Marketing for Magicians

The title of this Lesson is a little misleading. Perhaps it should read “Don’t JUST Read Marketing for Magician Books”. There is a lot of great material out there aimed at magicians, and there is even more that isn’t.

My main point is that as a general rule magicians tend to buy items from magic dealers that are tailored to they’re magical needs. For example, there often cases of dealers taking an openly available product that is then adapted, repackaged and sold with a significant mark-up to magicians.

The problem with marketing DVDs and books aimed at magicians is exactly the problem, they are aimed at magicians. Books that are more generic impart a much wider base of knowledge to the reader. For example, a marketing book for magicians (and even this course!) may have template letters to sell your act, whereas something such as “Marketing For Dummies” explains what is needed for a generic sales letter. This means that you develop your marketing campaign from the ground up to fit consistently with your unique identity and brand.

I have also found that many of the books that cover marketing are written by American authors, and in America magic is viewed differently by the public (just watch some videos of David Blaine and Paul Zenon each performing street magic). Because of this different view (us Brits tend to be more sceptical) how we need to sell our services to the public will be different, and using a template designed for different audience will unlikely yield great results.

It is for this reason I strongly suggest not using my templates included in this Course directly, but recommend they are used as a guide and rewritten in your own ‘voice’.

We often forget that the general public aren’t as enthusiastic about magic as we are – if they were they’d all be amateur magicians. We find this when we first approach a table and wonder why all the party guests don’t immediately hush and give the magician their full attention. We need to apply this sentiment to our marketing, and an author passionate about his subject may easily skip this fundamental.

By looking at the bigger picture you are opening yourself up to other ideas and concepts that may have been dismissed or ignored by the author, or perhaps that he was not even aware off. For example, in the previously mentioned Marketing For Dummies there is a chapter on television commercials. Although it would be very easy to pass over this chapter, it should be remembered that magicians use showreels to promote their services – and a showreels are essentially video commercials. It makes sense to view the creation of a showreel in this sense, as opposed to copying the concepts that other magicians have already used.

When reading a book on marketing, whether written by a magician or not, I strongly recommend you read it methodically like a textbook. By that I mean you study it, make notes, think about the contents, work through any exercises and implement the ideas.

I recommend reading marketing books that are aimed at magicians as well as those for the mainstream. As well as marketing read books that are for salesmen, because in order to be a magician you need to be a salesman to secure the bookings. Some books are practical with exercises to work through, whereas other can be more conceptual and explore new ideas. It is a good idea to have a grounding in all of these to make the most of your marketing budget.

There is a suggested reading list at the end of the course which I strongly recommend to improve your marketing and ensure that you stand out against the magicians who’s focus is more traditional methods of promotion. You’ll also notice that the reading list is split between those aimed at magician, and those for the mainstream public.

Getting Feedback, Reviews and Testimonials – and Using Them Effectively

By our nature human beings are risk adverse, especially when it comes to paying hard earned money on the entertainment at an important (and often one-off) event like a wedding or a child’s special birthday; where everything has to be perfect on the day.

If a customer is shopping for a magician they will often have budget restrains, they will also look at websites, pictures and watch videos. But crucially they have to make an opinion based on what information is being offered. No one is going to include any bad photographs on their promotional materials or down talk their shows on their website.

Reviews and testimonials are a way to see what previous customers thought of a product service. A new customer will know they aren’t the first, and a selection of reviews also demonstrates the magician they are considering isn’t a beginner but has experience of performing at similar events.

This naturally leads to a paradox of how do you get bookings if you haven’t got reviews. Fortunately reviews and testimonials are more of an extension of your marketing package, and if your branding and marketing is good enough you will get bookings.

Although some will send you a review within a day or two of the event, many won’t (and that includes the people who say they will!) The optimum time to request a review is a couple of days afterwards, whilst the success of the event is still fresh in their mind. Even if you get an email thanking you for your performance you can still reply back asking them to leave a formal review.

Newsletters and Regular Contact

Because you have been collating the names and details of all the enquiries you have received onto a database, it makes sense to contact them with occasional newsletters.

Before going on you must ensure that the people you intend to send newsletters to must be happy to receive them. Make sure your handling and storing of the personal information is compliant with Data Protection and GDPR regulations. Don’t send emails to people who wouldn’t be interested, or emails that could regarded as spam.

