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  • #1107095
    daydreamer
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    Agree that it seems the issues are far more serious than the Facebook page!

    Jazzah, sorry to here you are in this situation.

    If it was me, I would go back and look at the numbers. How many parties/kids do you need to have each week/month to break even? Is this realistic?

    If you are close, then some of the other marketing suggestions may work.

    If you are no where near the numbers to break even, then some more serious steps might need to be taken, even like assessing whether your location is right.

    If worse comes to worse, remember you could try selling the business, rather than shutting down and going bankrupt… of course I understand this may not be feasible.

    #1107096
    Anonymous
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    Hi Jazzah,

    Just a short note from all of us here at FSHQ to let you know that we’re sorry to hear that you’re in this situation. :(

    As always, we’re also finding the suggestions and support you’re receiving from the forumites very heartwarming (thanks gang – we love your work!).

    I hope you find some nuggets of gold in there that can help turn things around for you.

    Sending our best wishes,
    Jayne

    #1107097
    spinninghill
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    • Total posts: 345
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    A friend of mine is a school PE teacher. When he was at uni he worked for a company that organised kids parties as well as kids sports.. In other words the company did both parties as well as organised sports / come parties.

    One thing i remember him saying is that the majority of the work he did was for very posh / yuppy types. Sometimes he’d host a party and the parents weren’t even home..

    Maybe this is a market you can target specifically if you are not already. As Jacqui and others suggested, to appeal to this market, cheapest might not best.. “BEST” will be best..

    I’m not a lot of help on this one, but a bit of a different angle for you to consider..

    #1107098
    Jazzah
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    • Total posts: 193
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    Ok i am at my second job reading your replies on my phone (2 weeks ago someone stole my laptop and ipad while a party was on! Feel like i have lost my soul!)

    Thia is what i have realised. We have 2 type of customers. Those that want to pay the minimim and not a cent more and those that want that beautiful magical moment that will be remembered.

    The minimum customers reduce our profit margin, we might make $100 profit for a 2 hour party. But more importanrly we earely get another booking from their party group.

    The second geoup have more children, purchase food for adults, balloons and lollybags. Ao our profit is much juicier. I have been targeting this group always ensuring they get a really themed party with a few extras and make sure they know about them. These groups lead to more parties, maybe 2 more boolings per party. It is hard though to chat when i am busy assisting with a party. We r going to put up a lcd screen that will show what we do and our other servicws where it wont be missed. We have a captive audience there who leave without knowing about all our services.

    Re price i have been thinking about this too but was too scared to cut some people off, but maybe they are not worth it? Have to say the kids give the hosts a hosts time last party they damaged property and my laptop and ipad went missing!

    Ok the one thing that still remains strongly for me is people now knowing we exist or what we do. How do i do that? Do i drive around with a trailer to schools/sports ovals etc with our 3 sided sign and a call to action offer?.

    In terms of what we need to survive we need to triple. Last month we had 11, we really need around 30 a month. This month so far we have 9.

    I really do appreciate your thoughts, i am thinking about the
    While working 24 hours a day! Thanlyou so much.

    Jazzah

    #1107099
    JacquiPryor
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    • Total posts: 2,344
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    Hey Jazzah,

    Sorry to hear about your laptop & iPad! Not what you need right now I’m sure…

    Ok the one thing that still remains strongly for me is people now knowing we exist or what we do. How do i do that? Do i drive around with a trailer to schools/sports ovals etc with our 3 sided sign and a call to action offer?.

    I think you keep doing what you have been doing. Seems from your earlier posts you are getting yourselves known (how could you not with so much marketing effort) but perhaps people are just not ready to book parties for what ever reason?

    Also – do you only take party bookings, or, are you set up so that Mums can just bring their own couple of kids in on a Saturday for example? If you have the ability for ‘casual’ visits this could be an additional $$ maker in the mean time, if not something you are already doing. A casual visit doesn’t necessarily have to include food/cake or the other bits and pieces and can be a slightly higher per head amount just to be involved in what ever activities/games etc for a couple of hours?

