Many of you out there know you want to make it as a DJ, become a working DJ, play regular slots, become a mobile or wedding DJ. Well let me tell you, it’s all possible! To begin, a marketing plan is required, and I love it when there’s a plan.
In brief here’s the process for your marketing plan.
- Industry Research
- Goal & Direction
- Networking & Sales
The below ultimate guide to marketing for DJs is going to give you the framework to follow in order to get your DJing ambitions in check and on the straight and narrow.
Research other DJs or Businesses
Assess the competition
Starting out as a DJ you might already know the type of DJ that you want to be, the music you play etc however understanding the industry and specific area of the DJing market can help with you success.
Assessing the industry and the competition to understand how everything works is really important.
Looking at how specific DJs or DJ businesses operate is crucial to understanding a few points, which include:
- How professional competitors present themselves online and in person?
- Prices that they may charge?
- How are they promoting themselves?
- What are their marketing processes e.g. email signup on their website, do they run YouTube advertising, Facebook ads?
- Are they featured on magazines and publications?
- Do they work exclusively with specific venues?
- How many competitors are there in the market?
- Are they any good at DJing and how are they showing off their DJing skills? (this might be through recordings of live performances, podcasts, DJ mixes online etc)
- How strong is the social following online?
It might be the case that you’re starting out as a local DJ which is fine. You might even be starting out as a wedding DJ or mobile DJ. All scenarios and types of DJs / DJ businesses is fine, following a marketing planning template and starting out with some research is a great start.
Align your business to an audience (Market)
Pick your market
There are macro and micro (niche) slices of the market to choose from when it comes to the industry of DJing. The way that I see this section of the template is to figure out which areas suits you.
NOTE: It’s your task here to identify these areas of the market and will give you the final say in your goals and direction in the next section.
From your research of the market hopefully you would of realised that there are specific types of clubs or venues bound to certain areas maybe that you want to target.
And on the flip side, are there any areas in your research that you highlighted where you know you can add value and compete in a specific niche of a particular market?
Not all DJs are simply club DJs, there are also wedding DJs, mobile DJs, DJs for corporate events, radio DJs and more.
Let’s look at some examples to give you an idea of how to complete this section in your marketing plan template.
A broader macro example, Club DJ.
DJing House music in specific clubs/events, in a particular regions in your country.
Quite a broad area of the DJing world, however you may of at least spotted the types of clubs that put on certain events, or a promotions company that puts on events. Having a clearer picture of the area that you want to target is key.
In knowledge if this, you should have a flavour of the standard of DJing that is required to become a club DJ, know locations of events, potential prices that DJs charge and how they promote themselves to get gigs. All useful information when getting
Micro niche example, a wedding DJ business.
DJing for High-end luxury weddings
You may of identified that there’s an opportunity staring you in the face with high-end luxury weddings where there’s a lack of DJs to supply music.
It could be the case that the competition clearly does not have the skills that you possess or they don’t offer certain services that you know you can for example, decorations, lighting, dancers, live instrument players alongside you DJing.
To finalise this section it’s an important step this one, is to identify where you’re currently at with Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Strengths: will highlight what you’re great at, what will you be able to use now to compete in the DJing scene or market.
Weaknesses: will give you an opportunity to be honest with yourself and highlight the areas that you are weak at compared to the market you’re looking to compete in. This will give you clarity for what to focus on improving straight away.
Opportunities: this part could be related to the opportunities that you identified when researching the market, for example the high-end luxury wedding niche talked about above.
Threats: what threats are there to you succeeding in this? Is there a lot competition out there? Are there laws changing to events licensing or something like that in which might impact your business, if so then note it down so that you’re prepared for it.
Identify the type of DJ Career or DJ business you want (Goal)
Specify time bound goals
Now you’ve done some market research and learnt the specific area of the market that you’re interested in from both a passion and business point of view, it’s time to create the specific goal.
This section should be simple if you’ve done enough research and understood the different areas of DJing that you want to go after.
Goal, direction and USP (Unique Selling Point) are the areas I suggest adding to you goal. The more specific you are can really help, especially by putting a time in which you want to achieve something too helps.
Examples could be:
Goal: In the next 12 months to be a club DJ with a residency at a club near my home.
Direction: DJing House music, including funky, disco
USP: Best tune selector, mixer and best at interacting with the crowd plus getting crowd dancing.
Note, that you can set longer term goals too, say for example setting a goal for the next three years might help see the overall strategy that you going for.
