In this podcast you’ll discover:
- How they drew on their network of musicians to form partnerships that drive the band forward.
- Their strategy for getting the most from low paying public shows (this is super simple and so effective)
- What made them realise that they needed to invest in the band for it’s future success.
- How they approached the production of their new promo video.
- Their process for researching and finding a producer for their promo video.
- Their step by step follow up process to get the best return from the time and money they spend on exhibiting at weddings fairs.
Listen to the Podcast:
Brad: Hi. I’m here with Billy and Andy from Soul Avenue. How are you guys?
Billy: Good. Good.
Brad: Good stuff. Good stuff. We tried to record this the other day, but we were let down by Internet connection. We’re going to give it another go now. You guys have basically been running a band called Soul Avenue for, what, about the last 10 years. Is that right?
Brad: You’re both full-time musicians, teaching as well as playing in the band. Is that right?
Andy: Yeah, that’s right. I mean about just over 10 years ago, I did a degree in music, and so I fell into teaching. But then, obviously, being a musician, what you want to do is get out and play. So we’re sort of backing the various bands and things like that. I formed the band Soul Avenue and then eventually met up with William. It became a partnership when we were in the band together. That’s how it all started really.
Brad: Okay. What was interesting to me when I was talking to Billy was the fact that you guys have had a lot of success over the years. I’m specifically thinking like in the last two or three years. Your gig numbers went up. Did they go up significantly about two or three years ago?
Andy: Yeah. I mean 2012 was probably one of our best years to date. I mean, I think when we spoke last, it was sort of a roundabout how many gigs in 2012 which sort of came from a lot of different sources. We found 2013 a lot harder and we probably had half the amount of gigs. We’ve been more like in a lot of the promotion side of things, getting the marketing better and getting out of the way to try and get more work really.
Brad: Right. Okay. So going back in 2012, what do you think it was that got you those hundred shows? What were you doing that was bringing that number of gigs in?
Andy: It was a couple of things really. We both know a lot of musicians. A guy I know sort of passed on a lot of his inquiries when he was already booked. We got quite a few things from that. We got a few things from agencies. Another thing we were doing was running the Adwords campaign which was a big thing in terms of getting gigs.
Brad: That was happening in 2012 as well, wasn’t it?
Andy: It was, yeah.
Brad: Ah, right. Okay. Interesting. Yeah. Sorry. Go on. Yeah.
Andy: Adwords definitely was probably a big, big percentage of that.
Brad: Do you know what kind of percentage?
Andy: I’ve not really looked, but I’m guessing … Off the top of my head, I reckon it must have been 60% …
Brad: Really? That much?
Andy: … of the work was probably coming from Adwords, yeah. Then other 40% is sort of a mixture of things where we’ve done public gigs, referrals from, as I say, other musicians, and then a few things from agencies. Around that … I couldn’t say exactly without looking through. I reckon probably around 60%.
Brad: Did you teach yourself Adwords? Did you just get on there and persevere with it? What was your journey there?
Andy: When we first started, we did it ourselves and Billy ran the majority of it. But what we realized is that we’re not … We’re musicians and we’re not sort of IT geeks that … It’s not our field, so in the end, we basically got someone to take over for us and run it for us.
Brad: Right. Okay. How far into your working with Adwords did you decide to outsource it?
Andy: I don’t know.
Billy: We ran it ourselves for maybe six months, maybe six, nine months … or maybe six months, but before 2012. I think maybe north of end of 2011 to maybe early 2012, we got someone to take over for us.
Brad: Okay. How did you decide who was going to take … Were you approached by a company, or did you just decide, “You know what? I just don’t want to deal with this anymore. I’m going to get it outsourced.” How did that come about?
Andy: We were actually approached. Someone gave us a phone call and then … Someone gave Billy a phone call actually. Then, he sort of found me and we discussed it and we felt, “You know what? This seems like a really good idea,” because, obviously, you’re running a band. You’ve got a lot of things to manage without that. You can’t do everything. Sometimes, you’ve got to outsource things, I think.
