If you’re not there yet, I highly suggest first checking out my article “BECOMING A DJ | THE ULTIMATE BUYERS GUIDE” to help you get started, and then come back here!
Getting booked as a DJ on a regular basis will take time.
You’re fairly new to the scene. Other DJs in your area may have been doing this for much longer and may have established a reputation among the market. Have patience in getting the word out. Becoming a reputable professional DJ doesn’t happen overnight.
Put some work into building a presence both in your community and online. In fact, they work hand in hand with one another.
After all, what good is building all that presence on social media if you have nothing to post?
Being out and about in your local community helps a lot with getting quality content to post. Take the time to build fan pages and networks online.
Once built, make sure to post to them on a fairly regular basis. We’ll go through this in more detail later in the article.
It could seem like an insurmountable task to get booked regularly in the beginning. However I can all but guarantee taking the suggestions below along with great tenacity and patience WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Now that you have the right attitude, let’s look at how to get booked!
Networking is by far one of the best ways to become a successful DJ!
Networking, according to Oxford Languages is by definition “The action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.”
In DJ terms, this means getting out there and meeting the more established DJs in your area, and other key players in your space.
The DJ community is usually a small tight knit community where every one knows everyone else (Cue the Cheers them song).
Introducing yourself to more established DJs and having a willingness to learn and be a part of the Community usually goes a long way!
First, look at what type of DJ you’re hoping to become, as this will help narrow down your search and give you better direction. Most want to be either a Nightclub DJ, a Wedding/Corporate DJ, OR both – like myself 😀 .
Once you’ve decided your direction, search on social media for an established contact within that space and send them an email/message. Or, send several messages to several Companies/DJs.
Tell them that you’re new to DJing and that you would like to learn more about becoming a DJ alongside one of their pros. This approach can easily lead you to getting invited to a gig in an apprenticeship fashion.
Show them you have a great willingness to learn. They will ask you to come out again and again. They do this to ensure you know how to set up DJ gear with no issues.
This usually leads to them feeling comfortable with having you on the decks for a song or two during a set, so the main DJ can take a break for a few minutes. Assuming you did a good job, you may then be asked to do an opening set or some other portion of the event.
Before you know it, the senior DJs can’t make it to a gig for whatever reason, or have been approached by several clients to be booked on the same day. Because you’ve proven yourself to be a competent team player, you’re next up to bat with a gig of your own! If that gig goes well, you’ll more than likely be asked to do other gigs.
This method is probably one of the surest ways to eventually get booking on a regular basis, but it does take time! Be ready to put in some time and effort for little to no money.
That being said, you will be gaining real world experience on how to deal with different situations and setups. This approach can also lead you to meeting other well established DJs in your area that may be looking to expand their DJ Roster.
This could prove far more valuable in the long run.
Asking friends and family is another great method for getting booked as you’re starting out.
Between birthdays, BBQs, and other holidays, your friends and family will more than likely be having social gatherings at their house, backyard or at a small hall.
Along with great food, music plays a large part in most social gatherings. Offer your DJ services for free (or for little money) to rock the party rather than opting to use Spotify.
This is another great way to gain real world experience.
Family and friends are usually much more forgiving should something go wrong or mistakes be made. When you’re DJing for these types of social gatherings, there’s more than likely going be other friends and family there that you’re not as closely connected to.
Having them see you rockin’ the party can easily lead you to other gigs outside of your immediate friends and family. Eventually, you’ll be doing gigs for people who are not at all a part of (or even close to) your immediate circle of friends and family.
Another great reason to start with this route is that your friends and family will usually be more than happy to give you a positive review on sites such as “Google Reviews” or “Facebook Reviews”. We’ll learn about these further down in the article.
Having positive reviews will be crucial to your overall online presence. As potential clients start looking at who’s available, I can guarantee you they will be looking at your online reviews before considering you for their event.
This method works well if you have a large outgoing family or a large group of friends.
As you’re just starting out I would suggest that you first start with low pressure gigs such as birthday parties, family reunions, and holiday parties.
