Episode #195 – Joel Ray On The Magic Of Direct Marketing Fundamentals

by John McIntyre

Joel began to wonder early in his life…

…what separates people who make a living doing magic and those who do not?

They work more.


His father was not as enthusiastic and ordered Joel to get an education.

“If you’re going to be a bum, at least be an educated bum.”

What was the answer to fulfilling his goal of turning pro?


From an excellent professor in his college marketing classes to the works of Dan Kennedy…

…Joel accumulated marketing knowledge and savvy and took the most important step…

He put it into action.

Soon he was performing often for birthday parties.

Then preschools.

Summer camps.

He even sold Santa Claus.

Sit back and listen.

Joel’s been making a living using classic direct marketing techniques for a long time.

A return to fundamentals is always like re-reading a good book.

Sometimes you lose your way with all the newfangled media.

He drops some excellent knowledge in this episode.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • The number one method Joel uses to go into the many markets he works. (Is your small business using this?)
  • The allied arts to magic are many (ventriloquism, mentalism, pick-pocketing etc.). Do you know THESE allied marketing arts?
  • The way Joel stands out from other magicians when he enters a market and how you should do the same.
  • Joel’s honest, “no bull crap” advice about testimonials and social proof.
  • Clear and straightforward practical psychology of attracting work to you.

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 195


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

David Allan: Hey, everybody – we’re back again for
another edition of the podcast I am David Allan and today we have a very interesting guest is personal friend of mine who I have become closer here in the last couple months because I’m in New Orleans visiting and I have another magician friend of mine
works in an entirely different venue – in fact several venues and he does a lot of marketing. His marketing skills go back
decades and so I would like to welcome Joel Ray to the show, how are you?

Joel Ray: I’m fine and I like how you worked in that I’m an old guy and my marketing skills go back many decades or as the
director of my TV show used to tell his parents – not his parents his daughters, just to say that Joel is as old as dinosaur dung.

David Allan: Well your social insurance number was like three

Joel Ray: Yeah but that’s our little secret Dave thank you for telling everybody and ruining it.

David Allan: Now take us back because you’re a full time magician that’s what you do this for a living here…

Joel Ray: Right, yeah I don’t have a real job…

David Allan: Yeah you don’t have like another day job

Joel Ray: Right people ask me that what’s your day
job? I go this is my day job, my night job, my all the time job…

