No matter what type of entertainer or party professional you are (musician, DJ, clown, bartender, photo booth, motivational speaker, you name it) the end goal is the same: to get booked for more events by clients. Sounds easy right? Well, it can be difficult to get your business exposure to new clients, especially when you are just starting out.
Today, it’s almost impossible to get to the first page of search engine results (and stay there) and there are so many options for advertising your business (paid social media ads, Google Ads, booking platforms, and the list goes on) that it's difficult to know where to start. And, once you do begin getting requests from potential clients, a whole new challenge presents itself: how to stand out from your competition and close the sale.
Have you ever thought: I love what I do, but I wish I could earn more doing it, even go full-time with it? Well, this resource is available to help you with just that. From becoming an SEO expert and creating a social media presence to perfecting your quote response and building up your client testimonials, we have the tips you need to start earning more doing what you love.
Read along or use the navigation in the header to jump ahead.
Search Engine Optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO, is the process of optimizing a website through a series of techniques to help your web pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO gives you the ability to reach people when they are searching for information related to what you do and the services you provide via search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
For entertainers and party professionals, if your business is not showing up on the first page of results, clients won't be able to find you and request your service for their event - they'll likely reach out to someone else who is appearing on that first page. At a minimum, 75% of clicks go to the first page of search results, so it's essential to work on your site's SEO and start ranking higher.
In this section, we are going to focus on improving your organic search results ranking vs. paid search results ranking. SEO does not require any media spend and the results will be more valuable for your business down the road. Once you stop paying for ads, you disappear from search results. With SEO, the time and effort that you spend on improving your ranking will be more long-lasting and profitable - 70-80% of users ignore paid search results, choosing to only click on organic search results.
Paid search results vs. organic search results
There are so many different factors that go into your company's SEO ranking and Google's algorithm is ever-changing (HubSpot's Ultimate Guide to Google Ranking Factors in 2019 does a great job at highlighting the important ones). We are going to focus on the top SEO must-dos for your local business ranking since most clients are performing localized searches when they are looking for an entertainer or party professional for their event.
One of the first things you'll want to do is to put yourself in the client's shoes and understand what's going on in search results. Although Google by default personalizes searches depending on the user and you won't always see the same results as others, it's important to see how your business is being represented.
What happens when you search your business in Google? Take a look at what type of pages come up, evaluate the copy in the results, and make any necessary updates to the copy if it's outdated or not appearing as you would like it to. You want to ensure that your business looks its best to clients who come across your business in search results.
Now, take a look at what happens when you search keywords around your business and location in Google - think about what a client would search to find your business. For example, if you are a cover band in San Diego, try terms like 'best cover bands in San Diego' and 'hire live band for wedding in San Diego.' Are you appearing on the first page of search results? What other results are you seeing? Compare your content to others that might be coming up higher and see what you can do better while keeping your content new and unique.
You should also update your your N.A.P. (Name Address Phone) across the web. It's an important signal when it comes to local business that should be accurate and consistent everywhere on the web. You can easily find where your business is mentioned by typing in: -site:yoursite.com “yourbusiness” in Google. (For GigMasters, this would look like: -site:gigmasters.com "gigmasters"). Google will crawl the web and search all pages (except for your website) where you are listed or talked about so you can see if the information about your business is correct. If it's not, reach out to the source to get it updated.
If you don't have local listings for your business already (Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Small Business) get started on them now! It's one of the best things you can do to get your business to rank in local searches. If there's a listing out there for your business that you don't own, make sure you claim it. Once you gain access, complete as much information about your business as you can for each listing (hours, phone number, website, social media pages, service mileage, business category, etc.). You'll then want to try and get at least five 5-star reviews on your local listings. Reviews help boost local listing visibility in Google search and builds credibility with potential clients. Check out the 'Build Up Your Reviews & Testimonials' section further down in this resource to get some tips on how to boost reviews for your business.
Example of a local listing in Google
To see your site's historical data and get insights on how search engines interact with your site, use Google Search Console. This will help you understand how Google is crawling your site, if they’re hitting errors, how often you’re appearing in search results, your average keyword position, what keywords you’re ranking for, and much more. You can do the same with Bing Webmasters Tools (Yahoo uses Bing). Once you claim your site, you’ll be able to see 16 months of historical data.
