Five Sales and Marketing Tips from Carnies

Five Sales and Marketing Tips from Carnies

Ryan Shelley

14 April 2021

Recently, I enjoyed a fun filled family day at the Royal Easter Show. Among the expected sights, sounds and smells, were deeper lessons in sales and marketing. The source of these lessons, the loud and rumbustious carnies!

Carnies, or more correctly show people – are the loveable larrikins that make for a great show experience. ABC recently did an amazing episode of, You Can’t Ask That, all about the work and life of show people (see below).

Here’s five sales and marketing lessons I took away from watching these masters at work:

1. Be on trend

Sloths are in! Any 4 to 24 year old will be able to tell you that. Unsurprisingly, the top shelf prize being given away at every side show attraction was a giant 6-foot stuffed sloth!

Do some research, make sure there’s a demand for your product or service before you commit to marketing efforts. For your business, this research could be as simple as looking at Google’s autocompletions when you do a Google search. Or you can dive deeper into investigating search volumes using other third-party tools.

2. Be seen and be heard

The cries of a great show person can be heard over the noisiest of crowds. And it’s not just being loud that makes them heard. Their quick, witty and humorous rhymes will pierce through the loud music and shrieks of delight from nearby rides.

The marketplace is noisy, with distractions pulling your customers away from you. You don’t need to be the loudest with the biggest ad spend. Be smarter and come up with clever ways to get (and keep) your customers’ attention.

3. Enlist the help of others to do your marketing.

Back on the topic of giant 6-foot sloths, they’re hard to hide! Winners were proud to walk through the crowds with their sloth perched proudly on their shoulders. Amongst a sea of 50,000 show goers, could there be a better advertisement for taking your chances in sideshow alley?

Turn your best customers into your biggest advocates. Have a think about what you can do to ask them for referrals or recommendations. It could be as simple as a personal email that asks for a review and links them to leave feedback via Google My Business.

Additionally, build some case studies and success stories about your work. Talk about and link to your clients. They’ll usually be chuffed if you backlink to them from your website and give them a shoutout on social.

4. Timing

Make hay while the sun is shining – or in the case of the Show, when the punters are sugar fuelled and being egged on by their date or child to win them a giant sloth!

Like most things, timing is everything. Make sure your marketing is hitting customers at the right time. Consider what time your email marketing arrives in their inbox. Don’t know when’s best to send? Start experimenting. Think outside the box, try later at night, even weekends. Look at your opens and click throughs – what days and times give you the best results? Expand these timing experiments into other aspects of your sales and marketing activities.

5. Make people feel good

Show people do their job – rain, hail or shine – with a smile on their face and fun in their voice! Yes, you probably won’t win that sloth, but they’ll make you and the people you’re with laugh while you try.

Market in a way that makes people feel better for having read your message. It’s not all about the sale – it’s about building that relationship. Don’t be scared to give away some of your inside information. This makes people value knowing you, and even though they’re not ready to buy now – they could only be a moment away from buying or referring you to someone.