Archive for June, 2006

Which Marketing Systems to Buy?

June 26th, 2006

Keith, a reader from Georgia e-mailed asking about how to determine which marketing programs or systems to purchase.

When it comes to marketing materials, there are different “levels” if you will. There are basic marketing books that will help you design a business card, build an effective web page, learn basic sales technique, etc. This is also the sort of material you can get from the book store or even the public library. Everyone should have a good foundation in basic marketing, promotions, and sales.

Then there is a more advanced level of training. This is usually very specialized and runs very deep. Examples would include entire books (even SERIES of books) on the subject of copy writing (writing words that sell, whether in a sales letter, a web site, a brochure, etc.) or a set of tapes or CDs on closing techniques.

Then you can get even MORE advanced, which means MORE specialized, and usually also means more expensive! You can access information specifically for a particular industry (such as real estate agents or performing artists).

The thing to watch out for is that as a program becomes more and more specialized, the market for that product shrinks smaller and smaller. The result is that writers will (either consciously or unconsciously) begin sliding back towards a more fundamental text.

Example: imagine a marketing course specifically for magicians (very tight and rather small group) that teaches the reader how to create and sell a program to schools, and libraries, and birthday parties, and trade shows, and corporate events, and scout banquets, and weddings, and cruise ships, and restaurants, and festivals, and church functions, and so on, and so on. Can a single program really do all of that? Yeah, but it probably has to back track into the basics in order to do so.

It doesn’t make the program bad, but you need to realize that is what you are getting. I am a firm believer in understanding and applying “the basics”. But I think if you are offering a focused program, it should be advanced applications and should try to foucs on how the given industry is unique.

I try to avoid this and as a result I get programs that are very specific in a particular tactic (such as Viral Marketing, which is six hours of audio and a thick workbook all on how to stimulate and control word of mouth marketing), or I get programs that are comprehensive but only for a particular niche market (such as my “Dominating Libraries” program which is no longer available, but sold for $495 and took you step by step into how to completely own the public library scene in your market).

In doing this, my sales per unit are smaller, my cost is higher, but I think the product has a better value for SOME people. If you need a more entry level understanding of marketing then my stuff might not be for you. But that’s why I write my magazine columns, and post advice on various web sites, including free reports from my own web site


What to Expect Here

June 22nd, 2006

I write a monthly column on the business of magic in a magazine for professional performers called “The Linking Ring”. I also lecture, have written almost 20 books, publish a free monthly newsletter, and a produce a weekly e-zine for paid subscribers only called “52 Weekly Steps to Success“. You can also find my thoughts on web sites and list servers around the world. But primarily I make my living by performing for children. I perform between 500-800 paid shows per year but work only 200-225 days per year.

In the process of writing and lecturing, I get a lot of questions and comments from readers. I’ve decided to share their thoughts and questions along with my repsonses so that others can benefit from a shared sort of network.

I hope you enjoy it, and if you want to submit a question, feel free to e-mail me. My contact information can be found at