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Topic: Kid's Show Marketing
Message: Posted by: Cameron Fisk (Sep 15, 2004 07:17PM)
I would like to know what your favourite marketing stratagies are for kid's shows. I would personaly like to start performing more for kids but I'm not sure how I would go about getting the shows if not by word of mouth.

I have heard of people using the yellow pages and posters but I would like to know what has worked for you. Thanks for the help.


Cameron Fisk
Message: Posted by: Billy Whizz (Sep 15, 2004 07:31PM)
Hi Cameron,

I don't have any marketing except Yellow Pages and a good show. If you have a first class show, then the follow on work will flood in. If your just starting out, I would suggest doing a couple of free school shows, and give something like a coulouring picture to every child with your contact details on it. And as I said, if your show is good, those children will go home and tell their mums they want you for their birthdays etc. From there, you'll just get busier and busier.

Good luck

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Sep 15, 2004 07:44PM)
Cameron -

There is a section of the Café dedicated to discussing business, and also has many threads about marketing, business, etc. It is the section titled, "Tricky Business", which is a little down from "The Little Darlings" area.

Also, I highly recommend The Dean's List forum: http://www.thedean.net/forum

It is dedicated to marketing and magic. Many threads there with the answers you are seeking.

- Donald

P.S. I am only biased a little! ;)
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 15, 2004 08:01PM)
Your show and tons of business cards. Post them everywhere. Buy the clear little card holders at office stores for less than a US buck and ask restaurants to put them beside the registers.

Then post your business on the free web page sites.

Vistaprint.com has the cheapest cards and tons of specials they send to you via email.

This is the cheapest method:)

Donald is correct, Dean's List is awesome. Its free also.

Candini the Cheapskate
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Sep 16, 2004 06:20AM)
If you are expecting to find one or two secret tactics that will make your shows an overnight success you are going to be disappointed. You have such a broad question and I think it deserves a broad answer.

A marketing strategy is not a sales tactic & can not exist in isolation. A marketing strategy is not independent from your show, or who you are or why you do things. Every decision you make in this [b]business[/b] should be consistent with an overall marketing plan. Decide what is it you really want to achieve and allow your strategies & tactics to branch out from that. If this is more than just a hobby for you & you want to generate an income then you must put pen to paper & write out a business plan.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Sep 16, 2004 07:08AM)
[b] So you want to know how to Market your KID Show

First[/b] you must define your target market and determine the needs of your potential clients.
[*] Birthday Parties (General all Purpose Magic)
[*] Daycare Centers (Puppets & Magic for the Younger Crowd)
[*] Educational Shows (Schools Systems)
[*] Fairs and Festivals (Close-up/Stage Magic)
[*] Fundraisers (PTA/PTO)
[*] Library (Promote reading)

Please don't ignore the defining of the client needs part stated above. For example:
[b]What does a Library Client Want?[list]
[*] 1. The librarian wants kids to check out books. Book circulation is extremely important.
[list][*] A. Librarians want increased participation in their Summer Reading Program
[*] B. Librarians want increased readership
[*] C. Librarians want rapid return of books
[*] D. Librarians want less time spent on computer games and more time reading books.
[/list][*] 2. User Reading Logs are important to Librarians

[b]Second,[/b] Develop your show toward your target market, perfect it, tweak it, give away some free shows to get it down pat and get those important testimonials. (Bad-Show word gets out)

[b]Third,[/b] Evaluate competition in the target market: Where do they advertise? How do they advertise? Study marketing methods and chose those that fit your target market. [b]IMPORTANT:[/b] if the target market potential customer doesn't have your information readily available when they need your services, you lose.

