I am confused

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 02:32 AM

I make a living performing for audiences I work six nights a week. for regular places, I am not bragging, but I am proud.
I am confused because I want to work more. I am trying to figure out why this section is the most under used on the whole board. as many professionals that come here, must have a vast knowledge of promotion and contracting jobs etc. Everything I know I have learned by trial and error.
mostly by error I guess, but I seem to learn the hard way.
So I will star something here.
I am curious how many of you use business cards.
I baught one thousand cards and handed everyone of them out. out of those I booked 2 events. I book far more by saying I dont have a card here let me right down your information, and I send them some promo. or they have heard of me by word of mouth. Honestly I feel having business cards hurts more than helps. this has been my expierience. what do you guys think.
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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 03:33 AM

It's only logical that a magician's business cards should do something -- well, magical!
I open my table hopping act with a business card which, I claim, has a prediction on the back.
Someone thinks of a card and I ask if they would be amazed if their card was on the back of my business card; the biz card has a copy of the 52 on 1 card on the back.
I leave the card with them, saying "I KNOW you are going to do that to someone else."
It's a card they never throw away.
Sure, it's not "magic" but it works!
But, more important that getting your cards out, is getting their card. That way, rather than the slim possibility of their calling you, you can call them about a future booking.
Much more effective.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 04:33 AM

I appologize I should have made myself more clear. I am not talking about tricks here, I have plenty of those. I am just wanting to find out if others rely on booking events off of business cards. I find it to be a novelty for someone to say I have a real magicians business card. I would rather them say we have a real magician coming to work for us on such a day, you have got to see this guy. Hear check out what he sent me ( promo). It just seems to me having business cards are a waste of money, and I certianly would not take the cheap way out hand someone a computer printed card either. This is just one aspect of booking events, I know we will discuss further other steps in marketing and promotion. But since this feature is here rather than waste it, I would like to use it.
So My question is, is it really worth having a bussiness card if no one really uses it. as a point of reference. When it is easier for you to get their information and now you have made a far stronger contact. Plus people love getting stuff in the mail that isnt truly junk mail, I think it makes them feel important, and they fell superior. I will go more into that at a later time. Am i the only one who feels this way and is this a taboo subject
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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 06:06 AM

Reed McClintock writes: "My question is, is it really worth having a bussiness card if no one really uses it."

Well, no, of course not.
But my point was to create a card that the spectator would keep and would use.

Business cards are much like any other form of advertising: One never knows where or when they will pay off.
But they do; I can say that from personal experience over many, many years.

As for computer-generated cards, I see nothing wrong with them; mine are undistinguishable from my professionally printed cards.
I suppose it depends on the quality of the computer, printer, etc.

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 07:03 AM

I agree with the talented Reed about this area of the forum being under used. Perhaps that will change now! Reed, I found what you wrote very interesting, about giving out 1,000 cards and getting two events. I've been thinking I'm too lax in handing out cards, and that everyone SHOULD get one. But I think it goes hand in hand with something else that I've also been lax about.
We have to enlighten people. For example, have you ever been doing walk around in a restaurant and off handedly mention something about a party you worked, and the people were intrigued and surprised to hear that you work parties? This is just one possible scenario. So I think we should work it into our patter, to the folks know. It could be as simple as taking out a deck of cards, and saying, "Of course this is my deck. But when I work private parties, I always have the host provide the cards".
So, this may seem to not address your question about business cards, but it does. "Business cards, along with educating the folks". And of course, getting THEIR info, as you mentioned, is KEY.
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Postby CHRIS » 07/26/02 07:25 AM

On the topic of self printed business cards: I found that the overall price of self printed and professionally printed ones is not much different. If you take into account the card stock, ink and time you spend printing and separating the cards its a wash in terms of cost.

The biggest problem with self printed cards is not the quality of the print which is quite good with a color inkjet, but the edge is not a sharp cut but a perforation tear.

The real benefit of self printing cards comes in when you customize them for each occasion. One can then do a few dozen cards with a certain design and next time try a different design.

Reed, another reason why your yield on your business cards was so low might be the design of the card itself. I don't know your card, but you might want to experiment with various designs. Even a slight change in color, font, or wording can mean huge differences. Talk to a skilled direct mail copywriter and he will confirm that.

Making the business card special in some way will definitely improve matters. Either make the design so good that the card itself stands out, or use the card in some context, trick, gag, ...

A last comment. I am not sure how you determined that the 1000 business cards only yielded in 2 bookings. It is impossible to know where these cards end up and so I think you might have gotten more bookings from them but just don't know it.

