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SeanD13
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Bristol, RI
263 Posts

Profile of SeanD13
Let me first off off say thank you for taking the time to read my post, and thank for any help you may be able to give me.

I am going to try and go Part time and start in the children/birthday parties market. I have been doing magic for children for some time now and find a real joy out of doing it.

I know in today market you need to look and sound like a pro. So, I am hoping that some of you may be can tell me what are some of the right marketing and business tools I am going to need to get started the right way. I know there is a big market out there when it comes to magic business tools, but what are the right ones to get. My wife can be a little tight at times and dose not want to spend good money for bad products.

Can you tell me what tools worked for you?

What tools you use still today?

What tools to hold off on getting?

That would be so very helpful. Thank you again, and have a great day.

Sean
Have you hugged a Cup Junkie lately?

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"If We Build It Will you Come?"
KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
1882 Posts

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A good website works wonders. Yellow pages generally don't work well and are costly. Niche parenting magazines sometime work well. A memorable business card is a must. Lots of photos and references are very helpful. Word of mouth is the best, so make sure your name is remembered when you give a show. Originality in your presentation is good to make you look different from the rest. Animals almost always are a big draw (the ethics of using them have been discussed endlessly). I have yet to try mailings for this market, but they could be successful. Autographed pictures work well too. Talk to other entertainers and offer them a cut for any gigs that they pass on to you. In my experience, freebie shows generally don't produce a lot of clients because they often cater to the wrong market. Still they provide warm fuzzys. Send in articles to your local paper. If not obviously a marketing attempt, they may run them. Google "your town’s name" and "magician". Any paid sites that come up on the top MAY be worth pay for an ad. There are lots that offer free ads. Remember you are not marketing just to kids, but their parents. Also, for some reason. People like to hire magicians for adults to do kids parties, so you may want an adult magic website too. I believe the rational is if one can entertain adults, kids are easy (I am not saying this is true).
harris
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Harris Deutsch
8687 Posts

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1. A sense of humor
2. Include your other interest in your programs...
for me it is improvisation, theatre and musical instruments
3. Be ready for anything..even when I think I have heard or seen it all I get pleasantly surprised
4. Treat your voice well
5. Treat your body well
6. Treat your consumers well before, during and after the program
7. My program is puppet and music heavy..though I do use magic such as my recent production of a washboard tie...prior to doing thimble manipulation and background percussion for my harmonica bits...
8. Don't get the latest thing...though I love to support dealers I also love discovering a prop in a thrift store or at a venue..
This morning's great find was the wire support off a standing hat racket..(think Whose line is it anyway...

My wife is also nearly normal ...at the last club auction she was one of the few wifes telling her husband to bid on something.

I also go to our magic dungeon of our Enchanted Cottage and bring things back to life. For years I did not use my appearing canes...Now I have balloon to cane (David G idea..but I do it with a non blown up balloon..., streamer to cane..and circle to square that then morphs into a cane..(Fred Kaps Idea)

Keep learning and teaching...

(no more coffee Harris, said Nigel the puppet that rocks..)

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
kimmo
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Sheffield
1193 Posts

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I agree with much of what the good Captain says. The best business tools cost very little or Nothing,

First and foremost, DO A GOOD SHOW and make sure each child takes home something with your details on it. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing.

I get loads of work via my website and it cost me virtually nothing - I just bought a book and learned how to build sites myself.

Getting a performance video on Youtube has also done me a lot of good.
VISIT MY ONLINE STORE!: www.kimmomagicshop.com
NEW LECTURE NOTES - SHOW US YOUR TRIX NOW AVAILABLE AS AN INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD!

Kimmo DVD available Now!
Watch the promo here!
Order your copy NOW! CLICK HERE!

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KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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Quote:
I agree with much of what the good Captain says.
I do too! I just like to repeat it - I don't get that from Kimmo often!*G*

As Kimmo says, word of mouth is the best, and costs little, so as your client list grows, focus on that. I assume your show is good.

It is a hard sell to tell a parent they need to hire a pro when your website looks like it was built by an amateur. . . Some magicians here have personally created great websites and have a great web presence in their local. Others . . . well God bless them! Being a good magician does not always translate well to being a good website designer. For Kimmo, it worked well. That does not mean it will work for you. A lot of magicians THINK they do a good job at web design – I am not sure how accurate their assumption of their own web site work really is . . .

