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Topic: Increasing your children's birthday party business
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 25, 2013 05:05PM)
[b]Increasing your children's birthday party business[/b]

I thought this might make a great topic for a thread.

Here are some of the ideas that I've used over the years, to bring in children's birthday party magic show business. I've performed at well over 1000 birthday party shows over the years. Feel free to add on ones you've tested.

1. The #1 thing you need is a great birthday party magic show, priced at a reasonable price. And hand-in-hand with that is great customer service.

2. Create a page on your website, that advertises the show. Make sure your webpage has good SEO.

3. Include customer testimonials, from birthday parents, on your website as soon as possible.

4. Put a video on your website, so people can see that you are good.

5. Classified ads in newspapers. I have used these successfully over the period of many years, but I haven't tried them in the past few years.

6. Ads in a parent magazine. I have used these successfully over the period of many years, but I haven't tried them in the past few years.

7. Ads in free online classifieds (for example, Craigslist).

8. Giveaways / souvenirs / BOR items that contain your contact information, at shows. Note - I am not saying to do BOR sales at a birthday show, but you can upsell items in advance.

9. A gentle plug promoting your birthday shows, when appropriate.

10. Do shows at daycares, schools, etc. where you will be seen by kids (if the daycare party has kids AND parents watching you perform, even better). In short, if you are good, and are seen performing, you'll generate show inquiries.

11. Keep record of past customers, and contact them by mail a month or two before the anniversary of their show. Explain that you have a new show, and would love to come back again for their party this year. There is a chance that they misplaced your business card, etc. I contact a birthday parent by mail, because I am contacting them at home. For people at businesses (non-birthday shows), I contact them by phone and/or mail.

12. Perform at family restaurants. You can generate spin off shows from that.

13. Small gifts for your customers. When I send the confirmation letter, the parent gets a gift. When I do the show, the birthday mom gets a special gift from their child (actually from me). When I send my thank you card, the parent gets a gift. This is a little touch that puts my service over the top, and parents tell me how much they like it.

14. When you are finished the show and getting paid, give the birthday parents a few business cards (I give 5), and tell them they are in case other parents ask about the show. I usually have parents tell me that they've already had other parents ask them for my card. I also put my business card rack on my table, along with my activity postcard rack, at the end of the show. Then I take cards from my activity postcard rack and give them out to the children. Some parents in the room will help themselves to cards in the business card rack, without you mentioning them.

15. A special trick involving the birthday child, making them a hero / star of the show.

Feel free to add to the list.

- Donald

P.S. Bonus idea that I haven't tried, but I know that some do with success:

- If you collect leads / inquiries by email, keep note of them even if they don't book, so you can contact them again next year (David Farr's Amazing System product does this automatically).
Message: Posted by: Rodney Palmer (Jan 25, 2013 11:27PM)
Donald,

I see you have some very good ideas. However I found two of your ideas that do not work well anyomore.

Newspaper Ads=ZERO Bookings

Parent Magazines-This used to be a very Lucrative AD but it has now dried up. I usually get only a few leads per month and they just do not seem to work like they used to. In the past few years I booked less than 15 shows from a Parent Magazine Ad.


QUESTION: What type of Small Gifts are you giving to the parents. And what Gift is given each time a Gift is sent from the First Gift to the Last in that order.


Rodney
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 26, 2013 12:19AM)
I give a birthday banner, as well as a party tips booklet, in with the birthday party confirmation letter that I mail. The birthday banner idea is my own, and I've been using it for many years. Note -- this is a great reason as to why you shouldn't do birthday party confirmations by email. Sure, you can include the party tips booklet as an article or ebook, but you can't send a physical item like a birthday banner. :)

At the show, I make a big balloon flower, and have the child give it to their mom (along with a hug), while saying thank you for the party. I got this idea from an article by Tom Ogden in a magic magazine (perhaps Genii) sometime in the 1980s or 1990s.

After the show, when I mail the thank you card, I include IMD (Dean Hankey's Invisible Magic Dust) as a small gift in with the thank you card. My thank you card wording is on another, older thread, for those willing to search it out. It's based on Barry Mitchell's Thank You Card wording, from his CD, "The ABCs of Children's Magic." (For those who didn't know, I was a ghost writer on the current version of IMD. I contributed to the final product. I'm a fan, although I don't get royalties from the sale of it.)

I do not tell the customer about the gifts in advance.

What ideas do you have to add to the thread?

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Jan 26, 2013 08:25AM)
Great stuff, Donald. I've been having the birthday child give mom a balloon flower and a hug for years but I didn't read about it. (I thought I had an original idea. LOL!)
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 28, 2013 01:10AM)
[quote]
On 2013-01-25 18:05, Donald Dunphy wrote:


Feel free to add to the list.


[/quote]
Become a member of The Magic Café where magicians help magicians.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Jan 28, 2013 12:06PM)
Outstanding list, Donald. Thank you!

