Mobile DJ Trade Tips - Issue 66 - Promoting Your Disco

Tips and Tricks to Help You Get More Work

At the recent AMPdj meet up in Glasgow seasoned Scottish DJ, Andrew Wylie, presented a workshop entitled, ‘Tips and Tricks to Help You Get More Work’. It received rave reviews from fellow DJs at the meeting so a massive thank-you to Andy for allowing us to share his notes.

Glasgow Meet-up Workshop by Andrew Wylie

How many of you guys are full time DJs with no other source of income?

How many have another source of income? Another job or a wife/partner who brings in a wage?

This will affect how you think about getting work and your mental attitude towards getting gigs. If you have another source of income you can afford to pick and choose what gigs you do and don’t do. You can also afford to hold out for higher fees. If you have no other source of income, you have to consider how you will pay your bills. If you don’t have any bookings you could end up working for what you can get as opposed to what you think you should be getting. This section isn’t advocating going out cheaply or undercutting anybody, it’s just pointing out that you will have a slightly different mental approach to taking on work.

How do we currently get work?

Word of mouth, paid advertising, website, Facebook, networking , business cards, flyers, newspaper advertising, phone book, Gumtree and listing sites are all recognised marketing methods.

Word of mouth is probably the best form of advertising. It’s FREE and your service is being endorsed by people who know what you do thus giving potential clients more confidence to book you. But if you’re not out working, then you won’t get much word of mouth advertising.

Websites can be slightly restricting unless you are able to do all your own content management as they need constant up-dating to be effective.

Facebook is a faster and more instant way to promote yourself although it doesn’t always target the right people or your market sector. If you’re using Facebook, then look at using other pages on Facebook as well as your own page and your business page. Consider joining business pages such as Wedding Guide for Brides, Blushing Brides, UK Wedding Suppliers, Weddings Scotland and local businesses. In the search facility, type in wedding, or bride, or ‘your town’ businesses and check out any groups or pages that you can contribute to. You may be limited to posting once a week on some, but it’s FREE.

Take all forms of FREE advertising regardless of the market that they are aimed at.

Other Ways to get work

Business Cards - Carry cards with you everywhere. Carry a pocket diary with you too so that if people stop you in the street and ask if you can do their party, you can instantly check your availability and give them a card with your contact details right there and then.

Put cards on tables when doing functions. When you are eating out in a restaurant, leave a card with a tip when you pay the bill. Put a card into Hotel Business draws. Venues keep the cards for their own purposes. Ensure your card looks professional and the design reflects your service. You could even use unusual shaped cards to make them stand out.

Mail-Outs - Do mail outs to venues, function managers and people who have already booked your services. Use giveaways/freebies and special offers in your mail outs. Always provide a way to respond and a call to action.

Wedding Shows - If you are in the wedding market, then consider attending Wedding Shows. Choosing the right ones is not always easy. To begin with, attend as many local hotel run shows as possible. These can quite often be FREE or a small charge compared to the larger ones. If you only want to work within a certain area then it’s more advantageous to do the local hotel shows as that’s where your customer base will be. Offer to provide your services FREE on the day in return for a FREE exhibition space. You could supply a small PA System for background music throughout the day and for the commentary of the fashion Show. Offer to Compere the show. This will allow you to demonstrate your mic capabilities and give you a more prominent presence at the event. Have specific advertising material produced for this. Remember to inform potential clients that you do other types of functions as well as weddings.

Wedding Groups - Join a Wedding group. These usually consist of other wedding suppliers who tend to forget about discos. Some run wedding shows and produce their own advertising materials, which in turn reduces your costs and widens your advertising scope.

Wedding Suppliers - Link up with other wedding suppliers to promote each other’s businesses and eventually you might even form your own wedding group.

Make Friends With Function Managers & Venue Staff - These people can put a lot of work your way. Find out who they are and keep a note of their names. Keep them updated with new services that you may have and special offers that you are running. Keep your name to the forefront, but at the same time don’t be a pest.