    Additionally – was just looking at your website. I wonder if som re-jigging to really emphasize that you actually host the parties is needed? Reading through the home page, it kinda sounds more like you really only sell party supplies rather than host the parties, apart from a quick mention that the new store is open and you are taking bookings. If you are giving away flyers/promo material for the purpose of advertising the parties and people go to the website after getting those, they may wish to see more immediate info about the parties v the products available? (Maybe you have a different website and I’m looking at the wrong one?)

    Anyway, all just food for thought really. Really hope things pick up soon for you :)

    #1107100
    jentre
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    • Total posts: 16
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    I’m far from a marketing guru – still new at this running a business thing ;) But another suggestion for your spare space is photographers – I have seen photography kiosks/outlets in a lot of play centres. Its something that I would have loved to talk with you about except that I live in Melbourne’s western suburbs so not really practical logistically :( The ones I’ve seen in playcentres seem to do well and could certainly be used to bring in more cutsomers as well as offering something extra to your own customers.

    #1107101
    Jazzah
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    • Total posts: 193
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    Yes we do have a different website http://www.kidspartyplace.com.au

    Its a bit difficult to operate ona casual basis We dont have play equipment like a play centre, we run gaes etc, but then I would need to pay staff and if kids are not booked in, then that would cost!

    We have listed free activities during the school holidays and instead will charge for food and drinks, tea and coffee.

    Again, not sure how to get this out there. There is not one booking. It is on our whats on calender onteh webpage. you can book online, it is simple and easy. I tried to get them in the whats on section in the local newspaper and council section to no avail.

    Jazzah

    #1107102
    JacquiPryor
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    • Total posts: 2,344
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    Ahh, that makes more sense – definitely can tell you do parties with this website ;) – maybe still have a little more ‘obvious’ link from your Blissful Kids website over to this one?

    When I do some basic internet searches, from a potential vistor perspective on the sort of terms I would be using, your Blissful Kids site comes up heaps on the first page – but the Kids Party Place one doesn’t – by having strong links between the sites you might capture more of a web audience… and/or working on SEO on the Kids Party Place site?

    Other than Internet related stuff – Could you give a stack of flyers to school holiday program organisers and the like or at after school care centres? Advertising on your car, if you don’t already have it so that you are promoting the business everywhere you go?

    I am certainly not a marketing guru – but hope this helps… just trying to think of what I would do in your shoes.

    #1107103
    PocketDocket
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    • Total posts: 156
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    Jazzah, post: 119237 wrote:
    Thia is what i have realised. We have 2 type of customers. Those that want to pay the minimim and not a cent more and those that want that beautiful magical moment that will be remembered.

    The minimum customers reduce our profit margin, we might make $100 profit for a 2 hour party. But more importanrly we earely get another booking from their party group.

    The second group have more children, purchase food for adults, balloons and lollybags. Ao our profit is much juicier. I have been targeting this group always ensuring they get a really themed party with a few extras and make sure they know about them. These groups lead to more parties, maybe 2 more boolings per party. It is hard though to chat when i am busy assisting with a party. We r going to put up a lcd screen that will show what we do and our other servicws where it wont be missed. We have a captive audience there who leave without knowing about all our services.

    Re price i have been thinking about this too but was too scared to cut some people off, but maybe they are not worth it? Have to say the kids give the hosts a hosts time last party they damaged property and my laptop and ipad went missing!

    In terms of what we need to survive we need to triple. Last month we had 11, we really need around 30 a month. This month so far we have 9.

    Jazzah

    Hi Jazzah, from what you have said above it looks like you definitely need to concentrate on the second ‘type’ of customers, those that go for the whole shabang. I’d raise prices by $2-5/head – from what you have said previously you’d still be the cheapest, and a pricing increase will have amazing effects on your bottom line.