Upselling is a key...no matter whether you're doing a kids show or an adult one. I can significantly increase my earnings by asking an adult client if they'd like a 45 minute show instead of a 30 minute one...or if they'd like to consider adding on customized banners etc.

Here are a couple of ideas for birthday party sales:

1) I belong to both GigMasters and Gig Salad. I know they both get roundly rapped here, but I've had great success with them. Why? I don't expect these services to actually sell the product. That's my job. So, as opposed to sending off a package via email and complaining about how I never get anything, I'll send a package promptly, tell them in the email that they can expect to hear from me later that day and I call.

2) You REALLY need to have a good phone presentation for your product...and a solid website that gets people to pay attention. A guy who sounds uncertain on the phone isn't going to inspire confidence.

3) Pay good attention to what Donald said about add ons. I sell my birthday show at one price...but for an additional $35, the parent can add balloon animals for each of the children. I know another performer who makes good coin selling goodie bags. You're going there anyway...why not upsell?

4) Make friends with related performers. I don't do facepainting for example. But I know several very good facepainters. When it comes up, I can recommend her for the job and she pays me $25 for the referral. I do the same for her. It works out perfectly.

David
Message: Posted by: Karen Climer (Jan 28, 2013 02:41PM)
I agree that a good phone script is important. A good website will get them to call you, but then you have to sell yourself over the phone.

It's important to be flexible. Quite often we have to work in less than ideal situations, and you just have to make it work. You can be a prima donna, but you won't be in the business for long.

Donald, where you put you contact info on the IMD. Do you put it on the little book? I can't find any room on their to fit anything extra.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 28, 2013 04:19PM)
Hi Karen -

With IMD, the booklet goes into a small coin envelope. Dean supplies artwork to print a label that you stick on the front of the envelope. I created my own contact label to print and stick on the back of the envelope.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Mar 20, 2013 01:38PM)
I am working on a phone script now. As much as I hate cold calling, I need to do more of it.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Mar 20, 2013 01:56PM)
Phone scripts are not just for cold calling, as they are actually more important for fielding and selling incoming calls.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 20, 2013 03:46PM)
Absolutely right.
Message: Posted by: scottds80 (Mar 20, 2013 04:54PM)
I have updated my service from just a magic show, to a full magic party service including games, prizes, extras for goody bags, and also a disco option. I have a couple of disco lights, portable powered speaker and a fog machine. The child loves to choose their music too.

I have a "complete package deal" which is a strong upsell. It is only for an extra 1.5 hours, and double your income on that visit. Quite a few mothers so far have just said "I'll go for the complete package" because it takes the pressure off their hands.
Message: Posted by: bobn3 (Mar 22, 2013 01:42AM)
Donald,

I liked your ideas. I have to agree with Rodney on the Parent magazine. I was able to get a rate of $70/month because of running it for a six month contract. I got zero calls as a result of this. Having been divorced two years ago, I have to be brutal with my marketing budget, so I dropped it. I tried calling the magazine to make changes to the ad, but got no call back until I left a message that I was discontinuing the ad. Such is life.

Bob Phillips
Message: Posted by: yankay37 (Mar 22, 2013 12:19PM)
I think it's very hard to make a video of a kids show. You need to get permission to put it on your website from each of the parents.

Or do you just offer them a free show in exchange?
Message: Posted by: WesleyBryan (Aug 6, 2013 02:52AM)
I'm getting into kids shows myself in a couple of months. My plan is to have the first one at my house. So I can video tape as I please. Then I'll do two or three more in homes of people whom I know and am good friends with. That should give me plenty of photos and footage.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Aug 6, 2013 07:16AM)
If you look at Silly Billy, The great Zucchini, or Tricky Ricky you will see three very successful children's entertainers who make it look very easy. Well it is not easy and these three men were born to entertain children. Kids entertainment is a very lucrative business and it is not for everybody. If you do not take to it like a duck takes to water perhaps you are not suited to entertain kids.

Kids entertainment should not be looked at as a part time job, but a calling that is not for everybody.
Message: Posted by: JoshLondonMagic (Aug 10, 2013 06:07AM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-06 08:16, Al Angello wrote:
If you do not take to it like a duck takes to water perhaps you are not suited to entertain kids.
[/quote]

I disagree with this statement. I was horrible at entertaining kids when I first started doing kid shows. But over the years got better and better as I found my voice, routines that worked for me and honed my brand.

Doing kid shows is tough at first and I think it can have the potential to scare people off if they have a bad experience. But, if you seek out as much information on the subject as you can by way of books, videos, etc. and you actually try the stuff out there is a chance you can and will like/be successful as a kid show magician.

Doing kid shows is a lot like trying to lose weight. The first workout is terrible, you feel embarrassed, you feel like you want to vomit and go hide in a corner. The 2nd show isn't so bad. And as long as you're trying to find your "sweet spot" you will eventually hit it and be ok.

