In Part 1 we looked at whether starting a photobooth business was suited to you, market research and choosing your booth supplier. In this next part we will concentrate on the marketing of your photobooth business and then in Part 3, I will provide some guidance on preparing for your first event.
As a photobooth business your core proposition is essentially to inject fun and excitement to weddings, parties and events. This is achieved by offering a service which captivates the audience during and after the event allowing customers to enjoy and re-live the memories of the event well into the future.
However you need to get this message out to your potential customers. Before doing anything else I would therefore recommend you put a marketing plan together which encompasses the following elements:
1. Identifying where your customers will come from including;
2. Local marketing including wedding fairs & local wedding shops, hotels etc.
3. Using social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & others) to promote your business
4. Setting up a web page
5. Search engine optimisation (SEO) & Google AdWords
6. Word of mouth referrals from previous bookings and users.
It doesn’t have to be a complex plan but just something in writing that will enable you to set some actions, targets and timescales to get things done.
The best place to start is close to home. Let all your friends and relatives know about your booth. If you have the space, set your booth up at home and invite them round to experience a photobooth. That way they will be much more informed and enthusiastic when “promoting” it to their friends, family and colleagues. If you can stretch to it you might even want to consider booking a room at a local hall or pub to hold your booth party.
Also take the opportunity to supply your party guests, friends, family and relatives with leaflets or posters that they can put on noticeboards at work etc.
Next draw up a list of all the local hotels and venues that people use for wedding receptions, parties and other events. If you have the time I would recommend paying a visit to each one to let them know you are starting a photobooth business in the local area and seeing if they would be prepared to add to a list of recommended suppliers. Ideally you will want to become their supplier of choice for photobooths for their customers. This might either be achieved by allowing them a “commission” for each booking they put your way or by agreeing to provide a booth for free for a charity event.
This will not only we a great way of cementing your relationship with the venue but also a great way, at least in the early days, of getting your name out their and people experiencing your service. If done properly you should be able to gain a fair few future bookings from such “free” events.
When starting a photobooth business traditional advertising can be very expensive and difficult to track results without having response mechanisms and codes on all of your marketing activities. It is therefore advisable to initially focus on using the internet to market your business as much as possible. A big area to give focus to is social networking.
The first step as part of starting a photobooth business and getting online is to register a domain name to match your brand name. Unless you have grand plans to go international I would recommend registering your local domain i.e .co.uk for UK based businesses.
Ideally your booth supplier will also provide you with a website template package that also includes an enquiry and booking system that links into an online payment facility as well as a secure online photo-album for when your event photos are uploaded for your customers to view.
I will cover this area in greater details in a future post as there is much to learn in both of these disciplines and much more than I can do justice to in just a small section of this blog post.
In addition to your web site and optimising this for key word searches you should also make use of social media:
Sign up to LinkedIn and then join local LinkedIn groups for your local area. Specifically these should be groups covering wedding industry professionals, events, event planners, prom groups. These are a great way to increase your profile in the local area when starting a photobooth business.
Set up a business or “Fan” page on your Facebook account and notify friends, colleagues, businesses you know to help build up followers.
Post messages and offers on your own Facebook page so your followers can see your business activities.
To set up your own Fan page simply use this link to get started.
Having a twitter account can be highly powerful to promote your business. This gives you the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of potential clients and receive the all-important referrals for no additional marketing costs. I have personally used the power of the “tweet” to great effect with celebrities and charities promoting the product to their followers, an opportunity that can only be exploited if you;
a) have an account and
b) seize the opportunity to have those hiring the product post a message about you.
Pinterest in one of the latest and fastest growing social media sites on the internet. In essence it enables you to post pictures and for people to like and share those pictures. If you “pin” the photos from your website to Pinterest it will also link back to your website. Thus if someone likes your photos and clicks the link they will go directly to the page on you website that the picture is on.
One extremely important element of your business will be your pricing. Set it too low and you cheapen your brand, set it too high and you will put potential customers off. First do you market research to check out the prices of any local competition, if you have any. However do not be tempted to simply set your price to match the lowest competitor.
First check out the quality of their booth and what they are offering. Are there any services that you can offer with your booth that they can’t. Is the quality of your booth and software capability superior to the competitor – think about how can you promote this to provide a better experience for your customers and ultimate command a higher price for a superior service. Don’t forget that ultimately word-of-mouth will play a big part in your future marketing strategy and setting your price too low at the when you are first starting a photobooth business can be a big mistake down the line.
Also think about where you want to take your photobooth business. Are you happy to operate a single booth and make an income that remains under the VAT threshold (currently £79,000 in the UK), or would you like your turnover to be in excess of this. If you have bigger plans then you need to factor in that at some stage you will have to start paying 20% of your booth income to the VAT man. And with the high margins that can be achieved in your photobooth business there will not be a significant amount that can be offset against this, in terms of VAT on your business related purchases.
In my next article I will look at how to prepare for your first live event as part of starting a photobooth business as well as leveraging the most opportunity from your events. If you don’t want to wait until my next installment all this information and more can be found in our Guide To Starting A Photobooth Business which you can find out more about by clicking here.