In the Round – What Every Successful Hoop Performer Needs to Know Part IV – Marketing Your Act
This subject is long enough to write a book on! In fact I’ve already done that and don’t want to do it again. So I’ll keep it short and sweet so you can understand the basics. Here are a few of the main ways you can sell yourself as a professional hoop performer.
A classic and effective way to sell your act. Most freelance performers don’t have one agent who handles all their bookings but rather they work with a variety of different agents on different events. Good agents are worth their weight in glow hoops, sadly this level of value means they are hard get on board. Almost all agents will have a barrage of performers trying to get work out of them and this means the job of getting agents to sell your act is a tricky one.
Here are my five top tips for approaching agents:
· Do your research – in most countries there are hundreds of agents you can apply to. Have a good look on the web and pick ones that look most likely to give you work.
· Keep it short and simple – whether on the phone, through email or using an artist’s registration form, stick to the most important facts. Agents are busy people and don’t need your life story or your shoe size. Unless specifically told otherwise just tell them some benefits of your act, provide 2-3 photos and a link to your promo video.
· Be confident but not egotistical – Using your ego to sell can work really well (it certainly has for me in the past) but not with agents. Most of them have seen thousands of acts and no matter how good you think you are save it. Simply express the benefits of your act, be confident and easy to work with (reply to emails asap, always answer the phone, etc.).
· Don’t give up and keep trying – Contact agents can be difficult task, if you want to get regular work from 2-3 good agents you might have to apply to a hundred or more over a period of time. Don’t give up on this, just plod away and you will be rewarded. Remember agents are worth their weight in glow hoops and in my experience some of them are quite tubby!
· Be patient – I’ve had to wait nearly two years from my initial contact to getting work from an agent. Just keep sending out emails, (5 a week would be a good start), constantly work on improving your act and your publicity material, don’t give up and you will get there.
Old school. The classic example is wedding fairs. Usually the organizers charge a fee for advertising at the event but instead you can offer to perform for free.
Make sure you take a good sales assistant with some fliers, business cards, free chocolates and a big smile. You deliver some awesome performances, the “brides to be” get free chocolates (and a business card), and everyone is happy. That’s what’s known as a win-win transaction.
In certain industries, (weddings in particular) print advertising in magazines is still popular. I have tried it a few times and lost money on every occasion! My advice would be to stay away it unless you have experience in this field or know someone with expertise who can help you.
Boring and soul destroying but can be effective sometimes. I try and save cold calling for events or venues I really want to work for. If you like working close to home for example, ring up some local venues and tourist attractions to see if they will give you work.
In my experience cold calling works best if you are willing to do a deal. Offering a good price will go a long way here. Remember though, if you are doing a deal ALWAYS let the client know that they are getting a good price and give them a reason why.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Confession time: I am an SEO geek. It often keeps me up way past my bedtime! SEO is the process of getting your website to appear in the main results for a search related to what you do. (For example my site is optimized for fire jugglers, fire shows etc).
There are two main parts to SEO:
· On Site SEO – In a nutshell this means having your target words running through all the text (aka copy) on your site.
· Off Site SEO – getting links from lots of place to your website. (Google sees these links as an online version of a word of mouth recommendation).
Two things I want to get across here about SEO. First it’s not a tricky as it sounds, it’s more of a steady plod to get your website ranking. Secondly, this is a very powerful and cost effective way to promote your website. The success of my career and my company has all been built on the back of a good website and some focused SEO.
Paid Google AdWords Advertising (Pay Per Click – PPC)
If you Google anything worth any amount of money, as well as the main (organic results) you will also see at the top of the results and down the right of the page what Google calls “sponsored results”. (These are paid ads). If a browser click through one of the links to a website the advertiser pays a one of fee. Hence the name pay per click (aka PPC).
PPC marketing is sometimes complicated and can be expensive if done wrong, but it is immensely powerful and a highly controllable way of generating inquiries if used correctly. This article is not the place to go into any detail, if you are interested in learning more either visit my website or go to the Google AdWords site and have a look at their help and advice sections.
It’s Up To You Now!
That’s a broad view of some good areas to sell your hoop acts. My advice would be to get on Google do a load of research and then have a think about how you are going to sell your act. One last point for the sake of repetition, if you haven’t got a website. GET ONE!
So, that’s the end of this series of articles. I hope you have been inspired to take some action by them. If you want to learn more about selling your act, make sure you check out my website www.howtosellyouract.com. You can checkout my eBook and also get loads of free advice from my blog and newsletter.
Good luck with you career, please let me know how you get on via my website or Facebook.
Thanks for this amazingly useful series of articles Tim. Please use the comment box below if you have any questions or suggestions. Cheers.
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