Tip: for me personally I set myself a year goal and then chunk it down into 3 monthly (quarterly) goals to help focus specifically on what needs to be done in 3 months.
Create your DJ Brand (and Content)
Create your image
Your message as a DJ – what’s your vibe?
Some people talk about starting with a DJ name and logo first, but I think it’s important to marry up the vibe that you want to give off as a DJ first.
Because you already know the scene and niche/macro market that you’re targeting, it makes it easier for you to figure out the image and vibe.
Ask yourself “What’s the image and vibe that I want to give to my audience?“
Examples can include:
- Rave vibes
The list can go on forever, but these are just a few to get you started.
Now you’ve got some ideas, create a list of words that you want to give off in your image. Finally, now it’s easier to figure out your DJ name and logo.
Creating a DJ name is important to match up with your audience or scene that you’re going to be DJing in.
If the DJing scene or DJing business area that you’re playing to is funky, happy and upbeat then create a name and logo that’s along those lines. Don’t create a name that comes across as dark and negative, as this name will simply not match to the positiveness of the music in this instance.
Tips for choosing a DJ name:
- Check it’s available. The internet is easy to check this out on Spotify, Google, Facebook, Instagram etc.
- Ask DJing peers, friends and family on the best names that you’ve come up with.
- Have a few options up your sleeve, just in case you need to change in the beginning phases of choosing a name
- Shorter DJ names are generally better, but not the rule
Once you’ve aligned the name to the music or scene, you need to then think about and create a logo. The same principles apply as your DJ name. This is where you might need to get some help from a designer.
Next up is to create a website to add you logo onto.
This is important as it’s sort of like you online business card that presents all the relevant information for your followers and potential business leads to get you DJing gigs.
Content / Categories to include on your website:
- Contact details
- Events scheduled to be DJing
- DJ mixes / podcast
- Videos of your events
- Professional imagery of you DJing
- Links to social media
- Profile pages (if you have a DJ agency)
There are lots of great website builders out there, some free and some paid. Depending on your skills sometimes it’s worth paying the monthly fee to get your website up and running quickly, especially without the knowledge of coding.
Here are some websites to consider using for your website:
Create content to extend the reach of your brand
In this section there are plenty of ideas for you to draw inspiration from and create a plan of attack. Think about this section logically and figure out how you’re going to implement each area over time. Try to put things in order of importance in your promotional plan, aspects that are going to make the most impact.
In this section of the template it’s important to:
- research and pick which platforms you’re going to use and
- generate ideas for the type of content you’re going to create over time.
Social media is key to helping you get your brand out there. It’s a chance to showcase your DJing skills, experiences that you create as DJ and business.
It’s a way of capturing traffic from within networks of social media platforms to help drive awareness of your DJ brand and business. Ideally you will gain popularity and ultimately get you more business in the long run.
The main points to social media for DJs are to build awareness, communicate and network.
Social media platforms to get involved in include:
Content ideas to plan and develop include:
- Write responses to your followers if they’ve asked you certain questions
- Show behind the scenes of your DJ setup for example
- Collaborate with other DJs e.g. mixing b2b and posting a video on both your social media platforms
- Record your DJing / experiences at certain locations and DJ gigs
- Run a free tutorial event for young aspiring DJs and promote it before, during and post event
- Run free tutorials online
- Create DJ mixes, be unique and true to your style. Explore creating vinyl only mixes, old school mixes, decade specific mixes, record label or artist dedication mixes, creative and inventive mixes that show off your skills
- Live streaming when mixing, is quite big on Twitch, Facebook and somewhat on Mixcloud too
- Shout out to other DJs and industry people
Tips for DJs and social media
- Automate your social media via management platforms including Hootsuite, Pagemodo, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social etc.
- Consider which social platforms to use, you don’t need to use all of them. Check on each platform where there’s the most relevant audience for you.
- Keep your social media content consistent across all platforms.
Build an email list
On your website it’s important to create an email list and newsletter section to grab the emails of your followers. That way if you’re running events, pushing promotions, promoting music releases, podcasts or anything that your followers and audience are interested in.
Currently I use Sendinblue and is relatively easy to add onto your website, it’s just a case of creating one dedicated page and then copy paste the iframe code onto the page. Publish, done!
If you’re using a website builder you might be able to integrate a preferred supplier or use their solution.
Creating an email list is a great way to update and engage your followers. Remember if you’re pushing content or updates on the emails that your email subscribers don’t like then you could face unsubscribers. Keep the content unique and relevant to your audience.
