Client: Jon McLaughlin
In March of 2011, Rare Bird, Inc. was fortunate enough to start working with recording artist, Jon McLaughlin. Since this time, we've partnered on several projects to engage Jon's fans as he shared the news of his cross country tour (Spring, 2011). Now we're collaborating on several projects to help Jon stay connected with fans while he prepares a new, independent record.
Combining the talents and services of our team here at Rare Bird, we have also leveraged the power of ExactTarget in our solutions for Jon. As a Gold level ExactTarget partner, our knowledge of this email marketing platform is extensive. More importantly, Rare Bird, Inc. was the first agency partner to sign on with ExactTarget as a reseller, forging a great relationship between our team and theirs.
The projects we've worked on with Jon have been a blast. Here are a few of the creative solutions we've developed together:
• Tour Promotion Website
• Email Subscriber Acquisition
• Automated Email Marketing
• NoiseTrade Acquisition Campaign
• Facebook Promotion
• SMS Capture Strategy
• New Record Promotional Website
• Fan Engagement Email Campaign
• Album Announcement Email
• Pre-Order Call-to-Action Email
• Record Launch Email
Tour Promotion Website
We started with a website to promote Jon's cross country acoustic tour. Our development team utilized a custom integration with Facebook so Jon could manage his tour schedule on the road. When he updated an Event on Facebook, the tour schedule on the website was updated automatically. This solution was really convenient for Jon, but taking this cross channel approach also kept his fans engaged on the website AND Facebook.
Email Subscriber Acquisition
Understanding the importance of capturing information about Jon's fans, we implemented an email subscriber acquisition campaign. Taking an active approach to engaging fans, we utilized a pop-up interstitial technique that asked fans for basic information as they visited the site. When a fan clicked the submit button on the sign-up form, their info was automatically added to a list of subscribers in ExactTarget. This web collect strategy increased subscriber growth by nearly 200% in only one month.
Automated Email Marketing
There's no better time to connect with a fan than when they reach out to you first. When a new subscriber joins one of Jon's email marketing lists, they receive custom, personalized email responses instantly. These automated welcome emails, powered by ExactTarget, are custom written by Jon to personally thank each subscriber for their interest and support.
NoiseTrade Acquisition Campaign
Jon wanted to give away a free song to re-engage his fans with new music while also growing his list of email subscribers. Our team weighed the benefits of delivering the free song via Jon's website vs. using a 3rd party site like NoiseTrade. Ultimately, we decided NoiseTrade was the best option to deliver this free song because it exposed Jon's music to new fans, not to mention forged a new relationship with the awesome team at NoiseTrade. In addition to promoting the free song on Twitter and Facebook, we sent also sent an email to all of Jon's subscribers.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that after 2 months with the NoiseTrade promotion, Jon's email subscriber list grew by 258%.
Jon's largest gathering of fans reside on Facebook. We've developed a strategy that encourages new fans to "like" Jon on Facebook while also encouraging existing likers to sign up for the online mailing list as well. This cross channel approach helps ensure fans get breaking news from Jon and promotions exclusive to email subscribers.
When this Facebook promotion is launched (Fall, 2011), fans will be offered a free song that won't be available anywhere else.
SMS Capture Strategy
We wanted to explore the idea of an email subscriber acquisition strategy that targeted a device many of us keep near and dear to our hearts (literally). Mobile phones. The mobile market is booming and research has revealed how quickly people consume new media on their mobile device.
So we implemented SMS campaigns at shows on Jon's acoustic tour. The response was amazing... we captured Jon's fans in the moment and gave them a convenient way to join the online mailing list. And for being such loyal fans, they received an instant SMS response from Jon along with an email giving them a free song download.
Sounds pretty easy, huh? Why not give it a try?
Text jon and your email address to 887-69 (Your text should look something like this: jon email@example.com).
New Record Promotional Website
When Jon was ready to announce his new record, we were ready with a creative web solution. We implemented a custom WordPress blog that allowed Jon to keep fans up to date with the latest news about the new record. The WordPress platform provided an avenue for him to write quick messages, post pictures, or share videos. Our custom design and programming solutions provided extra integration and powerful control that isn't included with the standard WordPress product.
Fan Engagement Email Campaign
Going through the process of making a record takes time. Jon knew time was critical and he couldn't afford to fall out of touch with his fans. So we implemented a monthly (sometimes more frequent) email strategy that keeps fans engaged with each step in the record making process.
From writing lyrics, to recording instruments and vocals, to photo shoots for the new album cover... Jon's fans are right there with him every step of the way. At least that's the lasting impression his fans get when they receive an email from Jon, each with a very personal feel. Most of the messages in each campaign leverage personalization features available in ExactTarget's email marketing platform.
Jon wanted to tell his story of the challenging times he went through while making his new record. Coupled with sharing the name and album art with his fans, Jon delivered a very personal message to fans while sharing the excitement of his forthcoming record, Forever If Ever.
Pre-Order Call-to-Action Email
Jon's new record, Forever If Ever, became available for pre-order on Thursday, August 18th. With the goal of converting email subscribers into e-commerce sales, we crafted an email with a very focused call to action; pre-order the album now!
Record Launch Email
After spending the past six months engaging fans and walking them down the path to September 6th, 2011, the record launch date finally arrived. Staying connected with Jon's fans and directing their attention toward key dates and milestone events made the record release email a fun and easy project.
We felt there had been enough strong album branding established on both the website and in past email campaigns. We felt it was important to shift the focus back toward Jon and really showcase him, encouraging fans to connect with him as an individual, rather than feeling like they're being presented with another product promotion. Our design team used photography from Jon's album cover photo shoot (props to Cliff Ritchey) to present a very compelling email design.