You may think that as emails are free to send and if you remain within the letter of the law you will avoid fines, but it can have a detrimental effect on your business. If you use a platform like MailChimp to send emails your account could be deactivated if you receive complaints or the stats (such as interaction rates and removal requests) imply you are sending spam. If you are using your own email server (connected via you website hosting) to bulk send emails your server IP may be blacklisted and all your emails (even replies to genuine enquiries) may not get through to people’s inboxes.

As a guide, ensure you adhere to the following (and this applies to all contacts on your database, not just newsletter mailing lists):

  • Only have people who are interested on the list,
  • Give recipients a way to opt out of receiving future emails,
  • Remove people once the event they have enquired about has passed,
  • Remove customers after a sensible period after their event has passed (for example, at the end of the tax year),
  • Only send information they will be interested in (this may require setting up separate lists for your separate Magic Pillars, or lists for private events, weddings, children’s parties, agents, corporate events and exhibitions).

The newsletter itself should be interesting, and not just purely self-promotional. However, you will want to include details about the services you offer; both for the client type, and cross-selling opportunities.

A good period for sending newsletters is quarterly (once every three months, so you can send one for each season). I tried doing a monthly newsletter and it doesn’t take long to start running out of interesting articles to write! People don’t want to receive an email every month of articles that have been padded out.

A quarterly newsletter gives you time to create good quality articles on interesting subjects that will be of interest. You can also make it seasonal, and promote seasonal events (such as Christmas parties and summer weddings) in the preceding issue.

Remember, it is a newsletter so include details of any ‘news’, relating to you directly or the industry. This could be about a prestigious event you were performing at, something interesting you were involved in or something relating to your business such as a new website or online booking form.

Hints and tips will not only be an interesting read, but also helps to establish you as an expert. If someone enquired for your services as a magician at their wedding, reading some great tips to make their day run smoothly and how you implement them when you are working at a wedding will increase the trust they have in you and the services you offer.

Look back at the last few months of posts you put on your (business) social media profiles. See what posts generated the most interaction, those are the subjects that your clients are most interested in reading about – and you know this because they’ve already voted by Liking, Sharing and Commenting. Take those Posts and rewrite them into a longer article.

Remember to include plenty of images. This is also why you should use a service such as MailChimp that allows you to design a graphically pleasing email. Avoid just writing text, as a magician you are wanting make it fun, interesting and engaging; an email received just in plain text will be perceived as boring. Make sure the colours, images and fonts are all in keeping with your brand.

Include links so that people can find out more information. This may be linking to certain pages on your website (such as pages about Christmas parties, blog articles or bookings forms) or to your social media accounts. Try to avoid taking them to ‘external’ websites, you are writing a newsletter to promote your services, not someone elses.

Newsletters are sent in addition to your regular client process, see the Lessons ‘Dealing With Enquiries’ and ‘Using a Client Database’. Using a platform such as MailChimp and designing a template that is different from your regular email template will ensure the client differentiates between regular emails and newsletters.

I’ll be honest and say that I personally ceased sending newsletters. As previously mentioned I was producing them monthly and realised I was running out of material.

To produce a good quality newsletter does take time and commitment, and this was too much time to dedicate every month for a low return in bookings. But, it did generate bookings; so if you have a database of leads but want to do some direct marketing for little financial outlay then a newsletter is a very good option.

Even if you decide that you don’t want to do a regular quarterly newsletter then you can still do a sporadic newsletter, perhaps sending one in the run up to specific times of year (such as Christmas) which you know will be popular with a large section of your list, or if you have a particularly interesting piece of news (such as a TV appearance) or upcoming public show you want to promote.

Remember to keep it interesting, and only send the newsletter to people who will have a genuine interest. This will not only improve your statistics, but more likely to be read and acted upon by the recipients.

Finally, you can turn the content of the newsletter into a blog post on your website. This not only gives something for those new to your website something to read in order to build trust in you and your service, but also has SEO benefits as you are putting interesting and relevant content on your website.

Up-Selling and Cross-Selling

So far in this course the focus has been to increase your income by getting more bookings. Another way to increase your income to increase how much you earn from each booking. We have looked at pricing, and you will want to charge a fair price that still gives value, but simply increasing your prices will result in less business as you take yourself out of people’s budget allocations.

