For years, my biggest challenge was getting a reply to the multitude of emails I wrote. I’ve since perfected my sales pitch so that now, 100 percent of the emails I send get a response.
For years, my biggest challenge was getting a reply to the multitude of emails I wrote to music venues, promoters, licensing agents, magazine editors, and even my fans. They could have called me Cheryl “Crickets” Engelhardt.
When I actually got a “yes,” it was due to luck, or laborious follow up. Probably more of the latter. The first few years of my music career felt like all of the grass-growing analogies you could muster up.
It was probably because I hated asking for stuff. Asking to be booked. Asking for fans to contribute to funding my projects. I hated to be a burden. I’m sure that’s deep rooted somewhere in my childhood, but whatever the psychology, I was pretty bad at making powerful requests. Which made getting a “yes” unlikely.
Then it came time for me to book a big winter tour. My plan was to hit up ski resorts in the Midwest and try to line up some college shows, live radio performances, smaller live music venues, and a few house concerts. That’s a LOT of gigs to book.
I didn’t have the time or energy to go through my normal “send 100 emails, get one reply” process. So I studied up, hard core, on how to be more effective in writing pitch emails, and then I did an experiment.
I took one week to do ALL the research I needed to book this tour. I had an Excel spreadsheet of every possible venue host’s contact info, the radio shows, house concert hosts, local newspapers and event listings, ski resort managers, etc. It was approximately 100 contacts to reach out to.
Part two of my experiment was to take just a few days and email every single contact. All 100 of them. And keep track of the numbers. Was my new pitching process working?
70 percent of these people wrote me back. (Um yeah, this is working.)
50 percent of them said yes.
I had 17 live shows booked total for a 15-day tour, plus several press mentions and local event listings.
Since that tour, I’ve perfected this pitching process and now 100 percent of the emails I send get a response. Not 50, not 70. 100 percent.
How to set yourself up for a yes
- Do your research. Like I said, I took a whole week to gather all of the contact names and email adresses, in an organized way, and that was a huge relief when it came time to actually write the emails. I wasn’t scrambling my focus looking for contact information.
- Know what you want. The more clear you are, the more clear they will be, and the more likely to respond and say yes.
- How can you help them? This is a weird one for us musicians, who often live in a world of “help me, please.” But if you can turn the table and figure out how your music, your performance, your track is an opportunity for them, then you’re irresistible!
- Ask for something. This may seem like the biggest no-brainer piece of advice EVER, but you’d be surprised HOW many emails I get from musicians who found me (because my company CBE Music LLC is listed as a composing company on some websites) that say “I’m awesome because of x, y, z. Check this out.” My response is always, “WHY? What do you want me to do?” This is infuriating and is the quickest way to my trash.
- Don’t overwhelm them. Your email signature shouldn’t contain links to every single one of your social media platforms and all of your SoundCloud playlists. Give them what they need and keep it short and sweet.
I’ve created a course called “The Perfect Pitch” that outlines the eight steps to use to get results when YOU are pitching your music to music supervisors, promoters, bloggers or whoever. In it, I also give you email templates. Here’s a free checklist to get you started.
Feel free to reach out on my Facebook group for musicians and let me know how it goes!
Cheryl B. Engelhardt is a full-time singer-songwriter and composer. When she’s not working on a new jingle, co-write, film score, or choral piece, she’s jamming all of her experiences into resources for musicians, including this free pitching checklist. You can read more and hear her music at www.cbemusic.com.
Creating the perfect pitch
Your elevator pitch should start a conversation
How to submit your songs to music blogs, record labels, radio, and press
8 Tips for Emailing Music Bloggers
How to segment your email list (and get more fans opening your emails)
You’re in the music business, so act like a business person