Archive for the ‘advertising’ Category

Know your USP

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I’m not really one for marketing lingo but everyone should know their USP -Unique Selling Point.

It will probably change as you grow, expand and find your market but you should have an idea of what it is right now.

If you’re starting up a marquee hire business or thinking of it and worried how you’re going to appeal to customers then don’t worry.  These factors are in your favour and so you should promote these as often as possible:

  • Brand new equipment. If you’re just starting out then all of your stock is new.  You should be using phrases like ‘all of our stock is less than 6 months old’. Try and avoid saying it’s never been used before as that might just worry people that you don’t know what you’re doing 😉
  • The cheapest. When you start a marquee hire business you should be among the cheapest in the area.

As you grow as a business these will obviously change – for a start your stock will be older and your prices will probably have gone up! To give you an idea before I had to sell our marquee hire company I would promote the following about us:

  • Wedding specialists. We had done a LOT of weddings by the end but always tried to make sure each customer felt special and individual. We’d offer them advice and choices even though 90% of people ended up having the same thing!
  • Reliable and trustworthy – this is just something you build up over a long time by reputation. It can swiftly be lost which is why I was careful who we sold it to and made sure they’d carry on in the same vein.

So if you’re thinking of starting up a marquee hire venture then play on the ‘new stock’ and ‘cheapest’ angles to get you business.

If you’re an established company make sure you know your USP and where you’re currently at. If you don’t know then take time out and think about it, if you’re confused about what your angle is then how do you think customers are going to feel?

Thanks for reading

Spencer

PS -advance warning, next week’s post will be all about our 9m wide kit as the pre-order deadline is coming up soon.

Every marquee hirer should be using google

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Most marquee hirer’s will let someone else look after their website, our speciality is putting up marquees not web design after all. But whoever you are you should still be using google and making it work for you.

By using google I don’t mean using their search engine, I mean using their extra tools. You have to register and set it up but it doesn’t take long.

What tools are available?

Google’s local business center: when it looks like you’re searching for a local business, the first few results appear on a map – these are results from google’s local business center. Registering for this is a MUST.

Webmaster tools: This helps you find out if there’s any problems with your marquee website. If the person who looks after your website is on the ball you don’t need this. For those of us who look after our own websites it’s very handy.

Adwords: You know the ads that appear on the right hand side (and sometimes above) the normal search results? They’re paid-for ads, that’s how google makes money. In my experience they’re very useful and well worth the small amount of money required, -note when you first start out have a good search round as often there’s vouchers out there for free £20/£30 for adwords.

Google analytics: With adwords comes another incredibly useful program called analytics, by installing a small piece of code on to your website you can keep track of number of visitors, where they go, what they searched for to find your site and 101 other things. If you’re technically minded and/or do your own website this is incredibly useful.

Google alerts: you put a search term in and every time google finds something new with that search term it’ll email you (once a day,week or month). How is this of use? Well if you put your name in here you can keep track of anyone online anywhere who mentions you. If you put “marquee hire” and your local area then you’ll keep track of who else is around you. This is not to be underestimated, it’s very very useful.

There’s other tools on there but these are the main ones that I think most people would be interested in who run marquee hire businesses.

Sorry for the delayed entry this week, my daughters birthday yesterday meant I was at the Zoo 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Spencer.

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

London 2012 has just published new event BS 8901 guidelines to ensure that its corporate and public events are organised and run in a sustainable way. Here’s the link

The key paragraphs are on pages 3 and 4.

Page 3 “ These guidelines have been developed primarily for our internal event organisers and those contracted or otherwise closely involved in delivering London 2012 corporate and public events: eg venue managers, suppliers, licensees, commercial partners and media organisations.

The types of events that these Guidelines are intended for include:

·         Conferences and seminars

·         Workshops

·         Road shows

·         Cultural events

·         Promotional launches

·         Open days”

Page 4 “ We expect the companies and organisations we work with to follow this process with us, to have in place a sustainability policy, to comply with all applicable legal requirements AND AT LEAST BE WORKING TOWARDS IMPLEMENTATION OF BS 8901 IN THEIR OWN RIGHT.”

Why am I bringing this to your attention? Well it’s useful to know in preparation for the Olympics, I’d expect a lot of marquee hire companies in the London area to be heavily involved so it’s something to look into as soon as possible.

For those interested in attending a BS 8901 workshop please contact our friends at TESA.

Back to my favourite subject – us 🙂

We’re putting up a show marquee up on Tuesday 31st March as long as the weather’s not too bad (like my golf I’m now a fair weather only marquee erector!). We’ll be putting up a 6m x 12m DIY Marquee in the morning then carpetting, lining and lighting it in the afternoon. If anyone wants to come along and witness my creaking bones in action you’re more than welcome (please phone beforehand to book your place in the bandstand). I’m not sure experienced people will learn much other than a few alternative swear words as my back celebrates it’s return to manual labour for the day!

The marquee will be up for the whole of April so if anyone wants to view before buying please make an appointment (it’s 10-15mins away from our factory).

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Keep your marquee advertising local

Monday, March 9th, 2009

If you’re doing a marquee at someones house what does tell you about the area?

It means houses nearby are also likely to have gardens large enough for marquees. Not only that but chances are some of the local people will probably go to the event you’re doing a marquee for! So why not target them?

Every time you do a marquee it’s worth going up a down the road a little way posting flyers – just get something very simple made up saying another xyz marquee going up near here call 01234567890 to hire a marquee for your next event etc.

