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12 Top Tips to get more inflatable hire bookings (For free or almost free!).

12 Top Tips to get more inflatable hire bookings (For free or almost free!).

Mark Jerram
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12 Top Tips to get more inflatable hire bookings (For free or almost free!).

This short report will show you 12 ways that you can immediately use to get more bookings for your bouncy castles and other play inflatables. I have tried to focus on methods that are free of charge or almost free.

Without further ado, let's get started.....

Probably the best form of advertising which you can do for your inflatable hire business is to be included in GOOGLE MAPS (and it's totally free of charge). When a potential customer goes into Google and types out "bouncy castle hire and your town" you want to make sure that you are listed in Google Maps as this will be at or near the top of the google listings. (If you are at the top of the Google Maps listings then even better!)

Secondly, You don't necessarily need a website to benefit from Google Maps, but having a website is a massive tool to help you get more bookings and credibility. A strongly recommended company which will create a very professional website for you at low cost is www.BouncyCastleNetwork.com/biha

One interesting thing about BouncyCastleNetwork is that once they have created a website for a client, that client can then add/edit/delete text, photos, videos etc. as easily as if they were writing an email. In other words virtually zero technical know-how is required to update and maintain the site. (This can save large amounts of money as a webmaster is no longer needed to update content etc.)

Thirdly, another form of advertising is to get your van sign written. Someone once mentioned to me that it is a great idea to park your sign-written van in an area where a lot of parents with young children hang out, e.g. the local supermarket, outside the local primary school etc.

(If you are concerned about having a break-in, simply use magnetic signs, or better still, have a sign on the van door telling a potential thief that no inflatables are kept in the van overnight)

Fourthly, you can get a free listing in the Yellow Pages, and also Thomsons Local and the BT Book. Also, consider the Yellow Pages BIHA Corporate Advertising Scheme which means that BIHA members can have a box advert in their local Yellow Pages (or share a big box with one or two other companies). The cost of this would be around £80 per company, which is pretty cheap.

Fifthly, get a few thousand leaflets printed, and then contact other companies (or agencies) which do leaflet distribution, and ask for a shared leaflet drop. A way to save money is to approach your local pizza / Chinese / Indian takeaway, and tell them that you will deliver their leaflets for free, if they pay for your printing costs!! Sneaky, but it works. Get another fast-food company involved, and you could make a small profit on delivering leaflets which could contribute to your Yellow Pages Ad!

Sixthly, contact every school, nursery, playgroup, childminder, PTA, Scout Groups, brownie groups, Youth Clubs, After School groups, childrens charities, family attraction centres, farms which cater for families, Zoos, etc. etc. in your LOCAL area, and tell them that you would be delighted to give them a FREE bouncy castle for the day or half-day (FOR FUND RAISING PURPOSES - make sure you mention this!! as you may be taken a lot more SERIOUSLY by the person in charge of the group. They can hardly say no to you - if it will help raise urgently needed funds).

In return for you providing a FREE bouncy castle for the day, they need to allow you to give out flyers to all the parents and children.

For the lucrative corporate market, a similar version of this idea can also be effective. Contact the Social Secretary of large and Blue Chip Companies in your local area, and offer to donate a free inflatable for the day, with the idea that any funds raised will go to their chosen charity. If they jump at the chance you can then contact your local newspaper who may well send a reporter to cover the event. All of a sudden, you have FREE newspaper advertising worth hundreds of pounds or more. A very happy charity, and hopefully a very happy company which may well use your services for future lucrative corporate events.

When I did this, I also found that I received food and other goodies throughout the course of the day. If you are too busy to attend in person, ask someone from the charity to help. They may even want to have a stand.

When using this approach, adopt the mindset of FUND RAISING, and you should be richly rewarded for your actions. In addition, you should get referrals from the parents in attendance. Also, word may spread to other companies in your LOCAL area who are interested in hiring inflatables.