Like a parent who rents a clown costume and entertains the kids themselves, there is a chance of being wildly successful. They would have a bigger chance of success if they work in an artistic field. There is a MUCH, MUCH bigger chance of being successful if they hired a pro like Kimmo. If you have the artistic and technically ability, the time and lack the funds for hiring a pro, making your own website may be a good idea. Most do not have the technical ability, and many lack the artistic ability, and the programs to make one "right" are costly. If you do this, ask your target audience and those "in the know" what are their suggestions for improvments. Look at the sites of people who post here. Some incredible creativity . . . and some real eye openers too.

Since you want to appear professional, it is best to hire someone who is a professional to make your site. It is easy to make a site "pretty", but the unseen part that makes it perform well for search engines is much more difficult. If you wish to use local talent, Google your towns name and "web design". If their web site is not on the first page, how are they going to get yours there? Use one at or near the top that looks nice too. There are a lot of costly scams in the web design/optimization field. If you don’t care where the person lives, currently India is a good place to look for a low cost pro. You should be able to get one for AT LEAST 1/3 the cost of a comparable local designer. take care.

--I still can't believe Kimmo is agreeing with me, much less calling me the "good" Captain. He must be on drugs.*G*
kimmo
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Sheffield
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Quote:
On 2008-01-16 13:46, CaptainKid wrote:


--I still can't believe Kimmo is agreeing with me, much less calling me the "good" Captain. He must be on drugs.*G*


I'm a little confused by this!!! I don't ever recall disagreeing with you on anything much!
VISIT MY ONLINE STORE!: www.kimmomagicshop.com
NEW LECTURE NOTES - SHOW US YOUR TRIX NOW AVAILABLE AS AN INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD!

Kimmo DVD available Now!
Watch the promo here!
Order your copy NOW! CLICK HERE!

ENTERTAINER,MAGICIAN AND VENTRILOQUIST'S BLOG - DON'T READ THIS...
Jesper Amstrup
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Denmark
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Profile of Jesper Amstrup
The most important thing is telephone skills. Yor ability to make the client feel comfortable with booking you, is the single thing that will make you money.

The best website and business cards, will do you no good if the potential client don't feel at ease, when speaking to you on the phone. Yo can have a great show, but
if nobody is wiling to book you.... well yo get the picture.

Michal Ammar has a CD named "Negotiating higher performance fees" - It's the best invesment ou kan make right now.


Regards
Jesper
KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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I am glad that you agree I give EXCELLENT advice Kimmo! *L*

---Just givin' ya a hard time!

The question is: How did you and I completely miss telephone skills??? For me, it must have been that car accident . . . - Thanks Jesper

Posted: Jan 16, 2008 2:18pm
BTW Jesper - there are a lot of misspellings on your web site. I couldn't read any of it! *G* It did look fun, but I could swear it wasn't written in English!
keeblem
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Essex, UK
1167 Posts

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Quote:
On 2008-01-16 12:00, CaptainKid wrote:
Yellow pages generally don't work well and are costly.


I completely disagree with this. Well, half disagree, Yellow Pages is costly. But it does work. I would say about 50% of my work is previous bookings and recommendations and the other 50% from YP

Mark
Tony James
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Cheshire UK
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Kimmo
You know for once, just this once, I have to agree with you. That first post by the Captain was really very good. Just keep reading it Sean.

When you go buying props ask yourself, at this stage, 'How can I use this for 3 and 4 years old, and 5 and 6 years old, and 7 and 8 years old, and boys and girls too.

Now, much of the time that will be difficult but there are out there tricks suitable for a child of any age and either sex. Up to the age of 5, boys and girls mostly like everything. Only at 5 years do you generally start to find gender preferences coming in.

But if you think this way, you'll find with suitably adjusted presentations, the kind of props you'll use probably for ever and for every sort of child. And you won't need that many.

Wait till later to buy things specially for particular age groups and those with primarily appeal just for boys or just for girls. This will confine your investment and please your banker. You didn't mention her name!!