Brad: Yeah. No, absolutely. You’re right. How did you … Okay, a lot of people have been in the same situation as you. They’ve been doing well for a while. Then, all of a sudden, things kind of semi fall off a cliff. You’re sitting there, scratching your head, going, “What’s going on? Where’s everyone gone?” That happened to you a little bit last year in the sense that you just alluded to fact that you’re about 50% down on 2012. What do you think caused that, firstly?
Andy: Well, I think … the unique thing which I couldn’t believe after speaking to venues and brides. A lot of people didn’t want to get married in 2013. It’s the superstitious thing, I think.
We’re still in the recession, but the big thing was people just didn’t want to seem to get married in 2013, which is why I was … I was quite surprised by that after speaking to a few venues. They’re also saying their numbers were down, the amount of weddings they were doing and … So I think that was a big part of it along with maybe the recession.
I mean we were fortunate enough at the beginning of the year. We did a couple of cruises which helped us out a little bit, really, which is not something we normally do. But obviously, when the work is tight, you’ll take anything you’re offered, really. That’s the only … I don’t know what you think, Bill. I’m astonished. I can think of really … That was the main feedback we got, isn’t it?
Andy: People just didn’t want …
Billy: Yeah. I mean, really …
Brad: It didn’t coincide with you outsourcing your Adwords in any way or somebody else? What I’m kinda getting at is the idea that somebody might have been managing your campaign and then things maybe weren’t quite within your control and you didn’t realize that until a little bit late maybe.
Andy: Well, no, because it was before it was … Well, no, I don’t think it was. I mean, obviously people do … you could look at it, yeah, maybe, because we started the Adwords campaign in 2012. Obviously, a lot of bookings you get are a year in advance.
I don’t think it was. I think the level of inquiries weren’t coming through. Whereas when we look at it now, we still got the same people running the Adwords campaign. Our inquiries have gone through the roof for 2014 and 2015. I don’t think it has anything to do with that. If anything, because Billy talks a lot to the company and they discuss a lot more. You’re more aware of what’s happening with it, I think.
Brad: Right. How do you know? Do they report to you? How do you manage them?
Andy: We do get a sort of a report, and then Billy calls them every month.
Billy: I mean I speak to the consultant that’s assigned to our account and she guides us through some of the changes that they’ve been making to our account in terms of right search keywords …
Andy: Mix of keywords.
Billy: Yeah, mix of keywords. They show words to be avoided in your … with your search words.
Brad: Do you know what you’re spending on a monthly basis on Adwords, on the actual … not for the consultancy, please, but what you’re actually spending on clicks?
Andy: That’s about 15 pounds a day, isn’t it?
Brad: Okay, so it’s a pretty healthy spend then, yeah.
Brad: Okay. Do you know what kind of return on that amount of money you’re going to get? Do you have a clear idea now about the number of gigs that you’re going to bring in and at what kind of fees on a monthly basis now off the back of what you spend on Adwords?
Billy: I need to check.
Brad: You need to check the kind of numbers? No, that’s fine. I’m just interested to know the level of …
Andy: I mean one of the things I can say is it definitely pays for itself. Do you know what I mean? It’s a.. To a certain thing I suppose we’d be lost without it, really. We don’t know what the exact percentage is. All that we know clicks per … how many confirmed bookings we’re getting per click. Well, I’ll look into that. It certainly pays for itself.
Brad: Okay, so you’re big fans of it, evidently. It’s …
Andy: Oh, yeah.
Brad: … been a major part of your growth in terms of gig numbers, by the looks of things.
Andy: Yeah. I think … The thing is that whenever people are looking for them, the first thing they do is go on a laptop, isn’t it? They’re going to go on the web and look for whatever it is they’re interested in. If you’re coming up on the first page it’s going to boost your inquiries, I think, really. We use it … We get the inquiries because we use that within also … We use our public gigs as well.
We invite the clients down to there so they’re not just kind of booking blind, if you like. They’ve heard about us but then they actually get the opportunity to come and see us at a public gig. And generally that will seal the deal for us. They’ll come and have a listen live over here, and then they’ll book. We used the two, really. You know, to try and promote it really and get the booking sort of thing.