Creating a podcast that’s unique to you as a DJ or the company that you’ve got set up is massively important when it comes to podcasting. Make it resonate with the industry or music genre that you’re in. You can have music in it with some discussion or you can purely have it with discussion.
Recording and publishing on a monthly or fortnightly basis helps to boost your awareness through consistency.
Podcasting can help others in the industry the same as you and it can also help drive awareness of your DJ brand and company.
Benefits of podcasting include:
- connecting with people on a deeper level
- leads to more business if done right
- build up a fan base and allows for networking
- support others in your industry / genre
- possible to become an extra stream of income
External websites / reviews
Getting involved with websites that are external to your website can be really helpful to drive trust, awareness and traffic to your website.
The idea behind this is to show your audience, music scene or potential clients that you’re an authority in what you do and that you care also.
Showing off that you’re great at what you do is also another great aspect to working with external websites such as publishers or magazines.
If you’re a DJ agency, mobile DJ or wedding DJ business then this approach is great too, especially getting involved in reviews websites plus forums. Helping people out in forums can really pay dividends for future business coming your way.
Ideas to find good websites to work with include:
- Add reviews onto your website so that people can rate their experience with you (probably not applicable if you’re a DJ in a club). Only for DJ agencies and mobile / wedding DJs.
- Find DJs that inspire you online and make a list of where they’re DJing or gaining interviews from. Usually it’s with websites such as Mixmag or DJ Mag, but you will be surprised there are a lot of individual magazine/publications out there, probably with a YouTube channel too.
- Check out forums online that are within your topic areas.
Produce music / get signed to a label
Easily said than done, especially if you have no clue how to produce music yet.
Not impossible though, you just need to prioritise how you factor this into your marketing promotional plans, whether in the short term, long term or not at all.
Producing music is becoming a rather more important factor in DJs success. Mostly if you’re looking to become a big name Club DJ, less so if you’re looking to become a mobile, local or wedding DJ.
The exposure that you can get from putting yourself out there with music can be massive, especially if your music is adored by a group of fans. The record label will certainly be backing you to promote the music you make, therefore boosting your DJ brand name along with it.
All of this is leading to the end goal of what a marketing plan is set out to achieve, success as a DJ by connecting you to a specific target audience.
Create your own record label
Another idea to put on the cards is actually creating your own record label. If you’re built up a degree of success as a DJ yourself then it could be time to raise your own profile even more and start your own label.
The great thing about this is that you gain more money from the sales of your music. You can give back to the music community by signing artists that you like and not necessarily what a label “manager” likes.
You basically get more power and control in determining what you do with your music, the creativeness behind it and where you go with it all.
Again this is not an essential for all DJs and DJ businesses, obviously take this on board if you’re going down the club DJ route.
Run a Few DJ Events
If you’re looking to really go guns blazing with self promotion, and promote more awareness for your record label if that’s a thing. Then running your own DJ events is a great idea.
Not only are you pushing your own brand of DJ name (potentially your label too) you can help push a few other DJ names too. Networking is a great way to expand your business and DJ gigs for the future.
Demo & Press kit
Get together some professionally branded materials together. This applies to whatever type of DJing that you want to go after. Obviously the type of materials that you need might vary but the idea is all the same.
- Business card
- Demo mixes and videos
- Leaflets / brochure of prices
- Detail what you offer exactly
- Offer upsells and add-ons
Remember to reference your online materials so that they can check out your videos and DJ mixes online. Always give your contact details too, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for potential DJ gigs to come your way.
Spotify is evolving and becoming stronger, likely to become more sophisticated in the future too. It’s certainly an area in which DJs and producers too can benefit from.
With the evolution of the playlist targeting a while back now, it’s possible for users with a paid account on Spotify to target people with their playlists.
This means that you can create DJ playlists under your DJ name and target those who like you’re style of music.
A playlist that I’ve mentioned before is the Disclosure “record bag” playlist, they update theirs on a regular basis for their fans.
Types of playlists that you could explore creating include:
- DJ playlists from your past DJ sets
- Record bag playlists like Disclosure’s playlist
- Top 10 tunes playlists
- Mood or decade based playlists
Promoting your Spotify playlists is a great technique to consider too, to get your listeners up.
- Embed your playlists on your own websites so that people visiting your website can then eventually follow your playlists.
- You could explore working with online music stores such Beatport and ask if they can share you playlist on their store. Win, win situation here as you can get more listens, and they can make some more money.
