So, you’ve set up your business and created your magic branding, now you need to get paying customers, and you do that by…

… Marketing Your Magic Business

If you haven’t read the previous two articles on set up and branding please do now. It’s very easy to skip the “boring” stuff and dive right into marketing and advertising, but without the infrastructure and branding your adverts are unlikely to be very effective, and may not even cover the financial outlay.

Marketing for Dummies book is great for magicians

It’s also very easy to spend your time and effort on the branding and shy away from the marketing and advertising, then wonder why you don’t have any booking enquiries. Yes, you can promote yourself for free on social media, and perhaps getting a small run of business cards printed, but you are really just marketing yourself to people who already know you. If you are serious about earning an income from magic you will need to invest some money.

Note I said “invest”, not “spend”. If you do it properly then you should get your money back, plus a profit. If you aren’t confident enough to invest a small sum to kick start things then perhaps you aren’t ready yet to make the leap. Of course, once you start earning money you can then re-invest in more promotion and advertising, generating more business.

This article alone will barely scratch the surface of the topic of marketing, but should give you a good starting guide. I have also made a list of recommended marketing books, plus the range of How To Be A Professional Magician Training Courses.

Firstly, marketing does not mean advertising, but advertising does fall under the banner of advertising. Basically, marketing covers all the ways that you can communicate your message to a potential client. This can happen in a variety of ways (known as “touches”) and it can often take a few touches before the potential client becomes a customer. This comes back to why your branding must be consistent over all mediums.

Here’s a list of various methods of communication that fall under the term of marketing:

  • Website,
  • Social media,
  • Promotional materials (flyers, brochures, posters, etc),
  • Emails,
  • Phone calls (both made and received),
  • Printed adverts,
  • Advertising on websites,
  • Directory listings,
  • Pay Per Click online advertising,
  • Showreels, promos and performance videos,
  • Articles in local or national press,
  • Appearances on radio and TV,
  • Giveaways and branded items,
  • Networking at events,
  • Performing at an event,
  • Any other time a prospective client has any form of contact with you or your brand.

We won’t cover all of these now (as mentioned, we do in the various courses) but I’ll run over the basics in marketing your magic business.

Marketing Your Magic Business: Website

Your website is your brochure, and it needs to work for you. If someone finds you on by searching the internet the first thing they’ll do is see your website. If someone recommends you to a colleague the first thing they’ll do is look at your website. If someone wants to find out more after reading a tweet then guess where they’ll click through to. Yep, your website.

Bar the odd exception (usually friends or repeat bookers) clients will look at your website before commiting to booking you. With this much importance attached to the website it pays to pay. Money invested in a website should more than return what you put in to it. It will not only increase the number of enquiries you receive, it’ll increase those that book, as also increase the fee they are willing to pay for a professional.

Make sure you get a personalised domain name, such as your name, business name, or description of what you do. A direct domain name looks a lot more professional, and also means you have a professional email address. If you insist on using Hotmail or Gmail then you can get the email re-directed.

Domain names only cost a few pounds or dollars a year, and if you aren’t willing to buy a domain name then don’t bother wasting your time reading the rest of this page!

Don’t be tempted by free websites either. You won’t have as much control over the site as you really need, plus it will likely have advertising on. It’s possible that these adverts could direct your potential client to another magician – and one with a professional looking website.

Hosting a website is relatively cheap, I would suggest getting one that supports SQL databases so you can install WordPress. WordPress is free to download, easy to use and allows you to design and manage the website yourself. Preferably though you should pay a designer to build the website framework for you.

My biggest regret when I turned professional was to “save” money by doing my own website. Not only did I have to invest many hours learning, designing and coding, but the final result wasn’t as good as a professional would have done. This time could have been spent working on my act or networking with clients.

Not only did it cost in time, but also in real income. I dread to think how many people saw my website and decided it looked too ‘home made’ so looked elsewhere. Even though I offer a professional service for corporate bookers, it didn’t look like I did. Just a handful of bookings would cover that cost – and I’m sure I lost more than a handful during that four year period.

Keep the design clean, and in keeping with the brand (which we’ve already created in the previous article). Keep consistant with fonts, colours and design styles.

This isn’t a vanity website, it’s a website to sell your services, so tell the reader what you do, how it will help them, what problem you solve and why they need to choose you. Regarding pictures, you need to show the client who you are, but people are more likely to book if you also have pictures of you performing, and the reactions you get.

Make your website and pictures stand out – anyone can pose with a fan of playing cards, try and be unique!

