In 'How To Start Your Own Photo Booth Business Part 1, we discussed the photo booth hardware options including DSLR photo booths and iPad-based photo booths, various photo booth business models, your target clients and the photo booth target market and pricing options.
In this installment of 'How to Start Your Own Photo Booth Business,' we will discuss:
In today's web driven world, your website is your retail store, your business card and your yellow page ad. It goes without saying that a professional website that explains what you offer, your pricing, images of your photo booth and what you bring to the table is incredibly important. The good news is that there has never been a better time to start a photo booth business as there are many no-cost and low cost accessible websites that you can build yourself, even if you are not a programmer. If you can use Microsoft Office you will have the skills to learn how to build a website with these no/low cost website companies such as Wix, Yola and Weebly. Or, if your budget allows, hire a local website developer, who can develop a custom website for you.
Did you know that local marketing, especially in the era of mobile smartphones, is increasingly important for businesses? Four out of five people use smartphones to look up local information, two in three people take direct action as a result of what they find in an online or mobile search and one in three go on to make a purchase/booking through their mobile phone? So, remember, when you set up your photo booth website, make sure your website can be easily viewed on mobile devices such as iPhones and Android phones. So, once you have all that squared away, at the top of establishing a local presence is listing your business on Google My Business. Google My Business provides online customers with the ability to search for photo booth rentals, find booth rental business with Google Maps and learn more about your rental business such as the areas you service, your hours of operation, your pricing and much more! Here is a great tutorial from Google on setting up your local business profile. Listing your business on Yelp is another 'must-do' for establishing your new photo booth business. Yelp is the go-to site for getting the skinny on local businesses such as pricing and customer reviews. Click here to add your business to Yelp. Also, the phone book has now moved online so remember to add your new business to YellowPages.com. Lastly, as you build your local presence over time, be sure to choose your favorite venues and other event professionals to network with. Refer clients to your favorite local event businesses and they will return the favor, in kind. Building a strong network with venues and other local event businesses is one of the best (and least expensive) forms of advertising available. Plus, it's just great karma!
It's not possible to discuss all the advertising options for your photo booth business so I will just touch on the most important ones. Before I list them all, note this truism: Don't put all your eggs in one basket! What I mean by this is don't spend all your monthly/quarterly/yearly advertising budget with one advertising vehicle (i.e. magazine, online directory, paid search). Also, what works best in one city may differ in another city so try to test out each different advertising source for a short period of time (i.e. 30 days or 3 months) before locking in to a 6 or 12 month advertising contract. Now that we have those basics out of the way, for photo booth rental businesses, the best digital advertising options are Google Ads (and, no, we get no freebies from Google by mentioning them - oh, how I wish we did!) and event rental directory sites such as Gigmasters, Gigsalad, and WeddingWire if you are targeting wedding events.
SEO stands for 'Search Engine Optimization' and is just a fancy phrase for 'how easily people find you online in their search engInes' such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. There is an entire industry and a many websites dedicated to teaching you how to improve your SEO so I will just cover the basics in this blog post. Needless to say, as a business owner, it is in your best interest to learn as much as you can about SEO because being found easily in online searches is your best free advertising. Say it with me: Best. Free. Advertising! Here is a super article on SEO Basics to get you started on the right foot, but I'll recap here: when you set up your website, be sure to fill in the SEO fields in your website's content management system for the website's browser title (super important) and list your city, specialty and company name in this field. Next, add your SEO data for your homepage including business name, most important keyword such as 'Photo Booth Rental' and the cities that you service.
Be sure to fill in the meta description field for the homepage. This is very important as search engines use this in their ranking algorithm and online searchers see these lines of text in Search results, so be sure to make them interesting to your online audience while including important keywords for the search engines. Your content management system may include a field for top keywords. If so, add three to five of your most relevant keywords in this field. These keywords may be terms like 'photo boot rental in (your city)', 'best photo booth rental in (your city)', etc.
Also, in your website's content management system, each page for the website should have a separate set of SEO fields so be sure to fill each of these in. In addition to filling in your SEO fields in your content management system be sure that each page you included on your website has relevant copy that includes your top keywords for each page. But no 'keyword stuffing' which is slang for writing nonsense copy that includes tons of keywords for search engines. Please don't do this as it's a very bad user experience and it will reduce your search engine ranking faster than you can say "SEO!" And while we are on the topic of search rankings, the inbound links to your website also affect ranking.
So, remember the paragraph above on 'Establishing a Local Business'? Well, those link referrals you've received from other vendors you've networked with and those business listings that you've set up with Google for Business and Yelp will also improve your SEO! Lastly, note that for new websites, it can take 30-60 days after optimization for your website to move up in rank once you've done your SEO work. So don't be discouraged. SEO is like golf; it's all about the long game! When you first start your photo booth rental business you may need to rely on a larger paid advertising budget with the goal to reduce your advertising spend over time as your word of mouth referrals and your online presence, SEO and social media kicks in.
Did you know that listing your business and active posting to some social networks also improves SEO? It does! But that is not the only reason to get your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. Social media is one of the best forms of free advertising and virtual word-of-mouth around! So, be sure to set up your business on various social media platforms (and not just post as an individual user). This way you can network virtually with other local event professionals, tag your clients when you upload their digital photo booth images after an event and post special events and promotions directly to your online friends and community!
Last, but not least, do not forget that you have an engaged audience of potential clients every time a guest walks away with a photo booth picture/photo strip from your photo booth at events! This photo strip is not just a cool and lovely momento of the event but a real, tangible piece of advertising. So don't waste the opportunity. Be sure to include your logo and your website on your photo print! Guests often share these with friends, post them online, put them on the fridge or a scrapbook and your photo booth rental brand gets a lot of impressions after the event. This is truly one of the best, free advertising opportunities around!
Once you've chosen your fully assembled photo boothto build your own photo booth, review the above marketing tips and you are on your way to launching your new, successful photo booth business!