Kimmo - I think the Captain has confused you with me. Of course he thinks I'm Jolly Roger. Or was that Ashley? No, she thinks I'm Mark Lewis.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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Ok Tony . . . you are confusing me. You think a post of mine is good too? If I was much older I may get a heart attack! Well I could be confusing the two of you - you know, all Brits look alike *G*. No, I don't think you are JR, even though you seem to have his mannerism - and ability. Could you be Mark Lewis . . . I have no idea, but his book is much more caustic than you are here. Actually I think everyone from that damp island is JR! He sure gets around.

Now we all know whom I think is JR, keeblem! (Ok, not really).

keeblem,
As for the yellow pages, I am glad it is working for you. Most of the magicians here in the US don't find it worth while - by a good shot. At one time that was not true, but now it seems to be. That is why I said they "generally" don't work - sometimes they do.
Jesper Amstrup
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Denmark
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Profile of Jesper Amstrup
Unfortuneately phone skills is learning by doing. But the Ammar CD will give you a good starting point. The only adwise I can give is to always be aware of what you're saying. I have caught myself on auto pilot while on the phone a couple of times... bad, bad, bad....




Quote:
On 2008-01-16 14:18, CaptainKid wrote:
BTW Jesper - there are a lot of misspellings on your web site. I couldn't read any of it! *G* It did look fun, but I could swear it wasn't written in English!


I will look into it Smile

My other homepage may be more up your alley though
http://www.megaman.nu
derrick
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I dug holes for
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I use Yellow Pages, but for the most part to make it easier for people to find me that already know they want to do so. Most of the cold calls I get through YP's are price shoppers and will only book at the cheapest price. If that's going to be you then maybe it is worth your money to put in a listing. In the past I have spent money in the local family magazines. You need to book heavy from them to keep the ad from seriously cutting into your bottom line. For a decent size ad, it may cost you as much as one and a half to two shows.

My web site is cost effective advertising. A lot of people with enough money to book me find me over my web site. I also work at a restaurant each week. This is great opportunity to promote my services and get paid to do it. Don't forget a good business card. I don't know weather I agree with how important it is to have your pic on it or not, but it is important to have them on you at all times. Most will get thrown in the trash but many will not. Make sure you not only have your phone number on it but also list your web site and e-mail address.

Like Captain Kid said earlier, the value of a well written and will timed press release can be of great value. If it runs it can be part of your promotional packet for years. Whenever and wherever you appear, write it up and submit it to the local paper. Who knows.

Good luck with your efforts ,

Derrick
KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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It is nice to see someone who doesn't take himself seriously. I literally laughed 'till I cried at your photo in the last website. Perhaps because we have a similar slender build as well as a similarly shockingly handsome face. Still, your spelling is in serious need of help. Someone needs to teach proper English, you Danes really seem to have a problem with the spelling. I imagine it doesn’t sound like English either.

I just showed my wife and she said you are much better looking and have a full head of hair. Oh well. Glad I married her before she saw you.
SeanD13
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Bristol, RI
263 Posts

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Well I see the impotents of a good web site. I just need to find my artist in me to get my sit together. I can do the code, but suck at the art work. I have been given a few leads on where to find some good art. So, I will have to see for now.

WHat about the other items to run the business. Contracts, agreements, and other paperwork. Where do you get that at?

What about DVDs and Books? (other then Silly Billy's book)

Good places to go to get your name out? Things you can do to get you name out by word of mouth. to get your feet wet.

There has to be more then a website....right?
Have you hugged a Cup Junkie lately?

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"If We Build It Will you Come?"
alexa
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NJ
393 Posts

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Start working regularly at a restaurant. That's the way I got my feet wet and got my name out. If you're good, leads will build from that.

As for designing a site, mine is wwww.princesslexiloo.com A man named Stan Forrest did it for me. He is at http://www.digitalmagicshow.com I highly reccommend him, as he was a magician before he designed sites and so he really knows what an entertainer's site needs and how it should be organized. Reasonably priced, too!

Alexa
jkvand
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Johnstown, PA
658 Posts

Profile of jkvand
To get some great info on the business side of magic, I highly recommend getting Jim Snack's Marketing Course. He's a Café Member here, and really knows his stuff. You can get a free sample of his course at success-in-magic.com.
jackturk
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I've been doing birthday parties and other family events for nearly 30 years. For most of that time, I let other people find me the gigs... I just did the show and took my share.

