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mdspark
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I can't believe it. I can't believe how many shopping malls/strip centers now have "No Solicitation" policies and signs. This prevents one from distributing info in the parking lots.

Example: One of the ways I have successfully promoted my Birthday Party show is distributing "mini-flyers" (the size of a post card) by placing them on car windshields in parking lots. A harmless activity you would think. However, it is now mostly impossible to do this due to these "No Solicitation Policies" that most businesses now have.

I know they have their reasons, but this still seems insane to me. What is our free speech/capitalistic society coming to?

Anyone out there run into similar difficulties?
Andy Wonder
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I am surprised that you found this form of promotion successful. I would not imagine doing that here in New Zealand. Why not begin soliciting at day care centres? You can offer them a free show and make sure all the kids take home your flyer. Your flyers have a targeted audience. Every kid at day care must be turning 5 soon. Plus the kids will speak highly of you if you do a good show. If you do it right, the Centre will invite you back for a regular paid show as well. That has got to beat soliciting in the car park.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
ChrisZampese
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Quote:
I know they have their reasons, but this still seems insane to me. What is our free speech/capitalistic society coming to?


It is coming to the point where people are free to say they don't want capitalism shoved in their faces!

From what I understand, the No Solicitation Policies are there because people didn't like coming out of stores and seeing advertisements tucked under their windscreen wipers. The consumers spoke, so the stores stopped it happening.

Now, if the consumers are all saying that they don't like this kind of advertising, maybe we should listen to them.

I think Andy offers some sound advice. Do a great show somewhere for free (hospital - could give out little cards saying 'get well soon' to all the kids with your details on the back?, day-care, schools, etc) and then hand your flyers out there.

Good Luck with your promotions,

Chris.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
Billy Whizz
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If I was in a situation where I wasn't getting enough work and had to resort to going out and finding it, I certainly wouldn't be putting fliers on car windscreens. Do you have 'Yellow Pages' of any sort in Kentucky?

I would go to schools and offer a free show and give your details in the form of a colouring picture of yourself with your details on it to every single child in that school. A lot more beneficial than your current advertising.
Emazdad
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I know how annoying it is when you get back to the car to find bits of paper stuck on the windscreen. I throw them away unread. To attract customers, I have my car sign written, an advert in Yellow pages, and every kid at a party goes home with a colouring picture with my details on it. My main advert is the show itself. I never go into a show thinking, "Right, that's £95 in my pocket." It's, "Right, how many shows can I get out of this one?" That's all I need. Using the new database so kindly provided by George Meeham, I added a column called "how found." In the 3 weeks since I got it, 75% of my bookings are seen before/recommended by friend.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Cheshire Cat
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One word: Recommendations.

I look upon my cars as my personal property that I have paid road fund tax to use on public roads. I personally dislike anyone interferring with my wiper arms and blades and anyone caught doing so would find this out in no uncertain terms. I guess that some shopping arcade managers are also fed up having to pay to have litter cleaned up every few hours - fast food cartons, cig. packets, kids' candy wrappers, etc... -without flyers for kids entertainers.

Billy is soooooo right. Put a good-sized informative ad. in Yellow Pages and you'll get top line bookings. It's then up to you to make these spin with recommendations.
Smile
mdspark
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First of all: Tried the yellow pages. Been there done that. Too expensive. No response.

I forgot to say that I live in a relatively small, semi-rural town.

Second: I do daycares (what few there are around here). I do have a giveaway with my contact info on it for recommendations/referrals. I also have a sign on my car.

Third: I have gotten a worthwhile number of shows with the mini-flyers on cars and had Moms thank me and say they would have not found me any other way! (Yes, I realize most people throw them away and were aghast at the trauma of finding a small piece of paper and actually going to the trouble of ignoring it!)

I certainly promise not to "mess" with your wipers. And hey, some people think that a busker or "street" magician is a "panhandler" just trying to get money (with which I totally disagree). But they don't have to participate or watch.

Thanks for the concern and suggestions. I will think twice before I "mess with anyone's wipers" or traumatize them by making them touch and/or read and/or throw away a slip of paper.