It seems a bit of a pain to do and after you’ve put a marquee up spending another 15mins going up and down the street might not be that appealing but think about it – this is advertising focused on exactly your target market. This type of advertising should give you the highest return on outlay you can possibly get.

Remember all this when it’s raining and all you want to do is jump straight back in the van and get off home!

You can guarantee when my posts are short it means we’re either very busy or my daughter’s not sleeping well – today was both 🙂

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Customising your marquees

Monday, October 20th, 2008

So you’ve just hired out your shiny new marquees, the customer’s really happy with them and the world’s a happy place. While you’re away though the customer spots the manufacturers website printed on the marquee and finds they could have bought them for the same price as they’ve just paid you for hiring it! The world is no longer a happy place. In fact it becomes a very awkward place that you’d be lucky to get out of with your reputation intact.

We have the solution! (warning, sales pitch coming..)

We can now personalise our DIY Marquees with your website details.

We’re launching several branding options at The Showmans Show, I’m not totally certain how much it will be yet (one of many things I need to sort out tomorrow) but we’ll try to keep it as low as possible as I really think this will help hire businesses.

I’ll also sort out prices for extra signs so that people can customise their existing stock.
We can of course still supply the marquee unbranded as we’ve always done.
Sorry for the mixed up fonts recently, depending on where I am sometimes I write in word or notepad rather than direct and it doesn’t always copy across well.

Thanks for reading, I’m genuinely grateful/shocked that people read my ramblings on here. Please pop in and say hello at The Showmans Show -stand 235 Avenue E next to Prima flooring who are giving away free burgers this year:)

Spencer

Getting your marquee website up the search rankings (part 1)

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Website’s are great things (you’re reading one so let’s assume you know that already!). The bigger you get the more time work and effort should go in to it, especially getting it up the search rankings.

There are 3 steps to getting your marquee hire site up the rankings:

  1. Do some research on what keywords and phrases you want to target
  2. Optimise your website for your chosen keywords
  3. Carry out a linking strategy

I’m going to cover number 1 today and 2 & 3 next week.

Researching keywords & phrases

Ignoring the fact I can’t legally set up a marquee hire company due to the contract I signed when selling our old company let’s imagine I was starting a new hire company -Spencer’s marquees (I like it already).

The first thing is to be realistic.  You’re not going to get top of the rankings for ‘marquee hire’ without paying a professional upwards of £15k/yr (actually good value, we spent more on Yellow Pages years ago). But think about it, unless you’re covering all of the UK you don’t want to be.

I live in Reigate so I’d imagine the terms I want to get are ‘marquee hire reigate’, ‘marquee hire redhill’, ‘marquee hire surrey’ that kind of thing. But before I go any further I need to make sure & do some research.

First thing is to set up a google adwords account -there’s always offers & vouchers around for adwords so look around for those before you sign up. £20/£30 free is typical (when you pay £10). For those who don’t know google adwords are the paid adverts that appear on the right (and sometimes above) any google search. It’s how they make their money.
The next thing to do is put as many phrases into that keyword list as possible. We all know there’ll be lots of searches for ‘marquees’ and ‘marquee hire’ but you need to get inventive, when researching I’ll typically have 60-100 keyword phrases in this list (google suggests some too). Set each bid to the minimum bid 2 or 3p.

Here’s the ironic thing -obviously it’s nice getting people to click through to your website but you’re not bothered if they do or not. What you need is the column marked ‘impressions’. This shows the number of people who have searched through google for that keyword phrase since you started your campaign. Easy research huh?

Check back regularly to make sure no keywords have become inactive then leave it for 2-8 weeks until there’s an established pattern and you know which keywords you want to use.

Until this research is finished you can’t move on to step 2.

A lot of companies will call you up promising to get you “to the top of the google rankings”. The problems with these companies are:

  1. What keywords are they promising to get you to the top for? It’s pointless getting to the top for googling ‘Spencer’s Marquees’, that’s not going to bring in more business it’s just going to increase my ego (which I’m quite happy with)
  2. These companies will only do step 3 of my list above. They’ll quote ‘a recent google white paper’ that mentions you need quality inbound links, which is true but ignores keyword research and optimising your site which is far more important. Don’t give them your money, it’s not worth it.

Don’t believe I know what I’m talking about? Google ‘marquee hire advice’ and this blog is usually number 1. Google ‘marquee for sale’ and our domestic sales site is usually number 1.

Thanks for reading.

Spencer

Getting yourself known

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Early post as I’m away next week:

Once you’ve decided to go into marquee hire don’t just sit on your backside expecting the bookings to come rolling in. Get out there making contacts (networking seems to be the popular phrase for this).

This is the bread & butter of marquee hire companies.

When organising an event some people won’t go to the marquee company first. They might go to the caterer, the florist, the DJ. Everyone’s different. Getting in with these people is a MUST.

Fill your pockets with business cards and leaflets, put your best charm hat on and if possible go and meet people face to face. If not send them some literature and follow it up with a phone call.
Do some research and find all the catering companies, DJ’s, Bands, florists, party planners and any site where you’ve seen marquees up or think marquees might be of interest -National trust properties, large pubs, hotels etc.
You need to explain:

  • How easy to work with you are (you want to work with these people)
  • How reliable you are (you want them to recommend you)
  • How new and well maintained your equipment is

Some people work on commission for recommendations. Personally I always avoided paying any commission and relied on a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ approach, however I think I’m in the minority and if you get regular business from such arrangements losing 10% of it is manageable.

As a final note some people will actually contact other local marquee hire companies to get on good terms with them. That way if you or they need to cross-hire anything you have communications in place.