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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 07:52 AM

I don't speak from experience because I have yet to get a magic gig, I am waiting to try in earnest once I get back from my military deployment and leave the Army, so please take what I say with a grain of salt. My thoughts on business cards echo that of Peter. It must make the receipent want to keep them. How many business cards does the average person get throughou the day...probably more than you think, they are everywhere. What about creating a magical effect that is frozen in time at the height of it, that has your contact info on it. Pencil thru quarter immediately comes to mind as a possibility. I think people will be much more inclined to hold onto something unique, rather than yet another business card.

However, Reed I think you have it hit on the head...way more important to get their contact information and then follow up with a flyer/phone call/press release, etc. This is really where I intend to put my emphasis.

More topics on the "business side"....great info here, many times more valuable than learning the best new and improved double lift!!

Thanks-
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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 09:25 AM

Having a degree in graphic design and having beeen a tattoo artist for several years, and having won several awards for my artwork from shcool to regular art compititions, I dont think that their was a problem with my cards. I designed the cards in question to cater to a very particular clientelle. Anyone that wanted me to work, lol. No really it was on very nice card stock, it was very simple and very direct. I gave them out when people asked for them, and when I felt like people needed them. I even left some at parties and clubs, but like I said I booked two events. I keep a running tally of where people found my name, if they have never seen me. Most people say they heard about me from a friend, or read about me in one of the papers. I am not bragging I am just stating where they got my name as I am sure this is realy the same thing that happens everywhere else. I am tring to perfect a promotional system. I would rather use the money I have on effective advertising, than just any old place to try it.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/26/02 09:44 AM

Originally posted by Reed McClintock:
I keep a running tally of where people found my name, if they have never seen me. Most people say they heard about me from a friend, or read about me in one of the papers.
I think there's a flaw in your analysis here. If they've never seen you, how would they get your business card? The business card is mroe for people who have seen you and want to be abel to get in touch with you again. Of the people who have seen you perform in some venue, and you've given a card to, how many have contacted you?

As for those who haven't seen you, sure, they may have gotten your card from a friend...but if they didn't, how did they know to contact you? The friend probably had a business card and jsut passed along the information. I think most people, when asked, wouldn't say that they got one of your business cards. Rather, they'd say "Oh, I heard about you from a friend," regardless of whether or not a business card was passed on.

Just my thoughts...

-Jim
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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 02:11 PM

Ah astute you are. lets anaylize your anaylisis for a moment.
If a person contacts me and they heard about me from a friend, and I didnt give theyre friend a card, how can they find out how to contact me. since they dont know my name, or what I look like and I do not run ads in the telephone book. What to you would be the most logical way to get a hold of someone. Please do not try to say there is a flaw in my theory, as if I am not fully capable to think.
the answer
Their friend will mention where they saw me, and the people will call the place I work and they give them my contact number.
Two things have happened I have just braught more business to the club and built a larger client list, simoultaneously. Not bad for not spending any money on business cards. and I got a serious buyer.
These posts are not for challenging any of you, so please don't challenge me I dont have time. I want to make my business more successful as I would like to offer some of my expieriences and hopefully they will help you, and vice versa. :cool:
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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 04:24 PM

A business card is a mental reminder, not a piece of advertising. People who keep your card should do so because they remember how good you are.

I recently I got a gig at a big club because I happened to ring the client and ask him what sort of promotions he was doing and how could I help to make them sucessful.

He jumped on the chance and brought me in for an interview/audition where I did NOTHING. I sat and listened to him for an hour while he talked about the club and other magicians he had seen. He even pulled out the bundle of cards he had from other performers.

My point is that the other guys gave their cards but I stuck in his mind because I showed an interest. When you cram cards down people's throats you are showing that you want to work not help the client.
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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 05:05 PM

exactly my point there is no question you wanted to help him, but you didnt give him a card you called him. with his concerns in mind. its good he had a collection of business cards bundled up in a rubberband, but those didnt seem useful to him your personal touch did. And I completely agree with that. As far as cards being a mental reminder, that would work if they if people didnt bundle them up. This is why I do not offer a business card.
If someone is really adimate about getting my contact info I write my number and website on a playing card. It is convienant, and it does not fit in a rolodex. Now there are two schools of thaught on that. Maybe the client is so busy he will just throw the card away if it does not fit in a rolodex, well he asked me for my contact info so he may not throw it away. or he will down load in in his PDA or computer so everytime he looks at that section of the alphabet my name will constantly pop up. and it allows him to throw away the card.
If there is a single playing card laying around muggles will pick it up to see what the value of the card is. For some reason people think oh oh there is a deck of cards missing a card, and there is writing on it. why would someone ruin a deck. to put a number on it.intresting psychology. think about it often when you have people sign a card they look at you like what are you crazy you will ruin your cards. so there is definately something very powerful behind that. do you guys agree. :)
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Postby CHRIS » 07/26/02 09:12 PM

One can come up with all kind of scenarious were a business card would be good or bad. Certainly it is not always the best idea to hand it out. It can often appear pushy, particularly if the potential client didn't ask for one. But if he does, I think it unprofessional if one cannot be rendered.

