Photo: F. S. Oleshansky
Del Water Gap are an indie-folk group based out of Manhattan. Their melodic tunes, beautiful harmonies and heartfelt lyrics are winning them fans and critical acclaim. However, as our attention spans decrease thanks to smartphones, there’s never been a more difficult time for a band to keep their fan base engaged and interested.
"I’ve never liked the Mailchimp monkey. He looks like a liar." - S. Holden Jaffe, Del Water Gap
Having grown up through the rise of the social media zombie apocalypse, Del Water Gap’s front man, S. Holden Jaffe, recognizes the difficulties in getting heard. He believes, as do many big players in the music industry, that the best way to get your message out there is through growing your mailing list and sending newsletters fans want to read. We caught up with Holden to talk growing lists, strategy and design.
You’ve said 'Email lists are the future of it all.' We agree! Why do you believe this?
We’re all aware of what Facebook has become as of recent. It’s hard to get one’s content above the noise without paying. So after the trusty timeline, email seems to be the logical delivery system. Requiring fans to double opt in to join a list is also huge - you end up with a much more organic, passionate following, whereas any rando [sic] can like your Facebook page and forget about you.
How do you build your list?
Most of our entries come from folks who buy our records and merch [sic] online. If they download an album for free, they’re required to input their email address. If they pay, they can choose to opt in or out. It always seemed like a fair trade to me, given that they can unsubscribe whenever. We also have a “newsletter” tab on our website and have done a few merch [sic] giveaways to encourage our Facebook fans to partake in the email side as well. In the past we have also given away download cards and stickers to folks who sign up at shows. I saw a band once who stuck email sign up lists between the pages of a photo album filled with childhood photos of the band members. I thought that was creative.
Do you offer your fans exclusives in your newsletters?
Yes! Free stuff, cheap stuff, presale stuff.
You say you're a huge fan of Sendicate. Thanks! Why do you prefer Sendicate over other email apps?
It was recommended to me by a friend at The Orchard. I’ve also never liked the Mailchimp monkey. He looks like a liar.
How important is good design to getting a response from your fans?
Very. Our most successful metrics have come from compelling images and low word counts.
How do you create an email your fans want to read?
I try not to waste anyone’s time. I write newsletters I wouldn’t mind reading myself. We all get too many emails.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about email marketing?
Keep things relevant. It’s easy to lose subscribers if you send out useless information - and it’s really important to draw the line between what information is appropriate for newsletters and what should be limited to the social media mass.
What’s your most embarrassing email moment?
Our July 4th newsletter blast was somehow scheduled for April 29th. It slipped by me, so we all ended up with a nice springtime reminder to appreciate American independence. Confusing for all parties involved.
If you've just discovered you love Del Water Gap as much as we do, keep up to date with their latest music, tour dates and merchandise by signing up to their awesome Sendicate powered newsletter here.