Marketing

Late Night Conversation – Lecture at the 3 of Clubs Magic Convention

This past weekend I lectured at the 3 of Clubs Magic Convention in Coquitlam, BC Canada. In the talk I discussed my stage setup for shows, branding, marketing materials, advertising, newsletters, and evaluations. There were a few additional topics that I discussed live at the event that aren’t included in the below video. You’ll just have to attend in person if you want to hear everything!

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Dynamic Birthday Party Invitations

Recently I designed PDF party invitations for my birthday party website. Customers who book a show through me can download the invitations and print them out themselves. What makes the PDF invitations so cool is that the blank lines on the party invitation are editable so parents can fill out the invitation on the computer instead of filling out all the invitations by hand.

I used Adobe Photoshop to design the invitations, and I used Adobe Acrobat XI to save them as a PDF and create the interactive PDF elements.

Finished example of my birthday party invitation:

Birthday-Party-Invitation-Horizontal

  1. First off you’ll need to design your birthday party invitation. The final product should fit onto a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. For my invitations, I put two invitations onto a single page.
    Birthday Invitation

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Seven Ways To Thank Your Clients

It’s important to send a thank you letter after every show. Taking a moment to show your appreciation will go a long way to impress your client and hopefully generate future business with them.

In this article I’m going to share with you seven ways to thank your clients:

1. Thank-you Email

This is the most common method that I use. After each show I sent the client a thank-you email thanking them for inviting me to perform at their event. A standard thank-you email would look something like this:

Thank you for inviting me to performing at (the event name). I had a great time and (include something personalized about the performance here). I hope everyone enjoyed the show.

Please keep me in mind for future events, and if you know of anybody that could benefit from some magical entertainment, please don’t hesitate to pass along my contact information. (If this person/venue could benefit from other specific shows/services that you offer, include those here). 

Thanks again,

If I took any photo’s at the event I try and include the photo’s in the email as well. I wrote more about this in this article: Using photo’s of children in your promotional material, and I also talked about getting high quality photo’s in this article: Automatic Amazing Show Photos.

Personalizing each thank-you letter is really important so that you really do take a moment to reflect and really thank them. You don’t want your thank-you letters to look and feel like just another marketing piece. One time I performed at a party with a spy theme so in that thank-you letter I included the following message.

SpyCode

 

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Always Be Marketing – What Story Are You Telling?

One of the things entrepreneurs struggle with is marketing themselves during personal interactions. Whenever you talk to clients, audience members, or business associates you should always be marketing yourself.

The In-person Press Release

Whenever I talk to somebody that’s a potential client I use a short script that explains everything in a short 20 second sound-bite. This is what I’m using right now:

“I have a crazy busy summer coming up. I’ll be performing all summer long at [a local resort] again this year. I just finished developing a brand new educational shows for kids that I’ll be performing across the valley this summer. And of course the rest of my schedule is filled with festivals, community events, and birthday party shows.”

After each script I’ll hand out a business card to them and encourage them to visit my website. If I know a little bit about the person, I’ll also elaborate on any showtime that I think might be suitable for them. For example if its a young mom I’ll talk about birthday parties and elementary school shows.

In less than 20 seconds I’ve demonstrated:

  1. I perform often and have a lot and have repeat customers
  2. I have different show options for different markets (and I elaborate if appropriate)
  3. I’ve given them an action to visit my website to learn more about my shows
  4. Plus I’ve given them a business card so that they remember to check my website when they get back home
  5. I’ve also left it open for them to comment on what’s going on in my business. This is where I can find out more about them based on what they choose to comment on.

This short script will change throughout the year as the elements in my business are changing. I’ll talk about the shows I just finished, public shows I have coming up, new products/services/projects I’m working on, recent media appearances, and new seasonal shows I am performing at. All of these things that I talk about are the same sorts of information that I would include in a newsletter or a press release.

Your message can be whatever you want that meets your criteria. If I had an upcoming theater show for example, I would want people to know about the show and to buy tickets for it. For months leading up to the show I would talk about how I’m in the process of producing a new show, I would tell them when/where I expect it to be as details develop, and some sort of action to stay in touch or how to buy tickets to it.

It might sound corny to have a “script” to talk about these things but actually because its all current things going on in my business I’m always very excited to talk it. I’ve found that talking about my business in this press release manner is the fastest way to deliver my message to anyone.

People are always looking for the latest marketing technique to get more business but the truth is all you have to do is let people know about the different shows you offer.

Let us know in the comments; what’s currently going on in your business?

How to get Media Attention

Getting on local TV or in your local newspaper isn’t as hard as it may seem. All you need to do is write a press release that’s relevant to the general public. That second part is key. You need to make sure that your story is relevant to the reader/listener of that media outlet otherwise you have no chance of them picking up your story. Submitting something that looks like an advertisement as well is a quick way to have your email sent to the trash folder.

Topics I’ve used for press releases in the past include:

  • Upcoming public performances
  • Winning awards at magic conventions
  • Winning local business awards
  • New show products (My DVD)
  • Working new markets
  • Working with show directors or script writers

Anything that’s exciting in your business you can write about. If you’ve just moved into a new city for example that would be an excellent time to get the word out about your services.

Don’t be daunted with writing the perfect press release. When I’ve had my stories picked up in the past, usually the journalist will give me a call or send an email with some further questions. Just make sure you follow the basic press release structure.