yeah so take us back to

the beginning of all this how did you

get into magic and then how did you you

know transition into the venues that

you’re in now okay I’ll make it short

and how I got into magic because this is

a marketing podcast sir I’ll get heavily

into the marketing really quick briefly

how I got into magic is a cliche thing

like most people I got interested as a

kid I was six years old

I got interested in magic at six so I

guess I was maybe six and a half at that

time you know I was in my sixth year and

for my eighth birthday I got a magic set

and I’ve been doing it ever since so 10

years now 10 years so that’s a joke you

folks can’t see me but I’m well over I’m

well over 18 I that’s a joke yeah I got

into magic I got a magic sense when I

was 8 and I’m doing it

use them your ways that the first in

seven years your life yeah thank you

thank you thank you know I’m 60 years

old so that’s why when people see me

they get the joke absurd said the sort

of a visual component of that joke but

the important thing from a marketing

standpoint is that I wanted to be a

magician for a living when I was say

about 14 is when it really hit me and I

was uh well really even earlier than

that in junior high but I would say

somewhere in high school I really wanted

to be a magician for a living and I’m

thinking to myself how can you do that

and I realized the difference between

somebody who makes a living as a

magician and somebody who doesn’t is

they work more right and usually the

overhead isn’t much because you can be a

professional magician out of your house

or your apartment in other words you

don’t need a separate office or a

warehouse so the overhead isn’t what

kills you it’s you don’t get enough work

you don’t have enough revenue coming in

so then I just sat down and thought

about it almost commonsensical II I said

to myself well how do you get work and I

just at that level I knew I wasn’t gonna

get an agent or anything and also I grew

up in Louisiana so they weren’t big-time

theatrical agents I realized it would be

up to me so how do you get work and then

I realized well through marketing at

first I did just advertising but then I

learned about marketing as an entire

concept not just advertising a publicity

PR all aspects of promoting yourself and

so I studied marketing on my own mostly

now my dad made me go to college I

wanted to become a professional magician

right out of high school and that would

have probably not been my best move you

know he had the greater maturity of get

a good education my dad used to tell

people you can be a bum if you want to

be but you’re gonna be educated right so

I tell people that’s what I became an

educated bum but bless you for laughing

at the jokes Dave thank you

so then what I got interested in magic

um excuse me in marketing say both M

words magic in marketing I was already

instituted magic and I got interested in

marketing and I got really serious about

it a little in high school but in

college and got really serious about it

I took some marketing classes and I had

a wonderful marketing professor in

particular that opened up some doors for

me and mentally doors and then whatever

I really learned marketing and probably

like most of the people listening to us

right now is self-study right you know

reading everything I get my hands on I

go back to when also when you got

courses in marketing they were on

cassettes I said right and I always had

a manual and audio cassettes they can’t

wear those foam like foaming past I like

things that clip together absolutely

going way back yes and and I’ve read all

of the the major marketing minds that

I’m sure you know everybody listening

has I guess Dan Kennedy everybody is a

disciple of Dan Kennedy’s and we always

show we’ve said in the past and many

people say elsewhere that all roads lead

to Dan Kennedy yes that’s that that says

it very well because for instance Dave D

has taught a lot of people but he

learned through Dan and has been other

marketers who’ve learned through Dan but

I read everybody uh you and I had dinner

tonight we’re talking about a recent

trout dinner right also that’s another

thing too

Dave is visiting me at my home this is

his first time here and I showed him my

you know book collection on marketing

books but I’ve also read a lot and I I

want to put this here on the podcast

because I think it would benefit your

listeners Dave what I call the Allied

Arts to marketing see and magic we have

allied arts like ventriloquism juggling

you know the other variety arts balloon

twisting I mean you know the other

variety artists are allied to magicians

well in marketing I would say the Allied

Arts are like you’re gonna study

Blissett II persuasion negotiation

these are charisma yes I’m reading some

excellent books on charisma and I read I

had a a course in charisma again

audiocassette course I think might be it

might be CDs and remember but all these

things would be allied to marketing you

know because you persuasion goes hand in

hand with marketing negotiating um you

know charisma I mean if if everybody’s

repulsed by you how effective is your

marketing gonna be right you know if you

can’t write effective marketing like you

work a number of different will call

venues mm-hmm for the uninitiated so

this would be different places you do

you magic right so this is like

restaurants preschool shows for toddlers

summer camps as big you do summer camps

yeah so you know how did you initially

get the first few gigs that you were

paid for like what how did you find

those and then take us through the

evolution of like your system that you

can acquire work well going way back I

just did birthday parties been going

back to when I was in high school I did

almost exclusively birthday parties I

didn’t even know of other venues then

occasionally things would fall in my lap

I did a breakfast with Santa Anna

McDonald’s and I opened for Santa Claus

and ironically something like thirty