Bottom line for me is that business cards are so cheap and are an established way of passing on contact information, that it is just plain bad business if one does not have a business card even if it is handed out rarely.

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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 09:27 PM

I would be willing to agree with that statement. How would you feel if the card was just plain, and all it had was a website, do you think that would be good or bad. I think it to be sort of mysterious. I realize not everyone is online yet, but most people where I live are so having on a card for instance mine would be
www.reedmcclintock.com
Would this be classy or not . I am curious, because I would be willing to think the way you posted. I have been looking at it to black and white. I never really gave my self the in the middle of the road if someone really wants a card. I should have something to give them. hmmm now I am rethinking. thank you
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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 09:55 PM

When I hand someone my card I turn it over to show my web address and say "Here is access to my website. Please check it out. I'd love to hear from you." What's great is it sounds like i'm giving them *special* access to my site.

If I happen to have a copy of my brochure, I do the same thing.
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Postby Guest » 07/26/02 10:31 PM

When I do kid's shows and a parent asks for a card, I usuaully give them a balloon animal with by website and name etc. ON it. It might pop everynow and again but they sure don't bundle it away!

I have just finished reading How To Win Friends and Influence People. Great book that has helped me win a lot of gigs.
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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 10:55 PM

How to win friends and influence people is very good, I have the audio cassetes in my car. I found that most of the stuff is treat people how you want to be treated. I have a friend who is a very good business man and he says it was because of that book. I told him I didnt think it was the book, he is just a likable guy, he smiled, and baught me lunch.
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Postby CHRIS » 07/26/02 10:56 PM

Reed,

the best thing is to try it out. Print a hundred cards only with your webaddress and test it out on people. See what reactions you get. In marketing a lot is trial and error. I could give you reasons why your idea borders on genius, and also why it sucks.

As you said it could appear mysterious. It is a nice minimalistic approach. The webaddress (if we assume the client has web access) is all one needs if they like to get in touch with you. It is also something they might be able to memorize or remember. So even if they should loose your card they might still remember your webaddress. All very desirable features.

On the other hand it could almost be an insult. You assume web access which about 50% do not have (believe it or not). And even if one does have access to the Internet, it adds another hurdle to get the desired information. If the card has a phone number, all one would need to do is call this number. No logging on, no typing in domain name, no searching for contact information.

Another high tech idea is to use a miniCD as business card. I use these miniCDs (ebookCards) to sell ebooks. These miniCDs come in rectangular shapes. The label can be used as simple replacement for the card with name, address, and phone number. The CD itself when popped into the computer can have much more: website, video clips, text, ...

This would allow one to prepare a complete promotional give away. Such CD business cards are of course a lot more expensive than a simple cardstock, but they most likely will have a much higher impact and yield in terms of bookings.

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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/26/02 11:18 PM

I just recently saw the little cds you are talking about and I think those would be a killer thing to hand out. It could contain everything you need footage contact info resume bio a ton of stuff, I imagine they are really expensive. But again it would be assuming everyone has the ability to put it on their cd player.
Living here in Portland I imagine most people I deal with are connected to the internet. They would have to be for work. It almost doesnt sound feasble to function with out it. i might agree more if I lived away from a big city but since i do live so close to a major metro area i feel it might be alright to do just the website thing. I was talking with my wife this evening about that and the post made earlier, and she said the same thing why not put the number on there also.
I am going to try printing up a couple of hundred cards just with the url and see what happens.
See one thing is on the last card it said magician on it, I think that may have hurt more than helped. So many people hear magician and assume oh mr hoakey guy with a tux and top hat with a fluffy rabbit doing kid shows, when theere is nothing wrong if you do that sort of thing, but it is not the type of stuff i do.
I have thaught about several things to call myself, so far the best is Reed McClintock
and let them read all about what I do on a web site. I am thinking of removing the word Magician all together off of my site, and call my self a perceptionist, or simply a sleight of hand artist, as that seems to be wht I am.
Which brings up another topic.
When I call my self a sleight of hand artist in the beginning, all audiences know what it is but do not have any clue what sleight of hand is. intresting little discovery. I have also discovered when I walk away they are saying that wasnt sleight of hand that was magic. The idea from lord of the rings. I have friends that will linger around a table at the club and come back and tell me what people say. I think it better to have them say you are a magician than I say it myself.
any feelings on that.
Oh I am enjoying this thread, I hope you guys are to. :)
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Postby CHRIS » 07/26/02 11:36 PM

