Most experienced magicians have the ability to do a variety of different show venues. The restaurant magician can certainly do strolling magic at corporate events, wedding receptions or even tradeshows.
Too many magicians however, make the mistake of trying to sell to all these markets at once. They take a shotgun approach to sales and marketing. Their business card or website says they do school assemblies, birthday parties, corporate events and festivals. Or, as my first business card said, "Comedy magic for every occasion." A magician for all events but a master of none.
If I was hiring a school assembly performer, I wouldn't want a birthday party performer. I would want an educational specialist, not a clown with a rabbit. If I was hiring a strolling magician for a trade show, I would want a specialist that understood my business' needs, not a family performer who knows fifty ways to tie a balloon animal.
Want to explode your magic business? Specialize. Determine what market you want and go after it with a gusto. Marketing efforts tend to have a geometric growth in response . If you split your efforts between two markets, you will get fewer bookings for the same efforts than if you focus on one with all your resources.
Does this mean you can't work other markets? No. If I get a call to do a party or a fair, I'm going to take it. But that is not my specialty. My marketing dollars do not go into soliciting those shows. They are a by-product of people getting to know about me.
Determine what market you want to pursue. Schools, restaurants, corporate meetings, trade shows, or parties. Your business card and your website should reflect that you are the specialist in this area. Let people know you are the expert. Emphasize your abilities to solve their problems. Use references that highlight your experience in working with similar clients. When comparing your materials to other potluck performers, you should stand head and shoulders above the competition. This will get you more bookings and more money for your shows. As the expert, you naturally command the higher fee.
Silly Billy has made a career out just doing birthday parties. He has positioned himself as "the birthday party professional" in his market and commands higher fees than the average birthday party clown or magician. He makes a living many magicians would envy.
David Ginn has a wide experience in magic. He's done just about everything, but by specializing in school shows, he has supported his family and is recognized not only by his clients, but by other magicians as well as a top school performer.
Now, develop your potential client list. A school performer may want all the high schools within 200 miles of his house. A party magician may want all the companies with over 50 employess within 100 miles of home. A fair performer would want to join the state fair organization and target the directors of fairs and festivals in his own and neighboring states. Develop a mailing list with names and addresses and phone numbers. Identify conventions where you can showcase or rent a booth.
Rather than send out one or two advertising pieces to these leads, you will mail regularly to this list. A simple newsletter every month or two will keep you name in front of your prospects' eyes. Don't just send out advertising brochures. Send little articles or news bits about your business, what you are doing and maybe some industry news. Make it entertaining and educational. Of course you also include your contact information. When an event does come up, you will be remembered.
Your webpage should contain an article or two that relates to your business and the prospects. A trade show magician may include a free article on "How To Optimize Leads At Your Next Tradeshow." You should include some valuable information. Of course one way to optimize their leads would include hiring you. Be sure to have an opt-in list on your webpage so you can let them know when new articles are posted. This is another tool to keep your name in front of your prospects.
By specializing and building your name recognition in your market, your bookings should grow and your fees increase.
Once you have built your business in one market, you may want to expand into another market. When doing this, use a separate business card and webpage. If the markets are similar, such as starting in tradeshows and then adding corporate parties, you may want to have links between your pages. Indeed you may be using the same potential client list. It makes sense to offer to do the annual Christmas party or company picnic for companies already using you to do their show booths. Still, keep the separation between the two efforts. Send new prospects one offer only.
Over time, your business will grow, the markets you pursue may change. Just remember, for maximum results target your market and work one market hard. You can add others as you build your business, but always maintain expert status in each niche market.