    Secondly, I’d create a formal referral system – this is a suggestion of how it would work:

    1) Offer the parents paying for a kids party a 5-10% discount for each signup from the other parents attending the party within a 1 week period. 10 bookings and their party is free – (you will refund the parent after acquiring the 20% deposit required for parties). Brings me on to number 2

    2) Create a ‘parents’ lolly bag for all the parents at each party – include information on your parties and all your other services, as well as a 10-20% discount for booking and paying 20% deposit within a week (Don’t forget you raised the prices by $2-5/head so you should actually still be making what you currently charge). This step formalises and automates your lead generation so you don’t need to chat with parents at parties seeing you are so busy.

    3) Create a database of customers, including DOB for children and their friends. If you have to, incentivise parents to give this information for baloons/lollies/something. Plug these DOB’s into a calendar, so you now can send out reminders 1-2 months prior to any childrens party. If possible, save photos from their last so you can send these with the reminders. It will help bring back the good memories. This one might be a bit longer term, but no time like the present to start!

    The fact that you get around 2 bookings from each party from the full package parties sounds like you are on to a winner – if you had 11 parties last month, you should be able to shoot for 22 this month and 44 next month etc…. In reality it won’t grow quite like this, but you get the idea.

    Anyway, best of luck!

    Jeremy

    #1107104
    Jazzah
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    • Total posts: 193
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    PocketDocket, post: 119285 wrote:
    2) Create a ‘parents’ lolly bag for all the parents at each party – include information on your parties and all your other services, as well as a 10-20% discount for booking and paying 20% deposit within a week (Don’t forget you raised the prices by $2-5/head so you should actually still be making what you currently charge). This step formalises and automates your lead generation so you don’t need to chat with parents at parties seeing you are so busy.

    Done, cute little bag with a cappachino sachet and ferrero rocher, flyer and discount voucher passed out to 12 parents tonight!

    #1107105
    victorng
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    • Total posts: 626
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    I know you’re after marketing advice, but I’m just wondering if you’ve done any detailed financial analysis.

    Needing 30 parties a month to break even seems like a lot, considering you run a maximum of 7 parties on a weekend. That means you need to be fully booked every weekend in order to come close to breaking even. Or maybe I’m missing something.

    Good luck,
    Victor

    #1107106
    Avatar Consulting
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    • Total posts: 151
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    Business viability testing should have been done

    Hi Jazzah

    With this year being the record for businesses going to the wall you are not alone and it does happen.

    From your discussions it appears that you didnt do a business feasability check to see if the business idea would make money before starting it. Anyway that horse has bolted.

    The marketing strategy you have mentioned is probably okay as part of a coordinated advertising campaign, but as you mentioned there is little money left. It takes a new business approx 10% of its starting revenue from the 1st year to build enough market presence to continue sales. I am guessing that you didnt spend enough at the start due to the problems in leasing.

    Some pointers to look at;

    • This year has been hard for all businesses so everyone is doing it tougher. See if another business wants a strategic partner
    • Make more personal face-to-face advertising sales calls as they are free-ish
    • Your price is too low to sustain the business. If you provide more than your competitors and much cheaper- raise your price and/or remove some features to cut costs
    • Consider exiting the business while you still have some cash. In any case plan an exit strategy because at some point you will need it
    • The drop in sales has little to do with your quality of service at the moment, it is due to the world economy tanking and customers holding onto their money

    Sorry if this sounds harsh, but running a business is hard

    #1107107
    Warren Cottis
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    • Total posts: 807
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    Hello Jazzah

    You’ve already received excellent advice from the FS members so my post is more of an overview.

    First, you’re unlikely to be going bankrupt and you’ve probably got three months with some negotiation with the landlord and others but there’s not a moment to waste.

    I know you are tired and feeling down but you cannot afford to have those emotions when running a party venue for kids… you have to rally.

    You need to find the right customers, offer a good product, give them the right message, convert them to sales, and resell to them.

    Right customers: are the parents your customers or are the kids your customers? McDonalds does ok selling to kids. Do you need kids from struggling families or more comfortable families?

    Offer a good product: have you ever asked the kids whether they like your product?

    Do you think the kids are likely to go to school and say “Guess what, I had a Blissful Kids Party!” Perhaps some rebranding is needed.

