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Behind the email marketing for country music’s biggest stars

What we learned from BubbleUp

Did you know that country music stars love email marketing almost as much as they love their guitars and passionate fans? In fact, when George Strait was asked about his secrets to such a successful career he said, “Lots of hard work, a little bit of luck and targeted emails through smart audience segmentation.”

So everyone knows George gets it. (You didn’t? Weird.) But what about those country performers who don’t have George’s innate email marketing savvy? They turn to folks like Tracy Goldenberg.

Tracy is the manager of Account Services at the award-winning, digital marketing agency (and Emma customer) BubbleUp. BubbleUp's Nashville team manages the email marketing for some of the biggest acts in country music including Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson and Luke Bryan. As cool as that sounds, we learned that it comes with its fair share of challenges.

An email solution for hectic schedules and quick turnarounds

Marketing for clients in the music industry can be hectic, filled with tight deadlines, untraditional business hours and last-minute requests. So BubbleUp makes good use of Emma’s flexible and user-friendly campaign creation tools, like the drag & drop editor.

Tracy Goldenberg uses email to keep fans connected to the Luke Bryan experience.

“The drag & drop editor has made our lives a million times easier,” said Tracy. “The flexibility it gives for us to either quickly create an email or teach our customers how to create an email has been a godsend.”

Tracy also appreciates how easy it is for her clients. She can set up a template, share it with a client and quickly teach them how to update and send their own emails. This saves her a lot of time and stress, since clients can make their own last-minute changes before sending.

“Once we get a template created for our customers, they can run free. Anything that they’ve ever needed, within the realm of possibility, is available to them in the drag & drop editor,” said Tracy.

Targeted, exclusive emails give fans what they want: the Luke Bryan tour

One of Tracy’s biggest clients is top-selling country star Luke Bryan, and she uses email to communicate the latest news, tour dates and presale ticket announcements to his fan club. 

“I think that the experience is what keeps fans coming back,” said Tracy. “So through the presale ticket announcements, we’re allowing fans to have this experience of seeing Luke in concert, and the only way that they know about it is through email.”

The ability to segment is a key part of BubbleUp’s email marketing strategy for Luke Bryan’s tours.

“A lot of the emails that we send are only to a segment of the fan club, so we do a lot of geo-targeting, especially for the presale ticket announcements,” said Tracy.

Since some members of the fan club are only interested in tour dates that are close to where they live, Tracy uses Emma to segment the list by a certain radius around each tour date location. That way, people aren’t getting announcements about a concert in Milwaukee if they live in Houston.

BubbleUp surveys Luke fans and segments accordingly to give them the content they ask for.

A unified fan club with different email preferences

Just because the members of the fan club share a love for Luke Bryan, doesn’t mean they all want to be communicated with in the same way. That’s why Tracy recently sent out an email to the fan club asking them to update their preferences, and she learned something interesting about Luke’s fans.

“We found that Luke fans will travel pretty far. Many people said they want to get every single presale email, so being able to segment the list that way and really give the people what they want has been awesome,” said Tracy.

You know what else is awesome? The results. The presale emails have nearly a 50% open rate and 20% clickthrough rate.

With those kinds of results, it’s pretty clear Tracy has this whole email marketing thing down. But when she does have a question, we’re happy to lend a hand.

“My favorite thing about working with Emma is that someone always picks up the phone, said Tracy. “I mean, I have Emma on my speed dial. If we have a question, even if it’s the smallest thing, someone is there to help. That is so refreshing.”

The takeaways

Find a flexible solution to handle those tight deadlines. Especially for agencies, the ability to not only create beautiful emails quickly, but also teach clients how to create and send is a huge timesaver. An email marketing solution with user-friendly design and analytics tools is key to getting the big results you and your clients are looking for. And oh, we happen to have one in mind.

Segment to be relevant to your audience. Segment your email list by location, response history or favorite Johnny Cash album to deliver content that they’ll find most useful. This will keep them opening and reading future emails and increases the likelihood that they’ll sing your praises to their followers.

Ask your subscribers to update their preferences. Periodically sending an email to your list asking them to update their preferences is a great way to learn about your new subscribers and find out if your existing subscribers’ preferences have changed. This helps you serve your subscribers what they want, when they want.