If you ask any entrepreneur, starting a business comes with its fair share of challenges.
Starting your own photo booth business requires a great deal of effort, dedication and most importantly passion.
If you're willing to put in the effort to build your own photo booth business, you're going to want to follow the critical steps to creating a successful brand.
We've created a guide that covers each step of the process - from making key financial decisions, to launching and marketing your business the right way, and tips/strategies on how to grow your photo booth business effectively.
💡 Introduction To Starting A Photo Booth Business
Is The Photo Booth Business For You?
Let's look at the pros and cons of starting your own photo booth business
- Flexibility: One of the biggest advantages of starting a photo booth business is that you can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.
- Ability to start your business from home: It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
- Little startup costs required: The cost to start a photo booth business costs significantly less money than most businesses, ranging anywhere from 1,015 to 13,100.
- Rewarding work: Starting a photo booth business can be really rewarding and fun work. After all, you're bringing joy and excitement into peoples lives.
- Crowded space: Competition is high when it comes to your photo booth business, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and understanding where the demand lies.
- Finding the right supplier: Most businesses in this space go the supplier/manufacturer route, which isn't a bad thing! However, finding the right supplier can take a lot of time, energy and trial/error. If done properly, this process can save you months (if not years) of time and energy. More on this below in the "finding a supplier" section.
Creating a successful photo booth business means that you will have the ability to sell, provide stellar customer service, communicate with vendors and motivate your team (even if it's down the road)!
Let's take a look at the search trends for photo booth over the last year:
- BLS (84.3K Alexa Ranking)
- MakePassportPhoto.com (165K Alexa Ranking)
- Entertainment Innovations (544K Alexa Ranking)
- The FlashBar Photo Co. (548K Alexa Ranking)
- Trotter Photo (1.23M Alexa Ranking)
How To Name Your Photo Booth Business
It's important to find a catchy name for your photo booth business so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your photo booth business
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your photo booth business so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your photo booth business.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Here's some inspiration for naming your photo booth business:
- Toner Works check availability
- Baying Collective check availability
- Pictures Designs check availability
- Autofocus Works check availability
- Auditorium Collective check availability
- Tie Works check availability
- Auditorium International check availability
- Army Collective check availability
- Tag Designs check availability
- Beefcake Chronicles check availability
- Around Works check availability
- Backbench Group check availability
- Banquette Designs check availability
- Bell Chronicles check availability
- Auditorium Group check availability
- Provision Group check availability
- Barouche International check availability
- Affront Collective check availability
- Provision & Company check availability
- Stand Co check availability
- Picture International check availability
- Tie Group check availability
- Essay Co check availability
- Ops International check availability
- Asa Group check availability
- Bar Group check availability
- Accent Chronicles check availability
- Axis Collective check availability
- Halftone Co check availability
- Balkline & Company check availability
- Copy Collective check availability
- Graph Collective check availability
- Loge Collective check availability
- Essay Group check availability
- Copy Group check availability
- Tag Collective check availability
- Around Collective check availability
- Bars Designs check availability
- Vote Group check availability
- Tripod International check availability
- Mat Designs check availability
- Toner Collective check availability
- Imagery Works check availability
- Scan Designs check availability
- Amphitheatre Co check availability
- Halftone Collective check availability
- Standstill International check availability
- Halftone Designs check availability
- Arthur & Company check availability
- Kiosks & Company check availability
- Axis Works check availability
- Mosaic Collective check availability
- Backbench International check availability
- Nose Collective check availability
- Provision Chronicles check availability
- After International check availability
- Frame International check availability
- Beefcake & Company check availability
- Vote Collective check availability
- Amphitheatre & Company check availability
- Map Collective check availability
- Antanagoge International check availability
- Believe Collective check availability
- Print Group check availability
- Baseline Designs check availability
- After Works check availability
- Gallery Designs check availability
- Bars & Company check availability
- Provision International check availability
- Tie Collective check availability
- Amphitheater Group check availability
- Auditorium Chronicles check availability
- Affront International check availability
- Still Chronicles check availability
- About & Company check availability
- Shorts Collective check availability
- Bit Map International check availability
- File Chronicles check availability
- Pic Works check availability
- Plate Chronicles check availability
- Tie & Company check availability
- Cam & Company check availability
- Athlete Designs check availability
- Arch Chronicles check availability
- Believe Co check availability
- Camera & Company check availability
- Believe Works check availability
- Amphitheater Works check availability
- Panel International check availability
- Album Group check availability
- Banquette Chronicles check availability
- Mosaic & Company check availability
- Sit Group check availability
