Advertising is very important when starting a new business; your target market is local business, individuals and councils so be inventive.
Inventive advertising ideas
- Get your company listed in your local yellow pages directory these are still a very good forum for local business inquiries ask for deals on-line as well www.yell.com
- Google places seems to be the new up and coming on-line yellow pages so make you list your company on here, and it’s free.
- Local free add papers, if you are inventive with your add you can get free advertising from this avenue, these papers reach hundreds of potential clients, some also have an on-line presence.
- Get a website just a homepage is enough to start with; add images and a nice write up about you and your unique service. Register an email address to take booking inquiries. I would recommend www.wix.com and it’s free to set up.
- Have some posters printed, put them in the window of local shops; ask friends and family to put you a poster on their works notice board.
- Local leaflet drops, contact your local newspaper about adding your leaflet or flyer into the next weekly circulation, this method is very effective.
- Local radio can also be a good forum and can cost as little as £15 per airing, though you may have to pay around £100 for an add jingle.
- Placing an ad in your local press can also be a good way to receive sales leads, offer a free colour brochure this will generate more inquiries.
- Get listed with your local council as a supplier, councilors have large budgets for events in local communities and use a marquee hire services all year round.
- Make contact with the large marquee company’s in your area, inform them of your niche service which doesn’t infringe on their market they will be very happy to pass you the jobs they don’t want or can’t handle, and you will return the kind gesture.
- Make partnerships with local DJ’s and Caterers, as many of your parties will require this service, I’m sure they will pass your name on in return.
- Hand your client a few leaflets after you have completed your hire job and ask them to pass your details on to friends and family. You will be surprised at how many booking you receive from referrals.
- Monitor which ad source works best for you and follow this avenue
- Always store customer details to mail with pre-booking offers promotions etc.
- Join your local chamber of commerce and attend networking meeting to make valuable business connections. Chamber also host annual awards ceremonies so enter these when you have been established 6 months or more the local press is priceless.
- When you start up your business do a press release, Gala Tent can help with this email firstname.lastname@example.org for this service.
Building your client database
The more work you put in to the above ideas the more results you will receive, don’t forget to store all your enquiry details, including name, address, phone, fax email. Always follow up a brochure request with a telephone call and ask for a booking. Do a site survey if necessary, which involves visiting the address of the potential client and measure the area to plan the event. People are creatures of habit and may book certain events every year so be sure to do your research.
Payment terms to business’s & general public
Once you have agreed a booking ask for a 30% deposit, deposits are non refundable so if the client decides to cancel as least you have covered your costs. Remittance advises to be paid on the day of erecting the marquee not after the event. Make sure you are paid in full before you start erecting the Marquee(s) make your payment terms very clear on your first meeting with the client and get a signature, you will be respected for being honest, upfront and professional.
Payment terms councils & government bodies
No deposits, the council will pay 30 days after the event on receipt of your invoice but this is ok as you are guaranteed payments from a government body. Make sure you receive an official purchase order and send them an invoice listing the order number; you may be expected to send your bank account details as many government body’s now pay by bank transfer.
Take photos of every event you organise from all different angles, outside, inside, front, back rear etc… pick out the best pictures and make a portfolio this is a great closer for when you do your site survey, simply show your potential client successful events where you have provided cover. Take photos with a digital camera and these can be eventually added to your website.
Word of mouth is the best form of advertising as someone else is referring your service from first hand experience. So ask your client if they were happy with your service and if they would write you a testimonial letter. These you can show to other potential clients enforcing your professionalism. Add these to your portfolio and show your potential clients on the presentation of your site survey.
You may be asked to do work for charity, which involves discounting your service, or you, maybe involved in some product launch, maybe even a celebrity party. The idea is, build a relationship with your local newspaper finds out who the local journalist is and pass on your story. He will be grateful for the story and you will benefit from free publicity… win win!