Brad: Okay. You’re going out, because I know you play like a venue in Kent, is it?
Brad: Yeah, in Kent, which is in southern UK for anybody that’s not in the UK. Presumably, you’re getting less than you would otherwise ideally want to get, but evidently, what you’re smart about is actually you’re almost using that as a bit of a loss leader. It’s almost like a paid showcase for you, really, isn’t it?
Andy: Yeah. That’s exactly what it is. We don’t come away with a big wad of cash in our hands. What we do come away with is we make sure that when we do those gigs is we invite a lot of clients down. You can guarantee each time we play, which is once every few months, we make sure we’re try and invite at least friends of clients down to try and get the bookings in. It always works for us, so …
Brad: Okay, so you give us some numbers there then. You’ve got about 20 … You try and ask about 20. Is that the number of potential piece of … potential bookings. You ask them all to come down.
Brad: How many might end up coming down?
Andy: To be honest, you probably got 75% who will come down. If they weren’t able to make it, they’ll generally ask when the next one is. It definitely works. Yes.
Brad: It’s something to talk about, isn’t it?
Brad: It shows the fact that you’re living and breathing and you’re doing this?
Andy: Yeah. I think if you have … The thing is if you book a band over the Internet. You don’t really know that you’re getting, do you? Until you’ve sort of tried and tested and see what the reaction is, I think it puts people’s minds at ease, really, by seeing you. One of the things which is good for us, at that venue, we always get the people up dancing so they … In their mind, they’re sort of watching you play.
“Actually, yeah, this is I what for my wedding. I want people to dance and I want people to have a good time.” It just works for us, really. As you say, yeah, you could look at it as a bit of a loss leader, but it brings in a lot of work.
Brad: Absolutely. Well, that’s what I’m saying. It’s almost like the supermarkets in the UK. We’re selling CDs for almost a loss, but it was bringing people and they were buying groceries off the back of that. It works. I mean, I found, with my bands, what happens is you’ll invite people down to a similar type of public show.
But they wouldn’t be able … in many respects, they wouldn’t be able to find the time in their busy diaries to actually find the time to come to the show on that particular day, particularly if you’ve only got one option a month, for example, for them to come and see it.
You try and go through two months. By the end of it, they go, “What the hell. Let’s just book anyway.” (Laughter) Because you’re in that conversation. You’re using that to build a relationship with them. It’s real. They can go on to the website of the venue. They’ll see the band name on there.
You’re then having that conversation with them. They become a hot prospect for you because they’ve shown this interest and intent to go and see you. I think it all works towards actually getting that booking without almost them even going and seeing you play live.
Billy: The other thing is that … You know if a client, if your band was recommended to them. They’ll try to get a date to come and see you. They’ll try to make one of your public dates and then they.. “oh, it can’t be this date”, “I can’t do that date”. If it’s a recommendation from a friend of theirs that booked us or from a venue we played in or blah, blah, blah, then that’s even stronger, you know. That might be an even stronger booking.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah., because there’s that social proof there in that sense, isn’t it, from the referral. Okay, so you’ve now got … You’re now in a situation where you found your gig numbers down in 2013, and you’re thinking, “Wow, we’ve got to up this.” What are the two or three key things that you’re doing? Obviously, you’re still pushing ahead, forging ahead on the Adwords. Have you decided … Just on the Adwords before we move on… Have you decided to spend more money on that?
Andy: We’ll no. We’re keeping it as it is at the minute because the level of enquiries is back to.. it’s kind of.. It’s good. I mean, one of the things we did at the beginning of 2013, like I mentioned earlier, we did a cruise. The interesting thing was, after speaking to the agency. It was just a general chat with them and just kind of seeing what other potential bits were there. They were saying one that of the things that people do now is they’re not wanting to book any bands through their agency unless they’ve got an actual video. So for us, our next step, which we’re getting done, I think it’s booked, isn’t it? We’re getting a video done early April. That’s something we really want to push because I think …
Brad: Hang on. Sorry to interrupt. That means that you’ve got those hundred gigs in 2012 …?
