David Corsaro's "21 Rapid-Fire Marketing Ideas" Podcast Interview
by Christian Painter and Roland Sarlot
What We'll Explore
Marketing Executive and magician David Corsaro will share his years of experience to align your social media with your business the right way, how to build stronger relationships with clients for repeat business, expanding your network of decision makers, staying top of mind for past clients, and leveraging past venues for future opportunities.
Who is David Corsaro?
David Corsaro has been a marketing executive for 20+ years as well as a busy professional magician specializing in close-up and strolling magic in the New York City area. He lectures extensively to magicians at conventions such as Magi-Fest, the SAM National Convention, and the Carolina Close-Up Convention (TRICS), he has won the highest-rating for his Penguin lecture, is a regular performer at New York's famous "Monday Night Magic", and a regular attendee of the Fechters Finger Flicking Frolic (4F).
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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Christian Painter: In this episode of the Magic Business Podcast, we'll reveal this and more...
David Corsaro: If you seriously want to put effort into your marketing, it is going to be hard. It is not something that's going to happen overnight. It's going to be a very slow build over time but if you do it successfully, it is a build that's going to be a lot like a snowball going down a hill. It’s gonna gain steam, it’s gonna gain momentum, and it's going to become bigger and bigger and you will start to see a really, really strong significant return on your investment over time.
Christian Painter: Welcome to the Magic Business Podcast! This is where we share insightful and delightful inner secrets about the business of magic. Here is where magic professionals are going to share some of their real-life experiences and some of their most guarded secrets to help further your career in the magical arts. I'm your host Christian Painter in partnership with the MagicOracle.Club, where you can hear all of our magic business podcasts.
I have a real treat for you today, we have David Corsaro and he has been a professional magician for 25 years specializing in close-up and strolling magic in the New York City area. He does about 15 shows a month, he has won the highest-rating Penguin lecture, and has also been a member of the prestigious 4F for 13 years. Here's where it really gets interesting. He’s also been an executive at two major marketing firms for the past 20 years and he lectures extensively to magicians about marketing. We’re so happy to have him here, welcome to the show David.
David Corsaro: Thanks for having me.
Christian Painter: I am actually excited to have you because you're a marketing executive. And I mean you didn’t do a little bit of marketing for some company. You are an actual marketing executive and have been for 20 years. So, my first question for you out of the box is how does what you tell your real clients at a marketing firm differ from what you tell, say, magicians about marketing?
David Corsaro: So, it's pretty interesting because one of the things I’ve been very lucky at is the marketing firms that I’ve worked have a pretty wide variety of clients. So over the course of these 20 years, I’ve worked with consumer package clients, I’ve worked with financial services clients, I’ve worked with pharmaceutical clients. So each one of those clients has a very unique marketing challenge that they’ve faced. Sometimes their primary goal is to acquire new customers, other times it's to keep their customers happy and work on client retention. Other times they’re trying to create new pieces of advertising. Other times they’re trying to create brand new products to put out in the marketplace. So in each case, these clients have come to me with these sorts of unique challenges and spent quite a bit of money and we’ve worked together and done a lot of research as to what it’s gonna take to be successful in each one of these areas. So what I’ve been able to do is, take the sort of nuggets that I have learned and, apply it to different ways that magicians can better help market themselves. Whether it is getting new people to hire you for events, trying to keep your past customers happy so that they will hire you, again and again, to maybe go out to a new market, a place where you haven't necessarily marketed yourself in the past and present yourself as an entertainment opportunity. All these different things require different viewpoints on how to both look at yourself and how to look at the type of marketing that you’re doing out there. So it's been pretty lucky for me that the stuff I’ve been able to learn and retain from my marketing field is the stuff that was applied to help magicians in their field.
Christian Painter: What's the low-hanging fruit for magicians to go, “Hey David, how do I market better? Because that's really what they come and say, I’m sure they don't have a very specific goal, do they?