- Submit your playlists to specific music based subreddits on Reddit.
- Speaking with fellow artists and DJs can always be a great way to leverage getting more listens on your Spotify playlists.
- Finally, there are some websites out there that are for sharing Spotify and Deezer playlists.
Soundcloud & Mixcloud mixes
Creating DJ mixes is a no brainer, but uploading them onto Mixcloud and Soundcloud can be a great way to gain followers and share with your peers in the industry.
If you’re a wedding or mobile DJ this is also another great way of hosting your DJ mixes for free without having come up with complicated ways to embed them on your website.
Networking & Sales
Helping out people in the industry or music scene that you’re in can really pay dividends in the future.
If you get stuck in and help people out last minute with an event or even lending someone some equipment might be the best decision that you’ve made.
After building up certain working relationships with key industry people there’s always a way you can get some favours back from them. You never know it could end up being your first few gigs in a dive bar that ends up snowballing into a career of a full time club DJ.
Remember, offer your help to the right people and your luck might just improve towards your goals of becoming a DJ.
Setup / Attend Conferences in your Industry
Wedding DJs or mobile DJs could potentially explore creating or attending a local or county/state level conference or event.
I’ve been to these before and it’s a great way to set up a stand with all of your branded brochures, posters, business cards and press kits.
This is a brilliant way to meet people face to face and introduce you as a person. People buy into a personality sometimes more than just recommendations and a “brand”.
Search online on wedding or mobile DJ fairs in your local areas to get going on this one.
Set up a TV maybe or on a laptop showing you DJing at an event which can really come across as professional. Certainly shows that you’re not just some amateur.
Speak with industry contacts online
Firstly start off by researching people and contacting them via social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn.
As mentioned above about volunteering, it’s important to simply not be a taker when it comes down to chatting to potential contacts online, offer your services or help. This is so at least it seems like they can benefit as well as them helping you out too.
Managing your contacts
Adopt a CRM system
When running any sort of DJing business or career, I’d advise to get a small CRM system in place to keep hold of all your contacts. Especially important off the back of your networking activities.
The main benefits include:
- Making sure you don’t forget the people that you’ve already contacted them.
- You can keep track of your existing contacts and understand where your relationship is with them.
- Easy way to store all their contact information e.g. phone, email etc.
At a very basic level you can use Excel or Google sheets, but as you grow this sort of solution might become slightly hard to use and impractical. Find a web based solution where it’s already set up for you to use with ease, for example, Hubspot and Zoho.
Put your marketing plan into action
You should have a much clearer idea now of the direction in which you need to take your marketing activities.
Now it’s important to arrange your marketing plan into actual tasks into a planner with key deadlines to start working on them.
Or it might be a case that you focus on a few non-negotiable tasks each week or month to get you going. Then from there you can work on build up more marketing activities on top of that.
There are some great free tools out there that can help you keep track of your monthly activities, including Trello, Asana and Monday.com.
I personally aim to have quarterly goals and then break down the tasks per month. So then you have three months to achieve specific goals and then adapt those goals from there.
“Flywheel” for continued growth & success
Over night success is not a thing, well not as much you perceive other DJs anyway.
Compounding efforts on a daily basis that are targeted to what you want to achieve will get you success over time. The more consistent you are on a daily basis will help you succeed in your marketing efforts.
Here’s a process that I’ve created for you to follow and inspire you to apply to your every day activities as a DJ, specifically for marketing and promoting yourself.
If you follow each point on a regular basis then each part of the process will amplify the other part. Until eventually your process is flowing quicker and quicker, elevating you to the success level in which you set at the beginning of your marketing / business plan.
Reminding yourself of the goal that you’re trying to achieve is very useful, I find it helps me on track of what the end goal is, even when I’m having a bad day.
How can I promote my DJ business?
Create all the necessary marketing materials and points of contact e.g. business cards, a website, social media and getting listed on other websites and reviews websites too. Networking with clubs and venues will then help you build up a base of contacts to start getting business.
How do DJs get their shows?
Becoming a recognised music producer really helps as your network of contacts expands through your music. Networking with club owners and helping them out from time to time. Running your own DJ events can give you control how often you play as a DJ.
How do I choose a DJ name?
DJs choose their name according to the genre of music they play, type of DJ they are and if they produce music too. Ideas to choose a name include, creating your own word, abbreviating your own name, choosing a latin name, using descriptive words or using two opposing words e.g. Fat Slim. Check the name is not already out there being used by another DJ.