Archive for September, 2009

Small Business Marketing Strategies and Music Models for Auckland Pirates

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Kurb promotions:

small business marketing  and strategies // promotions // video

online marketing strategies for musicians and entertainment providers

AND PIRATES!!! AAARGGHH!!!

kurbpromo@gmail.com   /// 027 684 8250

I am still really interested in building up my business doing Auckland children’s entertainment.

If you’re interested in having a children’s entertainer come to your kids birthday party than check out the options at Pirates of Auckland for pirate birthday party fun and children’s party games and adventure.

If you’re interested in marketing in entertainment, small business marketing or services offering marketing to children and kids in Auckland, read on.

I’m not only a pirate entertainer but with hands on experience in services marketed to kids, children and their parents, but I’m experienced in over 5 years building my own business kurb promotions specializing in cheap marketing services for small business including internet marketing and social media,

So when it comes to small business marketing, well it’s kind of what I do for a job here at kurb promotions, so the marketing isn’t really an issue, I don’t feel I have to be bringing in massive amounts of leads in order to call it successful.

Why? Because a solid marketing strategy only works for a sound business model. Why would you want to rush into creating and marketing a small business if you hadn’t already optimized the ultimate model to make you the most money for the least work?

That’s why I gave up for now on my Graphic Design services – too much hassle for not enough money. If I have the marketing in place why would I put that into something that’s going to create stress to provide and grow?

When it comes to Pirates, the main limiting factor is that there is one of me. Sure I can make $200 p/hour but only 2-4 times p/weekend. But there is so much going for the business model as it exists that I am now trying to innovate around those challenges.

Hiring is not a realistic option. It’s a possibility, but it takes a special kind of person to do the job, with an amazing skill set.

I shouldn’t really raise that barrier – If I get some one well all the better but I can’t depend on it.

But let’s look at the pluses I see with the children’s pirate birthday business as it is:

– broad appeal, the market and the demand for what I provide is vast. All kids love fun, they can’t get enough and there’s a lot of kids out there.

– highly motivated target – parents are happy to spend money on their kids, and I believe they scrutinize less when they rationalize that they are spoiling their kids.

– I have a high value product.

– Competition exists but as I said you need a high level of skill to perform in my niche, and in broader terms, the market for kids entertainment is so vast that that there is always wiggle room to increase your competitiveness and innovation and make incremental gains to slice of the pie.

And that’s what I’m doing now, wiggling my way to the next level!

My small business marketing strategies are already in place to serve me well:

– article marketing ensures long term high ranking SEO results for sepcific terms
PPC Adwords Management ensures visibility amongst the most highly qualified of your audience
Video promotion, blog promotion and affordable design provide engagement experiences for customers / consumers / clients.

These are all services offered by kurb promotions, the umbrella group for my business developments, feel free to contact me if you need any marketing services tied in with our promtoional offers for your own project.

What  I need to do now is discern how to take the pirate business to the next level.

There’s a number of limiting factors I mentioned – mainly that there is only one of me and that the job itself is demanding.

But this is what it comes down to, how can I tap the tremendous amount of goodwill i receive to extend profitable propositions in other directions?

My main strategy up until now was add ons an upsells including

– party filmed by us
– projector + movie show
– decorations and paraphenalia such as detailed props

But all this is just going to complicate the simple process of turning up, playing pirates for an hour – no more – and then collecting my money and taking off and what’s more, the upsell takes place before I’ve established value.

The whole reason I’m thinking this way is I see the mums at the party impressed with what they’ve seen and the kids are happy and theyre in a heightened state of being keen to give me money.

As I leave, they want more. How do I get more, how do I make more available for them to buy?

I think it comes back to the music marketing strategies I employ with the majority of my marketing clients who are musicians and provide much insight into the nature of modern promotion based around content.