David Corsaro: No, well no, not really, most of the time they just want to be able to work more. Obviously, there are two things that I think you have to sort of put into your head right away which is number one... Marketing is hard. There is this sort of misconception out there that marketing is super easy and if you just learned this three little secrets, all of a sudden the gigs just start pouring in. That's not the case. There is no big red button that says that when you press a marketing button all of a sudden clients start calling you like crazy. Now, unfortunately, there are some people out there who are sort of tied to selling marketing courses to magicians with this framework. That there is just a couple of little secrets and that's all you need to learn. That's not the case!
If you are a magician and you want to make a hundred thousand dollars a year doing magic, and you want to perform in the coolest venues, and you want to perform with the best celebrities, well guess what? That's hard and it should be. If that was easy everybody would be doing it. So I think the first thing magicians have to truly understand is if you seriously want to put effort into your marketing, it is going to be hard. It is not something that's going to happen overnight. You're not going to double your gigs in a month because you learned one little secret. It's gonna be a very slow build over time but if you do it successfully it is a build that's going to be a lot like a snowball going down the hill. It is gonna gain steam, it’s going to gain momentum, and it’s going to get bigger and bigger And you will start to see a really, really strong significant return on your investment over time. So that’s the first thing I think a lot of magicians have to understand when you go into this.
The second thing, is going to be... I come from the school that information is power. The more information you have, the better you can make marketing decisions. And when I say information what I’m talking about is... you have to understand everything you can about the clients you've worked with in the past. The territory or area that you want to work in, the opportunities that are existing out there for the kind of magic you want to do. If you are somebody who has only done kids shows and you really want to perform at the coolest martini bar in town, understand that if you’ve been doing kids shows for 10 years, there’s gonna be a preconceived notion about who you are and what you do. I’m not saying you cannot work at that really cool martini bar but it’s gonna take a change to be able to do that. So the more information and data you have the better your opportunity is going to be to succeed in the future.
Christian Painter: Ok but I have a cool website, so isn't that enough?
David Corsaro: [laughs] Yeah, you know you’re on Facebook and I saw your feed talking about politics and your favorite place to get a hotdog but shockingly that's not going to be what it takes to move the needle for your business.
Christian Painter: Now the interesting thing I see is that magicians get on social media and connect with other magicians and I’m always like... I don't understand how you think that's going to help you.
David Corsaro: So there are two problems with that, number one is a lot of magicians can feel like they can get their numbers up and that's good. And I always sort of put that with an error of caution because obviously on social media the more followers you have the better it is. But, if it's not who you're going for, then it's a lot of just screaming into empty space. If you are a company and you are selling pickup trucks, Hallmark channel might not be the ideal place to market yourself because the people you're talking to are ideally not your target market. Now if you're on Facebook and you want to get a lot of tweets, a lot of followers, and a lot of friends, that's great but then marketing yourself on that same platform to those same people is not gonna necessarily be helping you. So you have to really understand, that if you're going to promote yourself heavily on social media, you have to be promoting yourself in a way that the people looking at your feed are going to respond. So for example, one of the top things I always say is you have to earn your promotion. That’s sort of my little tagline here, earn your promotion. What that means is this... If you post on Facebook four times a day and all four posts are politics or you are complaining about something and you do that four times a day, for 7 days, that's 28 posts. But if one of them was about your upcoming show, guess what? Nobody's paying attention to it. People have been trained that you are essentially a commercial and as their scrolling through their feed every time they see your name, their mind is thinking, “Oh I know what this is going to be, it’s going to be about politics, it’s going to be complaining, it’s going to be something I don't care about. So I’m not going to even be paying attention.” So now, even those people that you are trying to market towards, people who maybe do like your magic, are not going to pay attention to it every time they see your name. It's typically not something that’s related to what they’re interested in. So what I’m always saying is... you have to really earn your promotion. What that means is don't just promote your business but instead give to people looking at you something else of interest. And that doesn't mean politics or it doesn't mean you complaining. Instead what it means is give them interesting links, give them information that they can walk away with and say “You know what? I’m really glad I gave that guy 3 seconds of my attention because what he provided to me in that post was interesting.” Now if you train them so that once every 3 to 4 days they're going to see your name pop up in their feeds and it's going to be something of interest now when you promote your show they’re paying attention.