You should also set up Google Analytics for your website - it's free! Google Analytics provides a ton of valuable, in-depth information about how users interact with your actual website, not just Google/Bing/Yahoo data. You can see real-time traffic data and where it’s coming from (social, organic, paid, etc.), demographic data, and much more. Utilize Google Analytics Academy’s free courses to learn more about how to use the tool - they have courses for both beginners and advanced users.
Improving your site's SEO takes a lot of time and testing. It's competitive and there are hundreds of ranking factors that Google uses in their algorithm. You will always be making tweaks and updates in order to improve and maintain your ranking. The key is to focus on good content that's relevant to what you do and aligns with what people are searching for.
If you don't have the time and effort to dedicate to SEO, attach yourself to pages that are already ranking high. If it's an article from a news outlet, reach out to them and see if they'll do an article on you or link to your page - backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors because they signal to Google that you're a trustworthy site and that others are verifying your content.
You should also look to piggyback on sites that are already ranking high. Online event marketplaces like GigMasters have years of SEO experience that eat, breathe, and sleep SEO and stay on top of all the changes so you don't have to! Instead of having to focus your efforts on SEO, you can focus your time on getting booked, growing your social media followers, building up reviews, and on other strategic things that can help to grow your business.
Example of GigMasters' SEO expertise
Having an online presence is no longer an option. If you don't have a profile or website for your business and active social media pages, you are losing out on so many potential clients. When looking for the best entertainers and party professionals for their event, clients want to be able to easily and quickly see your photos/videos and testimonials from your past clients.
If you don't have some type of website or professional profile for your business, get started on one immediately. A web page for your business makes you look like a true pro to potential clients when they are researching your business and considering whether to reach out to you and book you. It also allows you to list everything about your business in one place, making it easy for the client to learn more about your service and easily contact you.
Tips for your website
There are many tools out there to help build a website for your business, some specific to your profession, but we recommend Wix - they offer a variety of templates and an easy-to-use (and free!) website builder to create your professional web presence.
No matter how you end up building your website, always keep these three tips in mind:
Join an event marketplace that already ranks highly
Another option that can be used in place of a website or in combination with it, is an event marketplace or booking platform like GigMasters. GigMasters gives vendors everything they need to create a profile for their business just like a website does - you can add photos/videos, a bio, reviews, offers/packages, song list (if you're a musician), and much more. Plus, GigMasters profiles look great on mobile! The biggest advantage is that entertainers and party professionals can get directly requested right through their profile, get booked, get paid, and get reviews all in one place. It makes it easy for both the vendor and client, and it's a lot faster and easier than creating and entire website.
Don't forget about your business's social media pages! Decide on which platforms matter to your business and keep them updated - we recommend Facebook and Instagram for entertainers and party professionals because these platforms are the best for sharing photos from events. Once your profiles are activated, complete everything about your business, especially a description, profile picture, and link to your business's profile/website. Next comes content.
Here are a few social post ideas to get you started:
A few of our favorite Instagram posts from GigMasters members
Growing your followers
Now comes the more difficult part: growing your followers. It can take a lot of time and effort to grow your follower base, but there are a few simple things you can do right off the bat to increase your number of followers.
Tips for posting on social media
If you're going to have a social presence, you have to be committed to keeping it updated and posting consistently. You don't want a potential client coming to your Facebook page to learn more about your business and seeing that the last thing you posted or the last review you received was from over three years ago. It's important to stay relevant and to look busy.
It can really help to create a rough schedule of what and when you want to post. Think about what events you have that month and brainstorm a few posts - this will help remind you of what you want to capture at each event and keep you on top of your posts. It's important to post regularly (at least a few times per week). There are several tools available to assist you in scheduling social posts across platforms to help automate the process - check out Hootsuite, Later, and Buffer.
Once all the effort you put into your site's SEO and on building your web/social presence, the leads will start flying in! Now comes the most important part - responding to your leads and converting them to clients. Although there's no exact science to responding to leads (every request is different), there are some tips and strategies you can use to improve your chances of getting booked. It all comes down to a lightning fast response combined with a detailed, personalized, and friendly quote.
In today's always-on and always-connected world, clients expect immediate responses. On GigMasters, the top 100 booked members have an average response time of six hours and one out of every three bookings goes to the vendor who responds first.
Here are some easy ways to help you respond more quickly to clients' requests:
Not available for the client's event date or they stated a budget that is below what you normally charge for your service? It's still important to respond to them and here's why:
Even more important than your response time, is your actual response to the client who is interested in booking you. You can respond quickly, but if your response isn't detailed, personalized and friendly, you could be hurting your chances of standing out from your competition and getting the gig.
