5 Reasons to Send a Thank You Letter After Every Gig

The big show is over, you’ve packed up and said “goodbye,” and now you’re back home rolling around in all those Benjamins.

Do you send a thank you note to the person who booked you?

I wouldn’t think of NOT doing that, and here’s why……

Article for musicians by Dave Ruch Yes, it’s old fashioned, and yes, nobody really expects it anymore.

So why do it?

Well, if we’re talking about a gig you’d like to do again – one that actually pays well, or helps your career in other ways – then the goal is to do more of those, right?

The thank you letter is all about keeping the good gigs coming our way.

5 Reasons to Send a Thank You Letter Every Time

1.  Because You’re Actually Thankful (or should be…)

You may have noticed that good live-performance gigs are a bit harder to come by these days, and you’re often dealing with a buyer who has less time, more choices, and more distractions than ever before.

multitasking talent buyerWhen somebody has booked you for a performance, they’ve taken their time, energy, and at least a little bit of risk, to do so.

The easy part is to say “thanks.”

2.  It Demonstrates Professionalism

Like it or not, not all practitioners of your (or my) artform are professional in the way they communicate with clients.

Forgotten emails, lost contracts, missed deadlines, unreturned calls, late arrivals – I hear these on a regular basis from frustrated venues.

By contrast, most clients (or venues, or bookers, or buyers – whatever you want to call them) are organized and professional, at least to some degree.

Why Artists and Musicians should send thank you letters - Dave RuchWhen you send a thank you letter, you’re in the vast minority of performers who do so, and you’ll be remembered as someone who takes their work seriously. A professional.

3.  It Shows You’re Not Just There for the Paycheck

Mention something specific that happened at the gig, or a funny story you heard there, in your letter. Hand write a note at the bottom referencing a conversation you had with the buyer.

How to Make Money as a musicianYou’ve just elevated your relationship with the buyer a bit, and as you know, relationships are everything.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust.

4.  It’s the Perfect Vehicle to Formally Ask for a Recommendation

This is huge.

Because I’ve been making this “ask” in each of my thank you notes for many years, I’ve been able to stockpile a few hundred recommendation letters, emails, and quotes that I now use very strategically in my marketing.

If I’m sending a mass email to arts centers, I’ll include two or three powerful quotes from well-respected arts center venues where I’ve performed.

When I’m looking for gigs at libraries, I have great quotes from happy librarians who’ve booked me in the past.

BonusIf you’d like to see exactly how I ask for these quotes, you can download a copy of my thank you letter right here.

The power of social proof can’t be overstated – an enthusiastic quote from a venue like the one you’re reaching out to helps them feel reassured that others have hired, and been delighted with, you.

It could literally be the difference between the trash can and the gig.

5. It Gives Them Something Physical to Hold Onto

(If only for just a minute.)

True, your letter probably won’t find a permanent place on their desk, or on their wall, or even in that “future reference file” they never go back to.

5 Reasons to Send a Thank You Letter after every gigBut the point is this – however great your performance was, it’s in the past now. By the time your note arrives, the buyer’s mind has been re-filled with all kinds of other stuff they’re working on.

One more reminder about what you did for them couldn’t possibly hurt, especially when it comes in such a friendly form.

And maybe, just maybe, it puts you one step closer to being “top of mind” next time they need a great show.

Want to See (and Borrow From) My Thank You Letter?

You can download a copy right here.

Wrapping Up

It takes less than five minutes, and does at least five good things for you.

Do you send thank you letters after gigs? Will you be now?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below.


About The Blog

The Largest Online Gathering of K-5 Classrooms for Connected Educator MonthSince leaving a white-collar marketing job in 1992, Dave Ruch has been educating and entertaining full-time in schools, historical societies and museums, folk music and concert venues, libraries, and online via distance learning programs.

Along the way, he’s learned a great deal about supporting a family of four as a musician.

The Educate and Entertain blog provides articles, tips, encouragements, and how-to’s for regional performers (in any region) interested in making a great full-time living in the arts.

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22 Responses to 5 Reasons to Send a Thank You Letter After Every Gig

  1. ree liddell

    Thanks Dave,
    I always send a thank you email but I will try the letter approach and let you know how we go.
    Thanks for the tip about endorsements. We have so many and use none of these so I will change that also and again let you know if it makes things easier.
    Biggest thanks for your tips on marketing as this is a weak point for us as musicians/artists as for many in this profession: ))

    Ree))

  2. Matt & Carol

    Hi Dave —

    Our situation is a bit different.