- Short International check availability
- Art Designs check availability
- Loge Designs check availability
- Graph Group check availability
- Tie Designs check availability
- Bar Chronicles check availability
- Enl International check availability
- Asa Chronicles check availability
- Army Group check availability
- About Chronicles check availability
- Beard Chronicles check availability
- Before & Company check availability
- Stand Designs check availability
- Stand & Company check availability
- Mosaic Group check availability
- Barouche Co check availability
- Shorts Co check availability
- Kiosks Chronicles check availability
- Stand Group check availability
- Reel Group check availability
- Reel Works check availability
- Antanagoge & Company check availability
- Banquette Collective check availability
- Bit Map Designs check availability
- Ops Chronicles check availability
- Barouche Collective check availability
- Short Group check availability
- Mat International check availability
- Bay Designs check availability
- Bearing & Company check availability
- Toner Co check availability
- Baulk Chronicles check availability
- Graph Designs check availability
- Autofocus Collective check availability
- Short & Company check availability
- Analemma Group check availability
- Nose International check availability
- Athlete Group check availability
- Ops Co check availability
- Figure Collective check availability
- Pictures International check availability
- Nose Designs check availability
- Bearing International check availability
- Picture Designs check availability
- Superposition Designs check availability
- Ops Works check availability
- After Designs check availability
- Beneath Co check availability
- Axis Chronicles check availability
- Athlete Works check availability
- Tag Group check availability
- Axis International check availability
- Asa Collective check availability
- Tag International check availability
- Bit Map Chronicles check availability
- Arch & Company check availability
- File Designs check availability
- Beneath Designs check availability
- Tripod Designs check availability
- Imagery Co check availability
- Beneath Works check availability
- Bay Works check availability
- Baulk Co check availability
- Advertisement & Company check availability
- Autofocus & Company check availability
- Beefcake Co check availability
- Accent Works check availability
- Scan Works check availability
- Before Group check availability
- Foreground Collective check availability
- Block Group check availability
- Picture Works check availability
- Tripod & Company check availability
- Panel Group check availability
- Halftone Chronicles check availability
- Bars Collective check availability
🎬 How To Start A Photo Booth Business
Setting Up Your Photo Booth Business (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.
Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need
There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.
Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
- Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
- Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
- Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
- Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.
Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.
We've interviewed several different founders in the photo booth business and asked them how much $ they're making today.
- $3.6M/year in revenue
- Sells photo booths
- 2 founders
- 10 employees
- $4.2M/year in revenue
- Sells photo booths
- Solo founder
- 18 employees
Startup Costs For Your Photo Booth Business
If you are planning to start a photo booth business, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of a photo booth business and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $1,015
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $13,100
|Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a photo booth business.||Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.|
|Employee & Freelancer Expenses|
|Payroll: This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K.||$0||$4,000|
|Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses||$0 (min)||$4,000 (max)|
|Website builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article.||$15||$100|
|Total Website Costs||$15 (min)||$100 (max)|
|Office Space Expenses|
|Rent: This refers to the office space you rent out for your business. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space.||$0||$2,000|
|Total Office Space Expenses||$0 (min)||$2,000 (max)|
|Business Formation Fees|
|Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here.||$500||$2,000|
|Total Business Formation Fees||$500 (min)||$2,000 (max)|
|Equipment & Supply Expenses|
|Technology Office Equipment: This includes (but is not limited to) physical items such as: laptops, cameras, monitors, microphones, speakers, headsets. Technology needs grow as your company evolves, so to minimize costs, try and only purchase what is needed for you to run your business at the time.||$500||$5,000|
|Total Equipment & Supply Expenses||$500 (min)||$5,000 (max)|
|Total Starting Costs||$1,015 (min)||$13,100 (max)|
Design A Prototype
Turning your idea into a reality can feel like a daunting task - but it's critical that you have an idea of what your product will look like (even if it's just a sketch) prior to finding a manufacturer.
Here are some common ways you can design your prototype:
- Draw Your Initial Design on Paper
- Form pieces of fabric together
- Consider Taking A Generic Product And Putting Your Own Brand On It
- Try Making the Product Yourself
- Consider Building A Prototype With A 3D Printer
To learn more about how to design and prototype a product, check out our latest guide here.
How To Find A Supplier For Your Photo Booth Business
Here are the steps to consider when finding a supplier/manufacturer:
Know your design
One very critical step to finding the right supplier is having an initial idea of what your design/product will look like.
Sketching is one of the most simple ways to get started in the design phase.
What's great about sketching is that you can practically do this anytime, anywhere - even on the back of a napkin.