years later I put together a package

where I worked with another magician of

a retired magician dick Aslan who I’ve

mentioned he played Santa Claus and I

opened for Santa Claus and I sold it as

a package to daycares and preschools

during the holiday season and so you

know Santa’s the bigger star so I did an

abbreviated 15 to 20 minute magic show

then I bring Santa Claus on yes and and

he would do the usual thing

you know he listen to what they want for

Christmas that kind of thing how I get

the the engagements I get now the

methods very one of the most effective

methods for me or postcards right I use

postcards in in most of the markets I

pursue um and the reason I use postcards

is as you know the challenge of a

regular mail is getting the envelope

opened right and a lot of people see the

return address and they put it in a

circular file the garbage can attract so

postcards why use postcards that are

already open they’re less expensive to

mail at the time we’re we’re doing this

postcards a thirty-five cents and

first-class mail is 49 cents so and that

matters when you start mailing out

hundreds and hundreds well that little

does you know that fourteen cent

difference adds up correct so for every

hundred years saving fourteen dollars by

sending postcards as a pass to first

quest ma’am also I’ve structured my

postcards to where almost all of them

are three paragraphs with a picture and

a caption and those of you that know

marketing know you should always include

a picture and if you include a picture

you always include a caption also I the

reason my postcards tend to be three

paragraphs is I’ve timed that you can

read the postcard in 20 seconds and what

that does for me is since they’re

already open and you can read them in 20

seconds I get in your head even if

you’re not interested when you look at

it you have got my message through to

you also I use the dual track method for

people that just read headlines and

captions and look at pictures and then

the other track would be people to read

every word so postcards are big for me

I’m trying to think of other marketing

methods I use postcards are really

really strong for me oh I have a Booker

who telephone solicits for me she calls

this yes yes and somebody’s gone back to

past engages people have engaged you in

the past

correct now it’s it’s cold calling from

the recipient standpoint but she’s

working from a list in other words she’s

not working from the phone book or

something she’s working from a list of

camps or list of restaurants or whatever

now with restaurants she tries to just

get me an appointment and I go close in

person that’s another thing I would say

that’s an allied art to marketing is

selling in my life I’ve done some well

more than some a lot of what they call

belly-to-belly selling and Dan Kennedy

touches on importance of that so does

exude was correct so I can also

belly-to-belly sell I can close I can

sell and my friend Dave here was asking

me how you get restaurants and there’s a

slow way in a fast way the slow way is

to send postcards over a long period of


for instance every three weeks for a

year and they know who you are and then

when you go in and talk to them they’ve

heard of you and a fast way is to just

go into the restaurant and break out a

deck of cards and show your waitress

some card tricks and then she wants to

show whether we’re spectacles

exactly and then the manager comes over

what’s this about and you impress

everybody in sight and that you never

the key there those never ask for a job

where they suggest that maybe you do

some magic there at their restaurant

right but that’s the quicker way right

it’s like it’s like bolder yet more

subtle in some ways yes because you’re

not asking all right for a job you’re

kind of saying oh this is a nice place

you know I used to do this you fudge a

little on me well in my case now other

used to do it is a bill Malone wine in

my case I would say that I do it now but

I do it somewhere else right but I take

still the bill Malone approach

psychologically in that I come off as I

don’t need any more work right look you

said lassic you know if you don’t need

it people chase you mm-hmm

chase what moves away from them all

those kind of ideas the key is to I

would say if you’re gonna use that

technique to never ask for a job I think

it’s really hard to go into a restaurant

cold or even with an appointment say you

met you phoned and make it and made an

appointment and to to pitch yourself

because you and that’s can be one of the

weaknesses of selling in general outside

sales where you go and solicit you know

not where they come in to you is you

there’s a sort of a psychological

standpoint of you you’ve got your

hat in your hands so to speak yes and

you’re asking them for a job with them

to buy your products they just walk in

off the street and I’m selling bottled


just some to grab my Hatton in my hand

you know please buy what I’m selling

right now are there other ways in your

marketing that you try to set up that

you know we’re talking about positioning

over dinner you know there are other

psychological things you’re doing

amongst your marketing to sort of give

that impression maybe that you are the

hand and a hand guy even though you’re

out reaching with the postcards and so

forth because yeah and I think I could

answer this partially for you because I

mean you have a TV show yes you have

other things that go on let me tell you

real quick yeah this keeps me from

appearing to have my hat in my hand and

again it’s sort of I don’t know people

want to work with you when you don’t

appear to need the work

but one of the things that a lot of

marketing books will tell you to do is

to offer social proof that you’re good

and this doesn’t have to just do with

magic anything you know the product I

sell and it could be say I’m selling

like Ginsu knives or something else and

mrs. such-and-such says it’s the best

knife she ever used or mrs.