The content itself – that is me and my ability to relate to the kids is not of value in itself as media. Media such as DVD’s, CD’s etc are borderline commodities – the effort of manufacture practically makes them only useful for one thing: building my brand.

But – also as my main business afterall is CD and DVD reproduction it means the value can be leveraged – for example, perhaps I wouldn’t sell many DVD’s if I did go to the effort of making one, but the DVD would be a complete advertisement for my brand and I could say every kid gets a free copy and bump my fee up to $250.  That would make it worthwhile.

I even just realised I could conclude the presentation with a semi-serious ad for both my duplication and my online marketing and small business marketing services, therefore embedding extra promotion into a media [a DVD of pirate stuff for kids] that has far more chance of spreading and receiving attention from parents when the video production concludes.

But as I said, the main value is having my brand provide proof of higher value in my personal performances for a start . . .

This is similar to a musician who builds a following with online music marketing giving away music for next to nothing and then benefitting from selling more tickets and bigger venues.

But then I’ve got this brand to deal with. I’ve got to use the trust I’ve created to sell something else and just like a bandm the idea of t-shirts and mugs is not . . . modern. It’s affiliate marketing and the manner in which you can parley your trust and authority with the audience

So that’s where I see partnering with brands as a key.

When you’ve got a profile with a market that’s demonstratable, then you’ve got the power to sit down and be real about the kind of visibility you offer the brand through your media.

That’s the problem with bands, they’re not demonstrating this kind of thing. What kind of performer do you have to be to great the magnetic demand that kids have to go crazy playing pirates on their birthday?

So I think it’s time to wrap up with a list of business strategies that signal long term opportunities

– using online media to give exposure to either my other businesses or brand partners

– promoting affiliate products

Maybe it’s hard to see it as simply being that but really, the future of media is converging online, and as a media content provider of any sort, it’s an array or advertising partnerships whether brand oriented or direct product endorsement monetized through commissions on sales.

The possibilities of performances and ideas like merchandise seem relevant, but that’s at the tall head of the scale.

These are what I imagine is your best options for business with more modest expectations in a new media environment.

Auckland Models

Kurb Auckland Business Services Update: Recession is Fleeting

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Alright time for a Kurb business update – from kurb promotions providing exciting promotions and marketing services in Auckland, New Zealand – and I would say the recession is over.

It feels like the recession is over. My feeling was that I was managing growth mainly because although it had slowed down it was still growing at a manageable rate and I was able to feel comfortable, but as we come out of the recession, all that latent business is surging to life and I’m back doing the same juggling act albeit with an extra ball in the air.

My business is likely to come under another push to meet rising demand and I have to be prepared for that,  for my own sanity if for nothing else.

Especially my music marketing services they’re likely to really take off once the US economy comes back.

That’s why right now I’m doing heaps of planning for expansion and new staff and how to smoothely transition through a more intensive growth stage. I can see I will have to raise my prices on some services but I also need to be able to match the value as the prices of those services rise to meet demand.

So maybe the recession is over? Or well it’s kind of over because I have been having consecutive weeks of significant business, and I haven’t even been advertising that much or doing much marketing activity becauseI’ve been so busy but the rate of work coming in hasn’t slackened.

We’re alsostarting a fleet!!

We’re going to be getting a staff vehicle so I don’t have to do all the running around, and with employees mobile, man I just realised how much I could decentralize move offsite large amounts of tasks in a specific process.

Especially where cd duplication and dvd duplication jobs overlap with our printing services and the colour copying we offer in auckland, and the delivery of masters etc. can be all through one decentralized unit in a more efficient system.

A vehicle for staff means that as long as staff had access to the equipment and could pick up supplies and deliver the finished result – that leaves very little for me left to do except make the sales and issue the invoices.

The same works for the poster stuff as well, all the auckland printing jobs. As soon as we confirm the sale, I can send for print and then have my staff arrange pick up and delivery.

Graphic design is an option we can make available but not something I’ll be pushing right now as I mentioned, because the margins are just to low for the level of service required.

