Sending promos is a hugely important part of the marketing process for any label. Getting it into the right hands, whether a Club DJ, key radio show or online blog, can be vital in giving your release the exposure it deserves – driving the buzz and sales as a result. For the people receiving the promos however, it can sometimes be a chore. Any relatively active DJ/Tastemaker will be inundated with hundreds of promos in a given week. How do you make sure that your promo is heard? And who should you send it to?Here at Inflyte we both receive promos on a daily basis, and oversee the sending of promos for thousands of labels, so we can see both sides of the record. As of October 2017, we’ve successfully deliver over 10M promos for our clients.
Here are our guidelines for basic promo etiquette:
Promo pool: Quality over Quantity
Think of all the DJ’s that might like what your label does. Check their charts, the labels that they release on themselves. If they seem like they will like it, then add them to your promo pool. If not, then don’t. It’s much better to have a small, relevant and active list than a large and completely irrelevant list. Sending to both, you will likely get the same amount of responses but in the latter case you will probably be annoying a large amount of people that don’t have any interest in what you do. Check your list properly, do you really need to include all those random people that you met once 10 years ago at a gig? Do they ever reply anyway?
Don’t use lists traded from other labels, or bought from promo services
While yes, these lists may have some relevant contacts that you need, they will also be wildly out of date with very messy data and full of lots of contacts who might have absolutely no interest in your label or genre. They are full of duplicates, typos, out of date contacts, sometimes even (yikes) dead people. It will take you a while initially, but the best way is to compile the promo list yourself, and find all the contacts on the internet. Most DJ’s will have an email on their websites. If they don’t have a website they will probably have a Facebook or Soundcloud page. You’ll also find that a lot of DJ’s will change their dedicated promo email every few years, because promo spammers have effectively messed up their inbox. Press contacts also change regularly, either see if you can find out who is currently reviewing or if that organisation has a catchall address for their promos so they can distribute them properly. If there are important tastemakers that you simply cannot find a valid contact for, then ask someone you trust in the industry if they happen to have it
Reach out to your contacts and ask them politely if it’s ok to send them promos
Reaching out and asking someone’s permission first is the best way to maintain good relationships with your promo pool and ensure that your promos are reaching the right people. If a contact won’t reply to an email, it’s unlikely they’ll reply to a promo either. This is the essence of what Inflyte does with it’s opt-in function – only people who actively want to hear your releases will be on your list. Simply ask them what is the best address to reach them on.
Many people may have separate emails for their promos so they can keep them in one place away from their important daily emails. When reaching out to someone, always list the artists who have released on your label – it shows you’ve done your research. If your label is new or relatively unknown, the name association of the artists on it may be much stronger and more likely to get you a response. It’s too easy these days to just bulk mail every jobbing DJ and press contact on the planet, without any introduction or permission and seem completely inhuman in the process. Find out their first name, where possible and send them a short, personal introductory note. It goes a long way, trust us.
Only one email per contact
If you have found multiple emails for a contact, do not add them all in. Additionally, if a DJ owns a record label, it is not ok to add every address related to that label (ie, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) This is a surefire way to annoy people. Many labels are run by separate label managers and they do not appreciate being sent multiple invites/promos when they are trying to deal with their important daily business. As above, make sure you find the correct and most relevant email to reach that person on – and use only that one.
Clean out invalid addresses and non-responders
Are you exporting your promo list from another system? It’s a good time to check which emails bounced, you can also see who unsubscribed or never accepted an invite in the first place. Chances are, they won’t be interested this time around either so it’s better to just take them off. Evaluate everyone that’s on your list and see who has never ever replied or even opened a promo before. No need to have them cluttering up your list.
Maintain strict lists with Tags
It is always good practice to keep separate lists. Make sure your press lists are together – maybe organise them according to print media, online media and radio media. Separate your DJ lists, maybe you want to email the A-list big hitters a couple weeks in advance. It’s all easy with Inflyte’s tagging system. If your label output is more varied, you will want to separate all your contacts according to what styles and genres they most often play. Disco DJ’s are probably not going to be so interested in hard techno, just as progressive house DJ’s are probably not going to be interested in UK funky. Rather than blanket mailing everyone on your list with every single release, take the time to send to only some of the contacts. If you’re promo-ing a house EP, send only to those you have tagged in your house list, ditto for Techno. And for those versatile jocks, don’t hesitate to tag them in multiple genres. In Inflyte you can tag on import, and tag with multiple tags easily.
Make sure your label description is short and to the point
The label description will be included in each invite that is sent to your promo pool. Include a short line describing the label and some of the most important artists that you work with. This is your calling-card, use it wisely!
Make the press release count
Give relevant info about the artist(s), remixer(s) and label where necessary. It doesn’t have to be pages and pages long, just a couple paragraphs will do, but it’s nice to have something interesting to read while listening to the music.
All set… Push that out and wait for the feedback, radio plays, chart action and club action