These business card CDs aren't that expensive. You probably would not hand it out to just everyone, but select people. The blank CD costs around $1.30. I am sure one could find cheaper ones, but it is also a quality issue. For the label add another $0.50. Duplication cost is typically below $1 these days. So somewhere around $3.00 pure manufacturing cost. Of course you need to design the contents which can be expensive, depending on what you want to do and whom you are going to hire to do it.

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Postby Hanno » 07/27/02 09:54 AM

a few words for business cards:
1. most of the magic business cards Ive seen make a cheap and not high class impression.
2. most business cards I got from magicians I got without asking for it ......
My opinion: (if you want to work good gigs)
Make a business card, not a silly childish card with rabbits and cheap cliparts from microsoft.
Take high quality paper, and dont make them look like homemade.
Just let it be a business card, not a brochure, which means less is more.
Dont give cards out, when nobody ask you.

And the far better way: (not my idea, but my favorite)
If sombody ask you for your card, ask him to give you his card, to send him your material with a suprise. So you have soon a good database. If somebody has no card? Maby he will not have the money to hire you. (kidding)

I like the idea of Chris Waashuber with the Mini CD.
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Postby Guest » 07/27/02 01:14 PM

Perhaps 50% of the general population are not yet online, as someone suggested here, but I think that the percentage is vastly higher for those that are potential customers for entertainers.

My opinion is that you should still include a phone number on the cards, as well as your URL and e-mail address. Many business people are inclined to pick up the phone and talk rather than visiting a web site first. Many clients I talk to on the phone call up my web site while we are speaking on the phone.

I've not had a client contact me through snail mail in a very long time. So that may not be vital on a business card in today's world.

I certainly agree that you should have cards for the people that ask for them. And, it certainly pays off to ask for theirs in return if you follow up by sending them some information. At shows, I think it appropriate to have some business cards on display in a conspicuous location. And perhaps other promotional material as well. If someone seems very enthuastic about your performance, I think it appropriate to offer a card, if done in a casual and not pushy way.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 07/27/02 10:36 PM

This is simple. I am talking as a business man.

Always carry cards. Hand them out whenever appropriate. This is not open to debate!

Advertising and promoting yourself is not a case of one size fits all. It is a multi-layered campaign, a campaign with many different avenues of attack.

Sending promo material, great idea!
Web site, great idea.
CDs, great idea.
Sky writing, great idea.

Anything which can keep people thinking of you is a great idea.

The business card will not get you a job. It will help potential clients find you.

A great routine will not get you a job. Your follow up with the person who spoke to you after the routine will get you the job.

The guys who work the most are not always the best magicians, but they may be the best promoters. It is a constant job.

Reed, you spoke of 2 jobs out of 1000 cards given. Assuming 1000 cards cost about $50 and you were paid not less then $300 per show(I certainly hope more), your 2 shows brought in $600 dollars or more then ten times the money invested in the cards. I'll take that return on investment all day long. Second, Those 1000 cards you gave out have not disappeared from the face of the earth, many of them may be lying in a desk draw, waiting for the day when someone needs a magician. You never know when another job may come from those cards.

When you put the coins and the deck in the drawer, that is the time to stop thinking like a magician and start thinking like Mcdonalds.
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Postby Guest » 07/28/02 04:59 PM

When you put the coins and the deck in the drawer, that is the time to stop thinking like a magician and start thinking like Mcdonalds.
The last thing you want to do is think like MacDonalds.

1) MacDonald The Magician would be extremely cheap but his product would be the same no matter where you went.

2)He wouldn't be particularly enjoyable but he would dose his audiences with high levels of sugar and caffeine to keep them coming back.

3) His performances would be linked to heart disease.

4) His assistant would get paid in single figures and would be fired for joining a union.

5) He would discard all of his props at the end of the show and audiences would scatter them outside of the theatre.

6) Don't ask what would happen to his rabbit!

7) Or his doves!

8) Or his white tigers!