Christian Painter: I think that’s such a great thing to tell everyone, because I see it all the time, people get on social media and just kind of vomit whatever kind of craziness that they have and then when it does come time to promote your show you're kind of like, “Are they really listening to you?”
David Corsaro: Unfortunately the flaw here, a lot of people say, is “Well, no, no. I keep my personal page different from my business page.” Well, congratulations but at the same time, your personal page is full of friends and families who will recommend you for shows that they hear and instead, if all they see is you complaining 24/7 then they're not going to want to promote you to their friends and families for your upcoming gigs.
Christian Painter: That's interesting. What you just said is... because I know one guy who’s on social media and he will actually promote other shows in his town on his social media. So he’ll say, “Hey there's this great whatever and it is over here,” and then maybe later, “Oh, there’s a great outdoor concert going on.” And then he'll drop in his showcase like that and I just thought what a great idea. People are now looking at him like, “Oh, what kind of cool stuffs is going on in my town!”
David Corsaro: That's a really smart idea because again he provides something of value to the people looking at his posts, and therefore, when he promotes himself, that's perceived as valuable.
Christian Painter: So David, right now we're in the middle of the pandemic and as we do this podcast everyone is kind of... not in their full speed, they’re just creeping forward. And it would seem like this would be a good time to start working on our marketing for the future.
David Corsaro: The problem right now is, it’s true, it's really doesn't make sense to go out and advertise yourself a ton. Yes, there are people who are thinking of the future, there are clients who are thinking about holiday parties and what they're going to do in 2021 but it's probably not your number one return on investment. So, what I say is right now is... this is your opportunity to (again as I said earlier on collecting data, knowledge is power) so at this point what you should be doing is digging through your data as much as possible. Here's what I mean by that. Start off by going through as many of your past clients as possible. Hopefully, you've got a pretty good record as to who your clients are, who has hired you in the past, theaters, restaurants, company parties house gatherings, whatever it is, hopefully you've collected a good amount of data on all those people. And what I do is well, I have I cheat sheet, which is a form that I fill out for every single client who hires me, and on that form, I fill out things like where was the event? How much did I charge? Who did I meet at this event? Did I get other shows from that show? So let's say for the sake of argument I get hired to perform at a wedding. And I would write down where the event was, how much did I charge, and then throughout the course of let’s say next year, anybody who calls me or emails me, “Hey I saw you at the Thompson wedding!” then I go back to that Thompson file and I write down that I got another gig from their event. The reason why this is important is there is a ton of opportunities to make sure you’ve kept up strong relationships with all of your past clients. If they like you and they like your magic, which I’m kind of hoping that's the case for everybody who's listening to this podcast, if they like you and they like your magic, they’re almost looking for a reason to bring you back and the more opportunity that you have to connect with them, not often maybe once a year, and just sort of send them an email. Ask how they're doing and talk about some stuff you have going on in the area. That's a great opportunity to keep you “top of mind” for them so that any future parties they have, they can hire you. So let’s say I get hired to perform at college graduation and I perform at somebody's house party at the college graduation. And while at that college graduation I meet that person’s younger brother who was 17 years old. We'll guess what? That 17 year old is going to college this year and in four years hopefully, that person will graduate from college, and that family will probably have another party. So, I’m not saying that you should necessarily stalk this family but I do think you should make a note to reach back out to them in a year or two and say, “Just want to check-in, how are things going? Hope your son's enjoying college. If you have any events please don't forget to keep me in mind.” Cause I guarantee you I’ve had so many clients in the past email me back and say, “You know what? We just started planning and I’m so glad you reached out. Please keep June 24th available that’s the day of the party, we have no other details we just know we want you there.” And I would not have gotten that or maybe would have not gotten that repeat gig, if I didn't have that information in my back pocket. So, the first thing people should do is go back to the past and try to get as much information as possible from the people who’ve hired you.