Stay away from higher pressure gigs such as weddings, large corporate events, and premium-ranked night clubs. These gigs may be out of your experience scope at this point.
Your main goal here is to get some good experience playing in front of a crowd, and to get some reviews and pics together for your social media presence.
Once you’ve got some practical experience and pictures together, you’re ready for the next step…
Developing a website and social media
The cornerstone of your online presence will be your website. As potential clients begin to look for a DJ, one of the first places they will begin their search is Google and other online sites such as instagram and Facebook.
Create professional pages on all social media outlets used in your area and have them link back to your site.
This allows you to grab the attention of potential clients and lead them back to your site, which will have all of your information.
Your website doesn’t have to be ultra slick, super amazing looking site that’s ridiculously expensive (and complicated) to put together.
The truth is, if you’re regularly posting to your social media sites, your potential clients will already see you as an established DJ.
Having a website will help to solidify their confidence and will give them more information on who you are and how to contact you.
Let’s take a quick look at how to create a simple website
I won’t spent too much time on this as there are tons of great articles and YouTube tutorials that cover this information far better than I can. I also don’t want to lose sight on the actual reason you’re here.
I’ll add links to articles and YouTube tutorials as we go…
Your site needs to be held at a particular location in cyber space so other internet users can find your site. For a much more in depth explanation, check out this article done by Namecheap.com
Below is a video explanation on Web Hosting
Here are a few common places to find Web Hosting
You’ll need to create your site once you have web hosting. Using a site builder is hands down the easiest way to get this done – with no coding or web experience needed! Additionally, some are free to use.
Most DJs use WordPress as it’s the most utilized site builder in the world. WordPress is very simple to use, and it generally plays nice with 3rd party apps and themes you may want to use.
I mean… if it’s good enough for Beyonce, I’m good with using it as well! 😀
You can sign up for WordPress HERE
Below is an incredibly in-depth step by step tutorial on how to build a site using WordPress.
Connect your site to Google and other search engines so people online can find your site after it’s built. Here’s a video on how to do just that! 🙂
This is the simplest way to get a website up and running.
I would suggest checking out other articles and YouTube tutorials as building a website is undoubtably a long a daunting task.
This section just scratches the surface!
THAT was a lot to take in.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to get a well executed and fully indexed website is to getting new potential clients finding you, along with giving you validity as a pro DJ.
If getting a website together too complex or too time consuming, consider hiring someone to build and design it for you. There’s a lot of great talent on Fiver.com or Upwork.com to help you get your site up and running.
Once it’s up and running, you can manage the day to day maintenance.
Connect all of your social sites and search engines to gain even more exposure.
The following is the actual definition found on Google.com:
“Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your Business Profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.”
Remember me saying that getting reviews and pics was super important in the Friends and Family breakdown? This is where they come into play!
When potential clients go to the Google search bar and type in “DJ near Me”… You’ll be one of the DJs that come up in the search! Most potential clients will likely go there to see reviews on your past work once they’ve checked out your other social media platforms.
This only happens once you have a site together and have amassed great reviews. Make sure to post some pictures and videos of your past gigs! It goes a long way on this platform.
Sign up for Google My Business HERE
Here’s a great video on how to get started with Google My Business
Google My Business is an amazing way to get noticed by new potential clients. It’s free to sign up and maintain.
Using this method is most effective once you have some previous clients that are willing to submit a review for you as you can’t submit them yourself, and you have a website.
“Facebook ads are targeted to users based on their location, demographic, and profile information.
Many of these options are only available on Facebook. After creating an ad, you set a budget and bid for each click or thousand impressions that your ad will receive.
Users then see your ads in the sidebar on Facebook”
Using the Facebook Ads Manager allows you to run ads to your WhatsApp and Instagram accounts as well!
Facebook ads are a key component for getting new wedding clients if that’s your goal! Additionally, it’s inexpensive and fairly simple to set up.
