Hidden Opportunities Find Magicians

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“Image by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

I received a call the other day and thought I would share it with you:

Q. Will you teach everyone a magic trick during/after the show?

A. That’s a great question! We used to teach a trick during the show, but through experience, we have found it actually detracts from the magic. We want your audience to be amazed and entertained as much as possible and for you to have a memorable event.

With your permission, we set up a magic table in the back of the room. We sell a few easy to do magic tricks that audience members can take home and share their love of magic with family and friends. Of course you can prepay for everyone to receive a kit for free. That’s a great option and gives guest something to do after the show…

A very simple way to get away from and handle a semi insulting question.

“There’s a big difference between a demonstrator and an entertainer.”

What you don’t want to do. Tell your potential customer you refuse to teach a trick and you are way above that! The customer does not understand how it works and is genuinely asking a question. We know, asking a magician to teach a trick during a show, is like asking a band how to play the instruments.

What’s the hidden opportunity? Select six to twelve tricks audience members can buy directly from you. Put your name, email, and website on all the instructions. Put them all together as a package deal or magic kit. This gives you repeat customers and sets you up for new ones. You can easily double, triple or make even more off your “dealer room”. Some magicians even reduce the rate of pay, just to set up that booth at the end of the night.

Have an intermission for some sales during the show. It works best with a partner, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. This also gives you a nice break and set up time for the second half of the show.

Let WholesaleMagic.com know you want special instructions or Magic Wand Scrolls and they will be happy to work with you. They can even give you ideas to push.

Jay Leslie

Magic Stores Report $6000 in Revenue!

icone-downloadWholesaleMagic.com launched the Royalty Free Program last month, and magic dealers have already reported combined revenue in excess of $6000.

And that is with only 40% of stores reporting!

Think about it for a moment: six thousand dollars magic dealers kept without paying a dime of it back to a jobber or vendor or shipping company; SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS in total profit that did not exist before our Royalty Free Program.

If you are in the magic business, then you know nothing much is selling right now unless you push it hard. So why not push products with 100% profit?

The pie is getting bigger! Here’s how you can enjoy a slice…

Select from any of the products listed below or from our Royalty Free product page. Add the item to your site and feature it. Send it to your list and push it relentlessly. When a customer purchases the item, you keep all the money. The buck stops with you!

I asked one of my dealers what the Royalty Free Program means to him and his business. He said, “To me it’s an endless inventory. A year-long, profit-laden revenue stream. After just thirty days my bestsellers are mostly royalty free.”

He nailed it.

He understands the program.

He sees the value in generating royalty free profits in this economy.

It is never too late to join the party. The program is scalable for any size business. Every magic store, no matter how large, starts with one Royalty Free product. Don’t just add it to your site—push it! Sell it. Keep all the money!

Complete Course in Pick Pocketing

Derek Dingle Last Notes by Simon Lovell 

Dracola by Gerald Kirchner

Burning Up by Nathan Kranzo

Bob Hummer’s Devastation Principle

Cups and Balls by Senor Mardo

Dotcha! by Gerald Kirchner

Flipper Coin Repair by Roy Kueppers

From the Stall Booklet

Interlocked Card Production

Pop-Card by Steven Pignataro

Expanded Shell Repair by Roy Kueppers

Mark Cannon’s Great Escapes Convention

If you have questions about the program, feel free to contact us. We also set up a FAQ page here.

Is Royalty Free Right For Me

On Location at MagicDealers.com

magicdealers-300x170MagicDealers.com is a directory of magic related websites. I’ve had the pleasure to work on the site and help out with promotions. With my help, MagicDealers.com has skyrocketed back to the top of search engines and is getting a ton of traffic. If you get a chance, check it out.

Recently, the buzz peeked the interest of Vanish Magazine. They came to our offices for an interview. You can get a copy here: Vanish Magazine #10

Below is our interview:

Gerald Kirchner, CEO of one of the largest magic distributors in the world, made it his mission to find potential customers and deliver them to magic stores. The result is a website that is quickly becoming popular among magic suppliers.

“I go to bed each night thinking about magic shops,” Gerald said. “These places are owned and operated by people who work hard to deliver magic to every inch of the Earth. I wake up in the morning and imagine ways to make life better for that community.”

Gerald isn’t alone. There is a growing number of magic store owners who understand the value of networking. Those of us in the magic business—my fellow dealers, wholesalers, and manufacturers—are a family of distant relatives. Gerald’s new directory, MagicDealers.com, is like a family reunion, or an ongoing dealers room from your favorite convention.