There are other ways that the profit from each booking you have can be increased, and that is by offering more to a client when they are making a booking with you; and it isn’t just a case of trying to get the client to increase the time you’ll be at the event.

Though the client may me looking at one of your package offerings, you can introduce additional products or services. Although this may take the overall package out of their initial budget just for the entertainment, they are getting more in return, so they can afford money they may have allocated elsewhere.

By adding up-sells and cross-marketing to the booker is now getting more value (despite spending more), and this increases your turnover.

Confirming the Booking

Once a client has said they want to go ahead with the booking you need to send them a contract to confirm the arrangements.

Make sure you have all information you need to do this (such as location, start time, type of package, type of event, cost, any discount, what is included and contact details).

Although this can be confirmed in an email, and many magicians do rely on just this, it is much better to issue a contract. This makes it clear for all parties to see the information, to confirm it is correct, and advise of any errors or misunderstandings.

Last Minute Marketing

Make sure the date of the event is included in the database when you get an enquiry. Naturally the aim is to convert the enquiry into a confirmed booking as quickly as possible, however, this does not always happen. It is common for prospects to be sold on the idea of booking a magician for their event, but as a magician is not a priority it is easy for it to be forgotten about whilst everything else is planning.

It can often happen that budgets for events can change. For example, when a couple first get engaged they work out their wedding costs, but as time goes on parents may want to contribute financially, so something that wasn’t affordable initially may be in budget a year later.

Most people (not just magicians, but anyone working in sales) will tend to drop leads if they don’t convert to a closed sale, and therefore lose out on a booking in the longer term. By diarising to send a reminder email to the clients two or three weeks prior to the event can re-ignite their interest in booking.

Of course, it should be borne in mind that the conversion ratio will reduce the longer the gap between the initial enquiry and contact, however, a small conversion ratio is superior to a zero conversion. This method doesn’t lead to a huge number of bookings, perhaps five or six over the course of a year, but if each of those had an average fee of £300 (reduced from your standard £400 fee) then that is an additional £1,500 to £1,800 of business brought in for only a small amount of additional work.

The other benefit is this helps to fill up spaces in your diary that you are unlikely to have other enquiries for at short notice. Although I occasionally get enquiries for events happening within the next few weeks, most of my enquiries come months or years in advance. Cross reference your list of prospects with empty slots in your diary before contacting, part of the advantage to the client is that you still have the date and time available for them.

Because it is last minute and fills a slot in your diary it’s worth adding an incentive of a reduced fee. Personally I’d rather work for a reduced fee at a last minute booking than sit at home and earn nothing. This appeals to the prospect who may have been interested when they first met you at a wedding fair but found you were out of their budget at the time and has since forgotten about you.

I find it’s important that the client understands that filling your diary is important to you and that you aren’t just dropping the price for the sake of it. They must understand that it’s to your advantage, and therefore you are able to pass some of that benefit to them with the discount.

It often happens that when you first communicated they hadn’t planned the day or knew timings, so the email can also act as a reminder to the service you offer.

Check the Materials tab for a sample of the email I send to people organising events within the next 2 to 3 weeks. Please do not copy this directly but use it as a template to construct your own email from. It is important that the look, style and content of this email is consistent with your previous emails, website and brochures. The idea is to compound the selling points and give familiarity to your brand.

You will notice in this particular email I don’t say what the offer is, I just say “a reduced fee”. This method tends to work best for starting a dialogue as people need to reply to ask how much the reduced fee is. I can then tailor my discount to perhaps 15%, 25% or even 33% (see the previous Lessons on Setting Your Price and Offering Discounts) depending on how much I want the booking, and taking any previous offers into account.

There have been occasions when one of these last minute bookings fits in with the timings and locations of an existing booking – well worth the little effort of diarising when to follow up at the last time.

As mentioned previously, this works well because the client is aware that taking a last minute booking is a benefit to you, and therefore you are now in a position to pass that benefit on to them – it’s not just an attempt to undercut and get business.

Using a Client Database

It is essential you have a database, also known as a Client Relationship Management (CRM) program. This doesn’t necessarily have to be computerised and could take a one of many formats.

