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Saturday
Jun052010

Writing An Effective Contact/Gig/Business Letter

So you’ve got the band & songs ready and now it’s time to start hitting up venues, labels, bloggs, social networking sites, ext… But what do you write and how do you make it effective when you only have about 1 sentence to capture your potential audience?

Let’s start with the basics. First make sure to do your homework and refer to the correct person using their correct title: Mr., Ms, Miss, ext.. Nothing will get your e-mail sent to the trash faster then saying Dear Jon when the booking agent is Adam (you’d be surprised). If they have a last name use both. Some people like both names when being refereed to and in doing so you have already started to build a relationship with them; you defiantly will not hurt yourself (for instance my name is Zaque Eyn not Zac or Zaq or Zaqueyn and I am called Zaque Eyn not Zaque or any other version of). Make sure you check the spelling of their name. I cannot stress this enough. If you spell it wrong then don’t expect a reply back, although the exception here is if you write a great letter then people can get over the misspelling of their name, usually.

Keep the letter as short as possible and do not add fluff. People want the specifics, fast and short: Your band name, your fan base, how many CD’s you sell at shows, how much merch you sell at shows, website (myspace & facebook don’t count) contact person, phone number. However the exception to this rule is that you do want to be personable and friendly. No body wants just an information dump! Put your personality into it. The most important mistake of them all, you fail to mention the date you want for your booking! Tell them what date you want & what time (be specific am or pm counts).

 

The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing

1. Failure to focus on the business problems and payoffs- the content sounds generic.

2. No persuasive structure- the letter is an “information dump”

3. No clear differentiation of this band compared to others

4. Failure to offer a compelling value proposition.

5. Key points are buried- no impact, no highlighting.

6. Difficult to read because they’re full of jargon, too long, or too technical.

7. Credibility Killers- misspellings, grammar and punctuation errors, use of the wrong client’s name, inconsistent formats, and similar mistakes

 

On to the fun stuff, how do I write this thing?

 

Structure of Persuasion

****State the Needs or Problems****  Restate the business problem or need (we want aug 1st at 8:30pm)

****Identify the Positive Outcomes**** Identify the outcomes the client seeks (merch, cds, fans)

****Present a Recommendation**** Recommend a solution (we can play here and help your sales)

****Provide Details to Substantiate**** Provide substantiating details (past shows or venues)

 

1st: The Customers/Venues/Labels/other Needs; understand their needs, issues or problems

2nd: Outcomes; Focus on the outcomes or results the customer/venue/label/other wants to achieve. How will he or she measure success? What must the organization see in terms of results to make their investment in your products and services worthwhile?

3rd: Recommend a Solution; To be a solution, the products and services you are recommending must be linked to the customer’s specific problem.

4th: Prove you Can Do It; Typical kinds of evidence could be references, testimonials, case studies, resumes of team members, project plans, guarantees, third-party validation such as awards, details about your management philosophy, your company history, and so on.

 

The Funnel

Most important: Introduction: state key point(s)- who, what, when, where, why, how

Secondary points: Body: present each point in order of importance to the reader

Details: Conclusion: just stop or, in a longer document provide a quick summary, forecast, and/ or next steps

 

Ok so now you think your ready to tackle this with guns blazing? Not just yet. Don’t just type something up and send it off, share it with your band mates or friends and have them proof read it. It is better to tweak the letter with them then it is to be hopeful the venue will get where you are coming from or understand something. Remember they don’t want to think. They just want to be told nicely.

 

====================================================================

 

 Zaque Eyn is Founder/CEO/Owner of United Funk Organization & Funksville better known as Funksville UFO. While Zaque Eyns talents range from producing, sound engineering, music, fashion, events, marketing and business development; his approach to each project is rooted in successful business approach and strategy. He applies his skills and solid industry background to better even the most demanding of circumstances.

 

Zaque Eyn has worked with companies such as Jim Henson Studio, Neverland, Dave Weckl, KC Porter, Ashanti, Dennis Moody, Luis Conte, Skills, Lumitech, Love Parade, Laguna Sega, Dj Schmolli, Berkley Liberation Radio, Tutto Media, Freshly Squeezed TV, Thrice, Best Buy, Tom Kennedy, Steve Weingart, Gary Meek, Ray Yslas

 

www.unitedfunkorganization.com

 

 

Reader Comments (2)

Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Zaque Eyn.

June 22 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

The foundation of good business letter etiquette is ‘Think before you write’. You should be considering to whom the letter is addressed, how and why? This will then influence style, content and structure.

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