When the bookings aren’t coming as expected, many hypnotists naturally gravitate towards the notion that enhanced marketing strategies are the silver bullet. They imagine that a better sales page, a burgeoning social media following, or the aid of a savvy agent might be the key to unlocking a flood of bookings. However, this perspective overlooks a fundamental aspect of any performance art: the uniqueness and quality of the product or service itself.
The Novelty is Wearing Off
Hypnotism has been such a small profession for so long that the majority of the public had never seen a hypnotism show. This meant that on any given night a hypnotist could walk into just about any venue and impress the crowd by showing them live hypnotism for the first time. The very novelty of what they were witnessing satisfied the audience. That era is coming to an end.
Today, there are more hypnotists than ever before, and they are performing at fairs, campgrounds, high schools, universities, corporate events, and comedy clubs. The scale of performance has increased in both the number of venues it is being performed at, and the number of people who are being exposed to the art form. This means that audience composition is changing in one crucial way: fewer and fewer people are witnessing entertainment hypnotism for the first time. As a result, hypnotists are benefitting less and less from “the novelty effect.”
More and more, there are audience members watching hypnotism shows who are recognizing parts of the show from previous shows they have seen performed by other performing hypnotists:
- The symphony orchestra
- Napkins as dollar bills
- Taking a car for a ride
- The hot and cold beach routine
Use of these “classic” skits is what hypnotist Colin Chapman has termed “hypnosis cover bands.” At best the hypnotist is taking a decades old routine and putting some sort of spin on it. At worst, they are doing it the way it’s always been done, which Chapman calls “hypnosis karaoke.” The result is that audience members who have seen an entertainment hypnotism show before are now getting the impression that hypnotism is a “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all” form of entertainment, and they feel no need to keep going to shows.
Don’t Buy Into the Marketing Myth
Remember the Shake Weight? The oscillating dumbbell that would help you tone and build muscle in as little as six minutes per day! The marketing for that product was fantastic, and a lot of Shake Weights were sold. Now they can be found at yard sales across the United States.
The truth is, marketing, no matter how sophisticated, rarely compensates for an unremarkable product. Yes, they pulled it off with the Shake Weight, and somebody made millions, but that was because it was a new concept. Imagine if 50 companies were all trying to sell their own version of a Shake Weight. It wouldn’t work.
This is particularly poignant in the field of entertainment hypnotism. A cursory glance at the industry reveals a plethora of hypnotists whose shows are indistinguishably similar. This begs the question: If your hypnosis show mirrors your competitors’, what truly makes it special? What is your unique selling proposition that makes an audience prefer your show over another?
Superior marketing is fueled by superior ideas. In entertainment hypnotism, many have fallen into the trap of relying on tired, overused concepts:
- the audience becoming stars of the show
- the interactive nature of audience participation
- hypnosis being a unique alternative to comedy or live music
These are all valid points, but have become so commonplace that they lose their effectiveness as unique selling points. If your competitors are marketing on the same points, then you don’t stand apart from them in comparison. You must offer something different.
It’s Time for a New Approach
The real solution lies not in reinventing your marketing but in reinventing your show. To stand out, your performance must offer an experience that is distinctly different from other hypnotists. This uniqueness could stem from a variety of factors:
- a unique theme
- an innovative use of technology
- a novel approach to audience interaction
- integrating other forms of entertainment in a way that has never been seen in a hypnosis show before
Once you have crafted this unique experience, your marketing efforts can then pivot to highlight these distinct elements. This approach not only differentiates your show but also makes your marketing message more compelling and memorable. When potential clients see that your show offers something truly special, something they can’t get elsewhere, your marketing will naturally become more effective.
In conclusion, for hypnotists looking to increase their bookings, the focus should be on offering a show that is not just good, but distinctively different. By ensuring that your performance stands out in a sea of similarity, you create a solid foundation upon which to build effective marketing strategies. Remember, in the competitive arena of entertainment, it’s not just about being seen – it’s about being remembered for something uniquely spectacular.