email marketing and getting responses
February 25, 2011 10:52 AM   Subscribe

How to deal with rejection when marketing myself via email in the entertainment industry? And how can I have more success?

I work in the entertainment industry freelancing. I work with multiple clients providing a specific service. Lately business has been on the slow side so I've been doing a bit more marketing via email then usual. The problem I'm running into is that I'm not getting any responses from my emails. Some of the clients I'm marketing towards are people that I've worked with for the last 4 to 6 years. Sometimes doing jobs for them multiple times in a week. Recently a bunch of those jobs went away. I've sent these productions companies polite emails informing them of my recent work as well as telling them I'd love to work with them on something in the near future. I never get pushy because I don't feel comfortable doing that. While I fully understand they probably just don't have anything for me right now...why do they not respond to my email? Even just a polite..."Nice to hear from ya. We'll keep you in mind for future projects. Cheers." I feel like the fact that we worked together for a decent amount of time should at least mean a response. Especially since the relationships have almost always been positive. I don't usually follow up with a phone call because nobody has the time to talk on the phone and I don't want to be bothersome. But it's frustrating to not get a response. But perhaps this is normal? Do you take a no response as a sign they just don't have work for you? Or is it a sign they just don't want to deal with you anymore. Of course I've had times we're I'll market to someone not hear back and then several months down the road I'll get a job with them. With no mention of my email. I'm curious as to what people think about the no responses? Is this just the way most people do business these days? I'm also wondering if anyone has specific techniques to get more responses from marketing via email. Thanks for everybody's time!
posted by ljs30 to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Emails are easy to ignore or forget. People are often embarrassed when they are forced to say they have no work for you, so perhaps replying becomes a negative experience. Or maybe just a lower priority that eventually falls off the side of the desk.

Besides, due to the volume of email people get these days, it's just unrealistic to expect people will reply.

You need to get on the phone, or, even better, meeting people in person. The key is to send an email and promise to follow-up by phone at some point. That way people are prepared, but you don't have to actually set up a phone call.

Then try to figure out when people will be in the office and available. The hour between 8am and 9am is alway pretty good for that.

You can also try engaging people through LinkedIn or Twitter. If your former and prospective clients have Twitter feeds for example, retweet their tweets.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:58 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

People are busy. I've had people that totally ignored business development outreach from me (email and phone) totally out of the blue reply to a 6 mo old email when they had something to talk to me about. So keep staying in touch every 6-8 weeks or so. It'll eventually pay off.
posted by COD at 11:02 AM on February 25, 2011

Some people are bad about email. Others just aren't in the habit of responding to emails unless they have something substantial to say. If they had a job for you right then, they'd reply to you, but otherwise they just file "ljs30's looking for work" away in the back of their minds and go about their day.

I've sent lots of "Hey, have a job for me?" emails over the years. Some people respond with an "I'll keep you updated!" right away, and others never respond at all. There seems to be little correlation between "gets back to me right away" and "actually gives me work."

You've done your due diligence by checking in with your contacts and keeping them updated on your availability. You could certainly hassle them more aggressively to elicit a response, but that has just as much of a chance of backfiring as of helping you.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:18 PM on February 25, 2011

I don't think anything about the no responses, it's how email works. (And no, it's not specific to the entertainment industry. Or to douchebags.) Some people get dozens or even hundreds of legitimate email in their in-box each day, so even a short message to each one would take most of the day. Often the real decision makers in a business don't respond to emails unless there's a specific action that needs to be taken.

Do more of it, you'll get over the burn.
posted by Ookseer at 1:35 PM on February 25, 2011

To make a broad generalization (although not as broad as the obnoxious one above), the entertainment industry tends to be driven by face-to-face networking. Can you attend relevant events, or schedule the occasional lunch with your existing contacts? Email really is the easiest thing to ignore and not feel guilty about.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

It really depends what it is you're doing.

If it's a personalized email to someone within the company that you previously reported to for the same kind of work, I agree that it's odd that you haven't heard back*.

If it's a personalized email to the general company email, you don't know who's on the other end. It could be some intern who has no idea who you are or what the proper protocol is.

If it's a mass email to all your work contacts and containing a form letter, especially if it goes to one of those main clearinghouse accounts, it's either going straight to the spam filter or being screened as such by some assistant/PA/intern.

Also, for what it's worth, I work in the entertainment industry as someone's assistant, and I spend a lot of time dodging pushy sales calls and triaging messages. Nothing personal, but if we aren't interested we aren't interested. I usually try to respond to obviously personalized emails/messages, but if it comes off as even vaguely spam-like, I don't bother. Oh, and I will lie to you as needed ("he's not in the office right now", "she's interested but unfortunately the studio makes all those decisions", "I'll definitely pass along your message"...) if it gets me off the phone faster.

*Unless it's someone who is likely to be mega-swamped; sometimes I don't hear back from production coordinators on films currently shooting. They have better things to do than send a courtesy reply back to the likes of me.
posted by Sara C. at 9:12 PM on February 25, 2011

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