OK....so now you have a DigiGames game show system. There are a few helpful tips along the way that will help you immensely. Below is some basic information that will help you get things going so that you can make money quickly.
How Can I legally Advertise Myself:
DigiGames is not in the business of providing legal advice, and we cannot do so without a certain degree of liability. If you are not sure of a legal issue, YOU MUST consult an attorney who can advise you of your rights. DigiGames, accordingly, cannot be held liable if you use a copy written or trademarked word or phrase in any of your advertising. Copyrights and trademark laws do not vary from state to state, as these laws fall under federal guidelines. What applies to us applies to you. So, here is a bit about what we do know:
In a brochure or on your web site, always be careful about the use of trademarked words or phrases. These include the use of Jeopardy, Hollywood Squares, Family Feud, etc. However you can use the phrases in nominative use. Nominative use means that you can use a trademarked word or phrase if the context is "in the likeness, manner, or style of". For example, you can say Giorgio when comparing your own perfume. Advertisers will say, "If you love Giorgio, you will love our perfume!" Or “If you are tired of your Hummer’s gas mileage, try out our Toyota Prius.” However, if the advertiser used "Giorgio" by itself in keywords, meta-tags, web content, etc to confuse people to go to their site, it is a copyright infringement which is a $20,000 fine.
If you must use a trademarked word, always say "In the style-of-Jeopardy" or "Family-Feud-Like" (observe the hyphens). To be absolutely safe, just avoid the phrases all together. In your advertising, simply state “We perform ALL your favorite TV game shows”. This is a broader phrase and is much more effective in getting potential clients to contact you and hear how fun you are over the phone (never forget to schedule a consultation meeting.....this step increases your bookings considerably!). Then, over the phone or in person you can explain what types of shows you perform.
If you use copy written phrases even in nominative context, you WILL eventually get a nasty call or a nasty-gram from Sony or Freemantle Media. They will eventually find you investigate you. Then it is absolute hell thereafter. If you use nominative phrases, be prepared for some nights over the toilet without sleep. We are not trying to scare you....this is a very REAL issue.
On this note, some have used the phrase Game Show Mania when advertising with DigiGames equipment. Note that the phrase IS trademarked, and you MUST get written permission from the holder of the phrase to use it.
VERY IMPORTANT: DigiGames will withhold any support if it finds that you are using copy written or trademarked words or phrases in your website. Once removed, DigiGames will continue to provide any needed support.
A few notes about marketing:
People's imaginations will excite them more than anything you can say. So, being mildly vague will invoke in their minds the details without you having to say them. "Trivia Parties" sounds like fun....let their minds fill in the blanks. Saying "we will bring Jeopardy here every Wed. night" is too specific, since the words "Fun, interactive, etc" aren't commonly associated with the show Jeopardy.
It is always best to keep it as vague as possible - believe it or not this method, by far, gets you more bookings. Use phrases, verbally or in print, like, "Imagine your favorite TV game shows at your event"; "Everyone loves TV game shows - We bring them to you!"; "Complete trivia show, with real contestants and audience participation - Just like you see on TV"; "Fun, interactive, and memorable trivia parties!"; "Trivia is a proven way to make your next meeting and seminar information memorable!" Avoid words like "System", "Equipment", "Gear", you will loose them, they don't know what that is - even with a picture! Replace such words with layman phrases like "lockout buzzers", “wireless push buttons” and "scoreboards".
Always highlight the end result, not the process of getting there. "End result" key phrases are: fun, memorable (for school or corporate training scenarios), exciting, interactive, zany, wild, the audience will love it, they will come back again and again for more, increased clientele (for a bar), and so forth. Make the booking client ask about the process of getting there, but your job is to highlight the end result. If the booking client wants to know more about the process of getting their, then you can highlight features about your game show system. Again, don't say "system" or "equipment". Instead say, "The tool we use to make audiences come back again and again is this". Then highlight a few basic details of your game show system and software flexibility. Drawing attention to the software and it's visual effects and other features, and less on the actual system itself is sometimes beneficial. Software details are easier to absorb, especially when it is right in front of them when you bring your laptop in for a face to face consultation.
On this site, we use the phrase "Game Show System" liberally. This only means something to you and me, and for people looking to purchase one. Otherwise, people generally won’t have a clue what you are talking about if you use this phrase and as a result you will loose them quickly. Even when showing a picture and you say "We have a game show system", still potential booking clients will tend to get lost. You can show the picture/brochure, but be sure to use any of the key phrases in the preceding paragraph.
