By Stephanie Ciccarelli
August 21, 2009
When you send a cover letter or email to a prospective client, you've got to make sure that everything is just right... say the wrong thing or omit important information and you've lost the contact!
Edge Studio in New York has compiled 15 things you should avoid in such communications for your reading pleasure.
By David Goldberg
After reading many, MANY cover letters we've seen it all. And then some. The following will make a BIG difference when you market.
1. Dear Sir or Madam,
When you receive email addressed to "Dear Sir" or "To whom it may concern", don't you delete it? So do casting directors. Folks, you may think you're SAVING TIME by avoiding the 4 minutes it takes to get a contact's name.... but in actuality, you are WASTING TIME
because a large percentage of recipients will probably never open your email to begin with! Look on a website, do a Google search, call the company,.... do what you must to get the recipient's name!!! BEGIN YOUR LETTERS with "Hi Frank," or "Dear Mary",
2. I know you're busy,
Really? How do you know that? This is no way to begin your email. Instead, I encourage you to begin with something that will catch the attention of the recipient. Perhaps, "Ever need a French voice talent with a home studio?" or "Sure times are tough, so I'm offering voice over at half price!" or "Your company looks terrific - especially the fact that you donate services. I'm willing to donate my voice over services with you."
3. Would you mind if,
One way to show that you LACK confidence is to say, "Would you mind if" or "If you have time" or "Maybe you could" or "I was wondering if". I suggest that you sound confident. For example, "My demo speaks (no pun) for itself" or "Most of my customers become repeat customers" or "They say I take direction really quickly."
4. Here's my demo.
Let me guess. You're a copywriter? No? Okay, a director? No? Then what are you? Here's the scoop: YOU KNOW who you are, but THEY DO NOT! So be clear. Say, "I'm a voice over talent." or "I provide narrations for..." or "Attached is my voice over demo."
5. I do voice overs.
First of all, you don't "do" voice overs. Rather you "Provide commercial and/or narration voice over services" or you "Help businesses increase their bottom line by including free editing with voice over recordings."
6. If you find I'm right for something, I hope you'll call.
That's nice :( How about give me a reason to call. Try "I provide voice over for corporate presentations, training videos, and online tutorials." Or maybe "Quick turn-around, with excellent quality, and a friendly smile :)".
7. Sorry, this time my demo is attached.
Please - take a moment before hitting "send" to avoid this.
Wel nuthing maekes u les profesional then tipos. Enugh sayd.
What does "abb" mean? Oh, its the abbreviation for "abbreviation". Didn't know that? Not everyone does. In fact, not everyone is as abbreviation-hip as you are. So my suggestion is to avoid them. Remember, your email may get forwarded to business people who live
in corporate world, and are used to formal, business-like letters. In other words, no more, "R u in need of VOs? My com demo is attchd. T."
10. I, I, I, I, and I
Here's a typical email we receive: "Hi, I do voice overs. I do commercial and narrations. I have a home studio. I have excellent quality and I was trained by........" Notice that every sentence begins with "I". So here's the important question: when marketing, do you want to intrigue yourself or your potential customer? Assuming the latter, compose your email so that it benefits them. This means no "I"s. Instead write "You"s. For example, instead
of, "I do medical voice over." say, "Next time your client needs a medical script narrated, calling me will make you look terrific!"
11. Born in........... then I moved to.......... Next I............ And today I...........
Really, the question is, who cares. Want proof? Do you ever want to read someone else's life story? No? Suggestion: keep it brief. Very brief. Try this, "After extensive training and some solid experience in Montauk, this voice over guy is expanding into your territory!"
12. I had to take my Mom to the hospital
Who cares. Or "It was my daughter's birthday yesterday." Again, who cares! 27 million people were taken to the hospital yesterday. 114 million people had birthdays. Putting personal information like this just makes the recipient feel like they need to remark... but
why should they when they don't even know you?. Regardless, if you only have a potential customer's attention for 1 minute, use it to PROMOTE yourself, NOT to chit chat.
Exactly. Nothing tells me nothing about you. I STRONGLY encourage you to NOT send a blank email with a demo attached.
14. I look forward to hearing from you.
Huh? Are you kidding me? The next step is STILL yours. The fact is, you need to get in front of your potential customer four times before they'll remember you. Try this instead, "I'll contact you in a week" or "Next week you'll see another email from me... this one with a special offer."
Unless you know that the recipient will appreciate "Peace", or "See ya", or "Later", be professional.
On that note, Hasta La Vista Baby. Just kidding. Thanks! We hope this article helps you get more work!
If you need help with your copy, feel welcome to contact us - we offer consultations that help you gain additional work.
If you have any comments for David or would like to add to this list, be sure to leave a comment!
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