[b]Advertising - Copy Ad Components[/b]

[b]An Advertisement for a Magician should contain numerous critical components:[/b]
[*] 1. Must have a Strong Headline: A BENEFIT to the Client
[*] 2. Must have Full Phone Number in Large Bold Print
[*] 3. Offer Something Free if They Call
[*] 4. Have a Visual Graphic which is Non-Threatening
[*] 5. Have a Lot of Variety: Comedy, Balloons, Puppets, Live Rabbit, Juggling, Illusions, Learn-A-Trick, etc.
[*] 6. More Text Copy is Better Than Less (They'll Read It)
[*] 7. State Free Gives-Aways, Prizes, Tricks, Photos, Etc.
[*] 8. List Website and Email Address (Optional)

[b]Promotional Strategies[/b]

[b]Promotional Strategies:[/b] Are the marketing giveaways which are low cost or no cost tools, to promote your business and yourself.
[*] [b]Business Cards:[/b] Preferable in color & a "Keeper."
[*] [b]Postcards:[/b] Color mini Autographed Photograph
[*] [b]Bookmarks:[/b] For Schools, Parents, and Kids (Rolled up it is a wand)
[*] [b]Magic Trick:[/b]
[*] [b]Big Bucks:[/b] Large Bill with advertising and magic tricks on the back
[*] [b]Million Dollar Bill:[/b] Parent's love this one, Advertising on back
[*] [b]Autographed Photo:[/b]
[*] [b]Magic Coloring Book:[/b]
[*] [b]Magic Activity Book:[/b]
[*] [b]Magic Booklet:[/b]
[*] [b]Party Planner Booklet:[/b]
[*] [b]Mini-Magi Booklets:[/b]
[*] [b]Discount Coupons:[/b]
[*] [b]Magic Goody Bag (Party Favor Bag):[/b]
[*] [b]Magic Kit Gift Package for Birthday Child:[/b]
[*] [b]Membership Certificate in the Secret Order of Magicians:[/b]
[*] [b]Membership Card:[/b]
[*] [b]Assistant Certificate:[/b]
[*] [b]Magic Wand:[/b]
[*] [b]Video/DVD: Dennis Michael's Easy to Do Magic:[/b]
[*] [b]Trading Cards:[/b]
[*] [b]Coloring Page Contest:[/b]
[*] [b]Puzzle Pages:[/b]
[*] [b]Magic Kits:[/b]
[*] [b]Optical Illusion:[/b]
[*] [b]Fortune Telling Fish:[/b]
[*] [b]Flyers:[/b]
[*] [b]Testimonials:[/b]
[*] [b]Client List:[/b]
[*] [b]Letter's of Reference:[/b]
[*] [b]Star Website Page:[/b]
[*] [b]Walking Illusion (Giant Rabbit) in Parades:[/b]
[*] [b]Restaurant Color Page Place Mat:[/b]
[*] [b]Restaurant Puzzle/Optical Illusion Page Place Mat:[/b]
[*] [b]Web Site with Domain Name[/b]
[*] [b]800 Phone Number[/b]
[*] [b]Email Address[/b]
[*] [b]Walking Illusions[/b]
[*] [b]One Sheeter[/b]
[*] [b]Concession Stand[/b]
[*] [b]Back of the Room Sales (BOR)[/b]
[*] [b]Answering Machine[/b]
[*] [b]Phone Scripts[/b]
[*] [b]Booking Sheets[/b]
[*] [b]Cinema Ads[/b]
[*] [b]Stationary[/b]
[*] [b]Refrigerator Magnet[/b]

[b]What is Marketing?[/b] Here is a little starter to help your thinking process...

Marketing is [b]everything you do on a regular basis [/b] to promote your Magic Business, whether you call yourself a Magician, a Children's Entertainer, an Illusionist, a Mentalist, etc., from the moment you conceive it to the point at which the customer buys your entertainment services. [b]Everything you do[/b] and doing it [b]on a regular basis[/b] is the key to marketing!

This includes any method to get yourself in the eye and mind of the potential buyer and keep it there so when your services are needed, you're the first they call. Better yet, call you right now and book your services today at this very moment!

[b]Marketing: An Important Income Stream:[/b]
In any business, success depends whether the income received is much greater then expenditures. The ability to correctly market oneself is measured in the amount of income produced by the marketing strategy.

Marketing is using as many of the following methods to get the word out and into the minds of the potential buyer.
(Free means these methods can be employed immediately at no or very little cost to you.

