For magicians, this time of year is filled with March break events, school programs and shows. Many professional and semi-professional magicians who haven't adopted a virtual strategy are left wondering, is there a point?
The best-reported expectations for the return of live-events is summer or fall. Many others are less optimistic. There is no question the world is craving to escape this COVID normalcy.
With signs that it might all soon end, what does that mean for virtual magic shows and events?
We've been asking our guests on the podcast what they expect for the future of magic shows and if they think virtual services will stick around. Every magician seems to agree that live events will always have precedent but virtual services are here to stay in some capacity.
Being able to speak on camera and entertain audiences through any medium is arguably the more significant objective for magicians.
I’ve rounded up some of the essential strategies for magicians who need a virtual boost in the arm plus the ideas for traditional marketing in the new era. Let's take a look.
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Where should magicians focus their efforts in 2021?
Right now, restaurant magic doesn’t exist. Birthday shows and stage shows don’t exist. The rules of virtual shows are being written as we speak, and magicians are profiting without packing up props or searching for the power outlet nearest to the stage.
Now that magicians have had a year performing virtual shows, will start to see even more creativity and refinement in the virtual space.
What’s clear to many of us is that virtual magic is around to stay. At this point, I don't think all established performers need a virtual show, but for those wishing to stand-out, it's an opportunity to pull ahead.
I do believe magicians have been given a look ten years into the future.
The virtual show doesn’t resonate with all magicians. I get it. It doesn't serve the reasons many of us got into magic. However, I don't believe it's fading away anytime soon. Virtual conferencing has opened up a new world of opportunities.
First, Let's Talk About Virtual Magic Shows
In the first Magicians Talking Magic Podcast episode of the year, we discussed a few essential survival ideas for virtual magicians. It's important to understand some of the key differences between live shows and virtual performances (Listen to Ep 106: How You Can Share Magic in 2021 👉here )
Here are the key takeaways:
For stage magicians, this will feel less like a performance and more like a meeting.
Instead of asking for applause or volunteers, you ask for comments in the chat and helpers to unmute themselves.
If you are a heavily scripted performer, you’ll get a much better response by ditching the script and replacing it with a good story, exciting conversation, call-to-action, conversation, question, trivia, or a reminder for how the audience can get involved.
With virtual shows, don’t forget to rethink your timing.
Chit-chat and banter take longer but searching for volunteers in virtual shows is much quicker. You no longer need house-lights, just a bright yellow emoji. 😛
When you start your virtual show, I highly recommend that you tell your audience how to interact with you at the beginning. My opening piece instructs the virtual audience how to engage AND hits them with a visual big WOW moment.
Also, virtual shows can be shorter. Personally, I think they should be. Magicians we connect with frequently offer 15, 30 or 45-minute programs.
Here's how I open a virtual event or show:
CHECK OUT: The Ultimate Virtual Opener on Vanishing Inc
It's important to get your audience to take action early. I found showing your audience exactly what buttons to push helps tremendously. It helps remove obstacles. It also makes it easier for those less familiar with ZOOM or virtual software.
Asking your virtual audience for engagement early helps prime for a more interactive performance.
▶ Virtual Audience Tip: I always remind the audience they can quickly unmute their microphone by pressing and holding the space-bar. This works in all the popular virtual conferencing apps.
Your Virtual Performance Space
Our stage, backstage and dressing room is now home.
Try and find a dedicated space for your shows and start-thinking about a virtual set. Probably a spare-room, bedroom or kitchen. Your area should be clean, well lit and visually attractive. Consider magic posters and magician artifacts, a bookshelf or lighting fixture can jazz-up dull space.
Don’t let your backdrop steal the focus from the show.
Tips for First-Time Virtual Magicians
If you haven’t presented a virtual show yet, it’s time to dive in. You need to begin thinking about adapting your favourite routines to the virtual-stage. Not all magic can be performed virtually, but you’ll be surprised what you can do in the virtual space.
▶ Get your feet wet. Consider starting with a shorter show. Start. If an opportunity comes up for you to present your first virtual-show, consider a shorter 15-minute or 25-minute show to start.
▶ Learn how to use the software and be prepared to teach your audience how to use it too. ZOOM, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams all have very similar functionality. Here are the current most popular virtual platforms:
Zoom (300 million meeting participants per day in 2020)
Google Meet (over 100 million daily meeting participants in 2020)
Microsoft Teams (over 75 million active daily users in 2020)
▶ Virtual shows are all about engagement. Plan all your transitions. Heavily scripted performances will fall flat. Be prepared to ask questions and call out for comments in the chat.
▶ Good quality audio and lighting are the most important investments you can make for your virtual show. Spend a few dollars on a LED ring light and a decent mic. I promise, you already have all the tricks you need to assemble a great show.
Traditional Marketing Strategies & Ideas for Magicians in 2021
Your website is the only space online you have full control over. It’s your branding, personality, messaging, marketing and voice.
Facebook controls your content distribution, and Instagram gives you the attention it wants before asking for your money.
Your website is where clients land to make a decision about hiring you.
Website Strategies for 2021
Create a Virtual Show Page - creating a dedicated page for your virtual shows and services. Your clients will immediately know you are a potential prospect. Bonus points if you have virtual client testimonials and screen captures already posted.
Does your website do the job? Take a good look at your marketing and copy. What is your website actually communicating to your clients? Can it be better?
Write for different audiences - magicians need to have a page dedicated to each unique type of service or audience. You wouldn’t write the same content for a birthday party show page as you do for a close-up show page.
Social Media for Magicians
My view on social media has changed drastically. A social media strategy is essential for magicians; however, I see many magicians confuse ego with marketing.
Who do they think is hiring them?
My focus has shifted away from trying to survive on all social media platforms and increasing my effectiveness in the ones I enjoy the most. None of them :)
Tips for Surviving Social Media in 2021
Remember who your audience is and write to them
Ask questions; engagement is essential for algorithms
Decide in advance on 5 - 7 topics that interest you and supports your services or long-term goals
Remove decision-making by assigning days of the week for your topics
Create a vault of ideas and content that you can access when motivation is low
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule. Schedule your posts.
One of the most effective ways a magician can grow their local businesses is by building relationships within their community.
Discovering organizations and associations that have overlapping interests can be a great way to grow your business long-term.
The key to creating brand-new relationships is by showing genuine interest in helping to serve. Removing your immediate needs and business desires and focusing entirely on helping.
Relationships take effort and time to build but offer many layers of reward, not purely financial.
How can you use your show, skills or services to help someone else within your community? Make some effort and do some research. Discover the projects they are working on or find some way to help.
Excellent relationship-building provides a lifetime of word-of-mouth advertising.
▶ Virtual shows and services are here to stay for 2021.
▶ Create the best virtual show you can by adapting material you already own and focusing on your audience connection. Be sure to tell your audience how to interact EARLY and don’t be afraid to drop the show script.
▶ Remember, virtual shows are still new. Some clients aren’t fully aware of what to expect. It’s our job to help educate our clients and audience.
▶ Offer your virtual show for free until you feel comfortable with your product. Use these free shows to build new relationships.
▶ Update your marketing material, website, one-sheet and social presence. Do you need images?
▶ Start relationship building within the area by showing interest and offering to help.
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