I'm not an expert and still learning a heckuva lot, but I am very dubious of direct response mailing...it may just be the particular group of performers that I talk to about these things, but the only performers I've heard rave about mailing are people selling information to performers about direct-response mailing (my suspicion is that they're selling mailing info. b/c it's a heckuva lot easier than selling info on, say, cold-calling)
A typical return rate, from Madison Ave. copy-writing pros, is less than 1%...send out one thousand letters, get -- maybe -- 10 people requesting more information...of those 10 people, how many will end up booking shows? The postage (if its a first class letter) cost you $440...
Basic ways people make a decision to book you:
a. they've seen you work, they love you, they have an event they can picture you at, and they can afford you (easiest)
b. they have a friend/colleague who raves about you
c. they agree to let you demo, and like what they see
c. they see video
d. (lowest percentage) they only see promotional materials
My personal goal, at the moment, is to grow the people in groups a.) and b.) as much as possible...I don't have to "sell" them, and I don't like "selling"...but, even with the people in these groups, you have to keep your name in front of them...
So the process -- at least this is my current view of it -- is:
1. What's my market?
- What are the shows YOU enjoy doing, and where you seem to fit in best?
- Who -- as a group -- books these shows (examples: Moms, marketing directors, HR, Member Services...etc.)?
2. How do I get my work in front of them? Where do they hang out? Are there associations they -- as a group -- belong to?
From there: go where they are...and bring with you: a.) social intelligence/tact b.)the ability to talk intelligently and compellingly about what you do and c.) a knock-them-on-the-floor piece of magic that lasts less than 30 seconds
, and have up to twenty minutes of strong material that fits in a wallet for when they grab a group of friends to watch more...
Have a system in place for following up
I have a friend who makes a far better living than I do as a performer, and all of his new business comes from hanging out in upscale bars/lounges and casually performing as a customer...he also has a lot of social intelligence, and knows how to do this right (I mention this because I've seen it done badly)...
Denny and Lee's lecture notes rock...as does the Bill Herz book, the Kramer book, and the Dick Ryan book....
"People love to buy, but they hate to be sold" Jeffrey Gitomer...