[b]Here are some marketing tools you could use?[/b]
[*]Access To Co-Op Funds (Free)
[*]Access To Marketing Materials (Free)
[*]Ad Specialties And Gifts
[*]Attire (Free)
[*]Audio Tapes (Cassette)
[*]Audiovisual Aids
[*]Availability Of Financing
[*]Availability Of Financing (Free)
[*]Books And Articles (Free)
[*]Books (eBooks)
[*]Booths For Malls
[*]Brand-Name Awareness (Free)
[*]Business Cards
[*]Classified Ads
[*]Club And Association Memberships (Free)
[*]Color (Free)
[*]Column In A Publication (Free)
[*]Community Involvement (Free)
[*]Competitiveness (Free)
[*]Consultations (Free)
[*]Contact Time With The Customer (Free)
[*]Contests And Sweepstakes
[*]Courses And Lectures (Free)
[*]Credibility (Free)
[*]Credit Cards Accepted
[*]Customer Mailing List (Free)
[*]Days Of Operation (Free)
[*]Demonstrations (Free)
[*]Direct-Mail Letters
[*]Direct-Mail Postcards
[*]Door Hangers
[*]Email Canned Messages
[*]Email Signature
[*]Enthusiasm (Free)
[*]Fairs And Flea
[*]Follow-Up (Free)
[*]Gift Baskets
[*]Gift Certificates (Free)
[*]Hours Of Operation (Free)
[*]How You Say Hello And Good-Bye (Free)
[*]Identity (Free)
[*]Internet (Web Site)
[*]Inside Signs
[*]Magazine Ads
[*]Magic Books And Articles (Free)
[*]Magic Trading Cards
[*]Magic Tricks
[*]Magic Wand Certificates
[*]Marketing On Phone Hold
[*]Marketing Plan (Free)
[*]Merchandise Displays (Free)
[*]Name (Free)
[*]Neatness (Free)
[*]Newsletters (Mailed)
[*]Newsletters (eNews)
[*]Newspaper Ads
[*]Niche (Free)
[*]Order Form
[*]Outdoor Billboards
[*]Outside Signs
[*]Phone Demeanor (Free)
[*]Phone Answering Machine Messages (Free)
[*]Phone on Hold (Background Message)
[*]Postcard Decks
[*]Pricing (Free)
[*]Public Relations (Free
[*]Publicity (Free)
[*]Publicity Contacts (Free)
[*]Radio Commercials
[*]Reprints Of Ads And Publicity
[*]Reputation (Free)
[*]Research Studies (Free)
[*]Roadside Stands
[*]Sales Presentations (Free)
[*]Sales Representatives (Free)
[*]Sales Training (Free)
[*]Satisfied Customers (Free)
[*]Search Lights And Blimps
[*]Seminars And Workshops (Free)
[*]Service (Free)
[*]Smiles (Free)
[*]Special Events (Free)
[*]Speed (Free)
[*]Take-One Boxes
[*]Team Sponsorships
[*]Telemarketing- Scripts (Free)
[*]Testimonials (Free)
[*]Theme (Free)
[*]Tie-Ins With Others (Free)
[*]Toll-Free Phone Numbers
[*]Trade Show Displays
[*]Trading Cards
[*]TV Commercials
[*]Uniqueness (Free)
[*]Video Tapes
[*]Window Displays (Free)
[*]Word-Of-Mouth (Free)
[*]Yellow Pages Ads

Now write yourself a maketing plan for your [b]FOCUSED[/b] target market listing all the items you are going to use. Include 10-20 precent of income to be reinvested back into marketing.

I personally don't agree with free websites and cheap busines cards (low/no-cost cards) Your professional image is at risk when you use these methods. Either you want to be in this business or you want it as a part-time hobbyist. Be proud of what you do and most importantly... do it with excitement and enthusium!

[b] Hopefully, this mini-lesson on marketing helps.[/b]
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Sep 16, 2004 07:30AM)
I'm going to get in first, as there should be a flood of people typing like crazy to thank you Den for such a wonderful and informative post.

Thank you very much!!!

Message: Posted by: stu-di-doo (Sep 16, 2004 08:42AM)
Dennis, as usual your posts are both informative and thorough.

