Okay...I advertise a lot...but a lot in different ways...and I have done different things over the years.
The best means of advertisement is word of mouth. Do a few free shows (charity type...nursing homes, hospitals, etc) and get some people talking. Have a friend of yours attend the shows and take pictures and gather quotes. Then write an article and send in photos and the article to the local news papers. The editors will put them in. THis will be a good start.
Flyers-they work a little... I used to use them...but not anymore. People just seem to hate to see a piece of paper stuck on their windshield when they come out of a store or leave an event. To me...when somebody hands me a flyer...it is almost like them saying "Here...you throw this away for me!"
Business Cards-do like me and you get away much cheaper...make your own business cards on the computer. Get the printable business card sheets from wal-mart (the ones without prefferated edges [they look more professional (one (f))]) Don't make the card too busy...but make it attractive and clear.
T-Shirts- I had my own T-shirts printed with my logo, slogan, and contact information on the back, and a picture and my name on the front "The Magic of Kyle Jarrard". They are a goldish yellow color and I wear them all the time in public.
Parades-This is a biggy! I book more shows through parades than anything else besides word of mouth! Ride in your local parades throwing out playing cards with a sticker version of your business cards (which you also make on the computer). Throw out as many cards as possible! DUring parades, I ride in the back of my truck or "Magicmobile" with kids sitting in the back also throwing out candy, wearing top hats, and waving wands. Walking along the sides of the trucks are family and friends handing out cards with business information on them and candy. Everyone is wearing one of my T-Shirts. I play the Six Flags Theme song over my LOUD sound system to get everyone moving to the beat. I wear my costume, shoot large party poppers, and throw cards into the crowds. Withing the 1st week of the 1st parade, I booked 9 SHOWS!!! People continued to call and told me that they caught one of my cards.
Ads in local free magazines and classified papers will nag a few shows.
Ads in family magazines are pricey but they get quite a few.
Yellow pages are okay...never did me much good.
Business Packets-If you want to start doing bigger shows such as elementary schools, festivals, and other large events/venues, form yourself a business packet that has promo photos, contact and show information in them. Clients think these are very impressive and they love to get them in the mail.
Just recently, I have been using a web site. It has gotten me a few calls and basically lists everything my business packet does. (with more photos of course)
At a show, give out cards like crazy...the kids will love them and everyone will want one to take home.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS...ask people who call you where they got your name from or heard about you at...this way you can determine what means of advertisement works best for you!
There are sooooooo many different ways to advertise...you really have to try several ways to see what works best in your area. Getting your name out is the hardest thing to do/part of this business. It will cost you some money$$$$ to advertise...more money than you probably think...but look at it like this...it takes money to make money, and with time, you will make the money back and then some that it took for you to advertise.
Wow. how much must that cost? I mean, you said a little spending money but cmon! that must cost hundreds of $$$$$!!!