    We play for many retirement communities/corporate clients who book multiple shows scheduled throughout the following year – some monthly, some more often at the same venue.

    We perform a LOT (over 380 times per year) and we usually only send a Christmas card as a thank-you for the entire year to frequent clients.

    We only send T/Y cards EVERY time to those who book less frequently, since it’s arduous to write so many notes (and we figure arduous to read them?).

    Our T/Y cards are greeting cards, with our photo/logo for top-of-mind recognition.

    Should we send thank-yous EVERY time in that situation?

    Thanks for your advice.

  3. David Davol

    Dave,

    Good perspective on doing business in the modern era. Can never hurt to express thanks and do so in a way that helps promote future business.

    As a full time performer, I find myself in a slightly different business climate, often working between venues and agencies with little contact between myself and the principles who actually book me. It’s often a mystery to me what the agency hears back from the venue, as well as why I might or might not be re-booked at a particular place.

    I’m a solo acoustic guitarist and singer, doing approaching 200 shows a year, I book a lot of my own stuff directly, and always try and let venues know how much I appreciate their business. Have had clients that re-book with me over a period of years, making life and business an easier proposition, but it’s always an ongoing struggle to keep the gigs coming and keep the calendar as full as energy and physical limitations allow. Not as easy to burn the candle doing doubles and five/six nights a week at 59 years old as it was at 29…

    I usually try my best to say my thanks in person if possible to those responsible for giving me a chance to share my music, and take advantage of email as well. Doing work you love and enjoy is no small gift in this life, and while it’s never easy, most of the time, the worst day playing is better than the best day doing any other job, at least for this troubadour. Best wishes continuing to share your music, and the struggle goes on…

  4. Garry White

    As a promoter buying the services of artists from around the world I can tell you that to receive such a thank-you letter is both rare and very welcome. That it does not happen very often makes all the more noticeable and memorable when it does.
    I often write to artists to thank them for a special performance and they are usually responded to.
    It doesn’t have to be in your own hand on scented notepaper, a personal email does the job.
    It works. Believe it.
    There is one artist who has performed regularly for me since he was a ten year old prodigy, he is now twenty and I have always received a thank-you from either his father when he was younger or him now. He plays for me most years.

  5. Jeff Moulton

    I send thank you notes, but usually on FB &/or I say thank you’s at the end of my gigs while at the venue. I agree with your reasoning above.

  6. Bryan England

    Always send a follow-up email and even some images we take from stage. I try to send it within 48 hours of the gig. Strike while the iron is hot!

  7. Peter Drake

    Excellent advice Dave
    Manners cost nothing and could make all the difference in a competitive world
    Thanks for the post
    Peter Drake
    Fivemennodog.com

  8. Bill Ceddia

    Great post Dave. I’ve been sending thank you notes/letters/emails for years now. It certainly pays off and makes you stand out from the crowd. A lot of performers take things for granted. It also applies to contractors and other service businesses as well. Our family has been using a certain plumber for years now. He has never once said “thank you” let alone sending us a note. The only reasons why we keep using him is because he is good, reliable, and reasonably priced. You make a great point about using thank you notes as a way to obtain letters of recommendation. I’ve been very lucky. Whenever I send a thank you email, I hardly ever need to ask for a recommendation. They almost always reply back to me with some powerful quotes I can utilize in my marketing campaigns. One last thing for everyone to remember: we performers need them far more than they need us! Let’s never lose sight of that fact!

  9. Faith

    Thank you for sharing this, Dave! It’s actually helpful for my business even though I’m not a musician. (I run my husband’s handyman business.)

    • Faith

      PS: I recently shared an artist’s painting on my Facebook art page, and she commented on the post to say “Thank You” and then she followed up via email to thank me again. She definitely stayed at the top of my mind, so I can attest that this works.

    • Dave Ruch

      Glad to hear it Faith!

  10. Alexandra

    Fantastic advise, Dave. I can’t believe this came into my inbox this morning, as I have been literally dithering as to whether to do this or not for a certain gig I did, and was thinking about doing it today! I really like your blog – it’s fun and so helpful. All the best to you. Alex Frederick

  11. Roland Vinyard

    Excellent. Sometimes I send thank yous, sometime I don’t. But I will for all in the future. I was brought up well and that is only polite – and sets me apart as well.

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