  • Index cards
  • Papers in folder
  • ‘Hot’ list pinned to your office wall
  • Microsoft Excel sheet (or similar)
  • Microsoft Access database
  • Online mailing list (ie Mail Chimp)
  • Specialist database (ie. Giggio)
  • Client management software (ie. ACT!)

Whatever the format, it should be something you can use and manage easily. If a prospect calls you should be able to find the relevant record quickly and easily, and be able to view and edit the information. The benefit of a computerised system is the ability to search, sort and export data for emails and newsletters.

When I turned professional I initially developed a Microsoft Access database that would not only keep track of prospects, but mail-merge letters, contracts and also keep track of invoices and accounts. If anything this system to was too complex and though it covered all aspects it was cumbersome to use. I ended up having to write my ‘hot’ leads on index cards and have them filed in date order.

I later simplified this by using Excel. Initially it was a workbook with different sheets for different booking types such as weddings, corporate, contacts at venues and agents. Over time these merged into one sheet. I could then easily filter by client types (useful for mail merging) or sort by date of next contact so it could also work as a diary.

Next I used a third party CRM program called ACT! which is developed by Sage (in the UK). It is designed solely to help sales people manage their contacts, prospects and clients. It allows entries to be categorised, tasks to be diarised (and linked to an Outlook calendar), linking to Sage Accounts (if you use it), mail and email merging. It can automate some tasks (such as follow up emails to be sent one week after the initial enquiry) and data fields can be added or adapted to fit your needs and templates.

Using a dedicated CRM was definitely an advantage compared to my homemade versions. I later changed to a new CRM that was cloud based (called LessAnnoyingCRM) so I could access it on my smartphone and laptop, not just my main office PC.

Again I needed to customise the data fields to my requirements. It doesn’t have as many features as ACT!, but does have all the ones I required; and can link to MailChimp for sending newsletters.

Since them ACT!, as well as most other CRMs, have moved to ‘the cloud’, and many offer monthly payments rather than purchase the software in one.

I know many magicians use the web based system Giggio, as this has been designed by a professional magician. I haven’t used this so cannot comment on it, but personally I prefer to use something that I can adapt to my personal requirements, not use something someone else thinks is required. Many magicians do use Giggio and swear by it.

I would recommend you start using a simple spreadsheet (see the template under the Materials tab) and edit it to your requirements. As time goes on see what other features you would find useful and what restrictions you have – then research different CRMs. There are plenty of sites that review and compare CRMs, and some offer free periods so you can test them.

Whatever method you use, essential data fields you should include are:

  • Name
  • Type of event
  • Date of event
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Note of previous conversations
  • Date of next contact

It is beneficial to include such fields as:

  • Address
  • Source of enquiry
  • Past client marker
  • Anything else that could be useful

This can formal, but it is useful to add a separate Salutation field for mail merges. For example the salutation for “Miss Rebecca Smith” may be “Hi Becky” for a young bride, or “Dear Miss Smith” for a CEO of a company  that exhibits at trade shows.

Type of Event (or Type of Client)
This not only prompts you if you have contact from the client, but allows you to filter the prospect list. This is useful for mail merging, such a sending a newsletter to agents regarding your Christmas availability, or sending follow-ups tailored for weddings.

Date of Event
Needed so you can confirm your availability, but the real benefit of this field is allows you to diarise contacting for last minute business (see the Lesson on this marketing practice). Once the date has passed (especially for weddings and private parties) the lead needs to be deleted from the database.

Email Address
Primarily the quickest and easiest method for communicating with prospects and clients. The real benefit comes when sending newsletters and you can mail-merge (or sync it with a mail sending service like MailChimp).

Phone Number
Though not essential it is nice to be able to contact the prospect and talk things through – a lot more efficient then an email conversation that can go backwards and forwards. It’s also beneficial should emails bounce back.

Previous Conversations
Very useful when to speaking to your prospects, or writing a follow up email. Quoting a different price (or worse, asking the client what price you gave them!) does not come across as very professional.

This used to be useful for posting marketing, but now superseded by email marketing. It is still useful to post brochures to high-end corporate prospects, and of course needed to send paperwork when the booking confirms.

Source of Enquiry
Has little relevance when speaking to prospects (unless you are doing an offer for those that saw you at a specific event), but very useful for planning your future marketing spend by seeing how many leads were generated from various sources, and the subsequent conversion ratios.