Chances are new clients are there waiting to see your DJ ad. Every time I run an ad, I almost always come out getting 3-4 new clients – along with better exposure to my site!
The success of Facebook ads comes down to a few key factors. Let’s go over these factors and some examples, below.
Run your ad at times during the year when potential clients are most likely to be actively looking to book vendors.
The second week in January is definitely a great time because a lot of couples get engaged over the Holiday season. Another great time is in the beginning of the Spring. The bulk of weddings take place between May – October, so posting an ad in March or April tends to get traffic from clients who left booking a DJ until the last minute or who are looking for an alternate DJ because their original DJ fell through (this happens more often than you’d expect!!).
You’re able to run ads with various goals using the ads manager. Its absolutely imperative to choose the right one. Otherwise, the money and time spent is essentially thrown down the drain. The ad style that works best for me is “Messenger ads“.
Messenger ads works well because it allows the potential client to contact you without leaving the Facebook platform. Thus making it much easier for them to contact you.
Check out this video on how to set up a Facebook Messenger ad
You can choose to run video ads or use still pictures. I’ve had some success using picture ads, but I absolutely get far better results using video ads.
Facebook gives you the option to build a short fifteen second video using still pictures within the ads manager if you’re just getting started.
That being said, you will definitely yield better results by taking a bunch of video clips from prior gigs and producing a quick 30 – 45 second commercial.
Here’s an example of a 2019 video ad I used with great success
Your add copy is very important for this to work. Keep your text relevant to your potential client. Outline pain points along with how you can best remedy them.
Remember to keep it fairly casual. Above all, make sure your ad copy is fun to read. Facebooker’s are there during their off-time, not in search of any particular product or service.
Ad Copy Example:
“HEY Brides : CONGRATS…. Your search for an AMAZING wedding DJ is over!
Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable and cherished days of your life, YOU DESERVE award-winning service and an incredible experience!
With my SIX point guarantee, you can rest assured that you and your guests will have an unforgettable time dancing the night away with the music of YOUR choosing.
HUGE music catalog
Friendly and Personable with you and your guests
“Club Style” Music format
Have a question? Looking for a quick quote? Message me now! :)”
Facebook ads are definitely worth it If you’re willing to spend some money and have a great strategy in place.
Take the time to plan out a great ad that your potential clients won’t be able to resist!
The rest will fall into place by responding to your messages in a kind and knowledgeable manner.
Pinterest is an under utilized avenue to garner new clients!
Most DJs think “Why would I want to be on a site that’s mostly arts and crafts?” The answer is simple: You want to be where your clients are. Second to that, Pinterest users tend to also host and plan great parties and events!
Having a Pinterest board titled “Your city DJ and events” (e.g. Toronto DJ and Events) is a great way for new brides and event planners to see what type of gigs you’ve done in the past. It’s also a great way to showcase any mixes, blogs, and pictures that can lead them back to your site.
Be sure to sign up for Pinterest HERE
Once you’ve signed up, follow other Pinterest users who are into the music you play and are in the same area as you work. Interested users will follow you back.
Post pictures and other interesting material for the users (such as blogs and how-to’s). Do this by creating different boards titled with different interests.
For example, if you want to gain followers who like House Music in Toronto… Create a board called “House Music Parties in Toronto”. From this point, post pictures and videos relevant to the board title. Users will find your board and follow it if the pins are relevant and helpful.
Make sure to ad as much info as you can! I like to add the name of the venue, name of the city, as well as the type of party I’m doing. Doing this gives the users a better chance to find your pins. Secondly, it shows users the types of parties and clients you’ve had in the past. Thirdly, it helps with your website Google ranking, as Pinterest allows you to link back to your site.
Eventually, you’ll have event planners and other potential clients reaching out to you.
This video does a great job of explaining the basics of Pinterest and how to get set up.
As mentioned above, Pinterest is a great way to get exposure to your website for free. Secondly it’s great for SEO as well. Spend some time posting useful and helpful pins. Make sure your pins and boards are clear and concise. Apart from this, make sure your pins are fun to look and interesting.