To get started, all you need to do is pick up a pen and paper and start drawing - or if you are working on a virtual/software product this can be a diagram that outlines the user interface or experience.
Decide your supplier type
You'll want to identify the type of supplier you are looking for.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself prior to searching for a supplier
- Are you looking for a manufacturer to produce your product idea?
- Do you want to find a supplier that can simply purchase existing products for you?
- Do you want a drop-shipper to supply and fulfill orders?
- Do you want a domestic supplier or an overseas supplier? Read more about the pros and cons of each here
Where to start your search
Once you have an understanding of what type of manufacturer/supplier will be best to bring your idea to life, there are several areas you can start your search:
Photobooth Supply Co: Designing and Manufacturing Our Product
Example from Brandon Wong, founder of Photobooth Supply Co
We did a quick Google search for a local fabricator to create our first alpha unit. Because our initial unit did not need any tooling, we had very low initial costs.
Within the three weeks leading up to our first trade show, we were able to execute a few rapid prototypes. We started as simple as possible and made things better from there. These quick iterations got us to market quicker and allowed us to do multiple rounds of UX testing which ultimately resulted in a better product.
I’d recommend downloading Sketchup for a hardware product or Sketch for a software product. Use those tools that to make your first round of iterations. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it can communicate more effectively than a napkin sketch or even verbally.
Moreover, it may help you discover new opportunities in your design. Doing this before making a prototype and hiring an engineer can save you thousands during the initial phases when you are strapped for cash.
We really lucked out because that same fabricator was looking to grow from making one-off parts to a being a large manufacturer. It was a third generation family of welders who gave us the undivided attention we needed despite being a start up and having a low order quantity.
In hindsight, we were lucky to start with a US based manufacturer. This removed the issues of language, distance, shipping, tariffs, and customs that come with using an overseas vendor.
LPT: Use Maker’s Row, an Alibaba for US based suppliers to aid your search.
We went through our database and found other tips from founders that have used Alibaba:
Alibaba Tips From Founders
I did not have expensive prototyping design software, so my “designs” were free-hand drawings I created with colored pencils. It didn’t cost thousands of dollars and it was efficient.
The next process was to packaging my product. I knew I wanted elevated packaging because I thought of my product as an affordable, luxury product ($29.99 per pair). For this box, I went straight to the source: Alibaba.
If you’re not familiar, Alibaba is a site where you can access factories (mostly in China) and get almost anything made. It’s an inventor’s playground. I posted my box design specifications, and within 24 hours, I had selected a factory that could make my boxes for about $1.10 each.
When you look for a factory on Alibaba, make sure they are a “Gold Supplier” with “Trade Assurance”.
Alibaba validates and scores its factories though a badge/award system, so make sure you check these qualifications carefully. I have been lucky and had no issues so far.
How To Price Your Photo Booth
One of the most challenging and critical pieces to starting your photo booth business is determining how much to charge for your photo booth.
When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.
Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.
On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.
When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.
Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:
Understand your customer
It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:
- Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
- Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
- Level of price sensitivity with your customer
All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.
Understand your costs
When pricing your photo booth, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your photo booth so you can factor in a profit.
The actual cost of your photo booth may include things like:
- The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
- Shipping + overhead fees
- Operating costs to run your business
You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.
Create revenue goals
When determining the price of your photo booth, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your photo booth business to make.
This process is simpler than you may think:
- Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
- Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
- Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
- Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell
This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.
Evaluate your competition
The last piece in determining how to price your photo booth is by simply looking at your competition.
The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your photo booth fits best in the marketplace.
All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your photo booth, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.
Brandon Wong, founder of Photobooth Supply Co gives us the breakdown on their costs and take home profit:
A lot of questions tend to come up around the profit margins on something like a photo booth.
How much of that $1,100 booking fee ends up in the pocket of our owners? We’d look at a booking fee like that and break it down like this in a very general sense:
$1,100 - Fee
$100 - Attendant wages
$15 - Paper for the printer
$15 - Gas and transportation
$10 - Misc (Business cards, equipment wear and tear, lost props)
$25 - Software
$20 - Website Hosting
$10 - Yearly Business Registration Costs
$905 - Profit
Most people look at a breakdown like that and ask where to sign up. It’s not always that easy, or that clean cut.
You do have to pay taxes. But there’s no reason to see this as a side hustle rather than a profession, if you put in the work.
Four events a month is just somewhere to start. We have tons of owners with 6 or 8 booths. They’re working 300+ days a year.
🚀 How To Launch Your Photo Booth Business
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Shopify is one of the #1 leading platforms for e-commerce businesses.