“I go to bed each night thinking about magic shops…”

I visited Gerald at his office at Magic City—wholesalemagic.com—two massive warehouses filled from top to bottom with millions of dollars worth of magic books, DVD’s, the latest tricks and classic staple magic. It’s aisle after aisle of the world’s best magic.

Hanging on the wall behind his desk are Gerald’s favorite tricks—items he produced in his twenty-one years at Magic City—now celebrating their 40th year in the magic business.

I said, “Gerald, it’s like the most creative magicians in the world exploded in your office. There are cool toys and magic everywhere.”

“Yes, there’s a lot of history in this room,” Gerald said. “My dad, Chuck Kirchner, sat in this chair for over thirty years. He helped mold the magic business as we know it today.”

“I hate to reveal this to you,” I said, “but after listing my site in the MagicDealers directory, it quickly became my number one magic-related traffic source.”

Gerald explained, “That’s not a surprise. I hear that from many of the certified dealers listed in the directory. The website gets a tremendous amount of targeted traffic and we aim it at magic stores who want new customers.”

“Gerald, it’s like the most creative magicians in the world exploded in your office. There are cool toys and magic everywhere.”

“How do you deliver results so quickly? What makes people click my link?”

“It doesn’t always work that quickly,” Gerald said. “But I try to ensure it happens eventually. Every dollar that comes into the directory is spent in advertising our members. We run Facebook and Twitter campaigns for our dealer pages, plus we tap a few traffic sources I don’t want to make public.”

“Pretend I’ve never heard of MagicDealers.com. What is it?”

Gerald took a sip of his coffee and said, “MagicDealers is the world’s fastest growing magic directory. We don’t have every dealer listed yet, but we’re working hard to find them and deliver them a whole new customer base.”

Aaron Smith: Why should people list their site in the directory?

Gerald Kirchner: Everyone can use new customers, readers, or clients. The directory funnels those prospects to its members. Traffic pours into our site from search engines, social media platforms, and our proprietary sources. Our goal is to deliver actual, paying customers; people looking to buy magic tricks right now.

AS: Who can join MagicDealers.com?

GK: The site is for anybody with magic-related services they want to promote. Performers, dealers, manufacturers, magic magazines and news sites, really anyone in the community. The best part is, you don’t even need a website. You can use MagicDealers as your website.

AS: How much does it cost to become a member?

GK: Right now, you can have a listing in the directory for $99 per year (Magic Shops) $25 per year (Magicians).  That price may go up next year. Additional tools, such as promotional sales throughout the website and key features hidden within your listing, are available for premium members for just $99 per month. Premium members also get a discount from the Acme Magic Banner Exchange, only $25 per month for full rotation. Acme has now served over thirteen million banners on magic websites, so it’s a tremendous offer.

AS: A hundred dollars for a lifetime listing is a good deal. How does a magic shop or magician get listed in the directory?

GK: It’s easy. Go to the website, magicdealers.com, and click “Get Listed.” Fill out the form with your information and submit it for certification.

AS: You mentioned certification again. How are magic dealers in the directory certified?

GK: We verify the information provided by every dealer. I don’t have a way of guaranteeing it at this point, but we make sure the store is legitimate as best as possible. Honestly, not every magic store makes it through. I have to be able to go to your site or visit your establishment and know that you are an actual store. Sometimes it’s obvious the site isn’t real. If they claim to have every product distributed by Magic City for instance, but haven’t ever bought from us, I know they’re not real. Sometimes I have to call around and check references. I do what I can without being overly-demanding for information.

AS: But what if I’m traveling and don’t want to navigate the site to find a dealer?

GK: There are two mobile options to access our complete list of magic dealers in real-time. You can download the “Magic Dealers” app from the App Store on any IOS device, such as your iPhone or iPad, or from Google Play for any Android device. Our app had over 400 downloads in the first week. It’s very popular.

AS: That’s a lot of downloads for a directory app. Congratulations. Other than the app and website, how can I find out about new stores on MagicDealers.com?

GK: You can follow us @magicdealers1 on Twitter and like our Facebook page at facebook.com/magicdealers — we keep both sites up-to-date with the newest additions to the MagicDealers family

.AS: I noticed that MagicDealers.com is sort of it’s own little world. Sites within a site.

GK: Just like Facebook and Twitter, MagicDealers is a form of social media that shouldn’t be ignored. Google, Bing, and Yahoo rely heavily on directories like ours for content and current information. My advice to magic stores, creators, and performers is to get listed in the directory right now. Don’t wait. Join now. Keep your listing updated with all of your current promotions. You have a whole new place from which to draw traffic. To get customers. To make sales.