Marketing Your Magic Business: Social Media

The great thing with social media is that it’s free. The bad thing with social media is that it’s free.

What do I mean by that? Well, it’s great that it’s free because you can set up Facebook profiles and pages, as well as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts for nothing. However, that also means that anyone else can too. I’ve seen Facebook pages for magicians offering their services that have only been doing it as a hobby for a couple of months. It makes it a very crowded market place.

You can get above this noise by paying to promote your page on Facebook, and you can target who to promote it to.

Social media works best when it works side-by-side with other methods of marketing. This is why you need to have a consistant brand over all marketing platforms.

What do I mean by this? Well, if you have a blog post on your website you can link to this with a Facebook post to drive traffic to it. You may put a Tweet on Twitter that links to a certain page on your website. You could get a client to post a review on your Facebook page, and link to that in emails you send.

Don’t spend all day on social media, you may get some business, but not as much as if you spent all day generating new business by cold-calling!

Marketing Your Magic Business: Pay Per Click and Adwords

When you search for something in Google it returns a list of websites that fit your search term, and ideally you want to at the top of this list. However, there’s a lot of magicians fighting for that top spot! It can take years of hard work and a large financial investment, but a shortcut is to pay.

The biggest search platform is Google, and ads can be placed using their “Adwords” feature. Other search engines have similar Pay Per Click (PPC) schemes.

The idea is you choose what search terms a client will type in to trigger your advert, and how much you want to pay. The more you are willing to pay, the higher up the rankings you will be.

Warning: this can get VERY expensive VERY quickly and generate no business for you.

However, for many magicians it’s the only marketing they spend money on. Why?

Well, they know how to do it properly. Many, many books and websites dedicated to this topic alone, but the basics to bear in mind to get started are:

  • Only show ads in the location you want to work in regularly,
  • Don’t be too broad or vague (ie, just “magic” or “wedding”),
  • Try to narrow down what words a user is likely to use (ie, “wedding magician”),
  • Use negative key words (ie, use “children’s” as a negative keyword so your ad won’t show if someone searches for a children’s magician but you only do close-up magic),
  • The headline needs to grab attention,
  • The text needs to summarise what you do,
  • Although you only pay when clicked, you need a good Click
  • Through Rate (CTR) or Google will not rank your ad highly,
  • Try different ads and see what ones work well, drop the lower performing ones,
  • Keep updating and evolving your adverts and keywords,
  • Set a budget and know that it probably won’t generate business straight away, but will take a little time and money to fine tune.

One of the most important things is to have a good website with a call to action for the customer. Don’t spend lots of money of PPC advertising only to drive traffic to an amateurish site – you’ll just be wasting money as they’ll just hit the ‘Back’ button and go to the next one on the list!

Marketing Your Magic Business: Advertising

This can cover all printed and online adverts. This not as popular as PPC advertising as people nowadays are more likely to Google something when they want it, not when they see an advert for it.

However, a good advert in an appropriate publication can generate enquiries.

A children’s entertain may place an advert in a local magazine for mothers, a wedding magician may place an advert in a magazine for brides.

It’s important that the advert immediately grabs attention and is obvious to the reader what they do, plus the benefit of the service on offer. It’s vitally important to have a clear Call To Action. Make contacting you as easy as possible for them, and give a reason why (such as a special offer).

When you get enquiries ask where they heard about you, and monitor how many come from adverts, and what adverts. If an advert doesn’t generate business it’s not worth continuing with. I’ve had advertising agents try to sell me advertising space at a discount, but I’ve pointed out that no matter how cheap it is, if that publication doesn’t generate income it’s not worth doing!

Marketing Your Magic Business: Public Relations (PR)

This is almost FREE advertising! Basically, it involves being in the press, but instead of paying to advertise, you get an article written about you instead.

The biggest user of this was Harry Houdini, who instead of paying for advertising would do a stunt (such as straitjacket or jail-cell escape) which would be reported by the press. This is great if you have a one-off event in an area to promote, but not so good for general bookings.

Saying that, if you already have the props and time then putting on a stunt is quite cheap, and if you send out an interesting press-release you could get coverage of it in a couple of different mediums.

Also, although an article in the local paper may not lead directly to a booking, it is a good way to give you more brand authority as you can direct future clients to the articles, as well as use press quotes in your marketing.

This should give you a good grounding and start you off in marketing your magic business, but for a more indepth guide and anaylsis for marketing for magicians check out the How To Be A Professional Magician courses.

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Now you’ve set up your business, developed your brand, marketed your service you will be getting enquiries. Next we look at running your magic business, making it profitable and how to expand it.