Date of Next Contact
It’s important to diarise when you will next follow up an enquiry. It would be great if all clients responded quickly to your communications but most people will put you on the back-burner and eventually you’ll slip from their minds. Also, if you don’t make a note to contact you’ll likely forget about them too.

Past Client Marker
Once a client books you want to keep their details for statistical analysis to work out where your clients come from. Make sure you filter out confirmed bookers from future marketing though. It also means that repeat bookers don’t need to be entered onto the database again.

Feel free to add any fields you think would be useful for your marketing. Remember these fields can be merged into your emails and marketing, and these fields help make your marketing stand out as it is then more personalised to the client.

Keep your database up to date – a database is only as good as the data it holds.

Ensure it is secure, and password protected. It must comply with Data Protection and GDPR regulations, and details should be removed once not needed.

Dealing with Enquiries

Before getting into the details I’m going to summarise what I consider to be the two main rules of dealing with enquiries (and all communications with customer, potential customers and anyone else whatever format the communication takes):

  • Reply as quickly as conveniently possible,
  • Treat people the way you want to be treated (not just how you would expect to be treated, but exceed that!)

When you get an enquiry (whether by email, website contact form, phone call, social media message or face-to-face) the first thing you need to do is collate the information and enter it onto a database (for at least take it on a form so that you can complete the database later).

This is the very start of your Sales Funnel – a process that guides enquiries through to being paying customers. Like a funnel it gets narrower as the process goes along as people drop out of. The stages of your funnel may be:

  1. PPC Advertising brings person to website,
  2. Initial enquiry,
  3. Provide prices and sales information,
  4. Follow up(s),
  5. Take booking.

Not everyone will make it to the next stage, this is to be expected. If every enquiry you had resulted in a booking then you are way too cheap and undercutting no-one but yourself. If no one makes it to the next stage in the funnel it may be down to price, but also because your promotional material isn’t communicating the value you provide to justify the price.

At the end of each month count the number of enquiries you had, then work out the ratios going to the next stage. Following months compare these ratios, and see how adjusting your prices, templates and other factors impact your conversion rates.

The example above is a very simple sales funnel, and you may want different sales funnels (with different conversion ratios) for the different styles of magic your perform. Should you be looking to work at trade shows you may need to include cold calling, sending media packs and even meeting with prospective clients to the funnel.

Client database management will be covered in the next Lesson.

Offering Discount and Special Offers

Since I became a magician in 2006 there have been two recessions. During these slowdown periods companies will start saving money by reducing how much they spend on their corporate entertainment budgets, and private individuals reduce their spending. Even when economies are growing people still like to have a bargain.

As a rule of thumb people (at least in the UK) don’t haggle, but pay the price on the label. There are exceptions where is it actually expected such as buying cars, houses and double-glazing. No one asks for  a discount when doing their weekly grocery shop.

It tends to the ‘big ticket’ items where people haggle. This is likely to be because the higher price means a higher profit margin for the seller, and hence more room to negotiate. The cost of service that a magician provides is mainly made up by profit with little expenditure (perhaps just fuel and new deck of cards). Couple this with the fact that the magician isn’t a large corporate machine and it is no wonder that people try to get some money off.

The two ways to countering this is to have fixed prices, and offering a fixed discount. (Offering Last Minute Discounts is covered in a separate Lesson, here we are looking at discounts at the time of enquiry.)

Instead of using term “quote”, use the term “price” or “fee” when giving people your costs. A quote implies that this is not a fixed cost, but a preliminary cost based on initial projections and is subject to change. By providing a ‘quote’ you are essentially saying, “here’s my fee, what do you think?” and opening the door to haggling.

Another term some use is ‘investment’; the idea that referring to fees and cost feels quite harsh, whereas investing your money psychologically lets your customer know they are getting something in return. Personally, though I like the theory I don’t feel it works in practice and if anything comes across to your prospective client that you attempted some sort of verbal trickery, and can even give the impression that you are embarrassed by your high fee and possibly open to negotiation.

My standard fee structure is set, and it is from this that I work. I don’t adjust my standard fee depending on the enquiry, though discounts and extras may be added or taken from it if required.