AS: One last question. Is that a Klingon Bat’leth on your desk?

GK: [smiling] Yes. Yes it is. I use it as a letter opener.

Source: VanishLive.com

 

Simple Strategy Transforms Your Business

Photo by Mike Kirby.

Photo by Mike Kirby.

The internet tossed a stick of lit dynamite into the old saying, “You can’t sell from an empty cart.”

Today, that small phrase sums up the business model of many small-to-medium businesses online. The internet itself is an empty cart in some respects. There are whole companies that actually sell turnkey “empty carts.”

In the magic business, it’s okay to operate an empty cart—or a somewhat empty cart; the business shouldn’t be completely hollow. If magic stores had to stock everything they sell on their website, magicians would have limited access to supplies and would need to do business with more stores—a shipping nightmare for the magician.

Instead, it’s a shipping nightmare for magic shops!

There is a rule of economy in play here: shipping costs per item increases as volume decreases.

If you’re not doing the business you were a few years ago, then chances are your shipping costs—even if well-managed—are really high right now. Every time you order one item to service one customer, you are paying a percentage of profit to shipping that you would have saved if it were part of a larger parcel meant to service more customers.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to offset these increased costs.

Once a month, call a vendor and inquire about their newest items. Focus on their top three and buy a dozen of one. Push the item through your newsletter and feature it on your website.

When you get down to two remaining units, call and order another dozen. Keep the item featured on your site and promote it to your list again. Continue doing this until it stops selling. By this time, it’s the next month, repeat the process with a new trick.

This simple concept can and will transform your business. Eventually, you will earn thirty-day net with your vendor and you will develop a relationship with them that may include discounts—even more profit.

One Simple Step Increases Facebook Reach

Photo by FACEBOOK(LET)

Photo by FACEBOOK(LET)

If you manage a Facebook page for your business or products, you may have noticed a recent decrease in the reach of your regular status updates.

Why?

The answer is simple: Facebook altered their algorithm to favor shares instead of updates.

What does this mean for you and your page? How can you increase your reach when you share information with the people who like your page?

Again, the answer is simple.

Instead of posting information about a new page or product on your website in a status update—usually a small bit of text and a link to the page—share the info directly from your website.

First, go to Facebook and select “Use Facebook As YOURPAGENAME” from the gear icon at the top, far right. Then go to your website and click the share button on the page your want to share, or if you don’t have one—and you should!—use the share feature in your web browser (may be an add-on in some browsers).

After you share the info, return to Facebook and click the gear icon again to use Facebook as your own profile account. Share the status update from your page timeline on your own personal profile timeline.

Viola!

You just tickled the new Facebook algorithm and their system will now share your content through a larger potential array of viewers.

Where Magic Comes From (Part One)

illusionist-149195_640Good magic comes from a spark, and the spark quickly evolves into wonder. I don’t mean amazement, I mean wonder. A creative mind wonders and dreams. It snakes its way through a million possibilities.

If you have come up with an idea for a magic trick and want to see it become a magic product on the market, step one is a whole lot of wondering—brainstorming. As you go along, ask and answer these questions:

  • Where’s the magic? Deep down, is there any magic at all?
  • What’s the most magical part of the trick?
  • Do I upstage the most magical part with something trivial at the end?
  • How can I streamline the effect?
  • How can I make the streamlined effect even better?
  • Should I use a gimmick to accomplish this?
  • Is the gimmick I’m using even necessary?

Once you are done with these questions and you have a working prototype of your trick, then it is time to test it. In other words, perform the trick A LOT! Ask your closest magician friends to test it too.

Now you have a solid trick, but how do you turn it into a magic product available in magic stores across the globe? Ask yourself more questions:

  • Is this something I would be proud to sell?
  • Is this something I would buy?
  • Does this trick represent my brand well as a first release?
  • Is this trick new and innovative enough market, or simply common sense?
  • Would you ask a merchant who works on a very low profit margin to risk his family’s livelihood on your product?
  • Have you Google searched specific key words to see if you trick is already out there?
  • Have you searched magic forums and magic stores for similar items?
  • Can I create an honest demo video without the need for cuts or special effects?
  • What am I including with the trick that has tangible value?
  • What are the negatives and how can I turn them into features?

After you have answered these questions for yourself, call a jobber for advice. Ask to talk to the owner and pitch them your idea.

