The more I consult with artists, the clearer it becomes: emerging musicians juggle hundreds of responsibilities. Between booking, promoting, doing your own financials, and managing your band, it can be easy to get lost in a flurry of to-dos.
Some to-dos are more important than others. The next time you play a show, don't forget this critical, career-boosting task: follow-up.
It sounds simple, but here's the truth: following up after a gig can have more impact on your career than the performance itself. The day after a performance, don't succumb to the temptation to sink into your couch and congratulate yourself on a hard night's work. You deserve it, but there's still work to be done!
Incorporate these 10 easy follow-up steps into your post-performance routine to book bigger gigs, play in new cities, grow your audience, and build strong relationships in the music industry:
1. Schedule 3 hours for follow-up the morning after every single gig. Don't wait until the second day after the gig, and don't carve out fewer than three hours. It's important to follow up while your performance is still fresh in fans' and bookers' minds.
2. Email the booker to say thank you. If the show went really well, ask for another date. Yes, this should all be in a single email. No, they're not going to hate you or think you're greedy for asking! Think about it: if the show went well last night, the venue made money. You proved to the booker that booking your band is a smart business decision. So propose another gig!
3. Email the other acts to say thank you. Even if you thanked them in person last night, email them and say thank-you again. If one of the acts lives in one of your target performance cities, ask if they'd be interested in splitting a bill in the future. (Click here for 18 Ways To Have A Successful First Gig In A New City.) Be concrete and specific. Remember - in this industry, relationships are your most valuable resource.
4. Email industry gatekeepers after the show and ask for a testimonial. If there was a music journalist, radio host, promoter, or high-profile musician at the show, email them the following morning and ask for a testimonial. This testimonial can be shared on your EPK or incorporated into your booking email.
5. Email your die-hard fans to show your appreciation. If Sally and Joe show up to every, single gig, thank them for their support every, single time. Don't take their attendance for granted; these are the folks who make your career possible. When you launch a crowdfunding campaign, release a new record, or headline at a local festival, folks like Sally and Joe will be the first ones to support you. The morning after a show is the perfect time to return the favor.
6. Post a photo/video from the show to social media and thank your fans for coming. Show your fans that were present that you appreciate them. Make the fans that couldn't come sorry they missed out!
7. Add new email sign-ups to your mailing list. Email sign-ups are extremely valuable to an emerging artist. These new fans have explicitly indicated interest in you and voluntarily signed up to receive your emails in their inbox! Add them to your mailing list the morning after the show so they can begin receiving your band's mailing blasts ASAP.
8. Send personalized thank-you emails to all new email sign-ups. Include 1) a direct link to purchase your album and 2) a ticket link to your next show. Sending personal emails can be time consuming, but doing so guarantees that new sign-ups are converted into longterm fans. Send quick, personal emails to new fans to make them feel appreciated and valued. By linking to your album and next show, you'll ensure that they become more engaged with the band over time.
9. Add the venue to the Prior Performances section of your EPK. If it's a big deal, add it to your booking pitch. EPK, or it didn't happen!
10. Plan another show in that same market 4 months down the road. If you want to develop your audience in a target area, play a show in that area once every four months. The sooner you plan your next performance, the better. (Be sure to approach every new show with a clear goal in mind. You can learn more about effectively setting goals for gigs here.)