Mailing Lists

The very first piece of business you should attend to is starting and maintaining a mailing list. Your mailing list will be your most direct and personal link to your fans and entertainment industry contacts-- in many ways, the mailing list can be considered the "business lifeblood" of a developing artist. Keep your mailing list on computer, using any good database program. I have found Microsoft Access to be very versatile and easy to use, but any good database software should suffice. Remember to back up your mailing list by keeping identical copies on both your hard drive and a removable disk. You will want to keep the following information about each member of your mailing list: name, snail-mail (i.e. regular postal) address, email address, and perhaps telephone number. Other fields you may want to consider including are company affiliation and job title (if applicable) or school address (if applicable and if your act does/will appeal to a college fanbase).
Building Your Mailing List
Start your mailing list by personally adding all the folks you think would support your act, and all your entertainment industry contacts you want to keep posted on any new developments. As a test, in addition to your industry contacts, your list should include everyone who would come to a show or would buy/download your music. In other words, if your grandmother who lives in another state would buy a CD, she very much belongs on the mailing list. You will find that apart from industry contacts, these early members are mostly friends and family-- that's both normal and acceptable. Don't think that because they're close to you or your band they somehow "don't count." In your early days, where else do you expect to get your support? Remember this important piece of advice: every single name on the mailing list makes a difference. If you are a band, I suggest that one bandmember maintain the mailing list and that once a week, every bandmember must submit 10 new names to the mailing list until you exhaust your collective resources of appropriate friends, family, contacts, etc. Be aggressive about your mailing list.
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