Sending cold emails part 1: Contacting venues and hearing Tsetse flies...

This is the first installment of a four part blog series on reaching out to venues, festivals or potential clients using one of the oldest communication tools in modern history - emails. In this post I will focus on some of the common mistakes made by musicians when sending cold emails.

Sending cold emails part 1: Contacting venues and hearing Tsetse flies...

I am sure you are very familiar with sending cold emails to prospective venues where you believe your band could perform and reach a new audience, but more often then sometimes you get zero responses from recipients to your emails. And nothing is more frustrating than slaving away at the perfect email, than hearing Tsetse flies for a response. 

My solutions are by no means the silver bullet to this problem, but it will most definitely give you a base to work from and a means of improving the open rates of your emails. Writing effective cold emails is a skill that can be taught and I want to pass my knowledge onto you, so that you can get more bookings at the fees you deserve.

What do I know about writing great emails? Well here's the proof ...

Achieving a 71% open rate is unheard of, but we could and so can you. Aiming for anything above 30% is a great start.

"My emails would never get that kind of open rate. I'll just stop reading here"

Stop this kind of thinking. It's just an email, and coming from a place of feeling inadequate could introduce an apologetic tone in your emails. You do not want to be perceived this way!

Instead imagine that you are the owner of the venue and think from their perspective:

  • How will the venue benefit from your performance?
  • Are you the right fit for the venue? Metal band approaching an Italian Family ristorante... probably not the right fit.
  • Have you done your due diligence on the venue? Similar musicians who have played there?
  • What do you want them to do after reading your email? Phone call? In person meeting?

Use this thought pattern to guide the content and tone of your email.

Unless you have a personal rapport with the recipient, keep your emails friendly, concise, direct, and professional. Your emails convey your brand to a first time reader so don't take it lightly.

Steer clear from long, vaguely worded body content. Assume the recipient is inundated with emails. Craft your email such that, as the reader I would respond with a simple yes or no. 

Pothole #2: I'm not a creative writer. Where do I find the right words?

This is one of the most challenging tasks if you have not yet spent time discovering what your band- and brand as a musician, is about. Finding the right words to capture the reader's attention and accurately describe your act could pose some challenges.

In part 3 of this series I have shared some cold email templates that has worked well for me in the past, however you still have to make it your own. For ease, imagine you are the venue:

  • What makes your band so special?
  • Why should you be held in the same or higher regard as the bands who have come before you?
  • How are you different from other bands?
  • Have you been published anywhere? Quotes from blogs or press outlets?
  • How big is your following on social media?
If after the exercise above you feel as though your email comes across as a MMM sales pitch be sure to read pothole three.

Pothole #3: My email feels too self-promotional.


Once you find the best words to describe your band, most musicians find themselves facing another obstacle: 

Sounding arrogant and obnoxious.

If you are worried that you are coming across as too pushy or overly promotional, you are most likely the type of person who will never be seen in this regard :)

Keep in mind that you want the reader to take notice of your band and your music. If you are proud of your act, tell the reader why you are so proud and let your passion shine through. However it is also easy to come across as too good to be true. This typically happens when you use vague langues such as "fantastic", "mind blowing", "awe-inspiring", etc. 

You do not want to be this person.

My band is amaaaaazeballs! You'd be insane to miss this MIND BLOWING performance by an AWE-INSPIRING up-and-coming band. Your patrons will never experience anything remotely close to how FANTASTIC our music is! 

*DOUBT!*

Instead use concrete words that describe your band, your brand, and your music as accurately as possible. Tell the reader what is so fantastic and awe-inspiring about it. My go to guide for this is without a doubt music reviews. Critics can be infinitely creative with their descriptions of talent and performances.

One more thing: 

Do not send attachments! The best thing to do is to insert your Fitchfork band page link. It contains all the important content (reviews, video, pricing, etc) the reader would need.

Continue reading part two of this series.


Jordan Longlace
"I write what I like." - Steve Biko

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