. If you’re desperate, even go so far as to ask people to help promote you. But, if you are going to spam people, know this, you will be shunned. 



Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #1

In no particular order, really. There are many. But, in the interest of time and space, I’m going to attack them as they come up and their was an onslaught this weekend so, here goes: 


No-No Number 1:

Putting people on your email list who have not given you permission to do so. 

Here are a list of reasons you might think give you permission to put someone on your email list. 

1) You are related

2) You went to school or work together

3) You met at a show

4) You have their business card

5) You are connected via social networks 

6) They bought a CD or complimented your music

7) You went to the same conference and your email was listed in the directory

8) You belong to the same club or organization

9) You like their music and think they might be interested in yours

10) You, at one time, corresponded via email about something (who knows what) and they are in your address book. 

If you think these are valid reasons to put someone on your e-mail newsletter list, sorry, wrong. The only one that comes close would be # 6 IF they bought your CD online. But, no. The most appropriate thing would be a follow up email thanking them for their purchase and giving them the option to opt into your list but not actually putting them on it until you have their say so.

“But, then my list won’t be as big!” No, no it won’t but, your list is best when it’s targeted to your most loyal fans and even they won’t read everything you put out. And, it’s not just an issue of quality over quantity, it’s an issue of not getting into that dreaded SPAM ZONE. I can’t tell you the number of bands…um… AND BUSINESSES…who put me on their list without permission and now, the biggest thing I remember about them is that they are annoying. Hey, as a musician, if someone labels me as annoying I want it to be because they honestly gave me a shot and found me annoying, then decided to opt out. 🙂

“WTH? Who died and made you Ms. Manners?” No one, really, as far as I know. I say this as a musician and as a fan of musicians whose mailing lists I’m already purposely on. You do yourself NO FAVORS by putting people on your list who never asked to be there. It works against you. There is so much spam out there that I can’t imagine anyone opening up an unsolicited email each day, week or month from a band they know nothing about and saying, “Who’s this? Well, that was thoughtful!”. Trust me, you already have people who opted onto your lists who 1) delete your email as soon as they see it, 2) want to opt out but know you well and don’t want to hurt your feelings 3) forgot that they opted in at all and will mark you as spam next time your email is in their inbox 4) opted in for whatever you were giving away for free to signup but don’t really care what you’re up to.  

So, what are your options: ASK! If someone compliments your music at a show or anywhere say, “Can I put you on the list so I can keep in touch?”, “Can I put you on the list so you’ll be eligible for free giveaways?” or “Get on the email list so I can let you know when I’m playing near you!” Ask people to sign up at your shows, make it easy for them to do so in person and online (Yeah, yeah, Margaret…I know what you’re thinking  —  Sometimes, even I forget), then,  email them asap with a ‘welcome to the list email’ so they don’t forget they opted in. 


The guideline: The word “YES” or “Put me on your list!” to any of the above offers to put someone on your list. 


For the love of Daphne, please repost this for bands and businesses. 


Next blog up: Accepting credit cards for merch sales! It just got easier 😉


 – LM