When you arrive at a venue, choose your time to speak to them carefully. Be respectful that they have a role to play and a job to do. Don’t start asking them where you’ve to set up whilst they are still serving the meal. Politely ask the staff to clear your area first so you can get set up, and offer to help them too. There are venues where we play regularly and the disco goes where the top table was set so I always help clear the tables.

Preferred/Recommended Suppliers - Become a preferred or recommended supplier to that venue. Offer to give them something in return. One option is to do the staff party for FREE. If they have a one off event where they need a PA System, offer to supply it FREE or at a reduced price in return for them recommending you to customers.

Wedding Packages - How many of you are in wedding packages? A lot of hotels are offering wedding packages these days where they source everything all for one price. Try to get included in these packages. Offer to reduce your price slightly in return for bulk work. Inform the hotel what you normally charge to an individual client if they came to you direct and then offer to Invoice the hotel for a slightly discounted rate.

Member of a Gym or Club - Are you getting all the functions held there? Why not? Go to your local club and find out if they have a preferred supplier. If not, offer them a special rate in return for all the bookings which are held in their club. Be prepared to negotiate as a regular average priced booking is more lucrative than one occasional gig at a high price.

Specialise in Certain Types of Events - Do you like Heavy Rock? Is there a demand for it in your area? Why not run a monthly Rock night. This will not only give you an extra booking once a month, but will also bring you bookings from everyone who comes along for that specific type of music. It could even be a 60s & 70s night; the options are endless. If you are planning to run these nights regularly, devise a way to capture their email address so that you can keep them informed of future events.

Youth Clubs/School Discos - How many of you do regular school or youth club discos? It creates a good database for future gigs. We did a local Youth club every Saturday night for 7 years. We then got every birthday party, engagement, wedding from members for the next 20+ years.

Quiz Nights - Why not run a quiz night during the week. Many places struggle to get customers in mid-week so why not offer to do a Quiz. Persuade the venue to do a run of 6 nights at least in order to give it time to take off. Offer to do a reduced price or offer to do the first one free and then the rest at a set price. Offer to help with the promotion of the event. Make up posters and flyers for them and print off on your computer. Promote it on Facebook, through your own pages and the venues Facebook page. You can make up your own questions or you can buy them ready made. If you search the internet, there are many ideas you could incorporate into the evening to retain interest.

Store Promotions/Product Launches - Keep an eye on local newspapers for news of a new store opening. Check out local building sites or if you see a shop being gutted out ask if someone else is moving in and when. Find out who it’s for and contact the company offering to help promote the launch or opening.

Small PA Hires. You already have the equipment so why not make it pay for itself. A lot of venues now have their own in-house PA System, but sometimes they are not big enough for certain events (goes back to making friends with venue managers). Whenever you are in a venue ask about who they currently use for their disco supplies or PA supplies. Offer them your services. Make a note of the venues that don’t have their own PA or regular supplier and mail something out to them, or go and visit them a few days after you’ve played there.

Housekeeping - Try to reduce your set up and break down times so that you are not being disrespectful to caretakers, hall keepers, key holders, night porters or staff waiting to set up for the morning. I know of two discos and a band that have been barred from certain venues in Fife because they take too long to set up or dismantle. Be aware of other people’s bills. When loading into some venues try not to leave doors open too long in cold or rainy weather. Caretakers, hall keepers, key holders can prevent you from getting work, alternatively they can persuade people to book you because you are considerate towards them.

Effective marketing doesn’t have to be costly although it does take a considerable amount of time and effort. The results can pay for themselves.

Andrew Wylie

This is just one of the many fantastic workshops or seminars that have taken place at our Scottish meet ups. They are held at the Glencairn Venue so if you are within reach of Glasgow do come along, you will be sure of a warm welcome. Details of the next meeting will be included in AMPdj updates and in these emails.

Until next time

Paul & sandy

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