Realize that magic producers—jobbers or independents—have a hundred ideas in the wings. If you pitch an idea to them, someone in the company may already be working on something similar. Don’t automatically assume they ripped you off if a trick with the same method or plot is released after you talk with them. If you are worried about getting ripped off, talk only to reputable jobbers, dealers, or producers, and pitch to them in a vague manner, rather than tipping everything in the first conversation. You can even ask if they are working on something similar before you tip the method.

The reason to bring a jobber in from the very beginning of the product stage is because while you are focussed on where the trick came from, they will be focussed on where the trick is going. Something as easy as a title change or a nuance added to the instructions could net a huge return down the road.

If you are the research and development department, your distributor is like the marketing department or a marketing consultant.

Another reason you should bring a jobber in early on is to pool your resources. You have an idea. They have equipment used to turn ideas into products—DVD production and duplication, presses, packaging, writers, illustrators, and more. Capitalize on your strengths… and theirs.

In “Where Magic Comes From Part II,” we’ll discuss briefly the jobber/creator relationship and reveal the secrets and mysteries behind independent product releases.

The Magic Shop Identity Crisis and How To Solve It

Picture by Daehyun Park.

Picture by Daehyun Park.

Take away the color of the website and the logo, and with little exception, online magic shops all look the same. Such is the case with most online stores, but in magic the identity crisis is compounded by the fact that a huge chunk of retail outfits carry and push the same products at the same time.

Thus, to the customer—especially to laymen, but also to magicians—there is little difference between one online magic shop and another.

Except for one magic store.

There is one magic store that is a little different. There is one thing that sets it apart from all the others. And because of this one little thing, the customer buys more magic from them than from any other source.

That store is… the customer’s favorite online magic shop.

The customer purchases from that specific store because whatever the store does different—fast dispatch, all in stock, excellent advice, in-house demo videos, phone service, free shipping, a concentration on new magic, ready supply of staple goods or consumables, etc—is important to the customer.

All online magic stores sell magic, but the most successful operations have a clearly defined and marketable USP (unique sales proposition or unique selling point). Their USP is a like a fingerprint to customers familiar with their business.

The cookie-cutter retail paradigm in the magic industry is so repetitive that any single concept can be your unique selling point and set you apart from the bulk. If you want to know what your competitor’s are doing, search popular entry-point terms and see how they present themselves on Google. You will see their USP paramount in the results.

Once you decide on your USP, mention it constantly. Advertise it everywhere. Use it to entice, convert, and supply your customers. Use it to beat your competitors. Even if you fail at other things, follow through with your USP on every order. It must be there even when nothing else is.

Monitor your USP over time. Make sure it doesn’t get stale. Some magic shops have been hanging on to the same old ideas for so long, that new customers don’t even recognize them as a buying option.

You will know your USP is working when you hear magicians refer to you positively with the same phrase repeatedly in testimonials. Build your company’s identity around a USP and the reasons for customers to buy from you will be evident from search to browse.

Building a Magic Mailing List (Part One)

feedburner-feed-setupSocial media, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even MagicDealers make it easy to communicate with customers throughout the day, throughout the week. But these venues are a room full of people. Yelling, “SAVE 30% OFF TODAY ONLY!” into a room of people, isn’t just rude, it’s not very effective.

You can and should promote your special offers through social media, you just have to take a different tact. Email, on the other hand, is the perfect venue for shouting, showing, and converting.

For an email to be effective, you must have email subscribers. Step one: decide how you want to collect these email addresses. If you are going to use an email delivery service such as MailChimp or ConstantContact, then those companies will have tutorials on their site for collecting and maintaining your subscriber list. For the most part, you just add a form to your website that customers fill out and submit.

As your list gets bigger, those services cost more and more money. A large magic shop may have 50-70,000 magicians on their mailing list, which can cost hundreds of dollars a month to send reliably. Be prepared for your list to grow and always check the prices of the service you plan to use long term.

But there is a free alternative to paid service providers that’s quickly becoming the preferred solution among marketers of all sizes, and that’s FeedBurner. It’s an email delivery service offered by Google. It’s free and easy to use, but it is a bit confusing in the beginning.

FeedBurner turns any RSS feed into an email and delivers it to your customers from Google’s servers, which have amazing deliverability when it’s not gmail.

Want to see a FeedBurner newsletter in action? Sign up to this blog’s newsletter—Free Magic News & Insider Secrets!—at the bottom of this article or on the right hand side of this page. You should receive our newsletter with 48 hours after confirmation.

