7 Tips to Build Your DJ Business
Small business owners have to wear many hats. As a DJ, you need to be a music master, a technician, a delivery service, an accountant, a marketer… and the list goes on!
Some of these skill sets might not come naturally, but are easier to pick up than you might think. Marketing, for example, is mostly a matter of understanding the tools you need to communicate to potential audiences and keeping up with best practices.
Here are some of those best practices that will help grow your DJ business:
1. Establish a brand
Your brand is one of the most powerful tools you have as a business owner of any size, and it’s critical to establish as early as possible. Your brand encompasses a lot more than you might think. It’s how you present yourself in materials – logo, fonts, imaging, etc. – but also the service you provide, your personality and your style. Anything that differentiates you from other DJs is a part of your brand, and any promotional materials you create should reflect that brand. And remember to be consistent! It’s okay to evolve over time, but you jeopardize your image if you try to be all things to all people.
2. Create a digital identity
Your digital identity is a critical piece of building your personal brand. When potential clients or fans search for you online, what do they find? Make sure the answer is a professionally designed website that includes images and links to your music. You should also link to any other pages you’ve built, including your SoundCloud®, MixCloud, Spotify, iTunes®, or YouTube accounts. If you don’t already utilize these channels, they’re a great way to get your name and music out to the public. You never know who might stumble upon your mix and throw their support behind it!
3. Social Media
Social media is a big part of your digital identity, but it really deserves its own call out. Though it may sound like a no-brainer in 2018 to create social channels, not every small business owner knows what to do with them. It’s easy to create a Facebook page, but what should you post? How do you gain followers?
The key to social media is understanding your audience and creating compelling content. If you’re trying to attract a younger crowd, for example, Instagram might be a better avenue than Facebook. Once you’ve identified the right channel for your intended audience, make sure the content you share is engaging, and don’t post excessively. Pictures and videos tend to perform best, so if you have any footage from a recent show, that’s a great thing to share once you receive permission to post it.
Remember that social media usage should always be social. Don’t post and disappear – engage! Did you DJ a wedding this weekend? Snap a photo with the bride and groom and give them a shout out on your social media channels. Or comment on their wedding photos. If you DJ in clubs, make sure you interact with other artists and regulars at that club. Respond to any comments they leave on your page and comment on their pages, too.
4. Network, network, network!
A lot of famous DJs will tell you they got to where they are today because of their talent and who they know. So without being too pushy, get to know whomever you can in the business. If your goal is to DJ in clubs, network with promoters or club owners. You can also get your foot in the door by providing other services to the club, like helping out with ticket sales or manning the door. If there’s another DJ at the club you’d really like to get in front of, try reaching out to ask for his/her feedback on your music. This is a subtle way to promote your work, while also allowing you to learn and improve.
5. Know your audience
If you’re DJing in a club, consider the city and venue. New Yorkers and Californians, for example, have different preferences. You should also pay attention to who is in the audience and why they’ve come to this particular venue. Are you the warm-up act? If so, play to a similar style as the main act. If you’re playing a wedding, be very conscious of the bride and groom’s tastes, while keeping an eye on the room to see what’s working. You should also plan ahead and have a group of songs ready that will reinvigorate the crowd if you notice you need to switch things up.
6. Always be professional and prepared
Your reputation is critical, so bring your A-game to every show. It’s never a bad idea to over prepare, either. Anything can happen at any time. Let’s say you’re the opening act for a show and the main act is running late or has an unexpected conflict. Are you prepared to cover his act? You should be.
7. Don’t forget about the business card
Business cards are old fashioned, but still powerful. You never know who you might meet when you’re on the go. Make sure you carry a professional business card with you at all times, and don’t forget to include your social media channels on the card.
Marketing is essential to the growth of your business. Building and maintaining a strong brand will lead to more interest, referrals, and gigs. While self-promotion can be uncomfortable, you can’t wait for opportunities to come to you as a small business owner. So when it’s 12pm and your DJ hat is on the shelf for the day, take the opportunity to work on your marketing operation. And if you’re looking for new venues to play, make sure to also check out our recent post on unexpected gig opportunities.