Primary Blog/Gigging Musician Podcast/Episode 221 - Maximizing Success at Wedding Expos: A Musician's Guide

Episode 221 - Maximizing Success at Wedding Expos: A Musician's Guide

Monday, January 29, 2024

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Episode Recap

In this episode, Jared Judge takes us on his journey to his first wedding expo in Colorado, sharing valuable insights and strategies for musicians looking to make the most of these events. He emphasizes the importance of being able to perform live at your booth, likening it to caterers offering food samples. Jared explains how this live performance is crucial in capturing the attention of potential clients and standing out among other exhibitors. He also discusses his systematic approach to capturing visitor information, utilizing a QR code for a free PDF giveaway, and the importance of direct response marketing techniques. Additionally, Jared shares his experience in negotiating expo costs and his plans for networking with other vendors, especially during the quieter hours of the expo. This episode is packed with practical tips and personal experiences, making it a must-listen for any musician looking to expand their reach through wedding expos.

Best Quote

"So first thing that I did to make sure that it's going to go well is I asked the organizer if I'm allowed to play my music in my booth, am I allowed to perform in my booth? Because if you cannot perform in your booth, it is most likely a waste of your time."


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What's up, gigging pros? It's Jared Judge. Welcome to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. It is Sunday, January 21, and I am on my way to my first wedding expo in Colorado.

I'm excited. It's the first one I'm exhibiting at and it should be a great time. It's early.

It's like 08:00 right now in the morning, which is early for me on a Sunday. I usually like to sleep in a little bit. Who doesn't it? So I am fairly confident this expo is going to go well, mainly because I've done these before and I'm going to share with you a couple of things.

Why I think it's going to go well. Obviously it's not 100% certain, but I'm excited. So first thing that I did to make sure that it's going to go well is I asked the organizer if I'm allowed to play my music in my booth, am I allowed to perform in my booth? Because if you cannot perform in your booth, it is most likely a waste of your time.

Because similar to how the caterers at these expos give out free samples of their food, that is the only way for the potential bride or groom to figure out if they like your music, if they like the caterer's food, right. Pictures don't do it justice. Even YouTube videos don't exactly do it justice.

So that's my first bit of advice for you. If you're considering doing these expos, don't do them if you can't play. All right?

Second thing is, I have a systemized way of capturing people's information at these expos, the way that they typically go down, if you've never done one before, is that you have a booth and people walk up and down the aisles of dozens, maybe even hundreds of booths of venues and caterers and event planners and photographers and djs.

And then occasionally there are musicians like us. So they are spending sometimes zero to 30 seconds looking at your booth before they make a decision to go elsewhere. And so first off, that's kind of why I mentioned you got to play in your booth, is because that captures their attention for more than 30 seconds.

But then you also have to have a way to collect their email address, because if they're only spending 30 seconds to a minute at your booth, that's not enough time for them to develop a relationship with you and for you to tell them, how does it work to book you?

What's your pricing like and what's the process to book you and so that's why you need to capture their information so that you can follow up.

So the way that I'm doing that in this booth is I put together a page on my website that offers a free pdf of the ultimate wedding playlists. Some of you may have seen that on my extreme strings website.

And yes, I'm just reusing it. I've used it for, well, ever since extreme strings was in existence, but I've used it before then with my other act in Milwaukee. Cool.

So I've got a way to capture their email address. And the way that I'm doing that at my booth is I actually reused a poster that I created back for Dream City strings in Milwaukee that said, get your ultimate wedding playlist, scan the QR code and enter your email address, and I'll email it to you. So, very simple lead capture system.

I used Canva to design it. And in Canva, there's a QR code generator that's included inside the canva app. So that's how I put that together.

And then the website is my regular website, which I'm actually using ClickFunnels to host. So that's how I've got the lead capture system in place.

Some people will see the QR code and scan it, but for most people, I'm anticipating that I will have to shepherd them and say, hey, can I send you a free pdf of my ultimate playlists? And when they say yes, then I'll say, okay, pull out your phone, open the camera and scan that QR code.

Because that is another principle of direct response marketing, is that you have to tell people what to do. So I'm going to tell them, pull out your phone, scan the QR code, enter your email address. Okay, cool.

So another thing that I think I've done to ensure success, and there are a couple more, is one, I went ahead and bought a thousand business cards. So I just used Vistaprint. And I had my wife, she is a graphic designer.

She designed our business cards and we went ahead and bought a thousand of them. And I'm bringing. So I also asked the organizer, can I play when the expo opens in the lobby of the expo as the line is forming, which I did that back at Milwaukee at one expo that we booked probably like eight gigs on the spot just from that.

And so yeah, I'm going to do that again here. Hopefully that works out okay. And then the other thing that I did is.

So I'm playing with my electric setup and I'm using a Bose s one pro. So these expos, they cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes they're an investment for sure.

You have to really be certain that you're going to book a gig from them if you are investing this amount of money.