But I will definitely still be pushing the video services we’re making available right now – and aswell as getting back into my own video blogging as a way to push the business I’ll also be using my video guys to do different things that will be valuable in terms of online video promotion.

The margins that you can offer on cheap video produciton are still worthwhile and when combined with video marketing you’ve got a real service that will be invaluable as online advertising continues to burgeon, and a traditional approach to advertising becomes accessible to smaller budgets who also need advertising and branding services when developing campaigns for youtube or general use of online video for business purposes.

New Website Design: Asking the Right Questions When Redesigning

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Kurb Promotion offers

Web Design

Graphic Design

Blog Promotion and Set Up

Are you asking the right questions?

From Seth Godin:

I don’t do any consulting, but that doesn’t stop people from asking me questions. The most common question people ask me when they want a new website is, “If you were in charge of this, who are the 2 or 3 people you’d want to be sure to talk to – to help think through the issues, help us figure out who should do the work, etc.?”

The second most common question people ask me,  “In addition to Apple’s site, are there 2 or 3 that you think are really appealing and work well for their business?”

I think these are perhaps the tenth and eleventh questions you should ask, not the first two. Here’s my list of difficult and important questions you have to answer before you spend a nickel:

  • What is the goal of the site?

  • In other words, when it’s working great, what specific outcomes will occur?

  • Who are we trying to please? If it’s the boss, what does she want? Is impressing a certain kind of person important? Which kind?

  • How many people on your team have to be involved? At what level?

  • Who are we trying to reach? Is it everyone? Our customers? A certain kind of prospect?

  • What are the sites that this group has demonstrated they enjoy interacting with?

  • Are we trying to close sales?

  • Are we telling a story?

  • Are we earning permission to follow up?

  • Are we hoping that people will watch or learn?

  • Do we need people to spread the word using various social media tools?

  • Are we building a tribe of people who will use the site to connect with each other?

  • Do people find the site via word of mouth? Are they looking to answer a specific question?

  • Is there ongoing news and updates that need to be presented to people?

  • Is the site part of a larger suite of places online where people can find out about us, or is this our one sign post?

  • Is that information high in bandwidth or just little bits of data?

  • Do we want people to call us?

  • How many times a month would we like people to come by? For how long?

  • Who needs to update this site? How often?

  • How often can we afford to overhaul this site?

  • Does showing up in the search engines matter? If so, for what terms? At what cost? Will we be willing to compromise any of the things above in order to achieve this goal?

  • Will the site need to be universally accessible? Do issues of disability or language or browser come into it?

  • How much money do we have to spend? How much time?

And finally,

  • Does the organization understand that ‘everything’ is not an option?

Online Music Marketing and Artist Management Tips

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Do you need serious music marketing services and artist management strategies to promote your music and manage artist revenue online?

Then you need to contact, me, Matt @ Kurb: kurbpromo@gmail.com

Largely because I’m from New Zealand and most of my staff are in India and the Philippines, you won’t get anyone with my level of experience offering a personal 1-to-1 music marketing solution which covers absolutely everything for so cheap.

You will not get this service at this price in Europe or the US!

This is a professional solution. It’s $500 Up front to try your first 3 months, and positions are once again strictly limited.

We’re doing great work promoting artists online with online advertisng campaigns, article marketing carried out by our staff, and email based fan management strategies, plus all the regular stuff: Myspace friend adding, web and blog design and management,  youtube promotion and video production and marketng support – it’s a total package provided with experience, next month I would have been doing this for 5 years now and I have consistently raise my prices every 6 months due to demand.

2 artist management and music marketing articles appearing on musicindustryreport.org:

Get your music streaming : If you want people to get into your music, they need to be able to hear it. Get your entire catalogue up at Last.fm, load those songs on MySpace, make sure iMeem and iLike have your tunes, find out what services people are using in the regions you want to be heard and make sure those people have easy free access to your catalog. No one’s going to fall in love with thirty second tidbits, and if you’ve got a great song, people will want to know if the rest of your stuff is as good. Let them listen.