A much better role model would be Burger King! ;)
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Postby reed mcclintock » 07/28/02 09:10 PM

I think it is high time I open my eyes and quit only thinking about magic. I have always said I am not business leterate. Now after a wise post, I think I have only been looking at a little picture, not the big picture.
The return on a thousand cards as minimal as it seemed, I did make far more profit off of the expence.
I am going to enroll in some business courses, and start thinking a littl bit more, on my business. This has been one of the most eye opening threads I believe I have ever read. :eek:
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Postby Ben Harris » 07/29/02 04:35 AM

Hi Reed,

How are you my friend? Mona said she caught up with you at the IBM Convention and was most impressed with your charm, enthusiasm, magic and tats.

Re "Business Cards."

I don't really think they should be considered a marketing tool at all.

A business card is like a URL on the internet, nothing more than a pointer.

A business card is a way of delivering contact information. It is not a tool to illicit contact itself.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Stay well and happy!

Ben Harris
Creator of the famous "Floating Match On Card" illusion.
WOWBOUND.COM - INSTANT DOWNLOADS
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Postby Guest » 07/29/02 07:18 AM

Business Cards have developed over the years from what was known as a calling card. When one went into a situation where they were to meet someone, they presented their card to the greeter who then introduced them. The cards merely had ones name and perhaps what they did or the name of their business.

That is all a business card should have now too. Your name, your title, perhaps your business and your contact info, that's it. I have seen some cards that were so cluttered that you had to search for the name of the individual. Simple and direct is the apporach. A business card is a reminder of who you are, it is contact information. Many people put their "contact" cards in special holders/folders that keep them organized. You can even purchase business card scanners so that if you are working a trade show and you collect X number of them, it is a simple matter to enter the information into a PDA.

In fact the Trade show setting is a perfect example of the proper use of a business card. Potential Customer One walks into the trade show booth and is impressed by what they see. They ask a few questions and like what they hear from the salesperson. The salesperson then asks if the potential customer would like them to follow up with some more information after the trade show. "Do you have a business card?" the Trade show representative asks and at the same time they provide the potential customer with one of theirs explaining that they will contact them as soon as they are back inthe office but in the meantime if they have any further questions, to feel free to call them at any time. Now both parties have reminders/contact info for later.

A smart salesperson will make anote on the back of the card or even better a detailed note when they get to their data base. Then they follow up after the show. This is the one biggest mistake made by performers today. No follow-up. Customers want to be serviced and the less work they have to do, the better. if you approach them, you save them time and they are much happier than having to do the initial work themselves.

The other funny thing that I have noticed with magicians (besides the fact that very few have a professional design their cards in which case they wouldn't be so cluttered) is when asked for a card they are very timid in giving them out because they cost so much (in their eyes). Apparently they would prefer to let them collect dust on their shelves. The idea is to have your name out there. Before any shows I do, we have "table cards" business cards with my contact info and a little "blurb" for eye catching interest that has my web site info on it. Before I go on, there is already interest in what I am going to do because of the little cards that were on the table. Then after the show, I have found that a good 40% are taken after the show and result in at least several inquieries to my management company about my services for their own affairs. Out of that a few bookings may or may not come out of it. Tha main thing is that out of 1000 cards that Reed had handed out, and booking 2 shows is a great return. Many direct mail campaigns get a less return than that. Simple math. if you hand out $300 worth of business cards and get 1 show worht $1000 with only that as a promo tool, you will come out ahead, barely (professionals will know what I am talking about here, as you calculate transport, taxes, costs, etc., you NEVER make your fee as a whole) but out of that show if you book another or severals, then you do come out ahead. If however you book two or three shows from that initial 1000 cards, then your return is more than good!

As your name gets out there and provided that you are good, the matter of having 1000 cards out there to get 1 booking becomes moot because you should be working most of the time anyway, just because your name and reputation is out there.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
http://www.stores.ebay.ca/abstagecraft
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Postby walkinoats » 07/29/02 10:24 AM

I have seen some business cards with just the person's name, nothing else. I think it is a nice touch, even if your name is unknown.
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Postby Guest » 07/29/02 11:25 PM

1000 buisness cards......$40?
2 shows........$???
Weigh the value.
It's a point thats been made but valid.
Doc Eason reccomends asking FOR buisness cards and do mailings.
I use cards with a built in "trick".
Does any of this work in this economy?
Is it the economy?
Just have to try everything. I work with agents that cost me way more than buisness printables.
Every market is different........... trial and error. Just continue the love of no time clock!
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Postby CHRIS » 07/29/02 11:39 PM

Keven,

would you mind sharing what built in trick you use? Anyone else with ideas what tricks one could 'build in'?

