Huge increase in sign-ups

screenshotI’m kicking myself because I didn’t take a screenshot of this artist’s website before we started working together to boost his income using The Fan Formula.

He set himself a goal of boosting his income three-fold in three years. We’ve been working together for a year and he is on track. One of the key things we’ve done is to get his website creating more sign-ups. More sign-ups = more income.

This screenshot shows what happened after he made a simple change to his website.

The artist’s name is Chris Casello. He is the best guitarist I have ever seen.

Check out his new and improved website


A master plan to break into the UK charts

Bitter Ruin

Ben & Georgia, Bitter Ruin

Bitter Ruin are on a mission to get their music into the UK charts on Sunday 9th October.

“We all want that so what’s new”, I hear you say.

Well of course it’s not new but what’s different is Bitter Ruin are seeing the results of a very good piece of planning that everyone can learn something from. Plus there’s the fact that they’re unsigned and doing all of this themselves with grace, enthusiasm and a good pinch of strategic thinking.

Bitter Ruin formed in 2007 in Brighton when Ben Richards and Georgia Train met at music school. Although they understood each other musically through their classical training, they had dramatically opposing music tastes. Georgia listened to Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor and The Talking Heads whereas Ben preferred rock and bands like Metallica. The result? ‘Contemporary Expressionism’ with passion and musical intelligence at the heart of what they do. Their songs are about the darker side of life and their innovative performances come alive with theatricality, strong sparing vocals, harmonisation and raw instrumentation.

Bitter Ruin put in the hours and are persistent. They have a strong belief in themselves. After doing over 500 gigs they were good enough to be paid and they started getting great support slots in bigger venues. They’ve toured before now but it wasn’t the right time for them. This time it was very different.

Their plan was masterful and it payed off. They recorded their single and made a video (the first thing you see when you visit their site They decided on a release date for the single and went on a three month tour in the lead up to it. During the tour they concentrated on growing their email list and afterwards, back home, they plugged the single using Facebook and Twitter. They are clear about their mission and give their fans clear a ‘call to action’ to support them. Their single, ‘Trust’, is only available in outlets that notch up sales registered in the charts. They know how many sales they need to get to number 1.

All good stuff. Their big break came when Stephen Fry got involved. Then followed radio and TV interviews on local stations.

And their ultimate goal? To have someone do the leg work for them so they can spend more time doing what they love – creating great music for their fans.

10th October update : Bitter Ruin achieved a #19 placing in the Official UK Independent Singles Chart. A fine achievement.


What to ask fans for at sign up

The answer is no more than you need so the trick is to sort out what you do need. Here are some suggestions.

Ask for their first name if you want to personalise communication with your fans using an email management tool like MailChimp.

Ask for their year of birth and gender if you want to check your demographics. Be up front about your reason for collecting this information.

Collect birth date if you offer something special on fan’s birthdays. Let them know the reason.

Where they are located is useful. It allows you to plan ahead and send messages to sub-sets of your list. For instance you might not want to email a fan in the States about a local gig in the UK.

Asking how they found out about you is very useful. This information will give you confidence about what works well and what doesn’t so you can better focus your efforts.

Using a pick list is useful for data like location or how they found out about you.

Don’t ask for too much – you may discourage potential fans from signing up.

Some of this data can be gathered from other applications like Facebook, if you use it, however you cannot be certain your Friends on Facebook and the fans on your email list are the same set of people.

Write down a list of what you’d like to ask for at sign up together with your reasons. Find out if the data is available from any other tool you are using. Collect the data at sign up only if you have a good reason to. Otherwise don’t collect it.

PS Some mail tools allow you to do a ‘split test’ – that’s using more than one sign up box. You can see which is the best sign up box to use by looking at the stats provided.