How to Prepare for Shark Tank: 5 Steps for a Successful On-Air Appearance

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So, your Shark Tank pitch has been accepted, your episode has been filmed, and you got a call from the producer to confirm your air date. Now what?

You may think that the hard work is over, but don't start celebrating just yet. There's a lot to be done to get ready for appearing on Shark Tank.

While a lot of resources out there explain how to prepare for a Shark Tank pitch and land an episode, there's not too much information about what to do once you know your episode is going to air.

The team at Human Marketing is proud to say that our client Thompson Tee successfully pitched the Sharks and walked away with a sweet deal. Thompson Tee's co-founders Billy Thompson and Randy Choi did a lot of the hard work upfront to write the pitch, secure the episode and close the deal. What the average Shark Tank viewer didn't see was the work Human Marketing did behind-the-scenes to ensure that Thompson Tee's digital marketing efforts and website were ready for the big day. 

Shark Tank weekend was a massive success for Thompson Tee. In three days, we generated thousands of new customers and had the best month in the company’s history.

Want to know how we did it? In this post, we'll share our top 5 tips to prepare for Shark Tank based on our first-hand experience.

Have questions about preparing for your Shark Tank appearance? Contact Human Marketing today.

1. Pre-Show Promotion

The benefit of airing on Shark Tank isn't just about the exposure to new eyeballs. It's also about the credibility you build and support you receive from your existing customers, email database and social followers.

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Once it's confirmed that you'll be airing on Shark Tank, your contact at ABC will provide you with guidelines for how you can participate in promoting your appearance. Here are some examples of the guidelines you must follow when promoting the episode:

  • You can announce your air date, but disclosing any details about the episode is a big no-no. 
  • You can put banners on your website before the show, but you can't use the Shark Tank logo.
  • You can use "As Seen on ABC's Shark Tank" on your website and social media posts, but you can't use that language on any paid ads or product packaging.

To help Thompson Tee prepare for Shark Tank, we announced the episode by doing the following:

  • Sent an email to our database inviting them to watch the show
  • Posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn a couple of weeks prior to the show
  • Created a Facebook Event to allow Thompson Tee fans to save the day and invite others to watch
  • Created pre-show website banners 
  • Created a modal popup with a welcome discount to capture email addresses from Shark Tank traffic 

 

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Keep in mind that Shark Tank airs at 9 p.m. in both Pacific and Eastern time zones, which is tricky to promote. To avoid confusion, we decided to send a general reminder with both time zones specified.

2. Server Migration & Load Testing

According to Nielsen ratings, about 5 million people watch Shark Tank. One of the biggest nightmares that you can possibly encounter during your Shark Tank episode airing is generating a ton of new website visits that your web servers aren't prepared to handle. 

Here's what we did to ensure that a huge influx of website traffic wouldn't take down Thompson Tee's website:


Some hosting companies have special experience with traffic surges – like the ones Shark Tank produces. These providers have specific media packages available that you can scale up to only when needed.

Implementing these safeguards paid off. Thompson Tee’s site saw a drastic increase in traffic during their Shark Tank debut weekend – and we were more than prepared to handle the upsurge.

Tip: During the airing, watch your live traffic on Google Analytics. We did this so we could take live screen recordings of the record-breaking traffic to show it off later. We also wanted to make sure users were having an optimal experience on the site.

We closely monitored for any errors or site crashes. If the site were to go down, the hosting company was on standby and we were ready to flush the cache and database to keep traffic moving smoothly.

3. Inventory Control

So let's say you've properly promoted your big appearance on Shark Tank and upgraded your servers to handle the major website traffic spikes. The night of the show, thousands of new people visit your website hoping to purchase your product, but your items are sold out. Disappointed, they leave your website, likely to never return again.

Don't let inventory issues derail your big TV appearance.

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Prior to the Shark Tank airing, we ran a few promotions that were larger than average. This allowed Thompson Tee to determine the impact that an influx of orders would have on inventory. With only a few weeks prior to the episode airing, we needed a solution to handle inventory issues. While it's not recommended to make major website changes so close to the big event, we decided it was necessary to reconfigure the eCommerce platform to handle back orders. 

If new customers ordered something that was out of stock, the platform no longer prevented them from completing their purchase. 

Another important thing to consider when planning your inventory for Shark Tank: you're most likely reaching an entirely new demographic. The products that are most popular with your current customers may not match the products that are most sought after by the TV audience. Stock up on everything, because there's no surefire way to predict what will sell.

4. AdWords and Retargeting

Most of Thompson Tee's Shark Tank revenue was attributed to Organic and Direct channels. Think about it — most people watching your pitch will pick up their phones and type your domain name into their browser or search your brand name in Google. 

There are 2 other major channels that shouldn't be overlooked: AdWords and retargeting

AdWords

There are going to be people who see your product, hear your story but completely forget your brand name. For Thompson Tee, we foresaw this scenario and added some simple, descriptive keywords to our Google AdWords campaigns to help forgetful viewers who were searching for the product:

  • Shark Tank T Shirt
  • Shark Tank Sweat Proof Shirt
  • Shark Tank Shirt
  • Shark Tank Sweat Shirt
  • Shark Tank Shirt Sweat
  • Shark Tank Undershirt

When we looked at the search queries later, we confirmed that all the above variations were searched and hit on. Make sure you optimize your AdWords strategy for all potential variations to prevent your competitors from showing above you.

We decided to leave the Shark Tank-specific AdWords campaign on permanently. We still see traffic coming through due to DVRs and reruns today.

Retargeting

Understanding that Thompson Tee was going to experience a drastic increase in new website visitors, we prepared to increase our desktop and Facebook retargeting budgets. Now that our retargeting pixels have these first-time visitors cookied, we can start showing them ads across the web in an effort to convert them.

It can take multiple touch points before a visitor decides to make a purchase. Staying in front of them with retargeting ads will keep your products top of mind for people who recently discovered your brand on Shark Tank.

5. PR Outreach and Post-Show Promotion

 A successful Shark Tank airing doesn't stop once the show's over. Your appearance on Shark Tank has a lot of mileage. It's important to keep the momentum going and reinforce to your audience that they were instrumental to your success. 

Shark Tank airs on a Friday and many viewers record the show to watch it over the weekend. Keep this in mind while planning any post-show promotions and expect to see your website traffic to be greater than average over the weekend.

After Thompson Tee appeared on Shark Tank, we did the following to keep the buzz going:

  • Reached out to local news outlets and publications to coordinate interviews with the founders
  • Sent promotional emails with a coupon code to new contacts (non-customers) acquired during Shark Tank weekend
  • Sent a personalized thank you email to the existing customer base, from the founder
  • Displayed “As Seen on ABC's Shark Tank” prominently on the Thompson Tee website

Prepare for Shark Tank Today

Using these tactics will help you properly prepare for your Shark Tank appearance and boost the lifetime customer value of your new customers – so you can reap the rewards for months and years to come.

If you'd like to learn about how we can help you prepare for Shark Tank...

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Topics: ecommerce | Shark Tank | Digital Marketing