Now, many users report how easy it is to get bookings by simply bringing in a wireless buzzer or 2 and a laptop to a meeting with a potential booking client. Often the user launches a game or 2 and demonstrates how the wireless buzzers are used with the trivia software. We have taken this concept one step further by creating a commercial that displays screen shots of our games. The commercial consists of a flash movie that is ultimately interactive with a majority of the systems that DigiGames produces. You can download and install this commercial for free by clicking here. After you install the game, launch it with your wireless receiver attached to your computer, and press any of the wireless buzzers to watch the movie interact with your wireless game show system. If you do not have a system yet, you can use the number keys on your computer keyboard to trigger a simulation of a wireless buzzer press.
Other interesting notes:
If you will be doing team play, versus individual play, a potential booking client is going to love to hear that! They will sometimes express concern that you will be embarrassed that no one is going to volunteer to participate. When you focus on the team play aspect (2 players or more at each buzzer station), they will easily understand that no one will be put on the spot, or feel dumb if they are loosing, so therefore more will participate. Scroll down for ideas on how to get contestants to participate right at the beginning of the show.
Highlight "lockout buzzers". "First person who rings in locks out the other contestants". Booking clients love to hear that.
Corporate booking clients love to hear that you can put in their own custom questions and answers. Gather info like company procedures, safety protocols, employees past accomplishments, employees talents, company history, etc. Why not up-sell the use of custom questions and make some more money? Most users up-sell this for at least $50 dollars. Simply have the booking client email you the questions and the answers, and copy/paste them into the editor of your software (this way you don't have to type it all in).
When approaching a prospective client bring a laptop, show the software. Highlight overall functionality, not the deep things that the software can do. They will love to see it. Even better is a 1 minute video clip of you hosting a game (displayed on your laptop screen or portable DVD player with onboard mini-monitor). Ask a few friends to act a little extra wild for the video (slapping hands, body checking, etc). This will be one of your biggest marketing tools!
Never be afraid to do a free booking! Is there a local lounge that you have been trying to get into for years? Offer 1 hour of free trivia - think that they will turn that down?? REALLY IMPORTANT - be sure to schedule the free booking on a date and time where the booking client guarantees to be present to watch. If he/she is not present when you get there, don't even waste your time setting up and doing a show - you will not get the results you desire, even if they say "the bartender will tell me how well it goes". If the potential booking client is there, the small taste of what you can do is likely going to garnish you future bookings THAT NIGHT! For an interesting discussion about whether or not to incorporate a free event as a promotional tool, please click HERE.
How to get people to want to play:
Here is the reality of the situation: Just like karaoke, many in the audience want to participate....they just don’t want to be the FIRST to participate. Unless you use creative methods, people will not generally start singing until 11 pm or so. If you are scheduled to start a trivia show at 9 pm, you most certainly can’t wait until 11 pm for people to get the courage to volunteer to participate. Here is where a small amount of creativity yields huge results when getting your first group of contestants ready to go when the show is scheduled to start. None of the following information really applies if you are passing out our wireless buzzers, but you can still adapt it if each table constitutes a team and is supplied with a wireless buzzer.
1. Get a list from your booking client of people who will be attending that are out-going and very personable people. It is good to get a list of people who are usually the office pranksters, joke tellers, and most likely to sing karaoke at a bar. Write their names on a piece of paper and draw from a hat when the games begin. "And our first contestant is...." then pull name. Add drama and excitement to the occasion.
2. In your introduction, get the booking client at your side and have him/her randomly pick the contestants that you need from the audience. They are always willing to be put on the spot to pick contestants for you. Especially if the booking client is the HR gal (very normal for corporate events). "You can't say no to the HR gal!! She probably is in charge of your payroll check, right? You know what'll happen on Monday if you don't comply!".
3. Ask the audience "who would you like to see up here playing? C'mon point them out!" There will be a ton of finger pointing, then announce "ok...that man with the red shirt....everyone at your table is pointing at you. C'mon up here!".
4. In your intro of the show ask the audience in a very animated way, "Every night millions of TV game show fans sit at their chairs shouting out answers that TV contestants are stuck on. How many of you wish you were one of those contestants?" Hands raise, then grab those people to be your contestants. You've reeled them into the game without them giving them a chance to think about it.