Use your own domain : Seems like a wee bit of a no-brainer, but I am always amazed how many bands use MySpace as their primary website. You don’t own MySpace. Why let MySpace own you?

Distribute your presence : You can’t be everywhere your potential audience is, but you can be a lot of places. Everyone needs their own website (more below), but don’t stop there. Among the possibilities? Every band has to be on MySpace unless they’re rebels, but don’t forget putting together your own YouTube channel, getting and using a Facebook fan page, signing up for ReverbNation and using their widgets, Twittering, posting pictures to Flickr … sure you don’t want to do all that stuff, but do some of it, and do more than one of it.

Integrate your presence : Your website should have links to all the other places you can be found online. Fans should be able to move seamlessly from one of your spots on the web to another and shouldn’t have to visit multiple sites to figure out what’s up with you. If you’ve got important news, get it up everywhere you are. I recently had to go to a MySpace page to see tour dates for a band who had not posted them on their own website — you know, the link they put on all the CD inserts. If your music is streaming somewhere that has a widget to put it elsewhere, put that widget everywhere you’ve got a presence.

Give some of your music away : Nothing creates addiction like being able to hear a song on your own machine whenever you want. You don’t have to give it all away (though that seems to be working for some), but at least let people download a few songs on your website, MySpace, Last.fm, and elsewhere. Giving music away also creates good relations with fans — people like it when you give them things. It makes them more likely to do things for you like, um, pay for the rest of your songs.

Get to know the mp3 bloggers : If you don’t already know which blogs cover music like yours, check out HypeMachine and other mp3 aggregaters to figure out where bands like you get discussed. Read the blogs, learn their interests. Write them a nice brief personal note telling them why you think they’ll like you and send them an easy link to an mp3 you think they and their readers would like.

Build an interpersonal relationship with your audience : Like I said about giving music away – when people can distribute your music amongst themselves through peer-to-peer trading, there’s no incentive for them to pay for your music unless they feel a sense of personal obligation to you. Nothing creates personal obligation like warm feelings of friendship. If your fans feel that you think of and care for them, they will be more willing to take care of you.

Reach out but don’t spam : It’s ok to recommend yourself to individuals on social networking sites IF you have really good reason to think they’re going to like you and communicate that to them. If anyone’s ever indicated an interest in you before, it’s wonderful to contact them again when you’ve got new music to share. It is NOT okay to blast yourself onto strangers’ walls and shoutboxes, send random friends requests, and otherwise be pushy. And even when you know you’re talking to the converted (like people who follow you on Twitter) remember that even the most dedicated fans do not need to know what you are doing every hour. A little mystique is okay. Really.

Encourage fan contributions : How can you let your music provide an opportunity for fan creativity? One independent musician who writes instrumental music told me he puts up demos and asks for help choosing names for the songs. Many artists have encouraged fan videos or remixes. There is a place for your fans to play with your music using their own talents. Give it to them. And let them have their own communities and do their own fan thing in there without the interference of you or your legal team.

Give fans promotional tools : As I wrote about in my last post, spreadable is the new viral. People who love you want to tell others about you. Create widgets they can embed on their own pages (again, ReverbNation has a great one but it’s not the only one), create ecards for your music, give them mp3s they can post without fear of lawsuits. Whatever it is that you want others to know, give it to your audience in a form they can easily pass along to others.

Many artists and bands looking to take their music careers to the next level are looking for an artist manager. Putting together the right team around your band can be the difference between being a very talented local band or being able to actually tour and sustain a living. So what should you, the band, be looking for in an artist management company/representative and what are realistic expectations from them?

