Over the last 20 years I have helped over 1,000 people start their entertainment businesses be it inflatables, paintball, laser tag or all three in one location. During that span I have noticed one critical mistake that all of these business owners make, including myself.
The good news is, it's painless and simple to fix. Let's get right to it.
The Biggest Mistake
The biggest mistake is this, you are in your business everyday, be it physically or mentally, it's always top of mind for you, even when you don't want it to be : ) The massive mistake comes when you think that your business is top of mind for your customers.
We typically think this: "They just had a great experience with their last rental from me, of course they are going to call me back next time or refer me."
How many of you have found yourself in this scenario: You rent an inflatable to a casual acquaintance you see at church or one of your kid's events every so often. They have a great experience and they loved your service, then a month goes by and you run into this person again and they say "Oh gosh I'm so sorry, my office just had a big event and we needed 5 jumpers. I should have called you, I think I misplaced your card ..."
The reason that person "forgot" to contact you is because you were not on his top of mind. Is he a jerk and a bad person? No, he has his job or his business on his top of mind and his problems and his tax issues or whatever to worry about. Your customers simply don't have the bandwidth to remember you. You have to make it easy for them, and add value simultaneously, I'll get to this in a moment.
Let me tell you a story about myself, just this weekend. We are having some really hot and crazy humid weather in Southern California, which is really rare. After playing in the back yard with the kids, the dog, the water hose and the trampoline (lots of fun) I came in to dry off. I noticed a picture from one of our kids mini photo albums that they were looking at. It was an action shot of them on an inflatable waterside we rented a while back. It took a while for the thought to get through my thick skull but there it was, let's rent another water slide.
Do you think I have any idea who I got the slide from? Did I get any follow up e-mails from that company, anything in the mail? Did I get a flyer on my door from that company the next time they came into my neighborhood to drop off a jumper? No, no, and no!
Remember, you need to make it easy on your customers to remember you. Are your drivers dropping off flyers/postcards to your past customers? Are your drivers at least dropping off flyers/postcards in the neighborhoods they are delivering to? Are you sending out mailers/postcards?
"But I can't afford that" I hear some of you saying. You can at least mail out 20 letters to your last 20 rentals, letting them know you appreciate their business and ask for a referral. Total cost on that is $10 for stamps and you will bring in some good business from it!
While I'm this topic check out nextdayflyers.com. You can get full color, thick stock 4 x 6 cards, 2,500 of them for 4 cents each.
Next, as promised let's touch on adding value when we reach out to our customers via e-mail. I'm assuming all of you are at least e-mailing your past customers on a regular basis. There are many great low price and free services to do this. iContact or Constant Contact are just two good options.
Your next question may be: "What do I email them about?" I don't want them to think every email is about a special discount. This is where the value comes in!
Pay close attention.
What if you sent an e-mail out that gave your customers other fun ideas to do with their family? For example, you could set up a JV (Joint Venture) deal with the best face painter in town. You send an email to your customer list that says: "Hi this is Joe from Iggys Inflatables and I just wanted to let you know about Jane, the best face painter in the land." (show a picture) and then say, "for your next party or event call Jane and mention Iggy's for a special deal."
That's it, say nothing about your inflatables, it's just a good will e-mail that will help your customers remember you.
Lastly I want to share a fabulous value add that will knock your customers socks off and keep you top of mind, best of all it's FREE.
The most important thing to your customers are their children, most parents neglect themselves but not their kids, the kids are top of mind for sure. So use this to your advantage. The time you or your driver delivers and inflates the unit, grab your phone and take a picture of the kids and adults playing on it. These are usually the best pictures as the kids and adults are super exited to test out the unit for the first time. Then two weeks after the rental, email the pictures, just send the best 2 or 3 action shots to the customer and thank them for their business and ask for a referral. You can also watermark the picture with your logo at the bottom, to make it easier for the customer to remember you.
I encourage you to Take Action on these ideas and watch your business grow!
The first step to action is commitment. One way to truly commit and follow through is to announce your commitment.
Comment below and share what you'll do with these tips!