When the circus is coming to town, and you make posters and fliers to hang and hand out… that’s advertising.
If you put those signs on an elephant and walk the elephant through town… that’s promotion.
If the elephant tramples the mayor’s rose bushes… that’s publicity.
If the mayor laughs about it and it gets reported in the news… that’s public relations.
If you charge admission and offer concessions and souveniers… that’s sales.
And if you plan the entire thing… that’s marketing.
It used to be that I couldn’t really promote comedy shows all over the country. I could just hope that somebody showed up. But what I’ve learned over the years is hope marketing is bad news. You always want a good turnout. You’re always hoping for the best, but you actually have to have strategies, tools, tactics, systems put in place that put butts in seats. And what works for one thing often-times works for another thing…
You see, it’s all about getting attention and what kind of attention you create. So all businesses are in show business because all businesses need attention. All businesses first must get someone to pay attention to them. How are you going to sell anything to someone who doesn’t know who you are? How will someone buy from you if they don’t even know you exist? To get buyers, you need to get attention, first. Do this by creating and promoting events.
An event is anything that builds a crowd for a collective purpose and has the cash register ringing.
Prime rib night is an event.
Karaoke night is an event.
Dart league is an event.
Wing night is an event.
Then you also might have special events.
All bars are in show business. This is why people pay extra in order to be served at your establishment. They’re paying for the atmosphere. They’re paying for the experience. They are paying for the quality of service.
To just be in the food and beverage business means that you’re also competing with grocery stores, fast food joints, liquor stores, gas stations, garage keggers, and anywhere else food and alcohol can be had.
You want to present things in a certain way that maximizes your customers experience and delivers fun, creates memories, and enhances your business’s reputation. Deliver more value than what is paid for, and your customers will come back for more. They will become evangelists for you by spreading the word to others.
…That’s show business!
Here are our Top 10 Secrets to Sold-Out Shows…
- Fame is lame. Invest in quality, not celebrity.
- Timing is everything… but will never be perfect.
- Never cater to the hater. Only target people interested in your event.
- Always make ’em an offer they can’t refuse. Make it too good of a deal on purpose.
- Always leave ’em wanting more. Invest in creating and delivering a first-class experience.
- The money is in the list. Always get the name, and contact info for each person who walks through the door.
- Always be memorable. There is no risk in the pushing the outrageous envelope.
- Always track the numbers. Toss out the old measurements.
- Create big change with little experiments. Making mistakes is always better than faking perfections.
- Always repeat the winners.