    How do your premises present? It sounds like you have a lot of empty space which should be screened off. Post a shot of the front of your building please… the shape looks good on Google Earth but how have you window dressed it… first impressions.

    Make a checklist of every aspect of your business and compare it to your opposition.

    The right message: that’s not happening on your website for starters and some urgent change of copy is needed

    You already said that your promotional material was flawed… start thinking like a kid.

    Where’s the testimonials?

    Convert them to sales: you are making sales and have already had some good suggestions… throw in more value rather than discounting price. Keep examining your conversion ratio.

    Resell to them: in the posts you have made no mention of a database and regular follow up. There’s no attempt to build a database from your website.

    It doesn’t have to be email… you can write letters

    #1107108
    Jazzah
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    • Total posts: 193
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    victorng, post: 119424 wrote:
    I know you’re after marketing advice, but I’m just wondering if you’ve done any detailed financial analysis.

    Needing 30 parties a month to break even seems like a lot, considering you run a maximum of 7 parties on a weekend. That means you need to be fully booked every weekend in order to come close to breaking even. Or maybe I’m missing something.

    Good luck,
    Victor

    Hi Victor, Our Financial analysis was done prior to ending up in VCAT where we were severly restricted in trading hours. I had to fly by the seat of may pants and decide whether to give it a go or now. It does mean being fairly heavily booked, but we can also operate during school holidays, which we thought would compensate for some of the weekends.

    #1107109
    Jazzah
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    • Total posts: 193
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    Warren Cottis, post: 119446 wrote:
    Hello Jazzah

    I know you are tired and feeling down but you cannot afford to have those emotions when running a party venue for kids… you have to rally.
    I know i m down (in fact I am fighting the lurgy for over 2 weeks and not having the resources on my laptop just makes things so much harder. I cant just whip a flyer together, everything is gone! Please everyone backup now, dont delay do it!) However we have hosts that run the parties and they are unaware of the situation. They are as bright and bubbly as they always have been.

    Warren Cottis, post: 11944 wrote:
    You need to find the right customers, offer a good product, give them the right message, convert them to sales, and resell to them.

    Right customers: are the parents your customers or are the kids your customers? McDonalds does ok selling to kids. Do you need kids from struggling families or more comfortable families?

    Ok I am trying to do this, but the hard reality is we dont have them coming through the door to do that too and we have not hit that spot where the phones are ringing either. I think we need comfortable families. The struggling ones pay the minimum amount, book the minimum kids and we dont get oher bookings from them. We don’t make money from them fullstop.

    Warren Cottis, post: 119446 wrote:
    Offer a good product: have you ever asked the kids whether they like your product? Yes we do, we have heard other kids saying to an obviously non cool kid, how their party was cool and they will be telling everyone at school how cool it was. The smile on his face was priceless.

    Warren Cottis, post: 119446 wrote:
    Do you think the kids are likely to go to school and say “Guess what, I had a Blissful Kids Party!” Perhaps some rebranding is needed. WE already have done this. The venue is called Kids Party Place. It is marketed seperately from Blissful Kids and hasit’s own website http://www.kidspartyplace.com.au and facebook page.

    Warren Cottis, post: 119446 wrote:
    How do your premises present? It sounds like you have a lot of empty space which should be screened off. Post a shot of the front of your building please… the shape looks good on Google Earth but how have you window dressed it… first impressions. The premises are presented well. They are non gender, bright, clean with loads of shimmer and glitter. I will try and post a photo from the front. The rear has additional space. We advise customers that we use that particularly if a group of kids need to expend some energy! We often have a huge pirate ship in it. I don’t think it is a deterrent.

    Warren Cottis, post: 119446 wrote:
    Make a checklist of every aspect of your business and compare it to your opposition.

    The right message: that’s not happening on your website for starters and some urgent change of copy is needed

    You already said that your promotional material was flawed… start thinking like a kid.

    Where’s the testimonials?
    I will make a checklist

    I am not sure if you have been to the correct website. We have a guestbook, most of the testimonials are written on our facebook page. I can add them to the website.

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