Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Carol of Tampa, FL Asked: How are other people advertising for you?

My response:

You bring up a great point. You can only advertise so much for yourself. In a time of penny counting and number crunching, it is very difficult to get the best advertising bang for your buck. One of the best ways to get advertising very cheap and nearly free is by implementing your friends, past clients, and family.

The way I break up my advertising is as follows:

50% Restaurants

20% Friends and Family

20% Past Clients

10% Paid Advertising

This is a very rough estimate, but it is a pretty good representation of how I advertise. I’ll go through each one individually and then I’ll wrap up all of it quickly at the end.

I don’t go to restaurants to just make a few extra bucks during the week. Though that helps, I go to advertise. There are 2 main things I do at a restaurant that help me get parties and events.

1) Over perform- I make sure I go WAY above and beyond any chance I get. If you want to stand out, then stand out. Make sure you are doing things that others will NEVER see anywhere else.

2) Hand out business cards- Make sure that anyone that takes interest in your entertainment gets a business card. In fact, make sure they get two, one for them to keep and one to give to a friend. (This goes on to the next point…)

Friends and Family:
Anytime you run across someone that likes you or what you do, let them know how to advertise for you. Here are a couple of suggestions to help get your mind thinking along those lines.

1) If someone at a restaurant likes what you do, give them an extra card and as you hand them the card, “And here’s an extra card for anyone you can think of that may be able to use a balloon artist. Bosses, friends, neighbors, relatives, coworkers… In this economy, I can use all the help I can get.”

2) Make a small centerpiece or figure and have them take it to work with a small stack of business cards. My girlfriend Kim took did this for me and ended up getting me 2 events and a free photoshoot. It's amazing how great this can work sometimes.

Past Clients:
Your past clients can be a GREAT asset. As long as you are keeping up with your most favorite clients, you can sometimes solicit their help as well.

1) Send them a Thank You note with a few business cards requesting that they give them to friends and family they may know interested in a balloon artist.

2) Sometimes it pays to reward your clients when they get you additional business. Consider paying “Agent Fees” to past clients who refer you to other events.

Paid Advertising:
Though this is a route I usually choose to avoid, it is possible to get paid advertising without actually paying at all. The following are a few tips and tricks on how to get advertising for free.

1) If you are working an event that is already posting an ad, let them know that you will give them a discount on their event if they put your name or website in their ad. This is a bartering tactic and can work great for some events.

2) Contact your local newspapers or family magazines and ask them about the different events they put on and sponsor throughout the year. You may be surprised to find how willing they may be to exchange your services for ad space in their publication.

In conclusion:
The most I pay for advertising is the cost of my business cards. Beyond that, I make sure to utilize every possible free advertisement that I can.

I try to keep a solid 5 close friends, relatives, or customers that are actively spreading the good word about my skills and services. Even with all my active advertising that I do myself, it is amazing how much more powerful a referral is over that of a phone call or promo package.

In fact, I’ve found that about 50% of my business actually comes from referrals. What does that teach me? I need to keep my relationships alive and well and educate my friends, family, and clients on how to advertise for me.

So, Carol…I really hope that has answered your question. As for everyone else, please feel free to send your questions in. I’d be more than happy to give you my opinion and help in any way that I can.

Your Balloon Man,
Mr. Fudge

No comments: