Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here's 10 Ways To Have A Happy New Year

I guess ever since I have been in the bowling business, I think of Labor day as the start of the REAL new year; forget about January 1st, that’s just mid - winter league start up.

If you have a mindset like me, may I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and ask what you are doing differently or better to make this year the best it can be?

1.    Have you done, or at least started thinking about, a sales blitz?

2.    Have you trained your staff to be able to match a prospect with a product in center and how to sell them?

3. Have you called all of your league bowlers and dropouts?

4.    Have you trained everybody how to up sell a league bowler into a short season fun program with his or her spouse or child?

5.    Have you spoken to companies in the area about free parties to get them into an every other week or once a month “league of their own?”

6.  Even if you have no media budget, have you created a last minute traffic driver for this Friday through Monday using your email and Facebook?  You know there are a million ideas to do this, but why not implement a “Get Your Game Going Weekend”…. $1.99 price special (bowling, hot dog and 12 oz. domestic drafts). Now, please don’t get all “cheapy” on me, it’s only for four days.  If you’re paying 4.5 cents an ounce for beer, then your cost is 54 cents or 27%.  Believe me, you’re not blowing your brains out here.

7.  Or go for $5 per person per hour, do the $1.99 draft beer specials (while holding shoe prices) and then offer a sweepstakes of FIVE WINNERS OF $500 In Free Bowling (either league or open play) and call it “THE GREAT HIGH FIVE WINNER SWEEPSTAKES.”

8.    Train your staff to sell these open play bowlers on short season programs which will start in early to mid - October.

9.    You do have October short season programs planned, don’t you?????

10.    What are you doing reading this blog? You should be out there selling somebody something. Go. Now.  Forget the vending machines now. No you don’t need to go to Costco now. Sell your product with pride.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Three Tips for Writing Money Making Headlines

I have been playing catch up the past 10 days; the hip surgery put me on the disabled list for 10 days and I couldn't get the docs to let me travel, but eventually I just had to get out to the real world and touch and feel what was going on in the trenches.

I was happy to see that many of the programs we planned in June were being adhered to as were the schedules. 

Unfortunately, the execution on the communication was mediocre at best. Headlines were filled with the names of the center or the name of the program or even just the words, “New Men’s League Starting On September 5th at 630pm.”

Really?  That's about as exciting as watching water boil.

So I decided to devote just a short blog on how to write a headline which is the most important element of your communication. As I have said in the past, “You may have the greatest program in the world, but if you cannot get people to read, listen or watch what you have to sell; its game over!!

Your headline is the first -- and perhaps only -- impression you make on a prospective reader. 

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. The better your headline, the better your odds of beating the averages and getting what you’ve written read by a larger percentage of people.

Tip #1:  Make sure there is a clear and discernible benefit in your headline. Here’s an example, “How to Learn to Bowl Better in Just 20 Minutes a Week.” If your audience is league bowlers, the headline gets very specific about a benefit that the customer will get by reading the body copy. 

Or “The Secret To Improving Your Bowling Average Revealed.” Here’s one that may even be better; “How I Learned the Secret of Improving My Average by 20 Pins in Just 20 Minutes a Week.”  It’s a little longer than I would like, but it will work well with a picture of the person and then I would write the copy in the voice of the 1st person

Tip # 2:  Stop being cute. Save that for your kids or grand kids.  You might think that the previous headline sounds too “salesy”. Well it is. It is the same formula that Fortune 500 copy writers, world class bloggers and digital marketers use simply because it works.  It’s all about the benefits and the more of them you can show in your body copy.

Tip # 3:  Even though my examples above are more than 6 or 7 words, (there is one that is 7 words) ideally, I try to keep my headlines to no more than seven (7) words.

There is a whole art and science to copy writing and there is a reason that the very successful people who write long copy ads for publications like The National Enquirer both print and digital get paid enormous 5 figure fees…simply because their story works. 

And yours should too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Take The 100 Bowler Challenge

Number 100 - Free Picture of the Number One HundredNews in the bowling world has been on a bit of a downer lately with Brunswick exiting the retail part of our industry, new reports that sanctioned league bowlers are now 1.7 million down from 9.0 million in 1980, just 4500 centers or less are still open (down from 9600 centers in 1980) along with the constant bombardment of new entertainment options from competitors with deeper pockets hammering our customers with new offers, new enticements and proclamations of fun, fun, fun…like they have never seen before!!

