Archive for the ‘websites’ Category

Starting a marquee hire firm: website

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It may sound surprising but a website really is one of the first things you should get organised when starting up a marquee hire firm.

Google (and other search engines) take a while to find a new website and even longer to position it anywhere near the top of the search rankings (think 3-12 months).

But this is a 2 stage process. Google finds a new website but then leaves it a month or two before having it appear anywhere in the search rankings. As someone starting up this system actually buys us some time – simply set up the website with an ‘under construction’ page so google finds it and design the marquee website at your leisure (as long as it’s done in a month or so).

Thanks for reading – I hope you had a good New Year.

Spencer

9m wide modular marquees for sale – New for 2010!

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

If you visited us at the Showmans Show you will know that we’re going to be supplying 9m wide modular marquees from March/April of next year.  Why is this so exciting? Why are we doing it? Why should you buy ours?

It’s exciting because it’s the culmination of a LOT of work and we’re confident it’s going to be well received.

We’re doing it because a lot of our customers are successful and expanding, at some time most expanding marquee hire companies have to offer larger structures so the sensible next step is 9m wide.

Why should you buy from us? Well we’ve worked very hard to ensure our marquees are compatible with the majority of kit already out there in the UK as well as making sure it’s the high quality and value for money people have come to expect from us.

We are taking pre-orders now for delivery in March/April 2010, if you don’t order by mid-December then we can’t guarantee availability. Prices are available by request (or look at your Showmans Show price list).

So what’s the spec of our new 9m marquees:

  • 4-channel aluminium profile with steel knuckles & apexes. The 4-channel aluminium allows greater flexibility with things like porches (see photo below) and catering areas.
  • Translucent PVC used for both walls and roofs – a lot of cheap modular marquees around the world use a ‘blackout’ layer in their roof PVC making the interior grey and gloomy (think of the light in an old canvas marquee). This might be suitable for deserts or the south of France but in the UK if it’s light outside you want it to be light inside. I think they may use the blackout layer just to increase the gsm of the fabric, certainly most of the PVC roofs already in use don’t use blackout.
  • 2.3m eaves – if you’re buying a modular marquee for use in the UK you want it to have 2.3m eaves. Why? Well nearly all the existing stock used in UK marquee hire companies uses 2.3m eaves, this means that all lining suppliers and theming companies have stock based on a 2.3m eave -so you can only use them if you’ve got the correct kit. Using 2.3m eaves also means the resale value of the marquee will be higher and you’re not tied to us if you want to buy more framework in the future.
  • choice of windows: georgian, arched or panoramic
  • choice of zips or dutch lacing (dutch lacing is by far the most popular choice)

Included with any marquee purchase we’re also offering:

  • A training session – when your marquee’s ready we’ll be arranging several training sessions for you to come along to so we can pass on all of our knowledge and tips (surprisingly that’s quite a lot!). We put these marquees up for 10 years and there’s lots of things to make your life easier.
  • A free single page website optimised for whatever keyphrase you want. A lot of companies have these single page satellites designed to get up the search rankings that link through to your main site. They can take a while to get there but we’re quite good at it and we’ll design one for you.

Below are lots of photos of 9m marquees that your marquee will look like:

Thanks for reading

Spencer

9m x 18m Marquee

Ivory pleated lining (with extra curtains over the walls)

9m x 18m roof only marquee

9m x 9m marquee with 3m porch

Two 9m marquees with panoramic windows (later ones have dutch lacing)

Two 9m marquees with panoramic windows (later ones have dutch lacing)

9m x 6m framework mid-assembly

9m x 6m framework mid-assembly

Aluminium profile (steel knuckle at the top of eaves)

Aluminium profile (steel knuckle at the top of eaves)

Gable uprights bolt securely on

Gable uprights bolt securely on

9m wide marquee with pleated lining & green swag

9m wide marquee with pleated lining & green swag

9m marquee with a walkway used as an entrance porch

9m marquee with a walkway used as an entrance porch

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.

Marquee hire success

Monday, July 27th, 2009

When we ran a marquee hire company most of our business came from the fact that people trusted us. At the end of the day people are booking a marquee with you based on their experience of meeting you, speaking on the phone, looking at your website and any literature/research/recommendations available. Throughout each of these steps you need to come across well and as an outfit that’s not going to let them down.

A fundamental part of this is do what you say you’re going to do. If not then how can you be trusted to put a marquee up even though you say you will?

If you make an appointment for 10am on Tuesday make sure you’re there at 10am on Tuesday (I’d always aim to be sat round the corner 10mins before in case of traffic). If you’re going to be late for the appointment then phone with a realistic ETA.