Josh
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Aug 10, 2013 07:17AM)
^I like you weight loss analogy. And sometimes after successfully losing weight you realize you’re fat again, and wonder, ‘how did this happen?’ Sometimes, due to mitigating circumstances, a kid show can make you feel like an amateur again, no matter how successful you were yesterday.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 10, 2013 07:34AM)
Vomit and hide in the corner. That is EXACTLY how I felt. Man yea. Doing that kids show made me feel like that for sure.

You can get better at them, but certainly there are those of us with absolutely no business even trying to do that.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Aug 10, 2013 09:32AM)
There are lots of guys who are looking for a hobby, and think that doing a party or two on Saturday morning would be a great way to make a few bucks, and get out of the house. Most of these "cook book magicians" never really make it, and give all of us a bad name.

If you tried kids magic and learned how to be successful at it then I say that you are more than just another "cook book magician".

Unfortunately there are lots of cook books out there that supposedly teach you how to do it by the numbers.
Message: Posted by: JoshLondonMagic (Aug 10, 2013 02:51PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-10 10:32, Al Angello wrote:

If you tried kids magic and learned how to be successful at it then I say that you are more than just another "cook book magician".

[/quote]

Well I guess I'm a "cook book magician" because my first shows was a disaster. I suppose all my repeat bookings and full weekends mean nothing. I agree that there is a certain affinity one has to possess in order to be great at entertaining kids, but to say that it cannot be learned is rather ignorant.

Josh
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 10, 2013 05:01PM)
I am all for bashing Al. BUT I think you are misunderstanding his post.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Aug 10, 2013 09:41PM)
Ignorant HMMMM don't be silly. Sorry I lost you Josh.
You can be whatever you want to be my man.
Message: Posted by: JoshLondonMagic (Aug 10, 2013 11:34PM)
It's been a long week Al, my apologies. I'm on my own island hahaha my bad
Message: Posted by: Neznarf (Aug 11, 2013 12:09PM)
Give a Heart Shaped balloon to kid to give to Mom.

You can write on it: I Love you MOM.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Aug 11, 2013 01:48PM)
No problem Josh

Now take my buddy Neznarf (George) for example he is at least my age, has a head full of grey hair, and is still an 8 year old boy at heart.
Message: Posted by: JoshLondonMagic (Aug 11, 2013 10:38PM)
Gotcha Al! I agree, I will never be an 8 year old again. But, my business is thriving and I'm onto new adventures everyday... Just in my own way.
Message: Posted by: alandavid (Sep 14, 2013 08:10AM)
Hi,
I agree you ideas I know a company who provide the lot of birthday party ideas. So that is very enjoyable.

http://www.moushii.com
Message: Posted by: Vick (Sep 16, 2013 10:50AM)
It is very very very hard to be a great family entertainer
So many try it and it's part of what gives magicians a bad name and looked down upon in the USA
There are a very few that are great at it
You don't go out and do a paid show and bomb And think that's alright that's how you learn
If you need the practice there are many places you can be bad And not hurt the real working guys

As for the subject how to increase your business
be very very very good. Don't play down children. They're smarter than most people give them credit for and they love it when you treat them like they're intelligent
A straight magic only show isn't really designed for children under six
It's so tough to do
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Sep 16, 2013 10:56AM)
[quote]
On 2013-09-16 11:50, Vick wrote:
It is very very very hard to be a great family entertainer
So many try it and it's part of what gives magicians a bad name and looked down upon in the USA
There are a very few that are great at it
You don't go out and do a paid show and bomb And think that's alright that's how you learn
If you need the practice there are many places you can be bad And not hurt the real working guys

As for the subject how to increase your business
be very very very good. Don't play down children. They're smarter than most people give them credit for and they love it when you treat them like they're intelligent
A straight magic only show isn't really designed for children under six
It's so tough to do
[/quote]

Very well said Vick!

I agree much of the typical perception, stereotypes and image of today's magician's here in the U.S. is due to kids performers and amateurs performing when and where they shouldn't be. The kids and family market is probably the one place where you have many places and options to practice, stumble and be bad. Yet most want to just go for the money at birthday parties and somehow think they can do schools (even skilled magicians of ten have the school misconception).

I remember when being a magician was perceived as someone special, a skilled and unique individual that would have the respect and esteem of kids and adults alike. They appeared classy not casual and were considered a true professional, unlike many performers today.

I hate to see it but I experience it everyday that kids and family magicians are often perceived the same as clowns in these circles - some like them but just as many hate them.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 1, 2013 10:12PM)
Have an auto response system.
Message: Posted by: amakar (Oct 7, 2013 08:54AM)
Dynamike -

Are you using Autoresponders now?

Andy
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 23, 2013 05:49PM)
Not yet.