How I've Made Music My Full-Time Gig
An essential part of being a musician is getting your name out. Most musicians aren’t well-versed in marketing themselves, and I was no exception. Since I didn’t know where to start, I decided to google “Minneapolis pianist” and “Minnesota wedding pianist.” Gigmasters and WeddingWire were the top results, so I decided to make accounts there since I knew that future clients would easily be able to find me.
Another great feature of these sites is reviews. After booking a few gigs through both of these sites, I started to gather reviews and show up higher on the search results of both sites. Clients could also be more confident in booking me after reading my reviews. As an added bonus, I also had some great quotes from these reviews that I could pull out and use on my website and writing emails and letters to potential new clients.
The challenge of these sites is that clients can “auto-add,” which basically sends a request for bids to all available similar musicians (e.g. solo pianists). This often turns into a bidding war, and it can be difficult to decide what the right quote is to land the gig.
I’ve learned over time to stick to my normal rates rather than make a low-ball bid. When I make a quote, instead of putting a spotlight on my accolades, I tell them how their event will benefit from my musicianship. This helps them see that I am accommodating and am invested in making them happy.
The unexpected benefit of this is that higher paying clients tend to be easier to work with and trust you to do your job well. Conversely, bargain-seeking clients tend to micromanage and require more effort to satisfy.
Being listed on these sites has made me more visible and trusted in the community. Many past clients have referred me to their friends or had me return for future events which has made this a worthwhile investment. If you want to get an idea of how I market myself, check out my profile and reviews on The Bash and WeddingWire.
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Nate Hance is a professional pianist, entertainer and composer living in St. Paul, MN. He grew up in Minot, ND but has traveled around the world playing music. You can listen to the six albums that he has written as well as check out his goofy music videos on YouTube