Brad: … without a video?
Andy: Without a video, yeah.
Brad: (Laughs) So you were doing Google Adwords primarily as well as oversee the other referrals and what have you, and you were still bringing in a hundred shows a year without a video. That was at the time when everybody else has got … pretty much got videos.
Brad: Wow. Okay. Sorry. Go on. I think that’s amazing, really.
Andy: Yeah, we’re just looking now is to try and get a bit more up to date with things. I think it’s like anything. If you want to push something, you’ve got to spend a little bit of money on this. There’s no point doing it cheaply because that’s just going to send out completely a wrong idea about what we’re selling.
You know. You’re going to get a decent video down once you push that on the website and then also give that video to some of the agencies we’re with and just basically rebrand it, if you like, just try and push it even further, just … That’s the idea.
Brad: Okay. Can I ask you what budget have you earmarked for the video, roughly?
Billy: We’re roughly …
Brad: Is Billy the money man?
Andy: No. Not really, but we sort of discussed it and he’s dealing with the videography. I don’t know what the final fee was.
Male: I think we’re looking at about six – seven hundred pounds something.
Brad: Okay. What are you going to get for that?
Billy: We’re basically doing a medley of three songs, and so for the video, a medley of three tunes and then maybe some …
Andy: There’s probably some bits of us talking about the band.
Billy: Some snippets of us maybe talking to them about the band and what we do and what’s really … what Soul Avenue is all about. Yeah, it’s not a very long video, just a showcase of …
Andy: Yeah. Three minutes, I think.
Brad: Okay, so you have about three minutes, three to four tracks?
Andy: It doesn’t include the venue hiring or anything like that. It’s …
Brad: Okay. Right. So this is literally for the actual audiovisual?
Brad: Right, and what’s the process that you’re going to go through? Are you going to record the tracks and then play the track or are you going to do it live and then mix it? How are you going to do it?
Billy: We’re going to play some tracks. We’re going to actually play along to a medley that’s already been edited.
Brad: Is that a medley from tracks that you’ve got previously from your…?
Brad: Okay. Right. So you’re not recording or re-recording any of that then?
Billy: No. Then we’re going to play along with the tracks and then … Yeah. We’ve got a nice video company that was recommended to us. We’ve seen some of the … some sample videos. They’re quite young guys. They’re sort of fresh, modern…
Andy: And good ideas.
Billy: Yeah. I think they could do a really nice production, of course.
Brad: Okay. Finding these guys to do the production for you …
Brad: Did you go purely on word-of-mouth recommendation for that or did you search around online a little bit? How did you approach that?
Andy: We had a look online and we got few [inaudible 00:23:17] from different places. But then, someone Billy knows is a musician, had some really good videos done. We looked at them and … these are very good. That’s how we got this guy, got in touch with this guy.
Then we looked at some of the other music videos that he had done. We just don’t know a way better than anything we’d seen online. Again, it’s what you can produce really. That’s what made us go with him as opposed to anyone else. We just liked the look of the video he’s producing, so …
Brad: Okay. Did you come up with the idea and the concept that you just went through, or did that come from him as well?
Andy: Well, it’s really from us, isn’t it?
Billy: Yeah. Absolutely.
Billy: I think it was to keep, sort of, your budget down and you spend more on … To a company that give it, you know, do a really nice production and they have a really nice finish for that, but keeping us on the technical things, the technical side of it to … then make it simple as possible, you know.
Brad: Okay, so you’re going to spend about five, six hundred pounds on the actual audiovisual. Then where will you go for … How are you thinking about sourcing the venue? What are you going to do there?
Billy: We’ve got a few options, so we haven’t completely decided that yet. There are a few options. There’s a studio we’ve seen which was really nice. There’s also a local school that actually has some really nice places that we might use as well. They also have some rooms that are nice as well. They also got this some kind of studio rooms, too. So yeah …
Brad: Will you bring your lighting into that or depending on what you find?