The second thing you should do is think about the venues you’ve performed at, so if it's theaters, if it's restaurants, if it's banquet halls where you been hired to do a sweet 16, or a bar mitzvah or a christening, think about the venue you performed at. Now, if you have an opportunity to go back to that venue, so just as I mentioned before while I have a client cheat sheet, I also have a venue cheat sheet. And that venue cheat sheet lists things like: how many events going on simultaneously, what's the parking situation like, how many people are allowed in each room, who's the different event planners at that venue or the event managers. So this way, if a client calls me up and says, “Dave, we’re thinking about hiring you. We're having an event in July and it's at the Brownstone in Patterson, New Jersey...” Well, I can go to my file. Pull up that sheet about the Brownstone banquet hall in Patterson, New Jersey and I can say to them “Who you're working with? Keith or Steve?” And then they say, “I’m working with Keith.” And then you go, “Great, Keith is a great guy. I’ve worked with him plenty of times in the past. Are you in the main ballroom or are you in the east coast ballroom?” Now all of a sudden, you're not just a magician they thinking about hiring, now you're somebody who's worked at the venue before, who knows the details, who maybe knows the event planners, now all of the sudden you're not just another magician but you're rather somebody that they know. You know what? This guy gets my venue, gets what I’m doing, he's got the experience and that's going to put you a significant leg up if they start calling around for other magicians.
Christian Painter: Ok, this is strong stuff, very good stuff. What can I do to kind of lean forward and make myself seen if I haven't worked a great deal of places?
David Corsaro: The first thing magicians have to do, if they’re trying to get that show going, is that you have to understand that you need to get in front of people. You need to expand your networking. It's not just about having a good website or being on social media. It's about getting to the decision-makers in your area, and by “your area”, I’m talking about whatever radius you're comfortable driving to do gigs. You have to get in front of the decision-makers. You have to network with the people who are running these events, who are having these parties, or you have to become friends with people who know a lot of other people. So, what I always say is, again, in the time of coronavirus go out there, get information. Find out about your local chamber of commerce. There are a lot of service organizations in your areas, rotary clubs, lions clubs. There are all these different places that have meetings, that have events, that have fundraisers, find out where those groups are, who the main contacts are. Find out what their schedules look like, and offer up your services. So if it’s a fundraiser, if there's going to be a town fundraiser one day, reach out to the people in charge and say that you're a local magician, you support the event and you would love to donate an hour or two of close up magic. And when you do that, make sure you shake the right hands, make sure you meet the right people and get involved. There is a lot of service organizations that are having zoom meetings right now. Offer to say “listen how about I just come to your zoom meeting one day and do 15 minutes of entertainment for your members, just to kind of keep everybody you know engaged and having a good time, a little 15-minute break.” You're going to see people who say yes to that. And now you're in front of the people who are involved in the town, who are involved in businesses of the town, and as those people are going out conducting their day to day lives. they're going to run across opportunities for fundraisers or opportunities for people who are having parties and they're going to say, “You know what? I just got introduced to this guy named Christian, he does a great magic show. Let me put you in touch with them.”
Christian Painter: That is fantastic and I will tell you how much I agree with you, David. When Katalina and I first started out, we went to so many organizations and service groups and people with who we worked and shake hands and just met people and developed relationships. And I think magicians have a tendency, you know, they wanna kind of sit by their computer and just kind of push out their website thinking that's going to be... set the hook, that's the bait and it really isn't.
David Corsaro: No it's not. And you have to understand something else, this is something Christian you and I talked about quite a bit, you talked about how when you guys were pitching your show to hotels your show was done. You were not going in there saying, “Ok if I’m going to get the show, I’m going to get the gig, and then I’ll start working on my show, and tweaking it.” You and Katalina had a show that was rock solid when you were going out, and similarly, your magic has to be rock solid before you start meeting people. Your ability to network and chit chat and create small talk, you have to work on those things before you go out there. People need to like you as well as like your magic.
