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October 2, 2011

Writing An Effective Email Asking For Help

Filed under: Band Sponsorship, Band Promotion — ian @ 10:10 am

Spam, lovely Spam, wonderful Spam

Q: Do you know what pisses me off? A: People like Elaine!

Elaine emailed me asking, "We’d Love Your Help With Our Online Promotions." I thanked her for contacting me and as per usual, I was sorry I was a little late getting back to her ~ a couple of days! I had spent three hours looking at Elaine’s website, social media profiles and linking strategy; I then answered her request for help by offering up 20 tailored ideas, observations, and tips to improve her website’s visibility and performance ~ not bad for free! Do you know what pisses me off? When I don’t get an email of acknowledgement or ‘Thanks’ ~ receiving a small donation doesn’t even come into the equation!

So, how do you think I would respond to an email that simply, but only states, "Hey! Check our band out!?" That’s right, I ignore and delete it!

Here is a massive tip: If you want to get the best out of people who are willing to support your band, get into a meaningful conversation with them ~ email conversations should be interactive, two-way and follow rules of etiquette! ~ BTW., I am always pleased to answer additional specific questions that may arise from my initial response, in fact I expect questions and I love feedback.

Writing An Effective Email Asking For Help

I am constantly amused by the number of crappy, spammy and suspicious emails I get, luckily my spam filter copes quite well, but I find it very boring sorting out the Real requests for help from the loathsome heap of egotistical shit I receive. *HEY bands wake up* and do yourselves a favour, send emails that are worth reading and prove that you are worth supporting.

Make An Impression At The Inbox: You only get a nano-second to make a first impression as your email languishes in the recipient’s inbox; make the most of your email name and subject line ~ don’t send emails with wierd headers: From: The Jackson Five <yd8kcaji@hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Help. Use your real name linked to your band’s email account and write a meaningful and descriptive subject line: From: Daniel Cool <dancool@bandname.com> Subject: Advice needed regarding website promotion ~ I would open that email!

Trigger A Response With Good Content: Keep your email focused and get to the point quickly. Ask a clear question and include all the relevant details so the recipient can work out the answer quickly. Don’t be too brief or too waffly, however, explain yourself and say what you expect to gain from the answer. Proofread! If this is the sole & entire contents of your email, "Well, since i’m not too grate at promo my band, I will heed your advice and ask. How can I promo my band more?" (someone actually sent me that) ~ it will never get a reply from me!

"Thanks in advance." Thanking the reader in advance doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respond promptly to their slow and sloppy reply ~ etiquette is always super-polite ~ remember, no f.ing flaming.

Identify Yourself Clearly: Contact information is one of the most important and fundamental elements of an email; knowing someones name and address is the cornerstone to building a relationship, and it’s totally underrated ~ lack of contact information is a constant bugbear with music industry professionals.

Include: your name, your band’s name, a couple of telephone numbers, postal address, email address, website URL ~ use the definitive URL because it’s usually clickable eg: http://www.theskarlets.co.uk/ ~ list your main social media platforms in the same way.

No Atachments On The First Date: It is common for bands to send attachments of: (5mb).jpg images, (6mb).mp3 files and f.ing *.zip files ~ that I’m never going to open. Only include attachments when it is prearranged. Some email servers ignore messages that include large (over 3mb!) attachments and some people don’t clear out their inbox as often as they should; it all starts to look a little overfull and messy!

Etiquette and converstion are key words when corresponding with a potential helper and maybe sponsor & future champion of your band. Don’t f.it all up by being selfish ~ give out and you will receive.

9 Comments »

  1. Great advice, thxs for the post. I often hear from my label as well that they are getting emails and letters - it is clear that the senders want something, but very very often it is not at all clear what they want!

    Comment by Emina — October 2, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  2. Emina of http://www.emina-rock.com/ Yeah that’s very true, some emails are so unclear that I don’t want to waste my time unravelling the mystery ;)

    Thanks for your comment and the tweet :)

    Comment by ian — October 2, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  3. First of all, let me say thanks for the post. I believe you should have at least received a BIG thank you and possible a small donation. I help a lot of folks out too and it really gets to me if I don’t at least receive a thank you.

    In regards to emailing and promotions, I am sure someone like yourself can sit down with them, develop a good strategy and just give them a great template to use for future contacts. I don’t think everyone realizes how much time goes into the verbiage that we use for our promotions and getting it “just right”. By the sounds of it, you gave them a complete social media strategy too, so that is priceless!

    Comment by Lost Souls Music — October 8, 2011 @ 5:10 am

  4. Couldn’t agree more!

    I was annoyed by a similar scenario recently where someone emailed to enquire about the price of having a website set up. I replied with a rough estimate but said I’d be happy to discuss it further and was fairly flexible on the price.

    No reply.

    So I sent an email just to see what his thoughts were.

    The reply I got back was very abrupt, just saying he wasn’t expecting to pay that much.

    So, I reply again, this time asking him (for the second time) what his budget would be to see if we could come to some kind of price he was happy with.

    I received no reply to this, which really bugged me as I was trying to do him a favour. I was actually going to offer to do the job for free to build up my portfolio and because clearly money was an issue for him. But since he didn’t reply, I’m not going to bother.

    It really is annoying when people don’t even have the courtesy to decline an offer politely! And even worse when people don’t thank you when you go out of your way to help them, as it is in your case, Ian!

    No wonder I don’t work in customer service anymore ;)

    Comment by Ross — October 10, 2011 @ 12:08 am

  5. Lost Souls Music - http://www.lostsoulsband.com/ Thanks for your comment, I’m not sure I could cope with, “sitting down with them” ;)

    Hi Ross - http://www.electrickiwi.co.uk/ Thanks :) Having spoken with you I know what an open and easy coversationalist you are, these problems are caused by Their selfishness and in the end they lose out big time. The Scarlets - http://www.theskarlets.co.uk/ were the opposite, lovely people to talk with and that’s why I gave them a shoutout on my blog :)

    Thanks guys

    Comment by ian — October 10, 2011 @ 9:53 am

  6. He everyone! I started this music project three years ago and have gone almost completely unnoticed despite using Facebook, Bandcamp, Last.FM, on various forums and creating a blog! Despite all the music being free to download, still no fans :( lol

    Just noticed all these comments are from 2011 :S

    Comment by Poundskin — May 11, 2013 @ 11:48 am

  7. Hi Poundskin, maybe that’s because your music, sound, is extremely niche? From a promotional point of view, tie all your ’sites’ together, or at least have a base from where people can find your different social media sites. Why would anyone want to look for your Twitter page?

    How about posting comments on relevant blogs? Posting here “Writing An Effective Email Asking For Help” is hardly going to help you!!!!

    Comment by ian — May 16, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

  8. Hahaha, well, it got you to look :P

    I look and post on random blogs but still nobody looks, or those who do play a track for one second and close the page lol.

    I’ve promoted the hell outta myself on Twitter to no avail haha.

    Oh, by the way, new releases!! :D
    http://poundskin.bandcamp.com/

    Check out Robot Sex ;)

    Comment by Poundskin — August 18, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

  9. @Poundskin, pop over to LibreRock: http://reviews.librerock.com/ and get youself reviewed. Also, have a read of this: http://www.unsignedbandpromotion.com/band-promotion-blog/2010/11/28/whats-going-wrong-with-your-music-career-imperceptible-bollocks-logic/

    Comment by ian — August 18, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

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