Seventhly, and this can be extremely powerful. Contact other local companies in the party and events industry such as your local party shop, your local face-painter, marquee hirer, children's entertainer, events organiser, etc. and tell them that you would like to refer your customers over to them, if they can return the favour!! (One entrepreneurial BIHA member even helped to organise a consortium of local companies to supply the various services and equipment for the weddings in his town, via the local party/wedding shop).

Eighthly, and this is a similar idea, which some may disagree with....Get to know your local competitors! Find out what equipment they have, and do not have. E.g. they may only rent out corporate play inflatables for the adult market, and are continuously turning away people wanting childrens bouncy castles, or vice versa.

Idea nine is not usually considered - even by veteran inflatable hire companies. It is extremely simple and simply involves taking a photo of your best and brightest bouncy castle or other play inflatable, printing it out, or gluing it onto a post-card (with your contact details at the top) and then putting it up in the window of your local busy newsagents or post-offices (Costs around 50p to £1 per week). Some supermarkets also let you do this for free or for a small fee.

Virtually no-one else who advertise in shop windows do this, so your photo advert will stick out like a "sore thumb" on the newsagents window (Have you seen how some people just scribble out an advert and it is almost impossible to read!)

Idea ten is as follows...Get some quality clothing (e.g. Jackets, T-shirts, Sweat-shirts, polo-jumpers, base-ball caps etc.) and then get your company logo and contact details printed on them. I have known situations where a BIHA member has been in a queue to pay for diesel, and someone behind them has tapped them on the shoulder, and told them that they want to hire an inflatable from them, just because their name and logo was on the back of their jacket :-) Very powerful, and means waiting in a queue with lots of people around you can actually be profitable -- and it's free.

Idea eleven: Always carry your business cards and flyers with you. Similar to idea 10, you never know who you'll meet while you are out and about! There are some instances where a local public centre (e.g. your local library, community centre, vets, doctors surgery etc.) will allow you to place your flyers free of charge).

Idea twelve: This is a relatively new idea, but it is now very easy to have an extremely professional promotional "jaw- dropping" video created and customized for your hire business, including sound track. This used to cost a couple of thousand pounds to create, but thanks to YouTube, and other free software, including free video editing software, the cost has come down to as low as £10 - which includes uploading the finished 30 second video onto YouTube. (Please email me at: mark@biha.org.uk if you are interested in more details, as this is a brand new service that the BIHA has just started to offer its' members).

It has been proven time and time again (probably because everyone is so used to watching TV) that a video of your hire business can seriously impress your customers and potential customers. Also, when they start sharing your video (via YouTube) with their friends and work colleagues etc. you can suddenly find that you get a lot more bookings just as a result of a 30 second video which cost you £10.

If the promotional video is placed on your website, visitors are more likely to book as well.

You will have noticed that most of these 12 tips, although being powerful ways of generating new business, are also free of charge (or almost free of charge) to implement.

I have also stressed the need to focus on your LOCAL area.

I hope these tips have been helpful, although, it is by far not an exhaustive list.

If you put these 12 ideas into practice, then you should find that you have so much work that you are having to turn it away (or grow your business or give the enquiries to your competitors - see idea 8)

With regards to the first and most important tip, if your business is not listed with Google Maps, then you need to open up an account with Google Maps - which is free of charge.

If your business is already listed on Google Maps, but not listed very highly, one way to rank higher is to add pictures and video to your free listing. Google loves video - especially if it comes from YouTube (which I believe it owns).

As previously mentioned, the BIHA can now create a very professional promotional video (with soundtrack) branded and customized for your own hire business and uploaded onto YouTube for just £10. (£99 to non-members). Email me if interested at: mark@biha.org.uk

There you have it, 12 ways to almost instantly increase the number of bookings that you get for your inflatable hire business. Please email me if you don't understand (or agree with) any of them. mark@biha.org.uk

If anyone has any other tips, or comments (good or bad!) about these 12 tips above, it would be great if you could post them on the discussion forum at: www.BouncyCastleOwner.com

Many thanks.

Best regards

Mark

Mark Jerram

www.biha.org.uk

www.BouncyCastleOwner.com (Sister site and discussion forum)

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