such-and-such says he’s the best

magician I’ve ever seen you see what I’m

saying you get they say get testimonials

as social proof I think just for me now

because I know everybody out there can’t

have their own TV show but for me the TV

show is stronger social proof that I’m

good at what I do are unqualified than a

testimonial I personally don’t like

testify testimonials because and you

could call me a cynic here but there

there are things where a cynic could

could dismiss the testimony I’ll give

you for instance Dave you’re a friend of

mine so let’s say you say in a

testimonial David Allen says the Joel

raised great he’s the best catalyst

thing best ever saying well you’re a

friend doing me a favor okay so that

could be a cynical view let’s say it’s a

legitimate testimonial your David Allen


vice-president of so-and-so you know and

you’re saying you had me at a corporate

function and I was great yeah and it’s

legitimate again how does the cynic know

it’s legitimate right you say okay so

first I can think you’re a friend number

two it could be legitimate but I’m

dismissing it because I have doubts um

number three oh and it’s another thing

too it is legitimate but I don’t know

you right so I don’t care what mr. vice

president says you say so many testimony

and then the third one is and this is

the worst when they think this it’s made

up right just totally made up there is

no davidow and I made you up yeah they

make the mistake of putting like you

know D Allen oh that’s another thing too

yeah with a testimonial ad I couldn’t

track you down

if I wanted to verify it you know if I

say David Allen vice president of Exxon

Northeast region based on the USA Bible

I could yes if somebody really wanted to

we could find you in the New York City

office but yeah if I just say D Allen of

of New York State says yeah yeah no not

good but I just think even legitimate

testimonials are largely worthless but

my TV show well you can find my TV show

you’re watching yes yeah it’s it’s it’s

it’s real and it’s proof and also it’s

more rare than having housewives and in

corporate vice president’s say you’re

good yeah that’s that’s common in it for

instance if you can’t get corporate vice

presidents or housewives to say you good

you can make it up right yeah it’s

almost like so commonplace that people

dismiss it yes it’s a popular way to do

it of course but like you said you know

another way to do the testimonials too

of course which is to have which I

believe I first heard from John Carlton

which is to have the testimonial

specifically tailored you’re gonna have

testimonials haven’t specifically

tailored to these specific objections

you know this person let’s say

it’s a magic let’s say you’re you know

it’s a family friendly show so the

objection might be the last magician we

hired for a little Timmy’s birthday

party he worked kind of on the fringe of

good taste

mmm let’s say please because your

testimony says no we had Joel ray to our

party and he is the most family-friendly

kid-friendly show in Louisiana yeah that

helps a bit spits right to the point

it’s overcoming that specific objection

what what I what I wanted to say about

though still what I would advise your

your listeners to do if they can is to

do their own version of what I’ve done

where my TV show is my social proof and

it’s better than testimonials for

instance what I would advise you to do

is if you could get a picture with a

celebrity and get them to give you a

testimonial so say Brad Pitt the movie

star says you know he saw you work and

you were great and he’s got you’ve got a

picture of you with Brad Pitt so that

they know who that’s another thing see

they don’t know who misses such and such

a housewife that says you’re great is

and they don’t know that the corporate

vice president is but they know who Brad

Pitt is so there’s your real strong

social proof and and he just packs

weight because he’s a major celebrity

I don’t care what your politics are

maybe you like the president or maybe

you don’t but you’ve got a picture with

the president and the president says

you’re good yeah you know or I mean it’s

also a matter of the president knows

it’s like it’s the idea that these are

the president of the United States it’s

not you know your politics this one you

know well also movie stars as people

that would like for instance Brad Pitt

and people who don’t but he’s got the

cachet of Brad Pitt and a major movie

star said I’m good if you can and also

maybe you can think up a way of of

social proof that’s not the normal

testimonial as I’ve done with the TV

show think up your own way but something

that surpasses the average testimonial

is social proof one other thing I wanted

to touch on you were talking about

giving an exam

Belov you know the testimonial being

customized to the event like it was a

great children show I was wholesome and

or it was the best corporate write

presentation we’ve seen okay in my

marketing and this is advice I could

give to your listeners I custom tailor

all my marketing to the different I used

the term venue I tend to use the term

market for instance summer camps are a

market for me restaurants or a market

for me but this is the point I wanted to

make here and it and I hope you guys are

listening and girls listening to this

would do this with your marketing if

you’re going to market to a certain

market make it look like that’s what you

do for instance and that’s all you do