About six years ago I took it on myself to really learn how to get my own bookings. I grabbed onto all the magic marketing courses and other materials (Dave Dee, Jim Snack, Dave Risley, many others) and kept at it until things started to work.

I've run ads in parenting magazines (which can work), done direct mail pieces to moms/dads based on lists I've gotten from list brokers (did okay here too), and ran yellow page ads (not as good). What I'm finding now works the best are the following:

-- Having a very direct, very clear sales website that lays out the benefits to Moms (and Dads) of how my programs will make that special day a whole lot of fun, and easy to pull off.

-- My website for birthday parties only mentions birthday parties. It does NOT say I do trade shows, mentalism, corporate gigs, or anything else. It targets MOM -- who in most cases, is the person who'll be doing the booking and writing the check. She's busy, she has very little time, and she loves her child passionately and
wants to make his/her birthday very very special. So why not position yourself on your website as a specialist?

-- Including a video of part of my program on the site using Google video -- this gives Mom and Dad a good idea of what I'm about and what I look like during my performance.

-- Using a Toll-free number with a phone message that reinforces my selling proposition. And ALWAYS calling people back asap!

-- Using a phone script when I call to lay out my programs in an emotional and compelling way.

-- Being totally professional at all times and with every contact. Sending a confirmation letter as soon as the show is booked. Making a call a few days ahead to relieve any worries they might have about me not showing up. Getting to the show on time (even early!).

-- Doing a great show... did I mention that? Create or buy great routines. Read the great books on this profession. Take some acting lessons or join a community theater to learn stage presence.

***** Make sure you deliver more than you promise! ******

-- Casually mention during your shows that you're available for other gigs and other birthday parties.

-- Follow up with a thank you note right away. Toss in a few business cards. Include a report card / evaluation form to get feedback and testimonials.

-- Put the testimonials on your website.

-- Constantly drive traffic to your website using google adwords, MSN Adcenter, Yahoo, Search Engine Optimization, your business card, etc. etc. etc.

Does it sound like a lot of work? Yeah, it is. And you constantly have to be evaluating how things are working and making adjustments as necessary. This is a business ... a very fun, very rewarding, and totally awesome business... yet a business nonetheless that needs to be approached with the same level of integrity, passion, and professionalism as any other.

Hopefully this will give you a little help.

--Jack
"59 Ways To Recession Proof Your Entertainment Business -- FREE!"
http://www.GetLeadsLikeCrazy.com

"How To Make $25,000 a Year Doing Birthday Parties Part-Time"
http://www.magicmarketingcenter.com/birthdayPT
KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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Jack, welcome! It is always nice to have a long time pro give advice! You got it, it is a lot of work. I have never done a direct mailing for birthdays, but have considered it, especially now with my price going up. I would love to hear your experience! I am also thinking of placing postcards on mailboxes to save $$$ and insure it is targeted correctly. Any comments, or was this a teaser?


I do have some small disagreements (at least for me here in Raleigh), but a really great post.

Specializing in children is important, but I would have higher paying gigs listed before birthdays. The reason is moms will think you are a better magician if you do schools & libraries. Also, I tend to get a lot of "Kid" business off my adult site. People tend to think if you can entertain adults, kids will be a snap. It has the opposite effect for my adult shows - if they think you do kid's magic too, they tend to run. Having multiple sites works well for me.

I have had a toll free number for over 15 years, and for a long time it was a real asset. Now that toll free numbers are common, I found myself losing gigs because people thought I wasn't local. Make sure to publish both a local number and a toll free if most of your business is local. Also, now with Vonage, it is $5 to have an additional number anywhere, so you look local . . .

Also, I have a lot of moms who have a lot of time on their hands, and many that are very busy. Make your site easy to skim and navigate, but still have lots on there for those bored moms who are looking for ideas. The more quality stuff you have on your site, the more impressive - just make sure one can skim it and navigate it well.

Have your contact info on EVERY page, and very easy to find.
SeanD13
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Bristol, RI
263 Posts

Profile of SeanD13
Thanks for the tips please keep them coming.

Anyone know where I can find templates for contracts, confirmation letters, report cards, ....

There has to be a source right. I sure I am not the only person that is not sure what to put on the form.

What about joining Kidabra, would they be able to help me get started.

Sean
Have you hugged a Cup Junkie lately?

Learn more at www.CupsCon.com
"If We Build It Will you Come?"
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