5. People LOVE to win free stuff. In an animated into ask, "Who is ready for some serious hard core trivia? I wanna hear you scream!" Then ask it again and demand more noise. Then shout in an extremely animated way, "Who wants to win some free stuff"? The crowd goes wild. Once you see who goes the most wild tell (not ask) "OK great then, I need you, you, you, and you to come up here right now!" Caught up in the moment, contestants come up and are now part of the game without even realizing it.
6. Tape as many business cards as you need contestants under the tables and chairs before the audience arrives. For example, if you need 3 contestants for your first round, tape 3 business cards under the tables and chairs before guests arrive. Then, when the show starts, announce that there are 3 of your business cards hidden in the room. "Everyone stand up". Give them a moment to arise. "Now, we are going to start with a simple game. Find my business card hidden in this room and bring it to me for a prize". Everyone is now off their chairs and looking (again, everyone loves a prize!). When the 3 cards are found and are brought to you then announce on the mic, "You know what you just won? You won the great opportunity to be my first contestants for our first round of (game)." The audience and contestants definitely react to your trickery. This reaction allows for great comedic banter on your part.
7. If you are asking for volunteers, and only 1 person stands up to volunteer, get that person up on stage and have him/her pick the other contestants. "Now be sure to pick opponents that you are sure that you can win against". When the other contestants are picked, have fun with it. "Now why did you pick Billy Bob? You really think you can beat Billy Bob at (name of game)?" "Most definitely!", they reply. "Ok, Billy Bob, what do you think about that? Are you scared?" There is lots of room for dialog in this area.
8. A really off the wall approach for corporate events where the contestants are pre-selected by the booking client, give them unusual objects in private before the event. Then, in a "Let's Make A Deal" style, call for the object and announce that who ever has this object gets to be one of the first contestants. Make your objects very wild like "Who has a potato with 7 plastic knives sticking out of it?" The contestant stands up holding the potato with the 7 knives, and everyone laughs. "Who just so happens to have a 1978 penny taped to a ace of spades with the word Happy written on it with a red marker?" or "Who just so happens to have page 49 of a Sears catalogue with...say...a 5/16ths 12 point wrench taped and sticking through the middle of the page?"
Once you finish your first round, everyone realizes how easy and fun it is and usually you won't have to resort to any unique method for subsequent rounds. Simply stating "The next 3 contestants up here get to play our next round". Look down at your notes, pretend to be busy for about 20 seconds. When you look up you will see a new set of contestants ready, willing, and eager to play. Or better yet, use idea #8 above with more realistic items if it appears that too many people want to play.
If circumstances do not allow for any of the above methods, assuring the audience that the questions are easy and fun helps put their mind at ease. Allowing them to work as teams begets more willing participants for the first round. I like to state "There are 3 simple rules for playing the game. Lie, cheat, steal.....do whatever it takes to win. Now, audience, if any of the contestants are stuck on an answer, feel free to shout it out to help them". After you have announced the above, people will be in a much better frame of mind to volunteer to be a contestant.
How do I establish a fair price for my clients, and make money?
This is a tough one for DigiGames to give advice on, since it can be easily misconstrued as a guarantee of results, which puts us at risk. There are a number of factors that govern how much additional to charge for your upgraded service to your clients. Such factors to consider are:
is the event a school fund raiser or school after-prom
is the event for bar/lounge trivia
is the event for a corporate event (now, factor if it is a well off corporation like a bank or hospital or for a small mom/pop business)
is the event on a holiday, Friday or Saturday where you are very busy - or on a Tuesday afternoon
are you a single operation entertainment company - or do you have a bunch of mouths to feed
how many other DJ’s in your area offer trivia
is the client booking you once a year - once a month - once a week
how long are you expected to perform for
are you supplying the projector and screen, or is the client
is the event indoors or outdoors
are you, or is the client supplying prizes
is the event alcohol-free - open bar - or alcohol sold
is the event only game show - or are you mixing it with dance music and/or karaoke
are you good? (examine yourself objectively). A good entertainer gets more bucks than one who is an entry level starter.
..........and oh so much more.
However, we can report what some users do (please be careful on what option you choose, as this can ultimately affect the success or failure of your business. It is very well to consult with other entertainers in your area or business partners/spouse prior to making such a decision on your own):
1. Charge nothing additional - be happy with a new account. Some booking clients will release their current entertainers to accommodate a new entertainer. This option is useful when attempting to get into a facility that already has entertainers and is not willing to get you in as a DJ or KJ.
2. Up sell your additional service for a fixed rate. Some find that adding a fixed amount to their base rate works well. For example, if you charge $300 to do a bar dance on a Friday night, you may up sell an additional $100 for the inclusion of the game show. Note that this doesn’t necessarily extend your performance time. You might perform 1 hour of trivia then 3 hour dance; or perhaps 2 and 2.
