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Website and social media advice for your party rental business

Here are just a few tips for our friends in the party rental business...

Use the web for data because it has it, tons of it.  Research competitor rental prices and set your prices accordingly.  Research your competitors special offers and coupons, see if they appeal to the consumer in you.  Find out who has the easiest to read and navigate website in your industry and emulate them.

Social media is easier than you think and pictures rule the world.  With a single picture of your latest delivery and setup, you have a social media campaign, ready to upload and you didn't have to hire anyone extra for it.  Upload the picture, mention the city or neighborhood you delivered to, the type of party, and you've improved your search results for the next prospective customer.

Package your rentals to make it easy for your customers.  Prospective customers do not want to wade through a page for chairs, a page for tables, a page for linens with a calculator in hand.  Any items that are frequently rented together, perhaps matched by color or theme, create a "ready to go" package out of it and give them the discount price you would have anyways for bundling.  You could have a red package, a red+white+blue package, a cowboy package, anything you can dream up.

Do not put 25-50 links, buttons or categories on your website.  Your prospective customers will get confused.  They will have a product or search term in mind, and if it doesn't match yours or is tough to find amongst the busyness of all of your listings, you could lose the sale.  Try this out, for one month, when a prospective customer calls in, log the name of the product they are calling for, in their own words.  Those are the words you want on your website.

Create and experiment with a Display Network campaign on Google Adwords.  Simply put, this is an advertising campaign that targets mobile phones and tablets exclusively, in the city or cities of your choice.  You can pay as little as 4 or 5 pennies for a click.  You can even set a max budget per day, for clicks, at something as low as a $1.00.  That's cheap, less than gas for one or two deliveries.  We do the same thing ourselves and today (10/3/2014), our ads were shown to 11,000+ prospective customers and we only paid $1.94 for those that clicked on the ad for more info.

Create a service area page.  Chances are you serve a major metropolatin area, but you still need to tell customers, and the search engines, where you can provide rentals.  It's also a good opportunity to talk about delivery charges or maximum distance before surcharge.  Plus, not every person is a literal person, some people are visual so you need to include a picture of the metro area, perhaps drawing a "Shape" on Google Maps or use ScribbleMaps, then sharing it with your website visitors.

Get repeat or new business with an email campaign.  Do you know how much email campaigns cost?  Most of the time, it's a big fat zero until you get over 2000 users or 12000 emails in a year.  We use/recommend MailChimp for these reasons, it's affordable (or free) and to be honest, if you have more than 2000 subscribers, you won't mind paying a little to turn them into repeat customers.  Here's another secret, some visitors to your website just come there looking for an email subscription to get discounts or other offers.  They aren't there to buy (yet), they are there to try and get a deal.  Don't let those opportunities pass you by because they are free too!

Give coupons or discounts for reviews on Yelp and Google+.  It's a big social world out there.  People trust the recommendations they read online, even when they've never met the person writing it.  People check to see if you've been reviewed and if you have 4 or 5 stars.  If you've already landed a party rental client, ask them for 1% of effort on their part to write a review of their experience with your company and staff.  If 1% of effort is too much, offer them a coupon, perhaps a referral discount for a friend or their next party.

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