Andy: We will (coughs). Because they say it’s quite a plush private school. They’ve got, the lighting there they say was incredible, so we’ll bring some of our own, but probably use a lot of those as well.
Brad: Do you know what they’re charging? I just want to give everybody a bit of an idea of what kind of numbers they should be thinking about.
Andy: We’re still getting the fees back from video guy, because he’s an ex-student of the school. We’re getting a discounted rate which helps.
Brad: Okay, so you’ve got connection with the school somehow?
Andy: Yeah, with the video. The guy doing the video has. Yeah.
Brad: Okay, so he’s the one that’s gone, “Okay, I’ve got this in my network. I could see if I …”
Brad: Okay. Right. So now, you bring old building, bringing that small team together and you’re drawing upon his network.
Andy: That’s right. Yeah.
Brad: Okay. Great. Great. Okay. So then, once you’re done on that video, you then … Okay, so then you’re going to get it nicely edited down. You’ve got a three-minute promo. What then for the website? Are you going to change the website entirely or are you just going to stick with things as they are at the moment and just toss it up a little bit so to speak?
Andy: Yeah. I think we’re going to toss it up… We’re going to use the video as a big part of the website, but also, we’re going to get some new photos on there and just try to revamp it a little bit, just …
Billy: I think we’ve got to get the … get a nice style with the colors, so there’s some general colors from the video in places that we … try and stick with the theme so there’s a nice style with the website.
Brad: Are you going to get these photos, images done professionally at the shoot or separately? How are you going to go about getting the images?
Billy: We might do some photos on the day maybe when we do the shoot.
Brad: Who would do that? Have you earmarked the photographer? Are you going to get it done..?
Andy: No, there’s a photographer I use that has done a lot of photos for me. Again, he’s local so I’d use him. Yeah.
Brad: Okay, so you’re going to leverage and try and get everything done on that same day when you got the band down there.
Andy: Yeah. I mean I always think … Obviously, that’s the idea. But you can’t guarantee that you’re going to get the shots that you want. We’ll see what comes out of it. If it’s not quite … If some of the photos are not quite for us, we’ll get some done elsewhere. The sort of priority is the video on that day.
Andy: If you can get some great photos out of it, brilliant. But if not, we’ll got some more done.
Billy: I suppose when you have the band together, you want to make the most of it as well.
Brad: Yeah. I was going to say so. Your band is contracted to you on a show-by-show basis effectively, is it?
Brad: Right. Are you paying then to come down for the video shoot or they see that as a bit speculative?
Andy: Yeah. That’s right. We’re not paying them. They’re coming down. I mean they see it as a promotion for them as well because, obviously, they can use that video for their own … for themselves, I think. That’s there if you want it. I think they’re sort of … They’ve been with us for a number of years now. They can see why we’re doing it. They know it’s going to bring more work in.
Billy: They know they’ll be getting more work.
Andy: Yeah. They know the story. They own the video. They get the first call in every gig, so I think we’re lucky in that respect, you know. They can see the bigger picture.
Brad: Yeah. Well, it sounds as though you’ve deserved their commitment in that sense, doesn’t it?
Brad: Okay. How active are you guys on the whole social media side of things? Have you found that to be of value? Are you active? Are you not?
Billy: We’re not as active as I would like us to be. I mean we do have a Twitter and a Facebook page. I mean we … From the website, we have a … from our own … On the band website, there’s a blog which we try to update as regularly as we can. That’s the feed which goes on to Twitter, I believe.
Brad: Right. A blog. Okay, so you’ve got a blog on your website, and then when you’re posting something up on there, it posts a link to your Twitter account?
Billy: But I think we really wanted to get the video done, update the website, get it posted, have a new fresh look, with a fresh appeal. I think then we’ll really hit the social media and try and do our best. We’ll be as active as we can on there.
Brad: Right. Okay. I mean it’s amazing though. Everyone is running around saying you’ve got to be on social media. You’ve got to be on social media. In the meantime, you guys are getting 50 shows in a bad year without being hugely active on it.