My standard fee for 2 hours of close-up mix & mingle magic is the same, regardless of the type of event. Who they are, the number of people attending and how expensive the venue is to hire makes no difference to me. If it is local, a charity, a repeat booking or a recommendation I may offer a discount. If it is further afield I may add travel costs on top of the standard fee. However, I make it clear what the standard fee is, and what the reductions/additions are.

Personally I find the whole procedure of fishing for clues to maximise the quote quite vulgar. I also don’t like the method of offering a price, waiting for a reaction; and then following with “and travel costs are extra…” or “but as I’ll be in the area…”

The problem with these strategies is they not only come across as strategies designed to maximise the fee and close the deal quickly, they also have the potential to open further price negotiations and can confuse matters at a later date. For example you may have an email exchange which results in you providing a quotation, the client sits on this for a few days then has some questions they want to ask before booking and calls on your mobile. Will you remember the fee you quoted last week? It won’t look very professional if you have to ask the client what fee you quoted them. By working from a set structure you know what you will have quoted.

Create a Price Matrix

I have a price matrix next to my desk and stuck in my diary with my fees for my various packages and option, such as 2 hours of close-up, 3 hours, additional hours (for longer corporate events), short cabaret,  long cabaret, PA hire and travel costs for various regions. This enables me to instantly calculate a package cost.

The next column gives the fees for each of these with a 15% discount, the next a 25% discount, and finally with a 33% discount. I also have how much each of these saves from the standard fee. No fumbling on the calculator, you can concentrate to selling the booking and closing on the merits, not the cheapness of your act.

If a corporate client calls regarding a standard 2 hours I can immediately give that fee, if a bride calls for local venue I’m the recommended supplier to I can quickly give a 15% discount as incentive, and if a company that have booked me before want to book me for 1.5 of close-up and a 30 minute cabaret for a weekday evening I can quickly build a package giving them a combined 25% package discount and tell them how much they’ll save in the process.

The 33% is very rarely used but is good to have as a reference. Personally it serves as my absolute bottom line that I will not drop below no matter how last minute the booking is, how local the venue or how much repeat business booker promises.

Having access to all this information whilst on the phone ensures you are not caught out in the heat of debate. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you close the deal then look back on it and realise that you’ve severely undersold yourself. As the song goes, you “gotta know when to hold them, and when to fold them.”

I also offer my discount first – assuming I’m happy to offer one in the first place. As mentioned previously I don’t like putting the price (or ‘quotation’) out there and seeing if it gets a bite or opens up a discussion. I explain that my standard fee would be x, but because they saw me at a wedding fair/booking a venue local to me/were referred by a previous client I am happy to offer a 15% discount of y, which saves them z. They now no longer feel the need to haggle because they’ve already got a discount, and a discount they weren’t expecting.

It’s important though to have a genuine reason for the discount – simply reducing your price to get the business is not good enough and transparent. It’ll show you’re eager to secure the business and open to negotiation. However, explain that as a professional magician you travel nationally, you are benefiting from it being a local event so will pass the saving on. Similarly, explain to the client that referrals save you money of advertising costs also endorses the reason for the discount, and often your generosity is appreciated and helps build rapport and trust.

Should a client come back requesting a further discount it is an easy matter to explain that you have already given a discount from your usual fee, and again re-iterate the monetary saving you have offered them. However, as you have already sold the benefits of your services and offered the generous discount it is unlikely they will counter offer. Should the client insist on more money off seriously consider walking away (or at least putting the deal on hold until closer to the event). If they can’t afford (or think you are worth the money) you with a 15% discount, just how much under your standard rate would you need to drop? Often the difference between a 15% and 20% reduction is only a small amount so shouldn’t have a massive impact on affordability, if cost (real or perceived) is the main issue you’ll need to reduce by at least 30%, possibly more, to make a significant difference. (For example, if someone had set a top end of £275 before contacting and you quoted £345 with a £50 reduction to £295 then it’s only £20 over their initial budget so should accept the deal. If they had £200 in mind then you’ll have to do a big reduction before you even get in their ball-park.)

You should not discount purely to undercut another magician. Give your costs based on your merits and on supply and demand – seeing the previous Lesson about Setting Your Price, and this has also been covered in the first Section when you were creating a Business Plan.

