In this blog post we're going to go over the do's and don'ts of what to include in your email to a venue.
This is number one on the list because the subject line is the first impression between your band and the venue's booking manager. Your subject line should at least contain your band name as well as what date(s) you are interested in booking. If you're a local band that is pretty available at any time it's still a good idea to at least narrow down your availability to the month or season. Often being more direct and targeted with your availability as opposed to vague helps your case.
Putting your band name in the subject line makes it easier for a booking manager to make a connection with your band and locate your email at a later time. Maybe I saw your band name on a flyer recently or a friend told me about your show last weekend. When I glance through my inbox and see your band name once again, it might intrigue me to open your email. If you use a generic subject line, your email will most likely get buried among the hundreds of other similar subject lines. Similarly including a genre tag may come in handy when I'm looking for one more band for that death metal bill I'm putting together.
DO: "Band X (folk) - May 15" or "Band Y (metal) - May/June"
DON'T: "Booking," "We Want To Play A Show," "Original Band," "Local Songwriter," "Hi," "(no subject)"
You've gotten the venue's booking manager to open your email. Now you need to get them interested about your band. Do a bit of research and find the name of the person you are emailing. Greeting them by name often goes a long ways and shows you put in the extra effort. Keep your introduction short and to the point—ideally one or two paragraphs relating to the band.
DO: Include where you're from, if/where/when you've played in town before, local bands you've played with, estimated draw (don't lie), style of music/similar bands, potential dates
DON'T: Ramble, include irrelevant information
After your introduction, include some relevant links to music, social media, videos, or press. Think about the number of clicks or amount of time it requires to access your content. Can I just click your YouTube link and watch your video, or are you directing me to your website, where I have to navigate to your Videos section, and then play your content? Do I have to download a 10mb file to hear your music? Again, keep your links concise and relevant. Don't include five YouTube links of you playing different songs in your friend's garage. Edit it down to the best of the best.
DO: Direct link to Facebook, website, BandCamp or SoundCloud, one or two videos, reviews from press
DON'T: Attach mp3s or videos to your email, require me to download a file, make me click multiple times to access your content
Don't be distraught if you haven't gotten a response in a few days. Often venues will tell you on their booking page an acceptable time frame to wait for a response. This can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Most venues get dozens of emails a day so it's not a quick task responding to everyone. If a venue tells you to expect a response in a week and it has been two weeks, don't be afraid to send a polite follow up email.
DO: Follow up after an acceptable amount of time, be polite
DON'T: Follow up the next day expecting a response, call the venue immediately after sending an email looking for a response, be pushy or rude