And finally, I am a law abiding person and have no intention of using this practice in
"No Solicitation" zones.
Billy Whizz
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Hi mdspark,

With respect, maybe it's time to have a good look at how you perform your show. I, like you, have my car signwritten, and I also have a big advert in yellow pages. These both bring in about 25% (at a guess) of my work. But, like Emazdad said, your show is your main advert, and if you're not getting the repeat/follow on work, you need to work on your style and format of your show. Good Luck.

I've just had a look at my data base and 82% of my work is from people who have seen me before or by their friends who have recommended me. Those shows haven't cost me a Penny in advertising. That's what you need to aim for, mdspark. I wouldn't waste my time walking around carparks.
p.b.jones
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Quote:
"And hey, some people think that a busker or 'street' magician is a 'panhandler' just trying to get money (with which I totally disagree). But they don't have to participate or watch."


Or book you either!

How you are perceived is important to your success. Now it may be argued that this is wrong or immoral, but if you are to play the game then you need to play by the rules.
Image is important as a magician if you are looking for quality work. Fly posting does not, in my mind, convey the image of a successful magician with a good quality performance whom an upmarket clientel would want to invite to their home or family festivities.

If you are street performing for tips (IF) then this would also worsen your image. I agree with Billy. Look at why you are not getting repeat bookings and also the image you are conveying.
Phillip
flourish dude
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I think a lot of those get thrown in the parking lot and the store has to clean then up. I have heard of places suing people for the cost of parking lot clean up when they find their flyers. You are on private property. If it is a store by itself like Toys R US, then go in and talk with them. Offer something like 2 hours of meet and greet on a Saturday for exchange of putting flyers out. I would for sure get permission before I stuck it to a car in the parking lot. A better way is to do the free meet and greet in exchange for them placing your flyers into the bags at the check out stand. Much nicer image than the cars.
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
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mdspark
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To all who responded from the UK,

Respectfully:

Number 1: As I indicated, I do get an appropriate amount of referral business. I was simply trying to get a few extra shows--which I did--by trying a different and legitimate marketing technique. (Not done in No Soliciting Zones). And it has worked.

Number 2: Again, Yellow Page ads have not worked for me. I am not alone in this. The dynamics are different in rural areas (like mine). Not all marketing techniques work equally well for all areas. Any basic marketing book will tell you that.

Number 3: Regarding the quality of my show: Not a problem, though, like everyone that is serious, I am constantly trying to improve it. I judge quality by audience response and number of referral/recommendations per show. But small rural area = small shows, and small number of kids in audience.

Thank you Flourish Dude: Thank you!! Very helpful! I appreciate the constructive and practical suggestion and will definitely try it!!

As a side note, my mini-flyers gave moms the idea of magic and balloons for their kids' parties. In other words, these were shows I could have gotten no other way! And if my clientele were upscale (which they are not--small rural area, remember?), I would not use this technique.
ChrisZampese
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Just out of interest, what size community and how close is the nearest 'decent sized city'? I might have some tips for you, as I live in the middle of the farming centre of NZ. The town I work in has approximately 5000 people, and these little communities are scattered all around where I live.

Any more info for us?
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
mdspark
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Approximately 3000 population. The next decent size town is 1 hour away.
Emazdad
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Unless you're prepared to travel, there's not much room for extra work any way in a town that small. There are only so many kids and if you're good at what you do, by now everyone in a town that size would have heard about you.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Peter Marucci
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mdspark,
I also live in a small, semi-rural community, not unlike the one you mention.
And there is plenty of work for me. I don't advertise in the Yellow Pages (it's just not worth it, I believe). But I do advertise in the classified section of the local weekly; for a minimum cost, my name and business are kept in front of most of the people in the area 52 weeks a year— and it pays off.

But most important is word-of-mouth recommendations. You can pretty much say what you want about yourself in a paid ad but, if someone I know recommends you, that carries much more weight with me.

As for "What is our free speech/capitalistic society coming to?", well, free speech is not an absolute and you ARE on private property when handing out the flyers. And that question has been pretty well answered by other posters here.
mdspark
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Peter,

Thank you for the insight and suggestion. I will definitely try that! I think I have made it clear that I am not doing the activity mentioned "on private property," so that is a non-issue. Thanks again for the practical suggestions!

