Let’s take a tour through two mailboxes of mine: One, a physical mailbox, the other, an electronic mailbox. I’m not gonna take you through all of my mail. I just want to draw your attention to two particular items: The postcards I get every week from Bed Bath & Beyond and the emails I get every month or so from Lush.

Start with Bed Bath & Beyond.

Why do I get their postcards? Because I have a mailbox. I’ve never shopped there. I’ve never registered on a mailing list. I’ve never checked a box that says: “I’m into you.” I’ve never gushed about my undying love for the company. But I’m opted in because I have a mailbox. They send their postcards to me and to everyone else with a mailbox, and that’s how personal it feels to receive one: NOT.

Next up is Lush.

I never received an email from them until I filled out a card at their store. I had — by then — been a customer for years, buying various butters and bubble bars and fizzy bombs. And finally, I said, “Oh, here. Here’s my info. I want to hear from y’all.”

That happened after years of my going into the store, buying six things, and having the sales associate say — after my purchase was complete, so there’s no upselling happening, here — “Oh, based on what you’ve bought, you’d probably love a sample of THIS,” and then there was another cool thing in my bag… something selected based on what I had already bought into, at the store. No strings attached.

When the emails started coming, they were specific. “Bonnie! You love Karma Kream. You may enjoy Dirty Soap. Come in for a free sample!” or “Bonnie! You jam on Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds. Please join us for the roll-out of A French Kiss, for when you’d like to keep it simpler but still enjoy the decadence of that special bath.”

Man. That’s like Amazon.com saying, “You bought this book… we recommend these ten books,” and being right most of the time. It’s customized. I’ve opted in. I’m already a BUYER. They’re now working to make me a lifelong FAN.

Okay, so what does this have to do with you, the self-marketing actor?

Well, if you’re like 95% of all actors on the planet, you show up to Samuel French, buy the packet of casting director and/or agent and manager mailing labels, head over to Staples, buy a box of a few hundred manila envelopes, then run to the post office, buy a roll or two of stamps, and you get to it. You become a factory for a mass mailing. You feel incredibly productive, because you’ve spent all this money and done all this WORK.

Then, your headshot and resumé, your postcard, your one-sheet, your WHATEVER you’re sending out to the masses, well, it arrives with as much love, warmth, and specificity as the Bed Bath & Beyond postcard.

And the buyers treat it exactly the same way. “Thanks. Okay.” TO THE TRASH.

Sure, if we HAPPEN to be in the market for a new comforter, we may hold a few of the postcards with coupons on ’em ’til we make a trip in to buy that very specific thing, so, sure, once in a while your mass mailing could be held to the side because we know we’re actively looking to meet up with someone like you. But how are you making everyone else on the receiving end feel, when you treat the relationship THAT casually, EVERY time?

Let’s go back to Lush.

I know it’s not true, but I *feel* like they know me. Their every email transports me to a place where I can smell the smells of their store, and I’m imagining positive, professional, SPECIFIC interactions with the people who work there… not because they want to sell me more, today, but because they want to create a fan for life. More importantly, they want to celebrate someone who is already their customer. I’m made to feel special for that status, with every contact.

Do you make your buyers, your targets, your FANS in casting feel special with your every contact? Do you congratulate them on the cool things happening in their careers? Are you scanning your Google Alerts on them so that you are aware when they’ve cast something that gets distribution? So that you are aware when they’ve been nominated for an Artios Award or an Emmy? So that you are aware when they’ve been asked to return to their alma mater to deliver a commencement address?

Or are you coming at them ONLY when they’re actively casting something, because that’s when you WANT something?

Reaching out when there’s “nothing going on (for you)” separates you from everyone else. Celebrating what they enjoy about working with you (rather than leading with, “Here’s all the stuff I’ve accomplished lately”) reminds them that they like bringing you in!

Of course, targeting is key, here. When you’re trying to reach out to hundreds of casting directors or agents or managers all at once, OF COURSE you are going to use the Bed Bath & Beyond approach, because it’s all you can manage, in trying to reach that many potential buyers, at once.

Instead, go for quality over quantity. Get very specific about your potential buyers, your customer base, your fanbase, and create strategies for outreach that actually help transport these folks to a place where they’re reminded how great it FEELS to have you in, to recommend you, to work with you!

Live the Lush Life. It’s beyond important. 😉

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the Internet


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001651.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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