The 2008 version of the Halloween Town pin-up will hit some stores as early as next week. Some retailers like iParty prefer to get a jump start on selling them in September because October is so busy .
Selling these pin-ups prior to Halloween Town will achieves two important goals. First, they help us raise hundreds of thousands of dollars before a ticket is ever sold at the gate at Halloween Town. It's a good feeling to open the event with the wind at our backs and money in our pockets. Even if Boston were struck by a hurricane on Halloween Town weekend--we survived a strong nor'easter in '06--the event would make money. How many events can say that? All the other for-profit Halloween events in and around Boston have just one way to make money: tickets. Being a nonprofit has certain advantages and the ability to sell pin-ups prior to the event and raise money is a big one.
A second important goal from the the pin-ups is promotion. Getting them into the hands of consumers is a great opportunity to publicize Halloween Town. In the past, as many as 1in 5 attendees have said they learned of the event from the pin-up they bought.
This year we're taking pin-up promotion seriously. We've cut back on the number of coupons on the pin-up--easy with fewer retail partners--and doubled the amount of space for promotion. We've included a plug for our main musical act, Disney and Noggin's crazy music man Dan Zanes. We've also included a special incentive: a coupon for a free child admission when you purchase an adult ticket.
Special promotions like this have been a hit in a bad economy at other New England attractions, according to the Boston Globe. The "everyone pays the kid price" promotion has been working well all summer for Six Flags. We also share their focus on catering to young families. In short, discounting, incentives and family entertainment are working in this challenging economy. You'll see all three at Halloween Town.
Your big takeaway from Halloween Town is that pin-up programs are a great event enhancer. They can draw bigger crowds and boost the bottom-line.
How would this work for your event? Say that you have a cause walk every year to benefit your organization. But this year you recruit a local supermarket chain to sell a pin-up to support the walk. In addition to raising more money, you'll also recruit more walkers, because each pin-up has info on how shoppers can join the walk. The pin-ups are better advertising than any of those free ads in newspapers you get that nobody reads or television PSA's that people aren't up to see in the middle of the night.
Plus, here's a pin-up bonus: they are a great way to recruit and thank sponsors. If your walk sponsor knows they'll get extra exposure for a few weeks via a busy retailer, or can include a coupon on the pin-up, that can be a great selling point for them. I know it is for the for sponsors we recruit.
So don't forget the power of pin-ups when you're planning your next event. Special events are too much work and too expensive to run to just leave money in the checkout line at the supermarket down the street.