Thanks from me also.

Stu Di Doo
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Sep 16, 2004 09:43AM)
On 2004-09-16 08:08, DenDowhy wrote:
Marketing is [b]everything you do on a regular basis [/b] to promote your Magic Business, whether you call yourself a Magician, a Children's Entertainer, an Illusionist, a Mentalist, etc., from the moment you conceive it to the point at which the customer buys your entertainment services. [b]Everything you do[/b] and doing it [b]on a regular basis[/b] is the key to marketing![/quote]

I know that Dennis didn't intend to omit this, but marketing continues [b]beyond[/b] the point when the customer [b]buys[/b] the show.

Sending paperwork, being there for any questions, doing a professional show, behaving in a professional way at the venue, having effective follow-up and thank you cards, etc. are all very important parts of marketing, too. Also, keeping in touch with your customers after you have worked for them, so that you keep "top of mind."

These are the keys to repeat business and referrals. And so easy to do, yet many performers forget / omit these easy strategies.

Build relationships with every customer. Don't just think that marketing is over once you have "booked the gig". It continues right on through the show, and after the show.

- Donald

P.S. Great post, Den! But I would expect nothing less from a master like yourself! :)
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Sep 16, 2004 10:50AM)
Wow Donald, either you've got these posts saved and cut and paste, or you have a super fast, iron typing finger. Between yiourself and Donald you havn't left the rest of us anything to say. Brilliant posts guys.
Message: Posted by: Cameron Fisk (Sep 16, 2004 11:30AM)
Wow. That was a lot more then I expected! Thank you very much Dennis for the great post! There was a huge list of ideas there for me to think about.

Does anyone have a certain way of marketing that they found works best for them? I understand that marketing is a very large topic but maybe you have found that your many of your clients heard about you through a poster or through the phone book. One that you found brought you some good business. I ask this because there are a lot of ideas out there now for me to pick from, and I'm not sure which ones to use. Thanks again everyone for your help!


Cameron Fisk
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Sep 16, 2004 12:28PM)
First and foremost, let's make sure we address one thing. [b]You have to have a great show.[/b] If you market a poor show, you will grind your business into the ground. There are other threads that have dealt with the topic of how to create a great show.

If you have a great show, and ask for them, you will get testimonial letters (aka reference letters). Potential customers are interested in what other past customers have said about your shows. Don't make up quotes -- that's dishonest, and you will get caught in a lie.

Cameron, then your next step is to test different methods of marketing and discover which ones are best for you, in your marketplace. What I might recommend to you, might not work for you. Because I sell different shows, and I sell in a different way, and I have a different personality, etc.

I have used a mixture of giveaways at shows, direct mail, classified advertising, parent magazine advertising, yellow page advertising, and website presence. All with some measure of success. This is for lead generation (getting initial customers).

So, I use a mix of "active marketing" and "passive marketing." *

Once they are customers, I stay in contact with them, and offer new shows, and try to convert them into repeat customers.

- Donald.

P.S. * Definition of "active marketing" and "passive marketing":

By "Passive Marketing", I mean that you have to wait for the suspect to call you. You have no idea when they will call, who will call, and what they will want. This would include classified ads, parent magazine ads, yellow page ads, giveaways, newsletters, website presence, etc.

"Active Marketing" means you go out and chase your leads. By that, I mean you do mailings to specific people, and then call and follow them up. You seek out possible show opportunities actively. This would include direct mail, phone selling, permission faxing, staying in contact with past customers (to a degree), etc.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 16, 2004 11:11PM)
"By that, I mean you do mailings to specific people, and then call and follow them up. "

Direct mailing has worked for me Donald but I have never called and followed up. Guess that part of the business makes me nervous. I am referring to school direct mailings here (the only direct mailing I have done so far). Got some good bookings but waited for them to call.

Is there any ballpark percentage you could relate to the actual followup calls vs waiting for the direct mailing calls to come in?