Andy: Yeah. I mean it’s … It sounds pretty different, doesn’t it?
Brad: No. Yeah. Sorry. It’s a Brad back-handed compliment there. (Laughter) I’m not that great at giving compliments. You can ask my wife about that. But yeah, I think there’s this … I see there’s this preoccupation that everybody has this overwhelming pressure to be on social media.
My feeling on it is, yeah, be on it, but if you’re dealing with a wedding market or a one-off private party event, they’re quite a transient crowd, so they’re coming through your Facebook page or coming through your Twitter account. You’re not really actually building a community …
Brad: … because they’re all transient. The bride and groom move on to babies within six months of their wedding. The last thing they’re thinking about is the wedding. I think it works if you’re trying to build relationships with the industry, event planners and agents and that type of thing. It’s a strategic approach is how I …
Billy: Yeah, a venue, yeah, coordinators or … wedding coordinators maybe.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think that’s where it tends to work best. I think one does need a bit of strategic approach, the whole social media thing. Okay. That’s good. So what else have you got planned for the website or any kind of other marketing stuff. I mean there’s a lot to be getting. I know what it’s like. Putting a promo video together can be all-consuming, can’t it?
Billy: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I mean I think it’s just one step at a time for us. So video’s next. We’re going to try and do both on the same time. Then, we’re going to look at what we can do with the website. I think we’re not really thinking too much about the website yet. I think we just want to concentrate on the video and process first. I think we wanted to do some studio shots as well as maybe trying to get some live shots.
Brad: Right. Okay.
Andy: I think, as you see, obviously, we are getting the video done. Great. Which is what we’re doing. But there’s always other things that we’re sort of doing in the background. We’re doing the public gigs. We attend a few wedding fairs where either myself or Billy will be out with a stall giving people flyers telling people information about the band, which is another sort of way that we bring a few gigs in.
Brad: For anybody that hasn’t done wedding fairs before, what can they expect in terms of on the day and then actually kind of getting some bookings off the back of it? Because there seems to be a lot of misinformation around about wedding fairs.
Andy: My view on it, was I don’t sort of attend them thinking I’m going to get bookings on the day. That’s not what I’m out to do. What my plan is, is just to start … Obviously, you talk to the bride and groom. You let them about that public gig that you’re doing. I’m not expecting them to fill out a form and go, “Yeah, we’ll have your band that we’ve never seen and we’ve never heard. Here’s some money.” Great.
I don’t expect people to do that, but what you can do is invite them to that public gig and tell them exactly when it is. Tell them when we’re playing, what we’re going to be playing, and why they should come down. Sell it as much as you can, but without trying to be pushy. As much you do get people booking on at the actual wedding fair, I think it’s better if you can just actually invite them down so they get you hear you. That’s my idea on when I attend.
Brad: Yeah. In other words, you wouldn’t ask them to sleep with you on the first date kind of thing.
Andy: Well, I hope you’re not.
Andy: (Laughs) Well basically not…
Brad: Well, it’s true. It’s the relationship building thing. I think anybody that expects … You’re going to get slapped on the face if you ask the question too early. It’s the same in any kind of sales type of situation. I think what was great about your approach there is the fact that you’re leading them to the next step.
My understanding of … I mean I don’t do wedding fairs with any of my bands, to be honest, and that’s for no other reason apart from the fact that we’ve got a whole bunch of other things going on. But I think where people fall down with wedding fairs is they don’t have a system to follow up the prospects that they meet at the wedding fair after the wedding fair.
If you think about … everybody’s carrying … All these brides and grooms are carrying these carry-all bags around full of flyers. Then they meant to get home and then remember you as that one supply that they’ve got to go and call the next day. It’s just not going to happen. The fact that you’ve given them something more to think about, other than just grabbing into their carry-all bag for that flyer …
Andy: Yeah. I mean I think the important thing as well is you try and get their contact details because …
Brad: Absolutely. Yeah.
