004 - Creating "FormLetters" to send personalized emails to venues and media outlets on your tour route
Sugar Still has toured to all four corners of the US in the past year, and one of the big benefits we get from BandMgr is how quickly we can research and contact venues along our tour route to get booked for gigs. This gets even faster and more efficient when we use FormLetters.
Here's the basic touring concept... let's say we're booking a tour (driving, not flying) from Chicago to LA and back again and we want to play in venues all along the route. We know we can't play in Chicago one night and LA the next, so we make a basic tour map with target dates for each city or regional area on the route. And we're working under the assumption that we only want to drive drive 400 miles (at most) between gigs if at all possible. With me so far?
So now we look at a map and we pick some target stopping points. Chicago, Moline, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Denver, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Phoenix. Then we pick the approximate dates we think we'll be in each area. Chicago Wednesday, Moline Thursday, St. Louis Friday, Tulsa Saturday, Oklahoma City Sunday. A day off and then Kansas City Tuesday, Manhattan KS Wednesday, Denver Thursday, Colorado Springs Friday, Albuquerque Saturday, Santa Fe Sunday. A couple more days off, then Flagstaff Wednesday, Phoenix Thursday, Tempe Friday, Palm Springs Saturday, LA Sunday... etc. Get the idea?
Now if we're honest here, it's HIGHLY LIKELY we'll need to approach multiple venues in each town or area for each night (or day) that we want to perform. In fact, we may need to approach 30 venues (or more) in each region to make sure we get a gig that we want on the night that we want it. There are so many reasons a venue might not book you, they may already have someone booked, there may be a football game that night, maybe it's trivia night, the venue is closed for a party, you name it. This is why we'll probably need to approach multiple venues for each tour stop. And this is where FormLetters come in super handy.
We create FormLetters for each specific region or city and the specific date (or dates) that we're touring through. The only thing that may be different in each FormLetter may be the date itself. However, sometimes we also create FormLetters catering to specific types of venues (for example one for breweries, one for wineries, one for distilleries, one for clubs). Then as we research venues in each area we have the FormLetter ready to select from a pop-up list, and it sends the booking request email in one-click.
Here are some examples (insert examples here).
One of the key benefits of FormLetters is that they *become* personalized when you send them. For example, we put the name of the venue in the Subject line of each email by inserting the FormToken [Company]. Then we don't need to re-type the name each time we send an email, BandMgr inserts it for us automatically. We can also put the venue name in the message of the email, and we can put the booking contact's name at the beginning of the message as well. How does this work? We use a thing we developed called "FormTokens".
FormTokens look like this: [Company], [FirstName], [LastName] and so on. Each FormToken is replaced with information from the Contact Record when the email is sent. You can use FormTokens in any of the FormLetter form fields... TO, CC, BCC, Subject, and Message. Here are the available tokens you can use (however the TO, CC, BCC fields use only the [Email] token):
[CurrentDate] inserts inserts CurrentDate
[Email] inserts Contacts::Email
[Company] inserts Contacts::Company
[FirstName] inserts Contacts::FirstName
[LastName] inserts Contacts::LastName
[Street1] inserts Contacts::Street1
[City] inserts Contacts::City
[State] inserts Contacts::State
[Zip] inserts Contacts::Zip
[PostCode] inserts Contacts::Zip
[Country] inserts Contacts::Country
[Phone] inserts Contacts::Phone
Once we have a confirmed gig, we can circle back around and contact all of the newspapers, TV Stations, and other media outlets within a certain radius of the venue. FormLetters are great for that too.
Watch this short video tutorial to see how we use FormLetters to send booking request emails really quickly for each city or region on our route.
(insert video tutorial here)