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Postby Guest » 07/30/02 12:25 AM

One that actually has proven to be "a keeper' is the dumb old pushing a coin through the hole.
I have my printer punch a small diamond shaped hole in the center of my cards. The gag is you say I bet I can push a dime through this hole. Well obviously you cant shove it through but you can push it through by putting the dime down on the table and using a bar straw or stirrer poked through the hole to shove the dime on the table. It's old, been used but people like it.
There are tons of ideas like that out there.
The idea isn't instant booking, its give them something to keep so when they NEED entertainment they will think of you.
I also use give aways. I buy Fortune telling fish cheep.I have labels I affix to their supplied lil bags with my info. They keep stuff like that.
I do "$100 bill switch" with those nice Million dollar bills. After you produce it have a stamp with your info on it to "validate it".
In the old days Magi used to have gag bills printed with info <my next expence>.
Anything they will keep is how I see it. Spend a little to make a lot and keep YOU Top Of Mind.
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Postby Guest » 07/30/02 02:37 AM

Chris Wasshuber writes: "Anyone else with ideas what tricks one could 'build in'?"

My Showtime column, in the Linking Ring magazine of September, 1996 (good grief! was it THAT long ago?), was entirely about "interactive" business cards; there are about a half dozen ideas there, for use with magic business cards.
They range from the "push a coin through the hole" gag to an Out to Lunch routine, and more.
But, as I point out in the column, there is virtually no way you can tell if the cards (or any other single form of advertising) is effective.
In the short run, probably not.
In the long run, well, each bit adds to creating a persona and that's what you want.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
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Postby Curtis Kam » 07/30/02 12:23 PM

Reed, funny to find you posting here. We got so wrapped up talking technique that this never came up.

You mentioned one thing a while back that ought to be emphasized: People associate you with Dante's. That can be exploited, if you haven't already.
For instance, Scoty York's lecture notes ("For Your Eyes Only") list the sorts of promotional items the bar provides to HIM. It's got both the bar and him on it, and they pay for them (including little teddy bears, decks of cards, and other pretty expensive stuff)

Also, some people have promotional giveaways that the restaurant uses anyway, say a 10% off coupon. All you need to do is have them add your name to the thing, and you've got a giveaway to use at your other gigs.

Second, you mention that your best marketers are people who have seen you perform. One idea from Barrie Richardson is for your formal shows: Do some effect where you borrow a number of items from people in the audience. Not too expensive, but say, $1 bills. When the routine is over, tell the crowd you'll return them after the show. Now, you've got a guaranteed crowd rushing up to meet you after the show is over. You get to talk to each one, and they always say nice things about the show, especially before you return their money!

I'd keep it at around a buck, that way if someone has to go, or forgets, it's just a buck.

Finally, you've already discovered that it's better to get their info than it is to give them yours. That way, you decide when, how, and if you'll make contact.

I'd still have a business card, with the URL, though. And depending on what people in your area do, you might consider biting the bullet and listing in the yellow pages. Around here, the yellow pages are used by everyone, from parents looking to book the cheapest guy for their kid's birthday, to the poor associate who's got the job of finding the entertainer for the company party.

Funny, no one has really pushed finding a marketing agent. It's really so much easier to hype someone else, rather than to promote yourself, especially for shy, introspective coin guys like ourselves.

Whatever you do, don't go for the cheezy wooden nickle. (Although for Dante's, a quarter with a bite taken out might work--it goes in a small plastic bag marked "EVIDENCE--of the Impossible")

Hey, I kinda like that. Write me when you make your first million.

While we're doing the poll thing here, what do you other guys think of: Yellow Pages, Morning T.V. News, and Radio?
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Postby Guest » 07/30/02 01:28 PM

This thread has been a fountain of great information. I just had a thought which never occured to me before. I've always had business cards and other promotional material available at formal shows. But I havn't done it the other way around. There should be a container for them to deposit business cards of theirs in the same location! You might mention, during the show, that there's a place for them to drop their business cards if they would like to get some information about your services. You could then follow up with a phone call.

The next idea would depend on the kind of show you're doing. The container could be a raffle. One business card will be drawn and the winner will receive a magic trick or magic "set" in the mail. You could state that the drawings are held once a month from cards collected at that month's shows. This would be appropriate for family shows where they are children in the audience. Perhaps not for corporate gigs. I'm just brainstorming here guys, I have not tried this. But, I do know this: If I simply wait after a show for someone to ask for a business card or for promotional material, very few requests come in. But if I put them out on display, quite a few get picked up. There must be a way to turn this around as a way to get their business cards.
Perhaps, for corporate groups, you have a paper or treatise that you will mail out to each person that drops their business card in the container. Something along the lines of: "A Magician looks at how the techniques of Illusion can benefit your business strategies." I know, that's not quite it, but there must be something along this line that will make them want to read what you have written.

