Let me preface this post by saying I know that this is a topic that photo booth business owners disagree about. My decision to not advertise the pricing for my photo booth rental business is a carefully researched, tested and calculated one that works for my local market. I believe that every photo booth business owner has to do their own research and market testing to see what strategy works for their local area. With that being said I’d like to share with you why this strategy works for my business.
1. The Photo Booth Rental Sales Funnel.
My photo booth marketing strategy is like that of a sales funnel. I advertise on search engines and social media to those customers who most represent the demographics of someone interested in a photo booth rental. I don’t try to sell anyone from the ad, I just want to create enough interest so that they will click on the ad and land on my website. The purpose of my website is create even more interest, so much so that the customer makes contact and engages with me by either calling, texting or emailing. Customers who engage directly on my website fill out a information request form, listing their name, email, phone number, event date, venue location, etc. All of this information goes into a spreadsheet for future use. My goal is to get as many people as possible into the funnel and collect as many emails and phone numbers as possible.
Too many businesses are trying to sell too early, even right on their advertisements and it’s turning people off. I know this is a cliche but think of when you first met your significant other or spouse, you likely didn’t talk about getting married during your first encounter or introduction. There is a relationship that begins, phone numbers are exchanged, personal details are shared, and trust is built.
I treat my photo booth business marketing the same way. My advertisements introduce the business so to speak, “Hey I’m XYZ Photo Booth Rentals, it’s so nice to meet you” (not my actual sales copy) and my website in effect says, “Can I call (text/email) you sometime?” And now that we know each other a little better we can talk about more intimate details like prices and options. We enter into a contract, money is exchanged, and then I can bring my photo booth to their event.
2. I don’t want anyone to disqualify themselves.
During my testing and research, I did advertise my prices for a period of time and noticed a decline in potential customers asking if their event date was available. I concluded that my prospective leads were disqualifying themselves on the basis of price and not engaging. Let’s face it, I can put all the information on my website about the packages we offer and the high-quality of my photo booth, but I know that most people don’t read that (because they ask questions that are easily answered if they had read it) information. If my prices are on the site, people will generally focus on them and nothing else. I want these potential customers to engage with me, let me explain what we are offering and the quality of the photo booth.
3. I want to follow-up with EVERYONE.
A database of contact information and event details for all potential customers, allows me to follow-up with everyone. Change is constant. Many times an initial “no” from a customer has turned into a “yes” after some follow-up. Financial situations and circumstances change, we’ve had people call us back because a family member has decided to give our photo booth as a wedding gift to the couple. Other photo booth companies drop off the grid and customers can’t reach them anymore, so they come to us. Furthermore, with the custom audience features of social media marketing, I can send different ads to those who have previously engaged with us. Without an email address or phone number these custom ads are not possible. I consider everyone a potential customer until their event date passes.
4. I want the OPTION to negotiate on price.
Here in the United States, when prices are advertised, unless you’re at a yard sale, people often make the assumption that they are set in stone and that there is no room for negotiation. For example, customers generally don’t try to negotiate the price of an item with the cashier at Wal-Mart, they just pay the asking price. I don’t make a habit of negotiating prices, but once in a while there is that date on the calendar that several people have inquired about, but for whatever reason it just hasn’t booked. As the date approaches, I follow-up with those customer leads who were silent or initially a “no” due to the price and work out a deal that fits their budget and still makes us a profit. I will even negotiate to the “break even” point because with the photo booth at an event, odds are that at least one guest is going to be so taken with it that they’ll end up booking us for a future event of theirs. There are also those calendar dates that I know no one else is going to ask about, like a Tuesday in February. I want to be sure that I can follow-up with those leads and have the option of making a deal.
5. Each customer is an INDIVIDUAL.
There are many different variables that can affect the pricing of a photo booth. By forcing prospective customers to engage with me and tell me information about themselves and their event, if needed, I can adjust the prices. Is the event 2 or 3 hours away? Does the customer want the photo booth setup 3 hours before it will actually be used? What kind of package are they interested in? These are all factors that can change the pricing offer.
I also find having some demographic information about each customer to be helpful. You can tell a lot about a customer’s budget based on their area code, email address (people often use their company email account), event date and venue choice. There have been situations where we have raised our prices based on this information. For example, a bride to be, from Manhattan is getting married upstate on a Saturday in July, at a venue I know costs $25,000+. There will not be any objections to our prices being raised a few hundred dollars. Then there is the local customer, whose daughter is having a Sweet 16 party at the Knights of Columbus on a Thursday in January. If there is an objection due to price, I will certainly be willing to negotiate.
The stereotype that men don’t like to ask for directions or help has some truth to it. As a guy, sometimes I find myself annoyed when I can’t find the price of a product or service on a business website. However, remember from my last post that most of our customers are women and most women don’t have a problem with asking for more information. Knowing who to target will help inform your marketing decisions and strategy. As I said at the beginning, do some research and testing, and see what works for your local market.