3. Half again as much formula. This means that you would take half your price and add it to your base rate. Perhaps your base rate for a corporate event is $1,000. Half of that is $500, then add that to your base rate. Now your rate for a trivia and dance combo is $1,500.
We find that most users of our gear charge between $200-$300 for a 2 hour trivia show at a bar, restaurant, bowling alley; $500 for a school; $700 for a corporate event. If the client wants a better deal, I never haggle price. However some entertainers report that they are willing to reduce costs by simply asking the client to supply the projector/screen/sound system. Many bars, schools, and corporate facilities have these items.
What would you recommend to help me get people to come back over and over again?
One of our goals as entertainers is to get attendees to come back again for the next show. When people come back, and also bring their friends, the audience grows. This is great for the bar or restaurant owner, as more people generally means more money. This then is great for you, because your booking client is pleased with the results. This obviously means more money for you when you secure a regular weekly account.
How can this be easily achieved?
Perform trivia tournament or league style. In this manner, you take your top performers each week and they continue the competition the following week. They then HAVE to come back the following week so that they do not loose their position in the tournament. You can setup a 6-week tournament style game for a venue easily where the venue provide a fantastic prize to the top trivia buff. If done properly, even people who start playing in week 2 or 3 of the 6 weeks of games can come out on top if they are smart enough.
People have a sense of belonging. They love to be part of a club, being amongst others who have a similar interest. This is why bowling or gulf tournaments or leagues are so effective.
How do you get started? First, you need a game show system. While any model of DigiGames can be adapted for this purpose, obviously performing trivia with the audience with a wireless buzzer system like our TM-100, 110, or 120's would be a sure fit. Then you need to track your top performers. This can be done the old-fashioned way with a ledger and pencil. However, there are a number of software utilities on the web that will do the tournament tracking for you. Simply type in "tournament software" into Google, and you will see a number of utilities that can accomplish this for you. By using such a software utility, you can easily display where teams are at in their position of the league on your projector screen before and after your trivia show. There's quite a few tournament tracking software utilities out there with slightly different features and pricing. We aren’t here to endorse any particular one, but try a few demos out to see what will work best for you. Here is a great example you could check out: http://www.crystalsport.com/TTS/index.htm
It also helps to print out the tournament positions and have the establishment post them at conspicuous places in the building.
Also, your local beer or soft drink distributors are generally very interested in sponsoring any type of league at a drinking establishment. This allows you to make some extra cash by advertising the products that the distributor sells as well as obtain some promotional materials at no cost, like hats, t-shirts, beer holders and so forth.
It is also very helpful to have the establishment do their part in promoting the tournaments by posting a simple flier on the walls that acknowledge such. A simple flier made at Kinko's will cost very little, and creates excitement, and drives in traffic. Simply stating in bold letters "Trivia Tournaments Tuesday Nights" will suffice. Making the flier yourself for the booking client goes a long way in establishing a relationship with the client while driving people to your events.
What happens when the tournaments are over? You simply sign a deal to get another 6-week span of bookings with your client. There is a good chance that your booking client will do so without hesitation.
Are there any additional sources of information that I can read to learn more?
Yes, to the making of many books there is no end. This includes information on the web for performing, hosting trivia, trivia questions to use and much more. If you have read this page and have patiently gotten this far, then you truly want to hone in on your skill so as to make the big bucks. Here are a couple of recommendations for learning more from other people who are interactive and seriously want to improve in their entertaining skills.
My first recommendation is the chat boards on Mobile Beat. A whole forum is dedicated to interactive performers. You can reach this form by clicking HERE. Please note the first 2 “Sticky” posts. There is a wealth of information there from Scott Faver for entertainers who wish to supplement their trivia parties with other games, which is highly desirable to most booking clients. Additionally, he has produced 3 DVD’s that you can purchase very affordably that teaches you the magic of interactive games. Scott Faver is easily reachable, so why not contact him to be on your email list? His email lists include other sources of tools that will help you reach your goals.
Next, check out our forums. DigiGames’ forums are geared for other users of DigiGames’ products, and you can learn a ton there too.
If, in the unlikely event, you are still starving for information, you can contact some of us, here at DigiGames, for other ideas. We don’t just make and sell games, we are regular performers of such. You can contact Rob Johnson at 1-701-710-1657 or Thomas Dorsher at 1-701-710-0034.