Here are some of the main reasons most e-commerce businesses are using Shopify:
- Geared towards supporting store owners. Provides a simple way to launch and manage your online store
- Customer support is off the charts (live chat)
- Easy to use - You don't have to worry about the technical side
- The design is clean and mobile-friendly. There are also hundreds of templates you can use.
- Easy integrations and additional channels (ie. Amazon, email marketing integrations, Facebook, etc).
- Basic Shopify: $29/month
- Shopify: $79/month
- Advanced Shopify: $299/month
Squarespace is a great option for small businesses and is known as one of the easiest platforms to use.
You may find yourself in a decision on whether you should choose Squarespace or WordPress.
The main difference between the two platforms is that Squarespace is known to be more turn-key than WordPress, and does not involve as much management and upkeep.
Benefits of using Squarespace:
- Great for beginners who have little to no coding experience
- Flexible and stylish designs
- You can easily switch up templates (and not feel the need to completely start over)
- Over 55,000 plugins
- Personal Plan: $12/month
- Business Plan: $18/month
- Basic: $26/month
- Advanced: $40/month
Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.
Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.
One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.
If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.
Web Design Examples
Here are some examples of great websites in the photobooth industry:
- Trendy and interactive design
- Explains exactly what the business does, front and center.
- User experience is very easy and simple
- Bold letters, colors and a simple design
- Transitioned part of their business to "virtual" to meet the current demand in the events industry
- Clear CTA's in several areas of the website
Traditional Launch Strategies For Your Photo Booth Business:
There are various different ways you can launch your photo booth business successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your photo booth business:
- Set up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to establish an online presence
- Host an event in a fun location with drinks & food. This is a great way to get exposure in the local community.
- Get Press! Pitch your story to the media and you may just land in an amazing publication
- Live sales to get customers excited
- Send a hand-written letter in the mail with a discount on your services to the local community/neighborhoods.
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to photo booth business.
There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.
Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:
- Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
- Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
- Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
- Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
- LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses
It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:
Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:
- Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
- Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
- Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?
From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!
Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.
Host A Social Media Giveaway
People love free stuff and love competition. Giveaways and contests are a great way to create awareness for your brand, grow your email list, and eventually convert leads into customers.
If your goal is to gather email addresses, make sure the entry criteria is to "enter your email." You can do this by leading customers to your landing page where they can then enter their email to be in the giveaway.
One of the most important aspects of promoting a successful giveaway is having an amazing prize. The better the prize, the more engagement you'll get.
This doesn't necessarily mean choosing an iPad or an expensive/trendy watch, but instead a prize that is actually relevant to your brand/target audience.
Giveaway Example and Tips
Example from TJ Mapes, founder of RIPT Apparel
Our most recent successful giveaway was when we gave away a PS4 + the new Spiderman game. I hosted the giveaway on our site and then let our audience know about it via email/social channels.
Entrants earned different amounts of entries for entering in different ways (tongue twister!), for instance; enter via email, get 10 entries. Follow us on Facebook, get 5 entries. Subscribe on Messenger and get 25 entries.
I also built out a drip sequence in Klaviyo that contained four emails to encourage entrants to take more action, like referring friends and liking us on social.
Email #1: Thanks for entering!
Email #2: Explained how to earn bonus entries:
Email #3: About us
Email #4: Coupon for entering
This last email in the sequence just thanked them again for entering and also included a coupon to a specific (related) collection of designs with an expiration date on it to incentivize purchases.
(this screenshot is actually a flow from when we gave away an xbox, but you get the idea - huge open and click rates 💯💯💯)
PS4 Giveaway Results:
We ran it for 2 weeks and recorded results in a meticulous spreadsheet to analyze the data. Here are some of the highlights:
- Giveaway page pageviews - 67,355
- Total entrants - 26,137
- Conversion rate - 38.80%
- Total entrants in Klaviyo (not suppressed) - 24,515
- New emails acquired - 16,363
- Emails we already had - 7,521
- % of new emails - 66.75%
- Cost of item - $350
- Instagram visits - 10,618
- Instagram followers gained - 3,496 ( total followers lifted by 6.9% )
- Twitter followers gained - 4,194
🌱 How To Grow Your Photo Booth Business
Attend A Tradeshow
Having an online presence is important, but showing face will always remain one of the most effective strategies for growing your business.
As traditional as it may be, tradeshows and conferences are a great way to get your product in front of your customers.
It all comes down to basic human interaction - prospects are much more likely to invest in your product if they've created some sort of relationship with you and can put a face to your product!
Brandon with Photobooth Supply Co talks the importance of tradeshows
A trade show is like having access to hundreds or thousands of hot leads, all at once, and while every competitor is right next to you. It’s brutal, and it’s exhausting, and it’s amazing.