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Sep 17, 2004 12:00AM)
Wayne -

Well, it is still active marketing whether you call to follow up or not. It is more active if you call first, get a name, even speak to that person (if possible) to qualify them somewhat. It will be more effective to mail to a specific person, as opposed to a "title".

Then mail. (Of course, the content of the mailing is also very important.)

You can choose to follow up with a call, or not.

Or just follow up with another letter (sequential mailings), or not.

It's up to you, but a person will likely have more success with a follow-up call. However, this might work differently depending on the types of customers you are pursuing. AND, most of all, a person's success is also dependent upon their sales skills and their phone script.

I can't really give you percentages as to the difference of a follow-up call vs. not doing one. I just know that is the way I like to do things personally, and it seems to work well for me.

I've discussed my personal approach on a few occasions on The Dean's List.

- Donald

P.S. What I am trying to say, is that there are many variables that can effect the success of a mailing campaign.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 18, 2004 01:34AM)
Thanks Donald.

I found that getting repeat customers may be difficult. Let me explain.

I do a show for Jimmy. The mother wants something different so she hires Candini the magician.
Why would she want a magician for next year also?
One may say this is intended for Juimmy's siblings.

I know repeat customers are 80 percent or so of a full timer's business but I've yet to see how.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Sep 18, 2004 02:19AM)
I know repeat customers are 80 percent or so of a full timer's business but I've yet to see how.


I do a show for Jimmy. The mother wants something different so she hires Candini the magician. He has the kids laughing, mystified and totaly in his control for the entire show, the kids talk about it for days/weeks after. Mother thinks boy that's the easiest party I ever did the kids really loved candini. I think I will book him next year!
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Sep 18, 2004 02:48AM)
Right on Phil, that's the way it works alright,

last year I did a show for a little girl, her mum told me it was the eleventh time shes seen me that year. It didn't stop mum booking me. She was actually at a party the following week as well, shouting and laughing just as much as the first time.

I did a show yesterday, before I started they re-booked me for December because the little brother of yesterdays birthday boy had seen me at a party last weekend and hadn't stopped talking about me.

My 2nd show today is for a lady with 6 kids, I've done parties for 2 of them so far this year this will be the third.

In fact every one of my parties this weekend, are re-bookings and reccomends.

If your not getting the re-bookings then the first thing to look at is your show, no amount of marketing will get you re-booked if your show wasn't up to scratch. This as we've said before is your main advertisment.

This doesn't mean your not good at what you do, but that there is a key ingredient missing. Maybe too much magicing at, and not enough magicing with. Maybe what your doing is impressing the adults with lots of skillful magic, but the adults also see your not catching the kids attention at the same time. This often happens if you forget your being paid to entertain the kids, but feel a need to do skillful stuff for the adults as well. I don't aim anything at the adults, others do and some that do find it hard to get the balance right, especially if they prefer adults and only do kids for the money.
I get lots of calls from parents who saw so & so at a party, "He was good, the adults loved him, but the kids got bored and restless".

You've also got to look at what your competitors are offering, you may do a terrific 30-minute show, but they may offer a 1 or 2 hour package, also a with very good magic show, maybe not as good as yours, but they make the party less stress free for the booker by keeping the kids entertained longer.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 18, 2004 03:25AM)
I see the point now. Not a lot of competition here. We don't have any John Zanders or Mark Lewis but national agencies advertise here.

My birthday shows have been outside in the blistering heat for close to one hour long. Kids have been yelling and screaming but not always when of course "magic" only is used or music etc etc. My last show the mother was real busy but while still with the presents etc commented about the heat also.
I am constantly reassessing my show and have made a big change to comedy (mostly comedy and less magic).

I am really giving outdoor summer shows some thought now. I am trying to lead the mothers to an inside venue of sorts. Perhaps many headliners are more successful at outdoor sweat parties than I.
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Sep 18, 2004 08:29AM)
As we've discussed on previous topics I will not do outdoor parties. Kids will get fidgity if they are sat outside in the heat like that. it's important to stress to the booker that some sort of shade is required for the kids. Also there is usually swings and slides etc that the kids find irresistable.

