10 years ago… Long before I met Phil and we co-founded Main Street ROI…  I wasn’t an Internet marketing consultant.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what life was like 10 years ago,because in a couple months, I’ll be attending my 10-year college reunion.

I didn’t take the typical career path of a Harvard grad.  I didn’t go to work in investment banking or management consulting… And I didn’t go to law school or medical school, etc.

Instead, I played the drums.

I was the drummer of an 8-person instrumental hip-hop group called The Witness Protection Program.

And my first experience with marketing was trying to get people to attend our live hip-hop shows in
Boston and New York City.

How We Broke The Strokes’ Attendance Record

This was back in 2002-2003.

There was no Facebook or Twitter back then (Facebook didn’t launch until 2004, Twitter not until 2006).

We used email.

There were 8 people in our band. So we just emailed all our friends and said “We’re playing a show at TT the Bears, you should come out.” Friends would bring other friends, and we’d get a decent turn-out usually.

And then, eventually we got smart and created an email list.

And eventually, there were hundreds of people on our email list, and so instead of 20 people coming to our shows, we started getting 40 or 50 people attending our shows. And then, we started attracting bigger crowds.

After graduation, we started playing shows in New York City 2-3 times per month. And we actually broke the attendance record of a club in NYC called Arlene’s Grocery — the previous record was held by The Strokes, one of the most popular rock bands back at the time.

All thanks to email marketing.

Email marketing gave us the attendance, which gave us the attention of some record labels. And we made a pretty good run at it.

But we ultimately didn’t get the record deal, and after a couple years of fun, most of us went off to find “real jobs.”

I went to work in marketing.

And looking back, 10 years later, I realized I learned a valuable marketing lesson from my days playing hip hop shows.

Lesson: Email = The Best Driver

The truth is, it’s actually kind of hard to get people to attend a live concert. You usually need to do a little (or a LOT) of prodding to get people to actually show up. And even if people intend to go, they usually won’t remember to show up unless you remind them a couple times.

And the same is true in any business, really. The majority of your prospects (and customers) aren’t going to buy (or come back) on their own without your guidance, regular communication, and multiple reminders. If you stay in touch with them, you’ll be more likely to make the sale.

We found that email marketing was the best driver of attendance for our shows. And I would say that, 10 years later, email is still the most effective tool for generating conversions and sales — for getting people to show up, anywhere.

Of course, a LOT has changed in marketing over the past 10 years. Facebook was just getting off the ground back then. Twitter didn’t exist.

But, honestly, if we got the band back together tomorrow for a reunion tour, I wouldn’t rely on Facebook or Twitter or other social media platforms to drive people to our shows.

I’d still rely on email to bring the crowds.

Are You Missing Out?

If you’re not using email marketing to convert prospects into customers and bring your customers back to your business, you’re leaving untold amounts of money on the table.

The first simple step to get started with email marketing is to assemble and organize the list that you already have. In our band, we started by compiling all of our friends’ email addresses into a spreadsheet. You can do the same in your business.

From there, you’ll want to put mechanisms in place to continually build your email list. This doesn’t have to be super high-tech. We did this at our live shows with a piece of paper and a pen on a clipboard.

Then, you’ll want to stay in regular communication so you can drive people back again and again (like we did by sending out announcements and reminders about our shows).

It’s simple… Anybody can do it…

Even 10 years later, email marketing is still one of my go-to strategies for generating leads and sales.

And I strongly recommend you use this powerful marketing tool to grow your business.

– Pete

P.S. If you want ALL of our best email marketing tips and tactics, pick up your copy of our Guide to Email Marketing (normally $97) when you join Main Street Inner Circle for only $9.95 during our 1-year Anniversary celebration.

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