Guest Author - Dennis Regling
When we start learning magic, we all get the dream of performing before a paying audience. Some of us pursue that dream, either parttime or fulltime.
The standard procedure followed by most beginning performers is to get a business card and a yellow page ad. Some are even more aggressive and place some business cards or a flyer on the grocery store bulletin board. After applying all these marketing methods, it is time to sit back and wait for the gigs to start pouring in.
Six months and one birthday party later, (for your nephew), you decide to mortgage the house and buy Dave Dee's Marketing secrets.
Dave Dee or any of the other marketing gurus tell you to send out sales letters. Many even include some less than average examples you can use. Quickly you photocopy and send out 100 letters to a list you either bought from the back of SpareTime Magazine, or collected yourself from the yellow pages. After applying all these marketing methods, it is time to sit back and wait for the gigs to start pouring in.
Six months later, you are eagerly looking forward to your next gig. Your nephew's birthday is coming up again.
First and foremost, before placing a yellow page ad, ask yourself if the market you are pursuing would use the yellow pages to find you. If you are doing birthday parties and picnics, maybe. If you want to do school shows, trade shows or restaurant work, save your money. Similarly, if I am looking for a free dog or an used sofa, I will check the grocery store bulletin board. The festival committe however is not hiring its entertainment from a bulletin board.
You need to place your advertising where your prospective customer will read it and where it will give you the credibility you need. Looking for corporate work? Locate the proper trade magazines and newsletters and place your ad there. Even better, find out the article submission requirements for the publication and submit an appropriate article. This will firmly place you as an expert.
Schools, fairs and resorts hire from showcases. If this is your market, find the showcases and get a booth. Offer to emcee for free and you might get even more exposure before your client.
Spend your advertising dollar where it will do the most good. Place your face in front of people that use the services you offer.
Business cards can be good for letting people build their collection. Much better is to collect theirs. When someone asks for your card, always reverse and get their card. They may not remember to contact you, but you will remember to contact them. Get some additional information such as when they might need you and for what type of event. The more info you collect, the better.
What about direct mail? You must have a mailing list that is truly made up of qualified prospects. You may want to do tradeshow magic, but sending letters and packages to a list of companies that have never heard of you is a complete waste of your money. You must develop a qualified list. You can't buy a list anywhere near as good as the one you can create.
There are many good ways to build your list. You can offer a free report on your website and collect the information on those who inquire. The report should be specific to your market and be attractive to individulas that fit your prospect profile. You can collect names at a tradeshow booth. For a birthday party magician, you could place boxes around town where folks could enter a drawing to win a free show. The entry form would include their contact information and the birthdays and ages of their children.
Once you have a list, be sure to mail to it on a regular basis. Keep your name in front of your prospects. You will book more shows if you target a select group of qualified prospects than by mailing to new and unqualified names every month.
Be sure to join my mailing list. I will be adding an article on listbuilding soon.