It is safe to say the Event Photo Booth industry is well over a decade old now. When I opened up shop in 2007, there were just two photo booth companies in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. They were pioneers of the photo booth movement, and those two companies essentially got all the business. They were the go-to referral choices of all of the wedding and meeting planners in the area, and there weren’t any other options. I think both got their start in 2002 – yes, 14 years ago!
Fast forward to 2016 – I stopped counting my local competitors when I got to 50, and there were dozens more left uncounted. In my search, I discovered that many of these companies are just offering run of the mill services that were being offered in 2007 when I started boothing. Many of their websites are basic DIY template sites, and I couldn’t find anything worth writing home about.
With the seemingly endless number of photo booth companies to choose from, how does one get noticed? It must be absolutely daunting to the consumer to narrow down the company that they want to work with. Almost every website that I looked at is filled with similar images that convey the same look and feel as almost all of the competitor sites that I viewed.
The first thing this tells me is that if you want people to look at your company differently, you have to look different from your competitors. What does your website say about your company and what does it say about you?
Does your website say that you do the exact same thing as every other photo booth company in your area? Do your images look similar? How about your booths, do they look just like the other guys’? Do you have the exact same styles of backdrops as you competitor? What are you offering that will stand out to a prospective client and spur them to pick up the phone and call you? When they call, are they going to expect your prices to match your super budget friendly competitor because your website failed to demonstrate that you offer something different and of greater value?
If you don’t want to compete on price, here’s a piece of advice – use your website to help the consumer see that you have something more valuable to offer that is worth more than what your competitors offer. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, so heavy use of imagery is very important. Showing your best photos helps put your best foot forward. Provide lots of examples. Show off your equipment. Give people a visual of what they get when they hire you.
Here are some websites that do an outstanding job of this:
The Photo Booth Guys in Australia & UK – http://photobooth.co
MDRN Photo Booth in Ottawa & Toronto, Canada – http://mdrnphotoboothcompany.com
OMG Booth in Atlanta, GA – https://www.omgbooth.com
Studio Z Photo Booths in NYC – http://www.studiozphotobooths.com
It would be easy to list dozens more, but these sites sends a clear and concise message that these companies are different and worth reaching out to. They are worth paying more for their services. Their websites convey that they pay attention to details in their marketing, and they will pay attention to the details for their clients. So how do you get from a “stuck in 2001 website” to a modern website?
If you aren’t skilled at building websites and lack the creativity to make yours look different from everyone else’s site, I highly encourage you to begin seeking out the help of a professional website designer/developer. Hiring someone does two things: 1) it puts a finite date on finishing the project; and 2) it frees you up to work on growing your business. Website building is not for the faint of heart, and it can drive you mad if you don’t have the skills and willpower to do the job that you envision and complete it.
If you are a creative person and aren’t one to back away from a challenge, you might try building your own site. If you decide to go this route, check out WordPress if you haven’t already. WordPress themes come in abundance and with most modern hosts, you can install and set up WordPress yourself with a few clicks of a button. If you tried it years ago and gave up, try again because with every new WordPress update, it becomes simpler and simpler to work with.
My all time favorite WordPress theme is ProPhoto because it is so easy to work with and is incredibly customizable. This theme was designed for DIY’er. The developer recently released a responsive mobile friendly updated version (don’t purchase any versions or designs that are for ProPhoto 5 or less). Don’t let the $199 price tag scare you. It’s completely worth it for an easy to use modern interface with loads of setup tutorials and support videos. ProPhoto also offers expert install options if you aren’t comfortable installing the theme on your own (but hey you run a photo booth, you should be able to click a few buttons and make this happen). The second favorite on my list is Divi by Elegant Themes because it is extremely customizable and provides in-theme tools to create a one of a kind site. Another list topper is Avada, the best selling theme on ThemeForest. The customization options are nearly endless with Avada, and their support is top notch. If none of these theme options appeal to you, you can search through thousands of WordPress themes on ThemeForest.net to find something that is perfect for the brand message you want to convey. Just make sure you choose something that is responsive and mobile friendly and has a good rating. Lots of sales means lots of documentation and customer support, so keep that in mind when making your choice.
But, if you aren’t comfortable with that, freelance work sites like Upwork.com are filled web developers looking to take your money. Again, just make sure your message and goals are clear. Provide lots of examples and check their past work.
Other popular DIY website platforms that are responsive/mobile friendly include Wix, Weebly and Big Black Bag. Each one takes some creativity to customize, and your strategic use of images will be very important as with any website platform.