Keep these tips in mind when you are responding to your next client:
GigMasters sees thousands of messages sent by vendors to clients every day. We pulled the two examples below to demonstrate what you should and shouldn't be doing in your response back to the client.
Response Example #1: What not to do
Response Example #2: What to do
Ok, so you've perfected your response and you are responding to all clients (no matter what) at lightning speed. Now it's time to follow up with the client if you haven't heard back.
Why Follow up
If you haven't heard back from the client, it's important to follow up with them because clients are often getting quotes from a few different vendors. Following up with a message and/or phone call helps set you apart from your competition and allows you to answer any questions the client may have about your quote, services, or past experiences. On GigMasters, almost 40% of bookings are confirmed within 48 hours of a gig request being submitted.
When to Follow Up
The time frame and method of follow-up should be whatever you feel most comfortable with. At GigMasters, we see anywhere from 24-48 hours after vendors haven't heard from a client, work best. You want to give the client some time to view your email and quote, but don't want to wait too long to allow another vendor to reach out before you.
How to Follow Up
If you have the client's phone number, a call works best because it allows you to better connect with the client, show them your personality and professionalism, and answer any questions they have about your quote quickly. Following up via text message or another email are also great and acceptable approaches. In the end, do whatever you're most comfortable with and what you find to be most successful. Just ensure you're following up in some way!
We live in a world of Amazon and Yelp - great reviews are essential for your business's success. Clients want to feel confident in their decision to book you for their special event and understand what it would be like to work with you. According to the 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey by Bright Local, consumers read an average of 10 reviews online before being able to trust a local business and 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has four or more stars.
After an event has concluded, reach out to the client and simply ask if they will leave you a review. Chances are pretty good that they will - 67% of 18-34 year old consumers that were asked to leave a review for a business, did! Just make sure you reach out to your clients in a timely manner so the event and the service you provided is fresh in their minds. Timing, however, may vary depending on the event. For example, reaching out one day after a wedding or funeral is probably too soon - try two to four weeks instead. Whereas reaching out a few days after a birthday celebration or community event, is perfectly acceptable and recommended.
If the client doesn't answer your first review request, make sure you remind them by sending a friendly follow-up email or event text message! Most times, clients have every intention of writing a review, but just simply forget or have been putting it off.
Use this simple review request template and customize it depending on the event and your service:
Thank you again for choosing us to be a part of your special celebration. We loved working with you and hope to have the opportunity to work with you again in the future!
I was wondering if you would be willing to take a few minutes to to leave us a review regarding your experience. Your feedback would greatly help our business as well as future clients! The links to our sites where you can leave a review are below.
Thank you in advance!
Helpful tip: When you find a review request template that you like and that seems to work, save it as an email draft! This will make it easier and quicker when reaching out to clients for their review. All you have to do is just copy, paste, and customize it depending on the client and their event.
We typically see these as the top three places to have clients leave you a review on:
After receiving reviews and testimonials from your clients, there are a few things you should always do:
If you've made it this far, you're well on your way to becoming a booking machine! For more tips and tricks to increase your leads and event bookings, check out our Inside the Gig Blog. These are a few of our favorite posts:
"I would like to commend GigMasters for providing such a superior and professional platform for full-time musicians such as The Mike Dangeroux Orchestra. The bookings we have gained from GigMasters have taken our career to a whole other level. GigMasters truly is the life of the party.”
The Mike Dangeroux Band Rock Band | GigMasters Member Since 2004
“I’ve tried many of the available booking sites out there. Nothing even comes close to the service and ease of use of the GigMasters platform. I especially appreciate the amount of information that is provided in a client’s request and that I have the ability to directly contact the client.”
Dennis Blanchard Magician | GigMasters Member Since 2010
GigMasters is the largest online event marketplace that helps thousands of event professionals and party vendors connect with clients and get booked for weddings, corporate functions, community events, birthday parties, and more! Our SEO expertise helps get you to the top of search results and in front of clients looking to book - we focus on getting you found so you can focus on getting booked.
With any GigMasters membership, you receive:
Just fill out the form to the right and one of our helpful member specialists will be in touch with you shortly!
To learn more about GigMasters and to get started with the signup process, just visit: www.gigmasters.com/signup/.