Regarding the Yellow Pages: I fear that their effectiveness has been diluted by proliferation. In my area, (San Francisco Bay) there are the regular Yellow Pages that comes with the Pacific Bell Phone Book, and two competing publications: the "Valley Yellow Pages," and the "Yellow Book." Besides that, to cover the entire territory I work in would require advertising in 8 or 9 different editions of each of those 3 books. Pretty expensive.

When I had the Magic-Capades full evening show on the road I did a lot of call-in radio interview shows and some local TV shows. It was fun, and I got some usable video footage for promotional use, but I'm not sure that any of it translated into much at the box office. I learned very quickly to build verbal bridges between questions about David Copperfield and Houdini, and my show. In those days, those were the big names lay people associated with magic, and phone callers and D.J.'s inevitably asked about them. If you're planning to do these kinds of shows today, I'd come up with a couple of good things to say in response to questions about David Blaine, and have some verbal bridges ready which take you back to your show. After all, you're there to promote yourself.
Perhaps the best reason to do these kinds of shows is that they can become selling points in your literature and on your web site. Just mentioning an appearance on a TV show builds some credibility, and you can, no doubt, pull some very favorable quotes from the appearance.

A word of warning: these shows have their own agendas and their needs do not necessarilly coincide with yours. They may promise all kinds of things to get you on their show, and you need to be careful. I'll share one specific example.
For reasons I won't get into, I had the opportunity to make an appearance on the Montelle Williams show some years ago. When the opportunity came up, I broke up my schedule to fly to Los Angeles thinking the publicity would be worth it. They were certainly not going to put my phone number on the air, but I asked if Montelle could ask me something about the Magic Castle. I could legitimately mention the numerous times I had performed there, and the two times I had lectured there. I felt that if anyone really wanted to contact me, that they could at least find me through the Castle. I told them that I would be happy to do the show if I could be assured that this was going to happen. I received their assurances that it would, and that I would be allowed to perform some magic on the show. I outlined a couple of things that could work for the performing sequence. They would require the assistance of Montelle in the routines. The producers, however, looking at some of my promotion materials, were insistant that they wanted me to do some Fire Eating. This was certainly not my choice, but I agreed. When I arrived for the show, I was assured that Montelle, at one point, would ask me a question related to the Magic Castle. It simply never happened. I kept expecting it in each segment, and considered trying to weave it into the conversation myself. But, because of the assurances, I did not do so.
Just before we were going to begin taping I was informed that they had decided against having the Fire Eating. I was prepared to do some of the other stuff, but then they started to put all kinds of restrictions on what I could do. I had to work alone; neither Montelle or any audience member could participate. I would have a total of about 40 seconds of air time. I had to leave the chair I was sitting in and make my way over to a table in a different part of the studio, and since the mike cord was not long enough to reach, I had to remove it and do the sequence silently. This killed most of the things I had planned to do, and in desperation, I did a Ghost Handkerchief Routine (Glorpy) in complete silence. Montelle had been given no idea of what I was going to do. He introduced the segment by saying: "And now, Dennis is going to take us off the air by doing some magic." He sensed the dead air because I could not speak and tried to fill in verbally. But he had no idea of what was supposed to happen and it was a very poor segment. I've heard versions of these horror stories from magicians doing television shows.

I didn't mean to ramble on so, thanks for you attention.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/30/02 01:38 PM

Originally posted by Dennis Loomis:
The next idea would depend on the kind of show you're doing. The container could be a raffle. One business card will be drawn and the winner will receive a magic trick or magic "set" in the mail.
Monday Night Magic does this every week. Everyone is given a comment/contact sheet to fill out with their program. They are collected and and the end of intermission one is chosen. I believe the person gets a voucher for two tickets to MNM. So, not only do they get the contact information from the majority of the audience, but they get repeat customers.

I've also seen this done at comedy clubs & such...in fact, last time I went to Comic Strip Live in NYC, my girlfriend's card was pulled, and we got half-off our total for the evening.

-Jim
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Postby Pete McCabe » 07/30/02 01:46 PM

Peter Marucci:

There are ways to track how effectively your business cards are working.

For one thing, get your own domain and create ten different email addresses. Then create ten different types of business card giveaways, and put a different email address on each one.

You can also get multiple phone numbers and do the same thing that way, but it can be more expensive than the results will justify.

