5 Budget Marketing Strategies For The Self Employed

Paul Glesson Rua

There is plenty written about digital marketing techniques for large corporations with millions to spend on digital campaigns. It’s important to remember that digital marketing can be used at all levels.

I caught up with Magician and Illusionist Rua (Paul Glesson) to find out how he stays ahead of the compe

Here are his top 5 strategies for marketing as a self employed performer.


My first and most obvious point is also the most important. Having a professional looking website that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate is absolutely crucial to anybody who has a service to offer, whether it’s Photography, Videography, Juggling, Comedy or Magic etc.. A slick up-to-date website that is rich in high quality content is the key to setting yourself apart from your competitors, and in my opinion, it’s half the battle.

Nowadays, most websites will have the Social Media Icons built in so that visitors to your site are encouraged to share it via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn. The bottom line is that if you want to make a living through selling your skill set, you need to be ‘discoverable’, and in order to do that, you need a website. In terms of usability, it’s also wise to have some unobtrusive calls to action strategically placed around your site to get in touch.

Blog Posts

Following on from the first point, one of the best marketing strategies that I use is having a Blog built into my website. Through this I can openly write about the areas of Deception that interest me the most, whether it’s stories about historical performers, some behind the scenes details about my TV series, Fitness régimes that I follow or Tips on hiring Magicians in Ireland.

This fills my website with quality, informative content, laced with high quality images, that people seem to enjoy reading and sharing on Facebook and Twitter, and because it’s built into my website (as opposed to say, a Tumblr blog), visitors are encouraged to have a look around the site, which is littered with calls to action inviting potential customers to get in touch about hiring me for their next event.

Not only that, but it keeps my website regularly updated with fresh new content, and it also helps me to rank for various keyword searches on Google. I like Blog posts that aren’t spammy, because it’s a great way to market yourself to customers without having to be too ‘In your face’ about it.

SEO Research

If you ask me, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is kind of the mythical beast of the online Marketing world. ‘Mythical’ because everybody has their own take on how to efficiently optimise a website through the use of SEO but sometimes, it feels like nobody really has a clue and they’re just making most of it up! And ‘Beast’ because it can turn on you in a heartbeat if you use it incorrectly and end up Sandboxed by Google with more Penalties than a World Cup Tournament!

When I first started my website, I thought I had a fair understanding of how SEO works – I managed to get my site ranked number 1 and number 2 on Google in record time, and it stayed there for months…until one day, I was banished to page 2 of the Google search results! Why? Because Google had changed their algorithms and lambasted my now Keyword-stuffed website with penalties!

Nowadays, I try to stay on top of the new SEO techniques that are all above board, to help my site stay optimised, without upsetting Google or it’s algorithm updates. If you can harness the power of SEO, you’re onto a winner.

Goodgle AdWords Campaigns

Just this year I’ve began working with Google’s advertising system ‘AdWords’. It’s had it’s ups and downs, but it’s definitely netted me some nice returns on my monthly investments. In terms of marketing in my industry, all of the top level competitors use AdWords, so it feels like a must for me in order to stay in the fight. It works well because your potential customers are out there searching for you, and if you’re doing it right, your website should pop right up in front of them when that time comes.

I will say that it’s important to try to learn as much as you can about Adwords before investing any money into it, as it’s extremely complicated, and after sharing multiple phone calls with different members of the Google Adwords team who have each given me starkly different advice on my advertising campaign, I can tell you that it’s very much a double-edged sword – it can cut both ways. That said, it will work wonders for you if you know what you’re doing!

Face to Face Networking

Finally, I’m a huge proponent of just getting out there and networking as much as possible. Put some money into some impressive business cards, invest in a sharp professional looking suit and work on your Elevator Pitch so that you can deliver it naturally without sounding like too much of an idiot (I highly recommend a book called ‘How to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded’ for some help with this!).

You have to keep in mind that there’s an entire generation of potential customers out there who aren’t as internet savvy as the rest of us, but could still use your services, and so a hand shake and a smile will go along way with those people. For me, as a Magician, I can walk into any room and instantly impress a group of people straight off the bat. Now, I’m not suggesting that everybody learn a few quick tricks, but liken that example to how you carry yourself, how you introduce and pitch yourself to a group of potential clients.

For every person you meet, they might not need your services, but there’s a good chance somebody they know will some day, so do whatever it takes to get them interested enough to take your business card and keep it in their wallets. Make a list of upcoming events in your area that are free to attend, and get out there and start networking! As Steve Martin famously said – ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you’

Rua (Paul Gleeson) is the star of TG4’s ten-part magic, mind reading and Escapology TV series ‘Draíocht’. He co-curated Science Gallery Dublin’s ILLUSION exhibition in 2013, and also had a sellout 4 star show in the Dublin Fringe Festival. A student of magic history and the psychology of illusions, he is regularly hired to perform and speak for companies and Universities across Ireland.  Rua currently makes a living performing Close-up magic at Weddings, Corporate Events and Private parties across Ireland, Europe and US.