If your business model is based on getting business by this method then you are unlikely to find the information in this Course useful. You’ll likely miss out on income you would have secured if you’d just quoted a standard fee. Essentially by undercutting you aren’t selling yourself as quality, but the cheapest, and I can assure you no-one buys Tesco Value food when catering for their wedding.

Setting Your Price

You need to get the right balance for supply and demand of the packages you offer, and it can take a while of to-ing and fro-ing whilst you find this balance. Although it’s nice to say you won’t back the car out the driveway for less than £500, if you aren’t consistently getting bookers willing to pay that then you’ll soon be out of business. Similarly charging £200 will mean you have to work more events (running up more associated costs) to make the same net profit.

To check if you are too cheap try nudging your price up on the next couple of enquiries you have and see if that affects your conversion ratio. For example, if you normally quote £300, try quoting £325 for a couple of weeks. If you are still getting the same number of bookings, try then quoting £350.

Points to remember:

  • Even a low paid booking (within reason) is better than nothing (and you may get referrals from that show),
  • Some people will think £300 is expensive,
  • Some people will think £300 is cheap,
  • How much someone earns isn’t necessarily an indication of how much they are willing to commit to an entertainer,
  • Geography isn’t an excuse, there are plenty of people willing to pay good fees where ever they living,
  • Good marketing and sales skills are more important than magic skills when selling a show,
  • People appreciate ‘freebies’ included within a package and customisation (which costs you little, if anything),
  • You need a well written website, plenty of pictures and video and testimonials. This should also be backed up with brochures and business cards of high quality.

Now, this next bit of advice is the biggest thing that has helped me: You are NOT a magician.

You tell all your friends and family you are, and all your prospective clients, and put it on all your advertising and literature. But you aren’t really. You are a salesman. Your job is to sell magic shows. The magic show is the product. Obviously the product needs to be good quality, and you shouldn’t be in business if it isn’t.

I now consider that I earn the money when I type a contract to confirm the booking. That’s the point I earn my money, because that is the hardest part of being a magician. Doing the show is the formality I need to go through to ensure that I keep the money.

I highly recommend listening to “The Pricing Expert” on Michael Senoff’s Hard To Find Seminars website:

A magician in your local area may offer shoddy shows but get more bookings (and at a higher price too) because of his sales skills.

It doesn’t make too much difference if you are selling magic shows, driving lessons or double-glazing, the public need to be aware of the product and think it represents good value.

This excerpt from my blog should illustrate some of the points raised.

A trip to the dentist – 11th October 2010

The other day I had a trip to the dentist. Having recently moved I had to register with a new dentist, and whilst there they asked if there were any problems I knew of. I explained that the last time I visited a dentist (and that was the first time I saw this particular dentist) he told me that a filling that was only put in a year before needed to be replaced, and the whole thing would cost about £600.


He then asked if I could come in on Monday morning to do the work.

Because I was about to move (and because the work wasn’t urgent – he had said that himself) I thought I’d wait until after I’d settled into the new home and registered with another dentist. The new dentist scoffed at the cost, and explained that it wouldn’t need doing for a couple of years, then it would probably cost £300-400, not the £600 initially quoted.

This brings me to my first point, although cost is important, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Just because something costs more, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is better. However, going for the cheaper option should also be avoided – the dentist explained it could cost less if it was done to NHS standards, but this would not be a permanent solution and not be so “cosmetically pleasing”.

The dentist also explained he likes to build up trust and rapport with his clients, not just try to grab the expensive procedures that earn the big money. When the patient comes in for the check-up and he has to break the news that expensive dental work is required they trust him and know it’s something that needs doing.

I try to offer a similar service. I’m not the cheapest magician out there, but if you are looking solely on price you probably wouldn’t be interested in the service I offer. However, I’m not the most expensive. I want to ensure every booker receives value from me, and the best way to guarantee this is to undervalue myself.

I also try to build trust and rapport. Many of the people who book me have seen me perform elsewhere, or are recommended by those that have. For those that haven’t I attend wedding fairs so people can see me face to face. I have videos of me performing on my website and YouTube, plus use social media so people can get to know the real me. This means that when it comes to signing the contract and paying my fee my clients have every confidence in the service they will receive from me.

As an aside, it now been 10 years since that dentist said I needed to give him £600. So far the original filling had to be replaced – but no major work needed. Yet!