Being a professional Denver entertainer takes me into many different types of environments, and exposes me to a wide variety of people. I am very thankful that the people of Denver have been very kind to me and very appreciative of my work, inviting me into their homes and schools over and over. This year has certainly been an adjustment period as I adapt to a large city and learn my way around the metro area. As I get more and more comfortable, I feel more of an urge to get out in front of people and contribute to the artistic nature of this city.
Phase One of Being a Denver Entertainer: Online Marketing
When I first started the business, I had limited cash and time. I had to make a decision on how I would begin to market, and since I didn’t know the city well, decided to take the simpler approach: online marketing. I decided that it would be easier to make my business easy to find, and capture traffic from people who were specifically looking for my services. I can only estimate how effective the word of mouth advertising would be, while online marketing could be immediately effective and provide me extensive metrics that I could use to fine-tune them in the future. At this point, the business is healthy, generating substantial revenues from PPC advertising through Google and ranking very high on Google for Clowns, Face Painters, and Balloon Artists. Additional online marketing is important, but will deliver diminishing returns in the future, leading me to phase two.
Phase Two of Being a Denver Entertainer: Public Exposure
I wrestled with what phase two would be. I’ve had such great experiences with online marketing that it was tempting to transition directly into social media efforts. However, I worry that I might run into content issues and run out of steam continuing to work from the comfort of home. Instead, I want to begin making more appearances across Denver so that I can continue to fine-tune my skills, drive word-of-mouth advertising, and get to know the city better. I recently purchased a new bike (unfortunately, my old one was stolen) and look forward to riding it around, searching for a place to perform. Local farmers markets, breweries, public events: the possibilities are endless. It may help me make some friends, too!
Becoming an amazing contact juggler is one of my passions and goals for the next few years. At first it was tough: I wasn’t good enough to perform in public without fear of breaking my nice balls or being ignored. At this point, I believe that I am good enough to stop some pedestrians, draw a crowd, and justify spending lots of hours working on my craft. The way I see it, I’m good enough now that I can rapidly increase my skills through public performance and busking. I carry my ball with me almost everywhere I go, even doing an impromptu show at the rec center a few weeks ago.
Phase Two and a Half of Being a Denver Entertainer: Social Media
Social media has a lot of potential: Facebook has more data than we can comprehend, allowing me to identify and market to my target demographic. Information from Google can be helpful in tailoring these ads, and my public appearances can help create content. This content can drive more interactions, more repeat customers, and more brand recognition. I’ve never been a big social media user myself, but I recognize the value of it and look forward to increasing my exposure on those platforms. I’ve been very interested in content creation lately, and all of these goals can work together to create a quality social media campaign.
Phase Three of Being a Denver Entertainer: Expansion and Growth
I have plans to extend my entertainment empire beyond the Denver metro, though I have not yet decided which form it will take. I am debating between a few options and beginning the process of testing these possibilities.
Option one: Use the data I accumulate through Adwords, Facebook, and other online marketing platforms to create an online booking option that will allow me to hire entertainers from across the country. Several full time entertainers in the Denver area work the occasional job for me at a reduction of their normal rate. In this scenario, I would contact several entertainers in each market that I targeted and either charge them for the lead or take a percentage of the rate off the top.
Option two: Spend a few weeks/months in different market training a team of entertainers and a general manager to handle operations. In this scenario, whole new websites, google listings, and social media pages would be created. Instead of www.simplysmilesco.com, there could be www.simplysmileswa.com in Washington and www.simplysmilesil.com in Illinois. There are a lot of entertainers who are great at what they do but aren’t very business savvy: creating an infrastructure like I have here can be incredibly valuable to such a person and create a true win-win situation for me, the entertainer(s), and their customers. We could share social media content, balloon and face painting designs, and reduce costs through economies of scale.
Option three: Become one of the best in the country, and advertise my services all across the country. I will likely do this in conjunction with options one or two, offering customers in all locations the opportunity to hire me personally if they want the very best. I need to continue to improve, but I anticipate launching this option once I have about 15 years in the industry instead of just 7. By perfecting my contact juggling and continuing to grow as an entertainer, I believe that I could have an incredibly satisfying career traveling outside of Denver and performing all across the country (and maybe the world!)