This expo typically costs about $1,200 for a booth, which you're probably thinking, holy crap, you would spend that much money on an expo? And the answer is yes, because I know that if I book three gigs from it, it pays for itself. But also I actually managed to negotiate down.

I got a 50% off discount. I'm not sure if they give that to everybody, but I joined the expo last minute and I pulled the I'm a musician card. I'm running low hunt funds, which is actually true.

The budget, I didn't plan for this, so the funds actually weren't there to pay for this because I didn't allocate them. And so they gave me a 50% discount, which was awesome. And then I'm going to be playing in the lobby, which is great.

And then the key ninja move is this expo is great. If I get some short term couple gigs out of it, that would be fantastic.

But that's honestly not the main reason I'm doing it, because you guys know that I'm all about building partnerships so that venue owners and wedding planners, et cetera, can recommend me to their clients.

And I get long term gigs that way, like for years to come. And so I'm in this game. I'm in this expo game to meet new people.

And so these expos typically die down an hour to 2 hours before the end time, which this one ends at 04:00 it's eleven to four.

And so at the 03:00 hour, I brought my acoustic violin and I'm going to be walking around to all the booths and playing a little tune for each person and introducing them, giving my card to all the venues and event planners and et cetera.

And the really cool part is I have a couple venues that I'm already on their preferred vendor list, and there's a couple of wedding planners who I've chatted with already who I'm on their preferred vendor list that are at this expo.

So it'll be really great to reconnect another touch point in my nurturing sequence. So, yeah, the other thing is I'm trying to do everything battery powered so that I don't have to worry about electricity and all that scary stuff of things that could go wrong. I just want to make it as easy as possible for myself.

So that's why I'm using my Bose s one pro for my electric violin. Thanks again, Ken, for recommending me the Bose s one pro. And yeah, I'm not really planning on using a laptop or showing any videos because I'll be playing in my booth.

That is my equivalent of a demonstration in my booth. Kind of like if you've ever gone to the state fair or county fair, they have a little expo home and there are tons of booths, and without fail, there's always at least a couple of people who are selling knives or like, amazing blenders, and they do demonstrations in their booth.

Like, hey, I'm going to cut through a can that is technically considered a demonstration, and demonstrations sell.

In fact, one of my marketing mentor talks a lot about doing what's called a dramatic demonstration, which is the whole idea is like, what can you do to garner buzz and attention?

And so for me, the dramatic demonstration for a live music act is to actually play live music. So that's why I will start and finish this episode with the idea of, like, if you can't play at these expos, they're not worth doing.

And so you do have to check with the organizer because there are some expos that expressly prohibit live musicians from playing, which I think is silly.

How are we going to sell our music if we can't? Plus, I also think it makes their expos a lot better. And here I am going into selling mode, but I think it makes their expos better if they've got live music. It's an actual true representation of the wedding industry.

It garners more attention and interest. People will come to the expo to specifically see the live musicians, and then it also keeps them at the Expos longer and gets them to browse the booths more, which I think will increase the business for all the other booths so that everybody who exhibits has a good time, gets what they want out of it, like, makes some good money off of this expo. So that's my sales pitch for having live music at these expos.

So I'm going to go do my best. Like I said, I'm not sure if this will be a perfect one. And to be honest, I don't care if it's a perfect one because I'm not going for perfection.

I'm just going to make sure it's done and it's done in the way that I know worked for me in the past. All right, that's it. I'm getting off of the highway right now.

I'm getting ready to load in. I need to listen to some pump up tunes and we're going to have a really good time, guys. All right, I will do a recap episode later today of how it went, but thanks for tuning in and listening.

I hope you got a lot out of it. By the way, if you are interested in building some partnerships with event planners and venues, make sure to get your free copy of The Gig Vault. Go to

and get your free copy of The Gig Vault and a free 30 day trial of BookLive. And I will see you on the inside. So thanks for tuning into another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast.

Remember, you are just one gig away. But that's actually the old tagline. It's too early in the morning for this.

So remember, "Your music will not market itself!". Bye, everybody.

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Episode 229 - The Power of Networking and Recommendations in the Music Industry

Episode 228 - Navigating the Gig Economy: Venue Tours, Expos, and the Power of Numbers

Episode 227 - Strategic Moves: Venue Tours, Expos, and Unexpected Gigs

Episode 226 - Maximizing Gigs: New Tools for Tracking Success and Boosting Bookings

Episode 225 - Unlocking Gigs: Venue Tours and Strategic Partnerships

Episode 224 - A Day in the Life: Venue Tours, Unexpected Gigs, and Networking Wins

Episode 223 - Landing Gigs Post-Wedding Expo: A Musician's Success Story

Episode 222 - Navigating the Wedding Expo Scene: A Musician's Journey to Success

Episode 221 - Maximizing Success at Wedding Expos: A Musician's Guide

Episode 220 - Unlocking High-End Gigs: Venue Tours and Virtual Assistant Strategies

Episode 219 - Maximizing Your Music Career: The Power of a Personal Assistant

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