E-mail is so easy and convenient to construct, many forget that it’s intent in a business setting should always convey professionalism. E-mail at work is a business correspondence. Your e-mail represents you the same way a handshake does. It’s a professional representation of yourself. Sounds obvious, but if you’re so used to using abbreviations and slang everywhere else, you’ll end up using it in your e-mails without even realizing it. Use correct grammar and punctuation, as well as intelligent language. You don’t have to speak like a literary genius, just eliminate the slang and abbreviations so others can understand you. Even in the music world, always remember, this is still a business. The first impression most industry professionals and fans will have of you is in an e-mail. If you find yourself wondering if your fans are engaged, send out a mass e-mail through ReverbNation and then check the percentage of people who opened it. If it’s less than 50%, it’s time to find out why!
Here are 5 important tips for musicians…
1 – Subject Line
Put a little thought in the subject line. Is it intriguing enough for people to want to open the e-mail? Is it something that will draw the reader in and also get them to respond? Writing a vague subject line or leaving it blank is a sure way of having your e-mail ignored. Blank subject lines can flag the reader having them think it is spam. Also, in long strings of e-mail communications, change or adjust the subject line as the content changes. Let the reader know that you are saying something new.
2 – Tone
As critical as the subject line is, achieving the right tone is also very important, but can be a tricky endeavor. There are instances where intending to be brief can seem terse and demanding or where a good-natured and playful comment was read as an insult. A great way to set the right tone is to always start your e-mail with an opening. “Good morning,” “Hello,” or any other salutation can help you get the correct tone across. We’ve become too abrupt; you wouldn’t answer the phone without saying, “hello.” In any text-based communication, tone of voice is hard to convey without hand gestures or vocal enunciation. Therefore, watch your tone in your e-mails – things like sarcasm are almost impossible to pick up on in text. Likewise, something you intend to write in a polite manner could be misconstrued for sarcasm or as something offensive. Just reading over your e-mails in a flat tone before you send will prevent most of these errors. If you’re writing a personal e-mail, emoticons will help you to convey a joke – but avoid this in professional e-mails to booking agents, promoters, etc.
Form can also affect the tone of your e-mail. Writing in all caps can convey an exclamation that may be hard to determine. It can send a confrontational message. If you are writing in all caps to emphasize a point, consider underlining or bolding the important information instead. If you are in a conflict with someone, responding via e-mail is not the best way to resolve the issue. E-mail is not always bad depending on the circumstances, but it’s not the best way to deal with conflict. Feelings and intentions can easily be misconstrued and are better expressed in personal conversations. People can hide behind e-mail. Being in a one-on-one requires more time and effort. There are times when you need to pick up a phone, but be careful and know when to give the other person a chance to process the information and respond.
3 – Check Your Mail!
You should be checking your e-mail several time a day. Respond in a timely manner and if the e-mail response requires some thought, at least let the recipient know that you received the letter and would like time to process it. You could miss the biggest break of your career because you didn’t bother to check your e-mail. BTW, this is my biggest pet peeve! There is no excuse for this, especially now when everyone’s e-mail goes straight to their phone. Check your e-mail often and send a prompt response!
4 – Sign Off
When ending your e-mails, make sure you use a professional sign off, like “Sincerely”, “Best regards”, or something similar. Use “Thank you” only if you are asking something of the recipient.
You should also use a signature that includes your full name and some of your contact information. Most often, people put their full name, phone number (when appropriate), e-mail address, and maybe their professional title. Most e-mail programs let you save a signature and will automatically place it at the end of your outgoing e-mails.
5 – Timing
Most importantly, consider the consequences of sending an emotional e-mail. Never fire off a response without determining how your e-mail will be received and who will be receiving it. After all, e-mail is just another aspect of how you are being judged professionally. Make it work on your behalf.
The bottom line is, in today’s music Industry the majority of contact with fans, booking agents, promoters, etc will be through e-mail. So it’s super important to make sure you are staying on top of your mail and responding in a professional manner. Don’t let someone’s first impression of you be one that will close a door that could change your career!