Christian Painter: Wow! David that is... I think you have overwhelmed some people with some ideas that maybe they would have to get up from behind their computers and actually shake hands and meet people.
David Corsaro: Right! And in time of coronavirus, when it's a little bit less prevalent, there are other things that you can do to continue to build up your network of people or build up your database of who you will network with. You know, I think too many magicians feel like that the magic that they do should stand on its own and the reality is that that's not the way the world works.
Christian Painter: Oh, I hear that all the time David. Well, I just have this fantastic show if they see it, they’ll want to hire me.
David Corsaro: Right, And you know what? Coke is a great product but Coke advertises like crazy. And you know they do that because they need to constantly remind people who they are and what they do. And they don't rely on just having a great product and putting it in the refrigerator at the 7-Eleven and leaving it there. That's not the way it works.
Christian Painter: So here we go, are you ready? We're getting close to ending this but I’d like to end with something like this... If I were to walk up to the Magic Oracle... What is the one question David, you really want me to ask him? What would that be?
David Corsaro: Sure! The question should be, “Hey Dave, how do you help ME?” Now the reason I'm saying that, the reason why I’m saying that like that, is because every single person, I guarantee you... every single person listening to this podcast is different. They do different magic in different areas, and they have different likes, they have different dislikes, what that means is their marketing goals and objectives should be slightly different. And the reality is I can give you all the advice or suggestions in the world but all that's going to do is take you 30, maybe 40%, of the way to where you need to be. For the rest of the way, honestly, it needs to be a one on one type of consultation because it's going to be different. To me, it's like making a big pot of chili. I can give you all the ingredients but you have to put it in the right way and tweak just the way best fits your taste buds. The same thing with marketing, what I always tell, and I would tell everybody who listens to this podcast, if you want email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Very simple. “Time to be awesome” all written out at gmail.com, and if you want, we will set up a 1 on 1 session where I can sit down and for free, listen to what your goals and objectives are and we can talk about creating a marketing plan for you. I've had, over the course of the years, I wrote a column for M-U-M magazine for 3 years about marketing and I had people reach out to me and say, “Can you help me out?” And for every one of them I’ve started off with a free one hour. I don't charge a thing and we sort of come up with a plan and come up with what those next steps need to be. Now if it goes beyond that, then we can start talking about consultation fees and stuff like that but at the very least, if you got a specific question reach out to me at email@example.com, and let's talk about what it's going to take to put up a real marketing plan and place for you.
Christian Painter: That is amazingly generous and I don't have to really emphasize this to the listeners that this guy is a marketing executive. He is not just some guy who is a magician and says, “Oh, by the way, I think I figured out marketing.” This is his life. This is what he does. So we’ll definitely take advantage to that. Now David, you also have, I think, one lecture that is on fire. I mean it has got some of the highest ratings that I think anyone could have. Is that right?
David Corsaro: Yes it's got quite a few. It’s got 25+ different ratings, there all 5 out of 5 stars, I feel very lucky that the people who have got my lecture have really taken some value from it.
Christian Painter: And I have seen that lecture and it is very good. There is a couple of pieces in there that are definitely on my mind to do someday, they are really fun and nice. David, thanks so much for coming to the show. It's been fantastic. I’m sure we're going to have you back cause we only have scratched the surface.
David Corsaro: Would love to come back!
Christian Painter: Oh, thank you, David.
Christian Painter: Thank you for listening to our Magic Business Podcast. Please visit the Magic Oracle Club where you can hear all of our business podcasts and enjoy a vast array of additional magical knowledge. Until next time, I want to leave you with this quote from Zig Ziglar, “You don't have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.” From the Magic Business Podcast, we wish you good luck on all of your magical business endeavors. Until next time, have a great day.
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