But... I have my long distance service with TTI National. With them, I have a toll-free number that rings to my house, and all such calls are billed to my home at the standard 7 cents a minute rate. This toll-free service is otherwise completely free; it costs nothing to set up and there is no monthly fee or minimum.

So, first of all, for almost nothing you can give your customers a toll-free number.

Second, if you have a kid at college, get one of these numbers and give it to them. Heck, even if you're single, you can always use it to check your messages from any pay phone without needing a quarter.

Third, I'm pretty sure I could get multiple numbers and then track calls to me that way, for very little expense.

Just some ideas.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 07/30/02 01:46 PM

Of course the best way is to do a Q & A act, letting them write their questions on the backs of their business cards. That way, you're left with a bowlfull of cards from the truly faithful.
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Postby Guest » 07/30/02 02:07 PM

To Curtis, I love your idea of the Question and answer act. But, for some shows this kind of routine might not be appropriate.
So, to one and all: What other effects might you do in your show which begin with the audience members dropping their business cards into a bowl on the way in?

If nothing else, it becomes a way to choose a person totally at random for something. You bring the bowl to the stage and have a spectator draw one card. The person whose card is drawn, can come forward to participate in something, or just name something like any country in the world. You could do a Mental Epic or similiar routine this way.

It occurs to me that you could have a little form for them to fill out which lists the age and birthday of their children. Promise them that the child will get a special birthday gift in the mail from the magician. (Be sure to make good on the promise. A little booklet of magic tricks would do the job and costs just a few cents plus the stamp.) That way, you would know in advance the upcoming birthdays of children in your area. You can then mail them some promotional material, or e-mail them a link to your web site. The form would be affixed to their business card, or they could write in their contact information if they don't have a business card.
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Postby Guest » 07/30/02 08:41 PM

Whenever you are asked for your business card that person is interested in hiring you. You must have a business card as part of your image as a successful, professional magician. Your phone number must be on the card because most people want to talk to you, not type to you and wait for a reply.
Most people don't think they will ever hire a magician so they will not keep your card even if it is very fancy. A few weeks or months later they might find that they do need a magician for a party and have no idea who you are. They won't go to a lot of bother searching for you. They will hire the cheapest act from the yellow pages.
The secret is to have because cards everyone will want to keep because they have use for it.
There is a lot of theory out there but not a lot of facts. I spent 8 years designing and testing business cards along with several of my magician friends and discovered some great ways to use business cards and make them work for you.
First of all we found doing a good magic trick with your business cards lets the audience know you do have them if they are interested in asking for one. The audience gets to see what you offer by the text on your cards. For example rather than state I do close up magic my cards say I am The Party Magician. The audience learns I perform at parties.
I do not do out to lunch because that is not a practical trick for table hopping. The audience will ask for my business cards because they want to show them to their friends, relatives, co-workers and even strangers. This is great free advertising and many of these people might be in the market for entertainment also.
If I am asked if I can tell fortunes I can say yes and bring out a business card that allows the woman to calculate her birth number. She always asks for my card so she can give readings to her friend. I can win a free coffee with my scam business card. The guys ask for this so they can con thier friends out of free coffees.
As a local magician I always need new effects. I have a new business card trick every week. I make them easily with my computer.
There is no one business card that will do it all so I carry an assortment and have something of interest for every potential client.
I also use the cards as an aid in getting booked. Many of the business cards I use have my name on one side and the clients business and phone number on the other side. The guests want and use these cards so it is great advertising for the restaurant or other business. Sometimes I give the cards as part of my fee and other times I charge extra for the cards.
I'm rambling and I try so hard not too. Sorry if I bored you. I have just completed my book on business card magic. It contains over 80 business card magic effects or souvenir give-aways. There are over 250 full color examples my friends and I use successfully in the real world. There is no theory. They all work. It goes to the printer in a week or two.
I'm not pushing the book as it will be a limited edition and I have a lot of advance orders. If you are really interested in business cards let me know. I'll gladly share more but I don't want to waste anyones time or seem mercenary. The book is a labor of love. I'm not going to get rich on it.
Best wishes,
Steve
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Postby Tony Baronio » 07/31/02 05:14 PM

I have to echo what Steve Dusheck wrote. I have been bata testing all of Steve's business card effects for the past 8 years for him. During that time I have given away aprox. 20,000 cards away.

As a part time professional, I do between 275 -325 shows a year in addition to doing close up magic at many of the local resorts. Many of the call's I receive are due to the business cards I give out.

Steve's new book will be a "must have" for those of us who are interested in self promotion.

Tony
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