Wonderful Union is a fan engagement company based in Sacramento, California, that works solely with music artists, helping bands and musicians connect with their fans. Wonderful Union provides a wide array of marketing services, such as web design and development, VIP experiences, fan clubs, email marketing services, and much more. Wonderful Union works with small indie bands and large acts such as Justin Timberlake, Cyndi Lauper, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Guns N’ Roses, The Eagles, Enrique Iglesias, Fall Out Boy, Fifth Harmony, and Steve Aoki.
Kristen Scheven, Integrated Marketing Manager, handles all email communication, merchandise sales, arranges community content, and helps with social media marketing for clients.
Over the years, Kristen has leveraged email marketing to help music artists connect with their fans and she has loads of insights about marketing in the music industry and email marketing in general. We sat down with Kristen to learn how Wonderful Union uses email marketing to fuel artist and fan relationships around the globe.
How does Wonderful Union use email marketing?
KS: We’ve found that email is the best way to connect artists with their fans. We use email marketing for newsletters, tour announcements, event invitations, as well as thank you emails. Whenever we have information to share, email is our go-to tool to send it out.
Email marketing goes into full effect when an artist’s tour launches. We do different types of promotions after the initial announcement. A lot of our emails are event-based, so we’re providing people with the information they need about various events.
We typically start out with one big list and make a broad announcement. We’ve found that fans get upset if they don’t get the tour announcement alongside the general public, so we send it to everyone at once.
As sales for the shows come in, we look to see which markets need more communication. For example, an indie band that’s coming to Los Angeles might sell out tickets right away, but the same band in Omaha might need more email communication and nurturing to get fans to come out for the show.
For every single date on the tour, a new subscriber list is made, and those individuals get relevant emails. These emails include the date, venue, and anything else local fans need to know.
Why does Wonderful Union use email as a cornerstone of client marketing campaigns?
KS: Email marketing is very personalized. Social media is great, but it can be a little like screaming into an abyss, whereas emails are delivered directly to someone’s inbox. Artists really like email as a form of direct communication.
We do a lot of social media marketing, but there are so many people talking all the time on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes, fans don’t know what they’ve signed up for and get a lot of messaging that isn’t particularly relevant to them.
The great thing about email marketing is that email is the first thing most people check every day, and the last thing they check before they go to bed. It’s very personal, and people decide what messages they do and don’t want to receive. People either open an email, or they don’t, so email marketing provides us with a helpful metric of whether our messages are relevant.
How does Campaign Monitor support your email marketing efforts?
KS: Wonderful Union has been a Campaign Monitor customer for nine years, and our two companies have grown up together. In fact, Campaign Monitor is the longest-standing marketing tool we’ve used.
The reason we’ve been with Campaign Monitor all these years is because of quality. Campaign Monitor’s emails look the best, are easy to design, and the platform helps keep us organized. We’ve tried some other email marketing clients, but they’re too standardized and require too much backend coding. All of the music artists we work with have their own style, and we want to get that across in each email we create.
Campaign Monitor empowers us to focus on design– we don’t have to waste time dealing with coding.
As an agency, we create a lot of emails. Because of that, we need a tool that’s not only easy to use but can keep our clients organized in one streamlined dashboard. Having this visibility helps ensure we’re creating the best possible client emails without any mistakes.
We also use Campaign Monitor to help manage our segmentation based on geography. We help artists promote tour dates across the country, so segmentation matters a lot to us, and Campaign Monitor makes it easy for us to send emails to certain areas.
As far as features, we find that we’re always using Campaign Monitor’s API. We connect it with Google Analytics and New Relic, which is super important because it helps us do reporting to prove ROI to our clients. That’s one of the biggest things for an agency– we want to show our clients that the money they’re spending on their campaigns is really working for them.
Also, we have a lot of fans sign up for email lists at merchandise booths at shows, and we want to provide a clean, easy to use experience, and don’t want to rely on Wifi. We use Campaign Monitor’s Enlist App on iPads so that bands can allow people to sign up on the road.
What email strategies have worked well for Wonderful Union?
KS: Over the years, we’ve tested a lot of different strategies to find out what works, and it’s been interesting to see how different audiences respond to messaging. We’ve learned a ton about our fans, how they react to certain messaging and have done various tests to see what time of day is best to send an email, and which subject lines perform well.
We’ve learned that bands with older fan sets want all the information in the email, whereas the younger fans like to be drawn in with catchy and cheeky subject lines.
Copywriting depends a lot on the band. Copywriting for a Papa Roach tour is very different than a Backstreet Boys email. We’ve found that it helps to use the fan’s language, which often requires learning a lot about the fan culture, or diving deep to understand the intricacies of the artist.
One of our favorite strategies is using A/B testing, which we’ve only recently started doing last year. We’re all data nerds, and A/B testing helps us see what’s working, and helps give us insight into what makes someone open or click an email.
What’s next for Wonderful Union?
KS: We’re very experimental, and when it comes to email, our work is never done. We’re continuing to learn about fans, and we’ve recently begun implementing transactional emails for our clients, and are already seeing the benefits.
Wonderful Union incorporates email into everything they do and has a textured and impressive understanding of the artists they work with, as well as their fans. They leverage a variety of Campaign Monitor’s features and continue to experiment to learn more about how to get the most out of email marketing.