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Three Ways to Ruin a First Email

You’ve practice for hours and put together a great concert program. So you send out a few prospect emails, trying to book some concerts.

And you got nothing.

Unfortunately there’s a very good chance you missed an opportunity and screwed something up. Maybe it was one of these things…

1. You Didn’t Do Any Research

You’re reaching out to a newspaper or blog looking for some press coverage. Or maybe you’re emailing a guitar society looking for a concert. So you load up that sweet stock email you put together, paste it into your email client, and send it off to parts unknown.

And hear nothing back.

True story: stock emails and letters don’t work. What makes your email different from the hundreds of other emails people get with the opening line “To whom it may concern”?

Spend some time researching the person or organization you’re emailing. If they have an about page, read it carefully. Address the person you’re emailing by name. Make a pitch that’s in alignment with the organization’s or person’s beliefs or mission.

Doing a bit of research is a way to show you care about the person you’re contacting.

2. Your Subject Line Sucked

Headlines on articles and blog posts matter. Emails subjects are no different.

Tell the recipient what you want — make a promise about what’s in the email that entices an open and gets them to read the first line.

This is just good copywriting practice. You don’t have to be a professional writer to make it work, but think about your subject carefully. What are you trying to deliver? If anything, just make it clear what the email is about. “2011 – 2012 Concert Season Booking Question” is probably better than “[Insert Guitarist’s Name]”.

While we’re on the subject of writing, make sure you use paragraphs. Don’t send one big block of text.

3. You Didn’t Ask for Anything

Tell your recipient exactly what you want them to do.

In advertising parlance, this is a call to action. If you want a CD review, ask for it. If you want a concert, make sure you end your email with something that opens a dialog that may lead to that.

Sometimes this is as easy to a nicely worded click here link. In other words, if you want a return email, ask for it.

Don’t Ruin the Follow Up Emails Either

Be sure to say thanks and be professional even if the result is negative. You can turn a lot of negative emails into a dialog, which may lead to something in the future.

Know when to pick up the phone. Sometimes a huge chain of emails can be avoided just by picking up the phone. Don’t be afraid to make the call!

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