[Self promotion and contact info removed per Penguin rules]
This is part 3 of my essay on starting a career in magic. In this section, I will be discussing promotional material, and how to get your name out there.
Now that you've got your show created, it's time to start promoting yourself. This includes creating a promotional kit, business cards, a promotional DVD (which may come later, after you have some live performances), promotional pictures, etc. This can be a difficult process, especially if you don't know what you're doing.
Personally, I suggest getting your promotional material created professionally. The reason for this is because it is a difficult process, and many entertainers simply don't know how to go about it. You need these products to look professional. So it's not worth trying to do them yourself if you aren't talented in the area of creating promotional material. It's also not worth trying to do yourself if you don't have the right tools to create these materials. As for the price of having your material professionally created; in the long run it's not much. You'll get the price back in one or two shows. Plus, you'll get many more shows with those promotional materials. So in the end, it's well worth the price.
Some of you may be well equipped to create these promotional materials though. However, I still advise that you have your materials professionally printed off. The reason for this is because it's cheaper in the long run, and the quality is generally better. Using a home printer simply is not a good idea. It's not cost effective, and many home printers simply don't have the quality that a professional printer does.
If you happen to choose to do your promotional material, you should first check into printing services. Office Depot is one option, and they do have decent prices and are high quality. You can also check your phone book and find local printing places as well. Finding a professional printer though is important. They provide better quality, and are more cost effective.
After finding a printing service, you'll want to start creating your business cards. Remember to keep them simple. I've seen many business cards that are just cluttered with a lot of useless information. The majority of them end up in the garbage because they look unprofessional. This is no need to complicate things with a bunch of unnecessary clutter. So like I said, keep it simple. All that you really need on your card is your name, contact information (phone number, email, etc), website (if you have one), logo or picture, short tag line (keep this short. A quote from a client is always a good idea), and brief description of what you do (simply stating that you're a magician, entertainer, etc.). You just want to put basic information on your cards. Your potential clients will get the more detailed information during the phone calls, emails, or when you hand them your card.
Next, you'll want to start working on the material for your promotional kit. Here's what I suggest including (other's may tell you different, but from my experience, this is what works):
1. A short biography
2. Awards and honors (including societies and associations you belong to)
3. Quotes from satisfied customers (this may have to wait until you do a couple of shows). Also, including a short letter from a previous client can also be a good idea.
4. Client list (I personally don't include private shows in mine).
5. A picture of yourself (try getting an action photo. The picture is simply so they can see what you look like, which is important).
6. Description of your show (just the basics. Try to answer any questions they may have).
7. Business card.
8. A short DVD show casing your talents (best to get live footage from a show you've done. This way potential clients can see audience reactions. This may have to wait until you have a couple of shows).
9. A cover letter. (Introduce yourself and explain why you're sending the kit, as well as what you plan to do for them).
10. From time to time, I'll also sent a flyer and/or a postcard. It's a little something extra, but can get good responses.
All of this should be printed on your won custom stationary. Your stationary should include your contact information (mailing address, email, and phone number. If you have a fax number, which can be handy, include that as well). It should also include the name of your business as well as your logo (if you have one). The reason for having everything printed on your stations is simple to keep your general information (name, contact information) in your potential client's head. It also looks professional.
Now, I mentioned the use of a logo. A log can be a very useful tool. It can make a client remember you for a long time. Just think of the Nike logo. Nike spent millions of dollars on that logo, and now, it's a logo that basically everyone recognizes. To make an effective logo, it's best to keep it simple. I believe in simplicity. This way, it's easy to remember.
Something else worth creating is a brand message. Simply, what this is is a short message telling people who you are, what you do, and why you're different. once you have your brand message created, you want to include it on everything.
Something else you'll want to include in your promotional packet is a call to action. This should be included in the cover letter. The purpose of a call to action is to make your potential client feel like it's necessary to contact you as soon as possible. You don't want potential clients to lay your kit aside, and forget about it. By putting a call to action though, they will be less likely to lay your kit aside. Personally, I include a call to action in my cover letter, as well as the brief description of my show (which is the last page of my promo kit). This way, they see it twice; at the beginning and at the end.
Now, you'll need something to put all of your information in; in order to keep it organized, and add a little extra professionalism to it. I suggest getting black, hi-glossy folders to start off with. You can also have specialized folders made for you, which can be an added benefit to you. Also, having a slit in the pocket of the folder, where a business card can be placed, is another good idea.
One last tip for your promotional kit. Use a stapler or a paper clip to secure everything together. You don't want a bunch of loose papers everywhere, as potential clients may end up loosing them, or misplacing them. You have to consider that some of the people you will be mailing these promotional kits to are receiving many other promotional kits as well. It's easy to end up loosing loose papers. So just stable the papers together, or use paper clip. (All you want to staple to paper clip together are the actual papers. The cover letter, quotes, client list, awards and honors, and description of your show).
That's it for this section. You have a lot of information to consider, and enough work to get done. Promotional kits are a lot of work, but they are necessary. In the next section of this essay I will be dealing more with promotional material and ideas, including flyers, handouts, and free shows. [Edited]