04 – 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 BandMgrX has helped us to quickly research and contact venues and media outlets along our tour route to both book and promote gigs. This process got even faster and more efficient when we implemented FormLetters.

Here’s the basic touring concept… Imagine we’re booking a tour from Chicago to LA and back again and we want to book gigs all along the route.

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 Wednesday, Denver Thursday, Colorado Springs Friday, Santa Fe Saturday, Albuquerque Sunday. A couple more days off, then Flagstaff Wednesday, Phoenix Thursday, Tucson Friday, Palm Springs Saturday, LA Sunday… etc. Get the idea?

It’s HIGHLY LIKELY we’ll need to approach multiple venues in each city or region for each date that we want to perform. In fact, we may need to approach 10 venues (or more) in each region to make sure we get the gig that we want on the day 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 that we’re touring through. The only difference 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, one for festivals, one for house concerts). Then as we research venues in each area we have the FormLetter ready to select from a pop-up list, and it sends a booking request email in a couple clicks.

One of the key benefits of FormLetters is that they can be personalized when you send them. For example, we can put the name of the venue in the Subject line of each email by inserting the FormToken [Contact]. Then we don’t need to re-type the venue name each time we send an email, BandMgrX inserts it for us automatically. We can also put booking contact’s name at the beginning of the message as well. How does this work? As mentioned above, we use a feature we call “FormTokens.”

FormTokens look like this: [Contact], [FirstName], [LastName] and so on. Each FormToken is replaced with information from the Contact Record when the email is sent. You can use and of the FormTokens in Subject and Message fields. The TO, CC, BCC fields use only the [Email] token. Here are a few of the available tokens you can use:

[CurrentDate] inserts inserts CurrentDate
[Email] inserts Contacts::Email
[Contact] 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
[Country] inserts Contacts::Country
[Phone] inserts Contacts::Phone

Once we have a confirmed gig, we circle back around and contact all of the newspapers, TV Stations, and other media outlets that we can find within a certain distance from the venue to promote the show. FormLetters are great for that too.

“FOR” CONTACT (fContact) Tokens (for Booking Agents)
One of the last features we added to BandMgrX is what we call the “FOR CONTACT” to help people who book multiple acts. All Gig records have a “FOR” contact. The concept is that you’re sending an email TO a venue, and the email is FOR the band. The info from the FOR CONTACT can also be inserted into the emails using the same tokens as above, only with a lowercase “f” in beginning of the token.

[fEmail] inserts ForContact::Email
[fContact] inserts ForContact::Company
[fFirstName] inserts ForContact::FirstName
[fLastName] inserts ForContact::LastName
[fStreet1] inserts ForContact::Street1
[fCity] inserts ForContact::City
[fState] inserts ForContact::State
[fZip] inserts ForContact::Zip
[fCountry] inserts ForContact::Country
[fPhone] inserts ForContact::Phone

If you’re only booking yourself in one band there’s no real reason to use the fContact Tokens, but if you’re booking for multiple bands it can come in handy.