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How To Get Better Responses From Your Direct Emails

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    direct emailSo you’ve reached out via email to a venue, music director, or blog writer to tell them all about your new music or your plans for a world tour– but you haven’t gotten a reply back. Now if it’s only been two or three days you shouldn’t be worried, but if it’s been two or three weeks, you’re probably getting a sneaking suspicion that you’ll never get a response. And, chances are, you’d be right.

    So what happened? Is the person you sent the information to a jerk? Lazy? While either (or both) of those options could be a possibility, there’s a better chance that something else is really going on:

    1. You may have sent your email to the wrong person.

    While most websites try to keep their information current, it’s entirely possible that the position has changed hands (or some other personnel factor) and your email ended up in a box that no one will ever see. When you follow up, try reaching out to the general information email for that organization and let them know you sent ABC to XYZ, hadn’t heard back yet, and wanted to make sure you were reaching out to the right person.

    1. Your message may have ended up in a spam folder.

    Now this can happen when your information is presented in such a way that it appears as spam to a mail server, as well as a number of technical reasons. There are a couple of ways to avoid this without getting terribly technical, so let’s start there. First, whenever possible, try to use a specific name in the email. Second, try to avoid using an abundance of copy/paste/template wording. Try to be personal and unique with each email. Try minimizing the number of links to just your primary URL (website preferred) and a video link (as these are often embedded where people can view the video without leaving their e-mail client). If you do get a conversation initiated with someone at the other end you can always ask if it’s okay to send them future information and suggest they add your email to their trusted email database.

    1. The recipient receives an abundance of emails.

    In this case, there may be little you can do except to politely follow up from time to time and hope that eventually a human will get back to you. You can do things to spruce up the interest in the reader by telling an exciting (but brief) story, and or refer to one or two other types of coverage your music is receiving. You might suggest why you would be specifically interested in having your contact review your material and it’s relevant to them.

    1. Your email is unprofessional.

    Spelling and grammar is still a thing. You wouldn’t believe how many emails are sent with complete and utter disregard for spelling or phrasing, or how many people use abbreviations for things that should be spelled out in full (especially until a working or even friendly relationship is actually in development). Understanding the basic format of a letter like the greeting, body, and signature will do wonders to getting a response. Breaking up individual ideas in their own paragraphs makes it easier to read and identify key points brought up in the message. Don’t be surprised if your project gets passed over for other projects which have been sent in a professional, respectful manner.

    1. You never clearly state your objective.

    This is a big one for anyone that performs a variety of services for artists. As part of my independent career as a full-time musician, I do a variety of work for a lot of different types of clients, and I often have my inbox flooded by people who send me “stuff” that they want me to “check out”. I have no idea if they want me to put music on our online streaming station, help them with production, help them with booking shows, write an article about them, have an interest in working with the label, etc. This almost always leads to me archiving or deleting the message because I have an existing clientele  and artists who are interested in becoming clients that can’t be served properly if I spend all my time listening to music or watching videos by people who send me things just to “check out”.

    I hope this will help you find better success in receiving responses from the people you are reaching out to. I would also like to offer this advice when organizing your messages for your own records:

    Create a spreadsheet style document and put it into a place that you can find quickly so update it with ease. Create headers in separate columns for the Date you send your first email, the Organization you are sending your email to, the Name of the contact you are reaching out to, and a brief Description of what your message was about. Then you can use the following columns to outline the Date of Response and a Response Description with any notes or action items. It’s also not a bad idea to create columns after that to allow for Follow-Up Date (or Dates) that you sent a follow up on your initial email in case you didn’t receive a response right away.

    In closing, remember that there are almost always MORE places that you can reach out to, and polite persistence almost always yields results eventually. So always research new people to contact, reach out to people you can personally identify are a good fit for what you’re looking to do, and tell them why you’ve taken the time to reach out to them specifically. If you don’t hear back in a reasonable timeframe try reaching out to them again once every one to two weeks. If you’re not hearing back from someone after a month to a month and a half it’s probably time to try reaching out to another point of contact in the organization to see if you can initiate a conversation another way.

    Now get out there and sell those cookies!

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