My Pinterest is HERE for examples of how to post.
Bark is essentially a website that allows customers looking for event professionals to place a job query on the site. On the site job queries are called a “Bark”.
Barks are sent directly to you along with other professionals in your area via email. After you’ve read the event details, you choose to respond or ignore the bark.
Bark is free to sign up, however responding to potential clients does cost money. You need to buy credits off the website, from there you submit the purchased credits for the barks you’re interested in for the potential client’s contact information.
The cost of credits are determined by several factors, including size of event, date, event type, and area.
Responding to an event ranges between 6 – 10 credits, in my experience. The cost of a credit sits around $2 CAD or so.
Bark will end up being a huge waste of time if you don’t know that to look for – along with being costly and frustrating, as you’ll have just given your time and money with no return.
Let’s go through what to look for and what to avoid while using this platform.
The date is one of the biggest tell-tales of whether or not you should respond.
If the event date is super far away, or there is no date at all, then don’t respond. Clearly, these customers are not seriously looking for event professionals at this particular moment.
Indeed, they’re just browsing and feeling out the cost. You want to respond to clients who are in an active booking mode.
Dates within a 3-9 month window are usually the barks to go for.
Bark has a large range of event types. This includes Sweet 16s, School dances, Weddings, Corporate parties and so forth.
Make sure you go for the event type that you can handle and are interested in doing. Also, other DJs will compete for the same event if it’s attractive enough.
Be ready to explain why you’re best qualified for the event.
Clients who are actively will be sure to submit all the details needed to find the right DJ for the job.
Conversely, missing details or leaving vague answers such as “I’m not sure” are other clear signs that they’re not seriously looking at finding a DJ just yet. Stay clear of responding to these barks as well.
Now that you have an idea of some of the pitfalls as well as things to look for in a bark, let’s look at some strategies to best help you win the ones you go for.
These points are derived from an article written by Bark. You can check out the full article HERE
Getting the facts right is essential to providing an accurate estimate. It saves a lot of time in the long run if you’re both on the same page from the beginning.
Giving your clients something for free as part of the job is a great way to get into their good books from the start. The words “Yeah I can throw that in” can often seal the deal.
Use your client’s name, refer to any other additional information that is personal to them and their job. These personal touches can make all the difference to the client.
Responding to your leads within 24-48 hours or less shows you mean business, and that you’re enthusiastic about the project. As they say, the early bird catches the customer!
Bark users tend to like to check your bark profile. Spend the time to have your profile looking as best as you can. This include filling out as much details as you can, having your google reviews. Also include pictures and videos of your past work.
For an example check out my Bark profile HERE.
Bark.com is very well explained in this video
Bark is an amazing platform when used correctly.
Using this site and the tools set out above will get you booked eventually. As you use the site more often, you’ll learn what works best in your market.
You may not win them all. Nonetheless it’s been a great platform for me since using the tools and strategies set out above.
A good win rate is about 10% from what I’ve experienced.
“Google AdWords, is Google’s advertising system in which advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google’s search results. Since advertisers have to pay for these clicks, this is how Google makes money from search. This infographic will help you understand how Google Ads works, detailing the Google Ads auction, bidding process and explaining important factors like Quality Score and cost-per-click. If you’re asking “How does AdWords Work?” this page is for you.”
* Excerpt from What Is Google Ads? How the Google Ads Auction Works *
In all honesty, I find this way to be complicated and a bit difficult. Additionally, I find it to be the most expensive of the paid suggestions listed. You might be better off to hire a professional in this space for better results.
Having said that, I have tried it and it does somewhat work. Again, I don’t have too much knowledge in this space so I can’t really tell you how to best leverage its power or give you advice on best practices.
Perhaps the results will be better for you? I’ve posted a video below if you’re interested in taking a stab at it.
Watch a full tutorial on how to set up Google AdWords below
As mentioned above Google ad is not where I put most of my time or resources.
Sign up for more great content
Want more great content just like this? Sign up below and I’ll send them to you hot off the press!