You truly have to stand out as a product, and as an experience, and as a company. We might spend $10,000 on a space and another $10,000 on staff, setup materials, and experience. Then we still have to have a show special and use that to drive sales. The margins get a lot tighter, but if you’re picking good shows, the kind your current customers go to, you’re going to do well.
That’s the best advice I can give for picking shows—just ask your customers where they’re going to be, and go there. Partially to sell, and partially to meet your people in person. You can never spend enough time getting to know your customers.
Types of tradeshows we attend
We love attending photography focused trade shows. I think photographers are probably some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there. There is the business side, which takes a remarkable amount of creative skill, and there’s the actual photography.
When you get a chance to talk to them, they realize very quickly that they’re entrepreneurs at heart and we’re a great solution!
Trade shows don’t have to be your thing to be profitable. Your company should mirror your spirit and interests, but sometimes we all have to do the things that are necessary for success.
Moreover, there is a wonderful opportunity to iterate on your sales pitch. You are sometimes talking to dozens of people in person every day. By seeing their body language and how they interact with your product, you can immediately tell what aspects of your pitch are effective.
By the end of it, you should have some solid strategies for your sales reps, ads, and website.
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your photo booth business.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
How To Optimize SEO For Your photo booth business:
Example from Brandon Wong, founder of Photo Booth Supply Co
SEO is a pretty difficult world to understand. I suggest finding the best talent you can and letting them do what they’re best at.
Sometimes that means bringing the service in house, sometimes it involves an outside agency. For us, the ROI on our spend here is huge. It goes back to what I said about picking the trade show your customers attend. Pick the channel your customers use.
Don’t worry about what you like, where you think you’ll find them, or anything like that. We started hearing from our customers that they found us by searching and so we had to honor that. It has worked very well. The kind of entrepreneur who does research and compares their options tends to land with us. That’s great. Our SEO has changed alongside Google, of course.
When we got started, a lot of people found us through our photography company. They eventually started landing on us for searches about which photobooths had the best picture quality. It’s a natural transition for sure. Trust is big with Google, and people immediately trusted a photographer to have made a great photobooth. It makes sense.
Word of Mouth
The most tried and true way to grow a photo booth business is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.
Why you should focus on word of mouth:
- Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
- 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
- 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing
Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜
We really only have 2 tools to attract and retain customers. The first is word of mouth. TANYA HEATH Paris has never spent a cent in press or in marketing so we rely on happy customers talking about us. They find us by walking past one of out boutiques or they have been following the brand after hearing about us via some kind of press.
Our best retention tool is customer service. Some of my best customers started off as customer services disasters. But by taking their concerns seriously, and by problem solving and by working with them we are able to reassure them and solve their problems. In fact if you look at the comments on our Facebook pages clients often talk about our customer services. This makes me very proud!
I am in the Paris boutique all the time and I’m always interacting with clients so I know what they like and what they think we could be doing better. This insight goes into each new collection that I design. I also know that I don’t know everything, so if I’m in doubt about something, I ask my clients.
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Photo Booth Business
How To Retain Customers For Your Photo Booth Business
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your photo booth business.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your photo booth business:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
Customer service is huge for us. Like I talked about, building a community has been one of the best bi-products in the shop.
We want everyone to feel loved, cared for, and appreciated.
If we have a customer that comes in quite a bit, we will begin to notice what they buy and reach out to them if something new comes in if we think they will like it. We also try to call people by name and greet them as if they were entering my home, not just the shop.
Another great way we retain customers is through a loyalty point system. When a customer gains enough points through their purchases, they are rewarded with a discount. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for having them be a great customer.
If you can afford to hire someone to help support your photo booth business, outsourcing is a great way to save you time and energy.
Most importantly, outsourcing can help you focus on the core growth of your business, versus spending your time on day to day tasks that other people can do just as well!
If you do plan to outsource your work, it's important to be hyper-familiar with the actual work involved.
Why is it important to be hyper-familiar with the work?
- So you can understand how long it takes
- So you understand the full process, edge cases, things that can go wrong.
- So you can explain it in detail to your employee.
- So you can make sure it actually works (for example - how do you know cold email works for your business if you’re not on the ground floor trying it out?)
- Understanding the tasks at a deep level will save you a lot of time and money.
We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your photo booth business.
- Platform tools such as Shopify or Adobe Creative Cloud
- Crm tools such as Hubspot
- Sales tools such as Proposify
- Embracing the Experience Economy with a $300K/mo Photo Booth Startup
- My Journey To Starting A $4.2M/Year Photobooth Company