MB 028: No Cost Marketing For Magicians


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Eric Knaus aka. The Great Zucchini Shares His Branding and Marketing Tips For Magicians

How do you get hundreds of people to turn up to public venues on weekends to watch your magic show? How do you do this without having spent any money on advertising yourself in the past 11 years? This interview with The Great Zucchini looks at no cost marketing for magicians.

The Great Zucchini aka Eric Knaus has done this. Along the way he has become an unlikely magic superstar in his market and creator of The Great Zucchini Live and Kidshow Rockstar DVD’s. Families want to be at his shows. Even the family that lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. That’s right, Michelle and Sasha Obama are his fans. Join the Great Zucchini now as he slices up his marketing strategy into bite size pieces for us.

  • 3-7 yr olds – drilling your name into their head ..it’s IMPERATIVE
  • Reinforcing your brand name just like Coca Cola does week after week
  • A great way to hand out your business card handout
  • Humanizing yourself … and the benefits it brings
  • Using your name in the 3rd person … always
  • How to create a rock star status by spending other people’s money
  • Creating URGENCY when clients want to book you
  • How to get ‘defenders’ who back you up when critics attack
  • Little Elvis moments! … what are they and why you should have them
  • Why should you give random compliments during the show?
  • When Sasha and Michelle Obama came to the party
  • Image Advertising vs. Direct Response marketing for magicians


Check out The Great Zucchini in action.

To see The Great Zucchini Live and Kidshow Rockstar DVD click here

Read this YELP review  (I grabbed the first one I saw at the top of the page). What you hear is that these people have a relationship withe the Great Zucchini. Click on the picture and read the other reviews and you see this a pattern. Note too you rarely see the word ‘magician’ or ‘tricks’, instead you read ‘zucchini experience’  and ‘the kids and family will be transported’. What is Eric doing that you and I are not? What can we change to get closer to this ideal?


Great Zucchini Yelp Review Kids Entertainer Washington DC

Links and resources discussed in this episode:

Eric Knaus’s website: The Great Zucchini

Eric’s Wikipedia page

Thank you for listening

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Thanks again, Ken and Julian

Meet the Author

Julian Mather

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • thank you for Great Zucchini pc they are really helpful

  • N Jay Jaybo Holtz

    How do you say to a friend, which I consider Eric to be, that he does a wonderful job with the pre schoolers to 2nd graders This is the same age group that I work for, I have picked up a few ideas from him and have used them. Julian, I like the way you threw out the questions to Eric and let him run with it. I include in my shows similar ideas like I wrote a song about my name that keeps the children singing the words and remembering my name. I incorporate games and try to get as many of the children involved as I can. Thank you for sharing him with the listening audience Julian and Ken.

    • This interview with The Great Zucchini is one of my favorites so far. He gave so valuable info in a short period of time.

  • Eric is a great guy… met him at Kidabra 2014. I love his style – he is so unpretentious – certainly someone for me to look up to… he does exactly what I’d like to do! Ken/Julian, for me because of the direction that I want to take my business, this has been the best interview you two have produced. Eric is down to earth and easy to connect with… I see why he’s so successful with kids – I think we all want that! I’ve used his advice “Fake it till you make it”… it works!

  • How long does it take to build a brand like The Great Zucchini? I’m guessing years, and not saying it isn’t worth it, just wondering if direct response marketing is a better (or more likely way to get results if you prefer to think of it in those terms) way to start and then be doing brand marketing while you are doing shows which you got from a result of direct marketing.

    Humanizing yourself, hanging out after the shows to talk to people is something I first saw mentioned by Bill Malone. He said something along the lines of he felt the biggest mistake he made was NOT doing this. For quite some time he would just show up, do his thing, pack up and leave. Based on how much more work he got once he started actually accepting people’s offers to stay after the show and socialize, the time he spent not doing it cost him a lot of money.

    • Hi Bart! I started using “Ms Tickle” early on in my new career and I’m glad I did. My first shows I was simply Miss Christine (in the south, everyone is a Miss or Mr). I quickly realized that “Christine” didn’t set me apart. My car is wrapped with Scott Evan’s wonderful caricature of me, Ms Tickle is on my business cards and she greets you on my website… I was encouraged to do this and I’m happy I did. Funny thing, some adults that attended my shows that I see on a regular basis (church friends), address me as Ms Tickle – I think it’s great as it is quite the conversation starter.. those that don’t know are quickly filled in – free advertisement!

      • Thanks, Christine! I can see how this really could catch on and as you said, every conversation where someone calls you by that name becomes an opportunity to promote yourself, which is great! I agree that Scott does great work!

  • Brian Richards

    The most important part from a marketing standpoint was Eric’s revelation about getting publicity for what you do on lists that your different markets use to inform their groups. I started looking into such lists for cubscouts. So far I haven’t had much luck but I will try this with other markets soon!! Does anyone have any suggestions for finding these lists?
    Or maybe share some experiences getting mentions in these groups?

    Brian Richards – Wizdom for Wizards

    • I’ve always been hit and miss with this and have never drilled down into it. The stumbling block for me is always the ‘person’ who controls the list. Often this is a volunteer position that changes on a yearly basis. Thee is so much in this interview I want to put into practice. I need to get results from what I am doing now first.

  • I’m a close up working usually for corporate events or weddings, this summer I was asked to do something a little different – I was asked to attend a 10 years old’s birthday party as a magician. I explained that its not my thing and offered some names of my friend in the game. The booker said that her son wants a dynamo magician not like a silly magician??

    So I said I’m happy to take the booking as it was in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, Ill put something together – so I did, well I got a better buzz from that show then working close up.

    So I thought to myself how can I add this to the list of things I can sell – I am massively aware not to tick all the boxes as an kids entertainer, close up magician , stage show ellusionist etc. So I contacted the local scouts saying I have a mini lecture/magic show if your interested, well Im now on my third show with more booked in for 2015 all mid-week, a time when I’m doing pretty much nothing anyway, but the best thing about it is I absolutely love it, so much so Im thinking this is what I want to do with my magic – the kids really got on board and want to learn, I talk to the kids ask them questions, its more like a conversation with magic, they engage with you and its a better show.

    As they say the proof is in the pudding and every-time I’ve done the show the leaders have come up to me at the end and said I don’t know how you have managed to keep them quite for so long, simply amazing or Brilliant as the scouts would say.

    Anyway that’s one of my plans for 2015 and I never thought I would entertain kids or wanted too, but now you try and stop me.

    Keep up the good work guys –


    Phil –

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