Recently, a DJ newbie in the U.K. named Simon Gray posted this online: “I am a mobile DJ and I am just starting out. How do I promote myself? I have made posters, business cards, mailers to hotels and youth clubs, and have a mobile-disco live-stream page for nights. I have seven gigs booked this year, but I want more. Any advice?”
The replies from other jocks, mostly veterans, were numerous and useful. They included:
Ian Watkinson: “You are doing all the right things. You are going to need to charge a little less, as you don’t have the reputation to fall back on. That said, make sure you’re comparing like for like – if you have good, quality kit you should be charging more than someone with a laptop and a wooden table and a jelly light.”
Matt James Southam: “Lots of what you are doing is cold marketing to non-searchers. Those will always be harder to convert than those searching for your services.
Good areas are wedding fairs, Google ads – if you have a well-optimized website – and organic SEO.
Building up relationships with other DJs close to you is always good, as you may be able to cover them or you can pass work back and forth. Most local DJs know each other and while, in theory, are competition, can easily work together by building trusted relationships.”
Craig McInnes: “Without a doubt, find yourself a local DJ who can mentor you – not necessarily with your DJing skills, but the business and marketing side. I have been lucky and have a few great guys who have helped me. I haven’t even had the opportunity to return the favor, but I’m sure those days will come. Smile and enjoy it.”
Mark Robert Chattell: “Build a website, get registered on Google Business, advertise your services on Facebook pages that are appropriate to what type of DJ you want to be, and be consistent. Keep a record of when enquiries are busy for the next year, so you know when to promote heavily. You are doing the right thing, but giving business cards out to hotels, etc., it will just get chucked on the side or just pinned to a pin board and forgotten about. Social media is the best business card out there, but you need a platform to promote – a website. I would start with the website and work from there.”
Callum Smith: “It really is just a slow process of getting your name out there with a good reputation. Word-of-mouth and my website is the main way I get my work. Charge what you think you’re worth and enjoy the events with the clients.”
Peter Smith: “Get yourself an online business flyer, join as many groups on Facebook, and post them. I started mobile DJing about 10 years ago, got myself a good mobile set-up and I’m booked most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays already for the year end. Don’t try and undercut other DJs – we respect each other. If you’re good at what you do, you will get recognized and word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising. Good luck.”
Michael Allam: “Vary your marketing. I always found networking was the best approach. Get to know local DJs, local leisure, halls, pubs, etc., become active in wedding groups on Facebook, not to push your business, but to answer questions as an “expert” – anything to make your name known and get out there.
“Invest in a website – nothing fancy, but a solid, few pages. Make sure you’re listed on Google Maps and Bing Places. Link this up with an active social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. With some good SEO, some people linking to you and regular updates, you will fly above most DJs who really slack with websites.
“Business cards are always handy to have on you, but random leaflets, flyers, etc., are a valuable tool, but tend to be cold advertising, so not always very rewarding… There again anything that gets your name out is a must.”
Gary Liam Wood: “Your reputation will grow with time and experience. Learn how to work a crowd. Don’t be afraid to use the microphone. If you can, get out from behind the booth and talk to your audience. Always smile and don’t be rude to anyone, even when they are driving you mad with the nonsense and drunken stupidity. If you know of any other local DJs, have a chat with them and try to learn from them. If they can’t cover a job, they may just pass it your way.”
Rich Mackinlay: “Word-of-mouth is the way forward. When people admire your talent, they will tell friends and then your work diary fills up. It takes a while. I spent years getting there and COVID dropped a bomb on it. The thing I always found is it’s hard to preach your talent because it’s a live show — what worked last night might not work tonight. The other thing is price makes a huge difference on the amount of work you get. I started off wanting to be out for a reasonable amount rather than out once a week for a high rate. Stick at it and it will happen.”