Andy: Once you’ve done that, even if they’ve forgotten that date that you set with your client or where the venue is or even what’s the band is called, at least you can push it a bit further and just say, look … just remind them, “This is where the Soul Avenue are playing… you know.”
Brad: Will you do that? You’ll get everybody’s contact details where possible that you speak to. You’ll then follow them up once or twice off the wedding fair, would you, or …?
Andy: Well, actually, I’ll email the day after the wedding fair so it’s in their mind. Let them know when that public date is. Then, a couple of days before the day, just do it all again, just to remind … One of the ways I’d do it is … Because the venue we play at, they charge to get in. A few days before, I’ll email people and ask them if they.. kind of say, “Look, if you could let me know if you’ll come. I’ll put you on the guest list so you don’t have to pay to go in.” Then you can gauge how many people are going to turn up on that public gig because it’s quite nice to know, isn’t it?
Brad: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s a similar thing to what we do. We actually call it VIP guest list. It just actually stands out a little bit more than just saying, “Here’s the guest list.” It’s debatable what VIP means, but as far as we’re concerned, they are a very important person because they’re a potential customer for us.
Yes. I think that’s another way, almost, of just giving it another … a spin which sounds more valuable than just turning up to watch the band that they might book for their wedding day. Okay, so you’re following up once or twice. Is that what you do when you bring in, when you get a quote … when you send off a quote?
Brad: You get an inquiry and a lead and you send your quote off.
Brad: Have you got a system for following up after that?
Andy: Yeah. I mean I’ll send the … What I can say is as soon as you get the inquiry in and try to deal with the inquiry within 24 hours, so you’re not it leaving a few days. You’ve got it done straightaway so that already, hopefully, they can see that we’re kind of on a cause, you know.
I think, some clients, they worry about bands whether they’re going to be too late back. If you’re not getting back to them straight away, they already thinking, “I don’t know about these guys.” Once I’ve done that initial thing with the client and everything, what I tend to do is I’d leave it a couple of weeks. Then if they’ve left a phone number, I’d give them a call to find out what any other information. If they’ve not left a phone number, I’ll just email them back.
Brad: Okay. Pretty much you’ve got a system there for following up.
Andy: Yes. Two weeks.
Brad: Yeah. Right. That’s fantastic because I think that, in itself, sets you apart from probably 95% of your competition, because most people don’t do that. They just do not follow up. They almost feel as though, “Oh, I’ll send a quote off. If they’re not interested, then they won’t get back to me.”
Andy: Yeah. It’s quite a narrow-minded view though, isn’t it?
Brad: Tell me about it. Yeah. Absolutely. I think we’ve got it spot on in that sense. I mean the amount of times that we will follow up every single quote with just checking you’ve received it and 40% of people will come back going, “No, I didn’t.”
It will either be in the spam folder or it would have just gotten lost somewhere along the line or they haven’t had the chance to look at it yet. It got lost in all those emails that are in their inbox from a million other wedding suppliers. It’s about trying to pick out … You try to stand out amongst all of those. It’s difficult and it’s amazing how many do get lost. Your strategy is kind of bang on in that sense, so that’s great.
Andy: Yeah. I think something you said a minute ago about bands don’t follow up. We’ll the thing is if you don’t follow up or … You know, how can you expect there to have a busy diary. I mean, they don’t necessarily know you at all from out there. They’ve only seen something on the Internet. And if you’re not chasing it. That client wants to know you’re organized and you communicate well with them. They want to know that you’ll produce the goods on that day. I think if you should show that, yeah, you’re quite keen and eager and you want to play at their wedding. It’s like … I don’t know.
Billy: Just being reliable, isn’t it?
Andy: Yeah. I think it’s important to push it. In any business, you’ve got to push it, or else, it’s not going to happen.
Brad: Which … You’re wasting your money.
Brad: Well, for you, guys, I would imagine, acutely aware of the fact that you’re spending 15 pounds a day on clicks and you want to get as much return on that as you possibly can.
