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Dan's Soup
Free giveaways for your gigs? It's easier than you think!
By Dan McKay

Logos. They're everywhere. From big ones on the side of NASCAR racers to small ones on golf hats at the Masters, corporations shell out a lot of dollars to be noticed by the crowd of their choosing. Which reminds me, don't YOU play for crowds every weekend?

Wouldn't it be great to get free cases of soft drinks to give out at school dances? Or free CD's for company picnics? Maybe gift certificates for pizzas to encourage people onto the dance floor at weddings? Just about every local business budgets some type of reciprocal (non-cash) promotion. If your company does a demonstratable volume in gigs, perhaps you can get your share of the goods.

Note that I say "demonstratable". When approaching the Coca-Colas, Budweisers and Dominos Pizzas of the world, you'll need to have facts and figures on the number of gigs, approximate attendance at each gig and some nice client names to drop. For instance, in exchange for hanging a Dr.Pepper banner at a school dance, your local bottler can supply anything from soft drinks to T-shirts. Companies spend millions of dollars to be aligned with recreational events. Sure, your Graduation Dance might only have a few hundred guests, but for $100 in product, (a cash cost of perhaps $40 or less) they can be heroes in their hometown.

An easier sell are local mom and pop stores. The T-shirt shop at the mall can provide a few shirts from their discount rack in exchange for several mentions at your next gig. The Subway franchise down the street can come up with free sub certificates. The used CD store can give you a pile of CD singles.. The possibilities are endless.

Whoever you pitch, you'll need a nicely typed proposal about your company and its clients. The bigger the company, the more complete the proposal should be. All of them should be specific as to what they are giving you and what you are giving them. For instance, if you are asking for 50 pizza certificates, in your proposal you should tell exactly at how many gigs they will be mentioned, how many mentions they will receive, under what circumstances their product will be given away, and any added promotional value like placing their coupons on each table or hanging their banner at the event.

Will you be offering their product as prizes for games or contests? Why not provide them with a list (or even better, pictures!) of the activities. Again, the more specifics you can give them on what they will receive for their investment, the better chances you have of bringing them on as a promotional partner.

Yes, I did say "partner". After you have inked a deal, it could include you putting your DJ company's flyers in their stores... or providing free entertainment for their employees. It doesn't heard to be spoken of favorably by a member of the local business community! So be creative...and may the promotions be with you!


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