The answer to the first question is fairly easy. Simply look to see the results the manager has delivered in the past. Every artist manager is going to drone on and on about their connections to many industry executives (which can be legitimate or not), but the question you should be looking at for every person on your team (band mates included) is, “What can you deliver?” This sounds very business-like, which most artistic people want to run away from, but it is the reality of the situation if you are trying to make a sustainable career.

As for the realistic expectations of the manager, I think that both sides must spell this out during the contract and negotiations stage. For every manager it looks different and each one is going to have areas of strengths and weaknesses. However, there are some key questions about personal attributes and connections that you definitely want to explore, including:

1. What is the past experience and reputation of the manager?

2. Do they believe in your vision and are they willing to become your advocate?

3. Is there a connection to a recording studio that can produce the kind of sound your band is looking for?

4. Can the manager find you a booking agent?

5. Does the manager have business and contract negotiation experience?

6. Are there connections with a merch/graphic/web designer? Is there knowledge of your key music business websites and how to create a solid SEO for the band?

7. Does the manager know of a place for the band to practice?

8. Can the manager help you define and achieve your goals, as well as help decide where to invest your limited money?

9. Does the manager know how to find good writers for press, websites, contracts, etc. (i.e. publicist)?

10. Does the manager know how to get your songs published and ensure your royalties will be paid?

11. Does the manager have connections with a photographer and videographer?

12. Does the manager have relationships with any record labels in which you are interested? Do they at least have good phone conversation skills in order to discuss matters concerning your band?

Obviously, you may not need your artist manager to fulfill all of these duties, as you may already have some of these needs met (such as a practice space or a recording studio where you feel comfortable). As a band, it is important to prioritize the needs of the group and search for those attributes.

Pirate Parties in Auckland: More Small Business Marketing Plans

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Okay time for another Auckland Small Business Marketing and Service update!

This weekend really kicked in for my pirate business and I can now see I can really make a go of it if I’m prepared to give up my weekends where necessary to keep this going.

I mean obviously this is a highly personalised niche service.

I’m throwing up the concept of when I will be forced to raise the fee to $200p/hour permanantly because I don’t see how it is avoidable. I’m just checking out the competition now.

Again, it’s hard to get decent prices! I’ll just have to go back to my previous place of employment which is still charging $175 plus a whole bunch of extras.

There’s also another guy who specializes more in props who charges $200 and I have an acquaintance who set his price at $250 but I think that is a little high.

I guess what it comes down to is

1: I’m a more experienced performer than most people at my old work or the guy with the props. I think my experience actually gives me an advantage because i know a “routine” is just going to get ruined, being flexible is the best thing.

2: My marketing is likely to develop to become far superior, it’s not a matter of competition if your competition is invisible and afterall there are only so many parties I can do.

Then it comes to extra services, but looking at everything extra I could offer, it just looks like it’s going to be a pain in the neck – doing stuff like cakes and decorations and all that kind of thing. It just becomes a big hassle for $20 here and there I just want to go in and get my $200.

I think what I will do is just have 2 options – either the straight 1 hour party or the everything package that includes a cake, decorations, filming and me being there for an extra half hour and that’ll be $500.

So really it becomes about how often I can do that. I like the idea of a sliding payscale but I’m not sure which way I want it to slide.

Should the 2nd and 3rd party be more because I’m in demand, or should it be less to encourage more people on the same day and therefore more free days for me, and that they’re less likely to get their ideal time?

what would be the time break up?

11 am / 12.30pm / 2pm

so 3 parties p/day is next to impossible.  I need to be thinking about a quick or budget service that can deliver value for $95

Or lower what they get for $150 so that $195 looks more appealling

okay now i’ve got it – 3pm will be $160 / 1pm $180 / 11am $195

Extras:

North Shore / Waitakere / Manukau: $30 travel costs

Extra 30 minutes: $75

so that means I do have a good possibility of getting a 3 show day and making $535 a maximum of $1070 p/weekend but realistically $555 p/week if we were making a effort.