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My Pet Peeve

magicalKidThis may come across as nitpicking but I think it’s important. If you’re going to be a professional children’s entertainer you should use and learn the proper terminology when talking about your audience.

When talking about children use the word children instead of “kids”. A “kid” is what a baby goat is called. (Look at that picture of a little goat with a top hat— Awwwww) When talking to clients in person and when corresponding by email I suggest that you use the word children.

However there is an exception. On your website you should use both “kids” and “children” throughout the site. The reason being is that “kids” is used a lot more frequently than “children” in web searches. To make sure that your website ranks well for both “kids” and “children” you’ll want to include both terms throughout the site. In the graph below you can see that “kids” is a more popular search term than “children”.

search for kids vs. children

If you look at my current birthday party site you’ll notice that I use both words throughout. However when emailing clients and talking in person I try my best to always use the term children.

The Only Business Advice You Need

There’s lots of people who will tell you how you should run your business. But all of us are different. We have different strengths and different weaknesses. 

Tips and TricksIn my articles I describe what I do, or what’s worked for me. But I make no promises that it will work for you. You need to test out these ideas and find out what works for you.

Early on while reading about marketing I found a lot of advise that suggested techniques that involved a lot of writing. Writing articles, writing emails, writing direct mail campaigns, writing website copy, etc etc. I think the reason I came across that advice so often is because I was reading material written by people who enjoyed writing. But I never felt like writing was my a strong skill of mine so why should I spend all that time writing? It made no sense for me.

You can either try to build skills you aren’t good at at or you can ask for help. If you have no desire to learn website design, hire somebody to do it for you.  If you aren’t good at script writing, hire somebody to help you write your show. If you don’t know how to dress yourself, ask the most fashionable girl you know. Part of running a successful business is to know what your weaknesses are, just as much as knowing what your strengths are.

I’m not very good at writing so I decided to create a blog where I can practicing my writing skills. But that’s just what I decided would work well for me.

Personally, I don’t like talking on the phone to clients. I always feel like I’m leaving out important details or not asking everything I need to know about their event. It didn’t make sense for me to have a booking process that relied heavily on phone calls. Instead I created a system where I avoid the phone as much as possible.

With emails, I have a system of template responses that I go through each and every time so I know that I’m never missing any information. With a system of templates I don’t have to compose a new email at each step, instead its the same each and every time. Plus I really like having everything in writing so that I can reference it later on. I know that my system works for me but I know for a fact that it wouldn’t work for most people.

If you aren’t good at working with computers, its probably easier and more efficient for you to sell your services on the phone. My system works for me, but I know that it wouldn’t work for everyone.

That’s why reading what others are doing is so valuable because you see different ways to approach your business. So test different techniques and find out what works for you. It’s your business and you can run it however you want… Now get to work!

How to Produce a Touring Illusion Show – Interview with John Kaplan

When I was getting my start in magic John Kaplan’s “Magic School Bus” show was one of the first live magic shows I ever saw. I remember that it was a fundraiser for an elementary school in Penticton, BC. Almost 20 years later and John is still touring Canada with his show, commanding thousands of dollars per show for himself and earning thousands of dollars for his clients.

Since he’s obviously on to something I wanted ask him how he did it. It turns out he’s leaving this week to tour a month long tour in New Zealand and Australia, but he found enough time to do this interview with me. But first, Who is John Kaplan?

kaplanJohn Kaplan’s career began, as most magicians’ do, when he received a magic kit at age 9.

Inspired by the life of Houdini and determined to make magic his life’s work, after high school John became a sorcerer’s apprentice, finding as his mentor Micky Hades – author, publisher, illusion builder and inventor of magic tricks (such as the world-famous “Micky Hades Improved Finger Chopper“) – and it was from Micky that John learned the business side of the magic business.

Early contest wins and TV appearances gave John a running start as he pursued his childhood ambition.

Many interesting career high points followed, including promotional shows that saw John escaping from straitjackets, making cars and people disappear, headlining gala shows for major sporting events, performing on cruise ships, in comedy clubs and being Jay Leno’s opening act.

In 1989 John created, produced and starred in his own theatrical production “Johnny’s House”, leading to years of creating theme shows for amusement parks and shopping malls, where he developed his acclaimed “Santa-via-Satellite” program currently licensed in over 60 markets worldwide.

In addition to his performing career, John’ s business-building programs, effects and routines have been well received by the magic community.

However, it’s his unique approach to the fundraising market that’s given John his greatest success. During his 30+ year career he’s performed thousands of shows in over 500 Canadian towns and cities, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for school and community groups with his Fundraising Magic program.  Read More…

Building your Brand New Magic Website Fast with WordPress

My last post was about how to tweak and improve your existing website. But what if you don’t have a website yet and you don’t know where to start?

In this article I’ll cover the basics on how to build a brand new website.

In order to have a website you need two things. You’ll need a domain name, that’s the www.example.com which is about $10/year. And you’ll also need webhosting. That’s a server on the internet that you pay for. They host your website files so that people can access your website. The fee for a webhost can change drastically depending on your needs, but it shouldn’t be more than $5-10/month for a basic account.

I recommend Bluehost as a great webhost service provider. You can also register and manage your domain name through them as well making the progress as simple and streamlined as possible. Simply create a new account at Bluehost and follow the steps in the video.

How to register a domain name with Bluehost and install to WordPress:

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