If you're having difficulty holding their attention then your show needs a complete re-think, it seems from previous posts that you like to do a traditional magic show and I think your having difficulty transfering your traditional magic show, into a children's magic show.

I'll E-mail you the format I use for my show, and you compare it with the stuff you do, maybe you can find a balance between the 2 that suits your style. Give me a couple a days to type it up.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Sep 18, 2004 10:28AM)
Wayne -

I also recommend having our birthday shows indoors, and know several other performers that do.

I know of a magician in the Phoenix area who only does outdoor birthday shows in the winter, and does indoors only during the summer months. Because of the mild climate there, and outdoor show in the winter is comfortable. He also brings along some items to make an outdoors show work a little better for the audience.

With regards to the audience focus, of course one source of your problem could be the show, the approach to magic, and also how much it involves the children. The other problem could be in your audience control that you establish during your warm up. So, how's your warm-up? :)

- Donald

P.S. About Wayne's question about Marketing: the reason to stay in contact with past birthday customers is three fold: referrals (this not only includes other birthdays, but can include school shows, churches, holiday parties, etc), a repeat birthday appearance for the same child, and an appearance at a sibling's party. Of course, there is more to children's / family shows than just birthdays. With all your other types of customers, there are plenty of opportunities for repeat business and referrals.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 18, 2004 04:09PM)
Okay thanks first.

I open with a magic to music number after a professional Dee Jay intro. My last party in the heat had about 3/4 shade for kiddies. The party lasted about a hour and the kids stayed put the whole time. One parent had to come and spray water on them also which had an interupt.

AFter the music piece with magic, I go into SOS (story line also), rabbit production (volunteer produces) (best yelling). After that, PBJ, some silk vanishes with first letting the silk hit the ground and they tell me they see it etc. Along the way volunteers are used....My last show I added siberian chain escape in there.

I forget the script for the inbetweens but I did use the strato sphere on my head and read a child's mind thingy. The breakaway wand. ALso had a goldfish production me wearing a finding nemo hat. I end with a Sq Circle with some comedy in there also done to music.

That was the jest in the heat last show. Of course it was only last Saturday so I woudlnt be looking for a referal this early. Do you guys always get back your feedback forms? I found they weren't sending them back.

Funny thing, after the heat show Saturday I asked the Mother how she liked the party. She said she liked it but said it was hot.
Message: Posted by: Michael238 (Sep 18, 2004 07:30PM)

What a remarkable post.
Thank you for everything you add to this forum.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 19, 2004 01:13AM)
Dittos Dennis :)
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Sep 19, 2004 10:47AM)
Wayne -

How are you establishing control of the children's group, at the start of your show?

Personally, I do this through my warm-up, which involves talking briefly with the audience before my first piece of magic to music (in many cases, I start with magic to music. Not at birthdays, though).

Some audiences are great, ready to behave and enjoy, and don't really need this.

In a birthday party, sometimes you have to do this. I've seen Steve Taylor and others do this during a school show. Depending upon the show venue, you establish control in different ways.

You tell them your audience expectations, and also your guidelines for choosing volunteers. Then use positive reinforcement to get those behaviours.

- Donald.

P.S. Here's some threads:

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=16439&forum=17]Magic Café thread... A warm up?[/url]

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/archive1/viewtopic.php?topic=286&forum=17]Magic Café thread... Warming Up The Audience![/url]

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=33289&forum=17]Magic Café thread... Signaling the start of the show[/url]

[quote]Candini: ...Kids have been yelling and screaming but not always when of course "magic" only is used or music etc etc... [/quote]

Wayne -

Here is the one I was really looking for. Took me a little time to find it!

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=52910&forum=17]Magic Café thread... Interruptions[/url]

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 21, 2004 03:53AM)
Just read it, thanks!
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 3, 2016 02:12PM)
Dennis and Donald, I hope you do not mind if I add a few more:

Social Media
A interesting handout business card the individual can have fun with, (for example Clipped Card).
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Feb 4, 2016 03:30PM)
Nope, No one minds if you add to a 11 and a half year old post… no one at all. :)
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 5, 2016 01:49PM)
Thanks for the kind words, Jay.