There are two components to FeedBurner:

First, you need a FeedBurner account. Set it up and make sure you have email as a delivery option. I recommend a dynamic subject line. The options look confusing, but read through them and it will make sense after a few minutes.

Then you need an RSS feed. The easiest method is a blog. If you run your own server or have server space, install WordPress. If not, WordPress offers a hosted option too. Find your RSS URL and enter it in FeedBurner. Set your site to automatically signup customers to FeedBurner (they still have to confirm, so it is Opt-In all the way), and have an option to subscribe to your newsletter on your blog and the main sections of your website.

When you are ready, post a special offer in your blog in the form of an article, and once a day, Google will check your RSS feed and deliver your newsletter to your list of subscribers. If you decide you want to change programs later, just download your list from FeedBurner and upload it to the next provider.

But what do you post to get the best results? What do you write about to entice magicians to buy magic from you? Get your FeedBurner account setup and your blog installed, and I’ll answer these questions in Part Two next week.

The Poor Boy Billet Knife: Supper Size Me Please

poor_boy_billet_knife_FULLSIZEThe most popular Poor Boy magic product on the market, now in a new size. Bigger billets! Larger Loads! Plus a convenient pocket clip to keep your Poor Boy Billet Knife ready to read minds at a moment’s notice.

The Poor Boy Billet Knife isn’t a fancy magic prop. It’s a simple utility device invented by a magician, used by same, and placed on the market for a reasonable price. Like most magic gimmicks, it’s just “one of those” with “that one thing” attached to it.

However, this Billet Knife is also very effective! There are no moving parts to get stuck or jammed as with other billet knives. One simple move with your thumb and the billet is loaded, every time!

A borrowed dollar bill, signed and folded, vanishes at your fingertips. Pick up a piece of fruit from the table – or the spectator can choose it fresh from the market – and cut it open to reveal their signed dollar inside the fruit!

• Stainless steel blade!
• Durable composite handle!
• Convenient pocket clamp!
• Dirt-simple and damn reliable!
• New size for BIGGER BILLETS
and LARGER LOADS!

The Poor Boy Billet Knife can also open a sealed envelope and secretly inject a small item inside. Reveal the billet right away, or just do the cutting and let your spectator expose the prize!

The maximum FOLDED billet size, without hiding it with your thumb or finger, is about one inch wide by two inches long (compare to the original size). Fully extended knife measures nearly seven inches long. Instructions include the most famous billet trick ever, Bill in Lemon!

What is a billet? A billet is any small object, usually a folded piece of paper and often used in mind reading routines by mentalists. Use the Poor Boy Billet Knife to inject billets into impossible locations!

Three-Year Replacement Coupon Inside! With your Poor Boy Billet Knife, you will receive a replacement coupon. If the product fails within three years, Poor Boy Magic will replace it free; you just pay shipping and handling at actual cost.

Click here to check it out.

The “MAGIC” of Advertising and Why it’s Hard to Find a URL

Magic_AdvertisingIn Arthur C. Clarke’s Three Laws, the Third Law states, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

And since almost everything worth advertising is, at least in the mind of its creator, a “sufficiently advanced technology,” the marketing of such products benefits by borrowing from the magic industry.

In fact, experts call words such as amazing, magical, and astounding, “stop words.” These are terms and phrases that when included in headlines and headers, cause potential customers to stop [flipping through the magazine or changing channels] and pay attention to the sufficiently advanced technology being advertised.

This is why it is difficult, near impossible, to find an available URL for your magic business that incorporates these stop words; those websites are already being used by the mainstream market.

Porsche’s recent slogan (circa 2011), “Engineered for Magic,” both takes advantage of our industry’s core term and gives credibility to the idea that men only drive a Porsche due to a “wand” complex.

Even non-technological products take from the magic industry’s precious limited vocabulary. Spider-Man is, after all, only “amazing.” The same term used to describe turn-of-the-century baking apparatus.

Magicians have struck back over the years. Magic creators parody the occasional well-known summer blockbuster for their trick’s title or they incorporate popular mainstream products, from playing cards to iPhones, in their routines.

I remember Steve Fearson performing a trick for me while we were hanging out at a magic convention more than a decade ago, when the Internet was still finding its place among the general public. He had me select a card and then go to Oprah’s website, which revealed my card right next to her picture!

Today, there is a constant supply of innovative technology advertised as magic. It is important magicians develop new magic tricks just as quickly, setting the bar for what is magic and what is “like” magic.

In the past, a young kid might say, “I know how you did that, you used one of those fake thu***.” Now days, he will say, “You know, there’s an app for that. And it’s amazing!”

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