A hearty thank you to all that have contributed concern and suggestions!
Cheshire Cat
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Had a cyber look around Morehead. Yes, it is a beautiful area for campers, cyclists, walkers, etc., but I agree it could be difficult to reach the levels of business some of us guys can. We live on the edge of the English Peak District - but if we actually lived IN that area we would be travelling every day 45 mins./1 hour to achieve what we have now, as lakes, hills, forests and moors don't make money for an entertainer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but is a lot of the money that comes into Morehead outside tourist dollars and, apart from retired folks, the population are not big earners?

Anyway, I sincerely wish you every success, and yes, flourish dude sure has got some good ideas worth following up.
Dennis Michael
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Marketing!

Marketing is a skill. How many commericals do we see which we don't like? Too many!

When it comes to marketing, many times new and creative ways do very well. The goal is to get the information to the person who wants your services when they need it.

Your job is to present them with your "sales pitch" when they need it. Since you may not know when that is, keep that information in front of them, as often as possible. It must get to the right person, ideally, at least once a month. That is why newsletters are a great marketing tool.

Who shops at the supermarket? Moms (most of the time). Now Moms are inclined to hire you for their children's birthday party. This system works, and yes, you are pitching a commercial and there will be those who won't like it. If it works for you, then go for it! It has a lot of good marketing elements. Consistency, Inexpensive, Lead Generating, and the right target group. Placement in the Supermarket also meets the above criteria. By the way, I don't buy into the ideas that this type of Marketing is bad for the image!

As for Yellow pages, they work for some in some areas and are a waste of money for others. (This seems to be the general thought on this.) In a "Group of Families," what is the likelihood of Mom deciding to have a magic show for her child? Statistically, this group will be very small. Now, of that group, how will they look for a magician? Word of mouth is more powerful than a phone book, hence, the number of people using the phone book for magic shows is extremely small. When is the last time you looked into a phone book for Magician/Entertainers? For anything else? Do you look on the Internet? (Male dominated population right now.)

To succeed in getting gigs, one must stimulate the mind and plant a seed in the mind of the person who is inclined to hire you. Let them think about it, dwell on it. The seed may grow if "watered" (your name crops up often) so the information must be placed in front of the buyer's eyes often.

This is why Parent Magazines do so well for magicians. Who reads them? Dads or Moms? One time placement won't work. Multi-times is the best. Clue: If other magicians/entertainers are advertising there consistently, then it works for them and it should work for you.

Now you must set yourself apart from the rest by offering something worthwhile or unique which will cause them to call you over the other ads. Your goal here is to get the leads first then sell second. Yellow pages don't do that! It is not lead generating. Car flyers works for the above reasons. As for "image," that is a personal preference based on the person reading the material. Image is a perception that can be created in the development of the flyer and in the act itself.

Free shows are also great, but only if certain criteria are met for doing this. It must be solid lead generating or solid bookings of others after the show. There's more, but you get the picture. A free show is a marketing tool, as well as lecturing on a related topic which will also get you more shows.

Just my thoughts on this. By the way, I've owned and operated two corporations and no corporation can succeed without a solid understanding of marketing. The above is sound advice for marketing anything!
Dennis Michael
mdspark
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A very valuable post. (Thank you DenDowhy!)
ChrisZampese
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Den offers some great advice. You really need to target those Mums! And keep targeting them.

How close are the houses in and around your area? If the supermarkets, etc., are not happy with you placing flyers, then maybe you could deliver them to people's mailboxes.
Maybe you could convince the stores to put your flyers in customers' bags in exchange for something (maybe an in-store show, or the manager may have young children, etc.).

With such a small group to work with, you need to become a celebrity. When people in your area say 'the magician,' they should be talking about you. Try to keep in the spotlight. Get media coverage if you can. Do charity shows (make sure the media is there), etc., so that you become a household name. This way you will have an advantage over the competition (is there any competition??).

Is this your only income or do you do this part time? This will affect what methods you use to promote yourself.

It is not easy to be successful with such a small community. I hope all goes well for you. Let us know how things go in the future, as others may find your experience very helpful,

Chris.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
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