Andy: Yeah. I mean it’s … You’ve got to think about it. Otherwise, you will end up in the negative and really slow …
Brad: Do you have any idea what your conversion rate is, your conversion rate from the number of leads and inquiries coming in to how many books do you get?
Billy: I need to check the … I’m not sure. I need to check the statistics rating.
Brad: Right. Okay. No, that’s cool. Listen, guys, that is a real high note for me. It’s music to my ears to hear bands following up in that way because it’s so rare in many respects and it’s such a powerful … It’s almost like it cost you nothing probably at the time. But yeah, everybody is out there pouring money, potentially pouring money into getting more leads, but then not following them up.
Andy: Yeah. What’s the point? (Laughing)
Brad: Yeah. So it just doesn’t make any sense. You might as well half the number of leads, follow them up. You’re kind of quits in in that sense. Is there anything that you guys kind of … You’re really experienced, you guys. Is there anything you have learned along the way that you wished you even knew five years ago?
Andy: Yeah. I think … I don’t about Billy, but the biggest thing for me was running a reliable staff. If I look back, well, longer than five years ago, really, because the band we’ve got is really stable. It’s been stable for probably eight years if not more.
In the early days, we were … we had some great vocals. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, but the reliability … just being late, blah, blah, blah, which … When you’re starting something out, you have to learn all these things to … I think to avoid it. You’ve got to experience it to realize it isn’t working. I think that’s the biggest thing for me is having reliable staff, having people that you can depend on, that you know are not going to let you down. I think …
Billy: We had a few very stressful moments in the early days. When we have a [inaudible 44:04] musicians for various reasons. Some set musicians were really, really unreliable. I think, now, we know the signs straight away, I mean… There are people that haven’t learned the songs or they said that they know the set really well.
We have a load of soul tunes in a set and the singer would say something like, “Oh, yeah, I really know a lot of the songs. I know the soul stuff,” and really haven’t play much soul at all. These people let us down close to a wedding day or …
Andy: Yeah. It’s not only things like that. It’s also the other side of things. It’s quite important to me is the fact that their appearance is sharp. Don’t turn up in a spot with those shoes not been polished and the shirts not been ironed because it doesn’t set a good example, does it?
People are going to turn up looking like we mean business because … I think if you look amiss, that client could potentially … They could already start thinking, “I don’t know what’s going on here.” You’ve got to look sharp, look tidy, look presentable, things like that, really. Don’t turn up in a pair of chinos because you’re at someone’s function. You don’t leave leads lying around. Make sure everything’s tidy, stage looks good. The whole …
Billy: The whole impression is really important.
Andy: It’s key.
Brad: Yeah, and that makes you … I always say that … because a lot of people think, “Well, I’m at the gig. What do I need to bother for?” It’s like, “I’ve got already.” No, that stuff is the stuff that makes you referable.
Brad: That’s the stuff that people notice on the day and they talk about that stuff because you’re going to do a share of performance. You know that. Everything else matters even more. That’s the bit that your client will go, “You made it absolutely effortless for us to have you there. Brilliant. I’m going to shout from the rooftops about how great you are.”
Andy: One of the things I like is if … Say for example, the evening entertainment is in a different room where they’re having their meal or whatever. People walk in that room where you’ve already set up. The light looks good and everything looks sharp. It’s the wow factor, isn’t it? People … “Wow it didn’t look like this earlier. It’s amazing. We’re going to have a good time tonight” It’s kind of…
Brad: Yeah. It shows a transformation.
Andy: Yeah. That does amaze people.
Brad: Yeah, and it’s not that hard to do, is it?
Brad: It’s just being about on it?
Billy: The little things, the little details.
Brad: Yeah, absolutely. Well, listen, guys, on that note, I am gonna have to end. It’s 45 minutes. It’s my strict timing. Listen, thank you, Billy and Andy, for some really brilliant stuff in there. Maybe we’ll have you back again in a few months’ time to see how your experiences of the video and how things went there and what effect that’s having on the number of bookings. I look forward to catching up with you again soon.
Andy: See you, Brad.
Brad: Thanks, guys. Talk to you later.