for instance the the restaurant that get

my postcards it appears that I’m a

restaurant magician and that’s how I

make my living solely I only work

restaurants daycares and preschools that

get a postcard for me it looks like I’m

a day care preschool magician and that’s

all I work the summer camps they don’t

even know what other things I do but

I’ve got a summer camp show I call it

the summer fun magic show the point is

people hire specialists what really

makes you look bad and it’s not just in

magic it’s in any area like say you’re a

marketing consultant really to claim

you’re a marketing expert in every area

in radio TV print internet come on

well it’s the same thing with magic I do

kids parties and everything else know

you know you know see now by the way

since I mentioned working different

markets it may seem like I’m

contradicting myself I’m not I work the

family market I worked the the g-rated

you know mom-and-pop in the kids market

so I do very little corporate in a when

I do the mom-and-pop in the kids market

I do it as a character called doctor

magic when I work strictly for adults in

a coat in time I’m Joel Ray but see

that’s again what I’m talking about I

separate the markets right you’re

telling everything

for that means correct correct you can’t

people don’t like a jack-of-all-trades

they really don’t yes maybe their master

of nothing them correct and even in a

g-rated mom-and-pop market they only

know me for the specific sub market I

guess you would say that I mean right

because I mean your postcard say stuff

like you know verbiage is like the

world’s greatest preschool magician or

something or the world’s greatest

restaurant you know the Civic League

tailor it’s like you seem like you’d

that’s like you said they it’s all

exactly all you do and you’re the best

at this one thing even though you do all

these market they’ll know that right you

know so because they’re hiring a

specialist so how people gotta hope you

if they want to well it depends if you

want family type entertainment you you

can learn about me at dr. magic world

come I always abbreviate the doctor so

that’s dr Magic normal Spelling ma GIC

world normal spelling all run together

cuz it’s a website dr. magic worldcom

that’ll tell you all about me I have a

number of websites for dr. magic that’s

my main booking site if you’d like to

look at my TV show it’s dr. magic show

dot-com right now that’s mainly you’re

gonna see my TV show and it’s a kid show

I gotta warn you you adults out there

it’s a kiddie show that I have a fansite

dr. magic minions calm again abbreviate

dr. normal spelling on magic normal

spelling on minions dot-com and that’s

my fansite because a dr. magic fan is a

magic minion right a Grateful Dead tube

and the Grateful Dead have the deadheads

I have the magic minions and that’s a

fansite now for you adults listening on

dr. magic minions there’s a internet

only show

besides my over-the-air TV show see on

dr. magic show calm it’s my over-the-air

half-hour show just on the Internet

those episodes are a half-hour on dr.

magic minions calm there’s a show called

moments with dr. magic that’s internet

only each episodes only 10 minutes long


and there’s three questions and three

magic tricks there’s no commercials it’s

made for the Internet there’s no TV

commercials on and what I do is I answer

questions about magic that people have

asked me over the years I’m sure you’ve

gotten these questions Dave do magicians

use their sleeves right modern magicians

was Houdini the greatest magician of all

true and I when I asked what I’m working

I might give a flip or a joking answer

on the show I give an honest answer a

straight answer

and in between I do a magic trick so I

answer a question do a magic trick

answer a question do a magic trick I do

three questions three tricks and a

show’s over that’s why it’s ten minutes

so for you adults doctor magic minions

is the website and in moments with dr.

magic is the TV show or the Internet

only show and you might enjoy that more

than the doctor magic show which is a

kiddie show those are three ways to in

it and all the websites have how to get

in touch with me now if you would like

to have Joel Rey that’s my real name

entertain at an adult function say a

cocktail party with classical music in

the background and we’re sipping wine

and it’s also sophisticated it’s also

sophisticated where I’m wearing a coat

and tie and I’m not dr. magic you would

go to magic Joel comm again normal

spelling on magic normal spelling on

Joel Jo al magic Joel comm and that’s my

website for adult functions and doesn’t

I type stuff so that’s how you can get

in touch with me very nice very nice

this hour has literally flown by

Joel’s dropped all sorts of great

marketing knowledge and I wanted to

stuff that’s like fundamentals that are

good to review too because people you

know you’re gonna start to keep the

fundamentals sharp and keep those things

rollin and Joel has made his whole

career you know of taking these now very

simple but often overlooked and under to

utilize things like postcards and stuff

to keep his magic revenue streams

cranking in his

it shows you know coming in by the

truckload and Joel it’s been a pleasure

to have you on the show thank you thank

you it’s been a pleasure being here and

for everybody else we’ll be back again

next week hopefully with somebody as

semi good-looking and knowledgeable as Joel

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