But not necessarily deeper minds, eh? (That was for you Canadian folks :)

OK, we may be feeling a little down, a little blue, but we have a new season to work with, a whole new ball game and a new determination that this will be the best season we have had in a long time!

Why is that? Well, here are four (4) reasons why you can do it

First, you have already planned your September starts and bringing back last year’s leagues and hopefully adding to those leagues.  

Please re read some of my earlier blogs on this topic; they're pretty specific or if you want my power point presentation, please drop me an email at   

Second, you have to start planning for mini leagues NOW for October starts; at least 3 or 4 new ones to get you to your goal of 100 NEW bowlers targeted at some of these segments:

1.   non bowlers
2.   company or organization people
3.   dropout bowlers
4.   learn to bowl beginner bowlers
5.   youth bowlers
6.   adult/junior bowlers
7.   mommy n me morning bowlers
8.   senior bowlers
9.   fund raising organizations
10.               some 21 to 34 year old “party time types”

Now candidly, I don’t care which ones you pick or what ideas you have to get these leagues participants motivated. I just care if you check the idea out with the target group; create a communication plan that is more than “flier on front desk and email/facebook; that is less than 12 weeks and in some cases 6 or 8 weeks or every other week! 

And that you take the idea outside to the target group.  Work smarter, not harder.  GO to organized groups first instead of trying to patch it together.

And here’s the deal – make a promise with yourself to get 100 NEW bowlers on the floor between September 25th and November 10th or so.

100 new bowlers will give you some wind in your sales for new company parties, birthday parties, fund raising events and best of all;  continuation of their short season program in January and February.

Third, it’s not too early to start planning for holiday parties. Develop a great offer, find a graphic artist whose first name is Picasso and get your first direct mail postcard and email out in September. Start phone follows up, re email again with testimonials. 

Target big companies by dropping off a bowling pin with the slogan on the pin, “Pin down your holiday parties at Happy Lanes.” and continue phone follow up.

Be brave and get Picasso to create some beautiful static ads and use one of the BPAA TV spots and tag it with your holiday messages so it appears on your local Comcast spotlight or other digital media. 

C'mon they're maybe $10 to $25 a spot. $1,000 to $1,500 could be just two or three parties to break even.  And it could mean $10,000 to $15,000 in new party revenue.

Buy Facebook ads, 10 miles from your center and target it to males and females 25 to 55 who own businesses. (Read Facebook ad instructions or ask your kids how to do it :)

Fourth:  Get your staffs’ heads on straight. Put them through more customer service training, enforce your dress code, show them the proper way to handle customer complaints, how to answer the phones, how to be engaged with customers and teach them how to bend down to pick up a scrap of paper on the carpet. 

If you don’t have the staff to do it, go out and hire new staff…hire athletes like HS football players, baseball players, basketball players; anyone who plays or played on an organized team. They’re more dedicated, competitive, goal oriented, understand rules,want to win and understand the concept of “teamwork.” Are you ready for them coach?

Promise me you’ll do this and go out and do it because it will be good for your bowling sole…not to mention your cash register.

As always, I’m here for you if you have any questions.

fred kaplowitz
kaploe marketing group
516 359 4874

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cartoon Happiness

In NYC, in the Times Square tourist area, a recent phenomenon of “cartoon characters” grabbing tourists to have their pictures taken with them and then asking  for tips has been taking place with great frequency. 

There are literally 50 or so “characters” that wander the area everyday, 24 hours a day,  looking for tourists.

Some “characters" such as Sponge Bar Square Pants, Elmo, Superman and even Batman actually have gotten into fisticuffs over protecting “their” staked out territories and street corners which they claim as their own.

These “cartoon characters”, frequently recent immigrants, can make between $50 and $200 per day on tips from posing with tourists.

When reporters from the New York Times asked them why they decided to get into this business instead of other vocations they could pursue, most of them, in one form or the other said:

“American people like to be entertained…to feel like children playing with  friends. Since they were little, they had friends who were cartoon characters. Makes them feel good.  We make money making them feel good. It’s easy.”

So tell me again, why more bowling centers don’t have cartoon characters or mascots to entertain customers?