If you say you’ll get a quote out today, get that quote sent out today!

You get the idea.

This is all fresh in my mind as we sold a marquee and some equipment to a customer this week who was only buying one because he’d been let down by his local marquee hire firm.

He phoned up asking for an appointment and was told as he’s only round the corner the marquee man would pop in on Friday evening. Didn’t happen. Customer phoned, was told definately the following Friday. Didn’t happen. You get the picture.

Once this had happened a few times the customer had understandably lost all faith in the local marquee man doing what he’d said he would and turned to us instead (which is extreme, normally they’d phone round for another marquee company)

So please remember your business is judged on the image of your business, people aren’t coming along to buy a product from you, they’re buying a service. You don’t just need to provide a good, reliable and value for money service you need to be SEEN to be providing these things.  Your website, attitude on the phone and manner when in a meeting must be that you’re there not only to help, advise and serve but that you’re capable of doing so.

Thanks for reading, I hope the marquee season’s going well for everyone 🙂

Spencer

Marquee Hire Websites

Monday, December 1st, 2008

We’ve finally got round to something I’ve been meaning to sort out for a while now -we can now offer websites for start up hire businesses (or existing ones if you want to change your current site).

An example is here

Cost is likely to be £180 for the first year, £45 a year from then on which we think is very reasonable for what we’re offering:

Home page – supply your own text to fill the page, change the locations you cover, choose your own colour scheme. This will also be optimised for the search engines.
Photo Gallery – all photos are included for you to use, we’ll also add your own photos when you get them.
Marquee Planner – we’ll add whatever size DIY Marquees you stock.
Contact Page – If you want other details for people to fill in we can do it for you.
Webmail – log in to send & receive work emails.
Advice on getting up the search rankings – We’ll point out what you can do to get your website up the search rankings and links to tools to help you. It can be time consuming but very little expertise is required.

Any extras you would like adding we can arrange (price on application). Once the website is up and running any subsequent alterations we’d also have to charge for (except adding photographs).

A .co.uk domain name is included in the price so you can choose whatever name you like (subject to availability) and your email address would be yourname@yourdomain.co.uk.

As always , feedback appreciated.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Getting your marquee website up the search rankings (part 2)

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Lisa from County Marquees made a good point after part 1 -google offer a free tool to research keywords. In my experience this is very useful but not detailed enough to get more specific data (impressions for marquee hire Reigate wouldn’t appear for example).
If you haven’t read part 1 you should go read that first otherwise this won’t make sense (or be practical to carry out).

Optimising your website for your chosen keywords

This step is the hardest. You can do it yourself but it takes a lot of trial and error -it took me over a year to learn. Apparently there are some programs available to do this step but most people seem to pay a professional to optimise their site(s).

Optimising takes 2-3 days and the going rate seems £600-£1000. If you’ve bought some of our marquees then I’d offer to do this at the same rate I charge my mates (£300 currently). I’d prefer not to though as my workload is pretty big but we try to make sure we look after existing customers.

Creating a linking strategy

This sounds complicated but actually is pretty easy.

Inbound links (links from other sites to your site) count as a ‘vote’ for your site. The more relevant the website that’s linking to you the better quality the vote. So a link from a marquee hire advice blog like this would count more than a link from a carpenters for example. Make sense?

If you do nothing else apply for a link from the marquee hire section of the Open Directory although this might take 6 months it’s a very highly regarded directory.

Lastly try to build up links slowly, you’re punished if all your links appear overnight.

I’m not sure I’ve explained this incredibly well, if you need clarification of anything don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll talk you through it.

Thanks for reading

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

Marquee Hire Websites

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

If you’re starting a marquee hire business you should have a website. It’s not essential, to start with you’ve probably got more things on your mind but you should certainly get one sooner rather than later.

What should you put on a website?

  • Photos and lots of them. People will visit your website wanting an idea of what you do. Photos are the easiest way to do this.
  • Make all wording reassuring. People want to know you’re reliable and will turn up with their marquee.
  • It’s up to you whether you put a full price list online, certainly some ideas of prices will help.
  • Contact details
  • Keep it simple, clean and tidy. Don’t start putting loads of special effects or use coloured backgrounds -keep the background white or a very light colour and only use special effects if they’re functional (slide shows for example).

My next couple of articles will be about getting your website up the search rankings. If you want to do this you’ll need to be able to change several things – the title, description, and a few other features which some website design programs don’t allow you to do.

Thanks for reading

Spencer