A lot of businesses are putting plans on pause right now. That’s why it caught our interest that one of our customers seems to be thriving more than ever. His name is Arjan van Reenen and his company is Doitselfie in the Netherlands.
“The past has taught us that companies that keep investing in marketing are the ones that come out as successful and strong in the future. “-Arjan van Reenen
We were curious to find out how he could be growing his business so much during this time, and wanted to share those insights with other Simple Booth users around the world.
We talked to Arjan about his business and how he approaches marketing, sales, and investing in growth.
Arjan, tell us a little bit about your business! What got you into photo booths?
It all started when I took over a small photo booth rental company from two friends of mine a little over four years ago. Before that, I had already started a jacuzzi rental company and I thought that those two products would be the start of a bigger multi-product rental company. But after a few months, the photo booths were doing so well that I realized that this was it. I had to focus on photo booths only, so I sold the jacuzzi company.
In the beginning, weddings and company parties were the biggest part of our photo booth business, but more and more we were asked for photo marketing solutions. We were so focused on the parties and events side of our business that I decided to start a new company, a new brand mainly focused on photo marketing solutions.
That’s how I started Doitselfie.
Where do you see the direction of the photo booth industry going? Are there any trends our readers should be following?
A lot of people think about a “big” booth when they think about a photo booth, the ones where you have to go inside, and afterward, receive a printed strip with 3 or 4 photos. At some places, you still have to pay for a printed photo. That is not what people want.
People love to share their experiences on social media platforms. They do that on both “open” platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but also on Whatsapp and Snapchat.
This is a trend that is going to continue in the future. For example, look at TikTok and how it boomed during the COVID-19 lockdown.
I strongly believe that marketing needs to be more real, more pure, more authentic. Research shows us that user-generated content is the most authentic form of marketing. Brands need to understand that the most powerful way to market is when your customers or visitor share their enthusiasm about you or your product with their friends and family. User-generated content is going to be more important and photo booths are a perfect tool for physical locations to make that happen.
“I strongly believe that marketing needs to be more real, more pure, more authentic.”
Another trend we noticed is that GIFs and short videos from HALO create more engagement on social media than normal photos. In a GIF or Rebound video, there is so much more space for creativity that we will see more of it in the future.
Unlike a lot of business owners right now, you are actually hiring and scaling up your business! Can you talk about some ways you are investing in your business and the opportunities you see?
When the lockdown started, we had to freeze our budgets too, but throughout June we saw many physical locations opening up again.
There are still companies that are not doing very well, but in the Netherlands, for example, people have been vacationing locally which turned holiday resorts into a booming business. During a crisis, there are always opportunities. The good thing about the photo booth platform is that there are so many different target audiences and businesses who can benefit.
“During a crisis, there are always opportunities.”
When I call someone on the phone and explain Doitselfie and HALO, it’s hard for people to grasp what it is. We realized that showing the HALO photo booth and software platform to our target audience is the best way to convince people of its strengths.
That’s why we set up a new sales strategy where we assign sales employees to specific territories. There are so many interesting places in Amsterdam alone that one sales employee will have a lot of fun for at least a whole year before he or she runs out of opportunities 😊.
Have you discovered any examples of new opportunities that didn’t exist before the pandemic?
Yes, some industries like the holiday resorts I mentioned are doing well during the pandemic. I read that they believe their popularity will continue, too.
Another opportunity is the insanely increased popularity of TikTok. Brands will probably invest more and more in TikTok related advertising or branding. The HALO platform with its new Rebound feature is perfect for TikTok and I believe this is an opportunity for brands that are open for new creative ways to engage with their customers.
Doing in-person demos sounds bold. Are people open to sales meetings? Are there any special safety precautions you take?
It actually is a bit bold, but most of the people we show the HALO selfie station to are immediately enthusiastic! We don’t always have the opportunity to talk to the decision-maker. But they will provide us with the right contact information to do so. That’s the power of a product where there is a lot of fun and enthusiasm involved 😉
Of course, we take the safety of our staff and prospects seriously. We keep our physical distance when showing the product and we clean the display every time.
In a time like this, more customers could be concerned about price than ever because of budget cuts. How do you approach price discussions with potential clients?
Price is always something that people are concerned about. The most important thing to do is look at how much their customers spend on average, then calculate how many extra visitors they’ll need each month to make a good return on investment.
Another way to help them look at it is: how much does a social media or content marketer cost? If you outsource these activities, how much does that cost you monthly? Most of the time the HALO platform is much cheaper compared to a full-time employee, and it performs 24/7.
“Most of the time the HALO platform is much cheaper compared to a full-time employee, and it performs 24/7.”
We recently introduced a leasing option for our customers. Even if marketing budgets are tight, the monthly cost is so low compared to other forms of marketing that they can’t say no, and the return on investment is really high. And the best part is: it is all measurable in the HALO online dashboard.
A lot of small business owners feel helpless right now because external factors seem to be controlling our financial futures. What advice would you give to someone who feels this way?
I can imagine that someone feels helpless because of the situation they are in right now. But if you are allowed to be open and operating, you have to invest in a form of marketing to attract visitors, customers, or guests.
You have competitors that are in the same situation. The past has taught us that companies that keep investing in marketing are the ones that come out as successful and strong in the future.
What would you tell someone who is afraid to invest in their business right now?
I would advise them to make a good liquidity forecast. That gives you peace of mind (or not at all). But at least you know how long you can hold on before you run out of money.
If you are a true entrepreneur, you will come up with new creative ways to make money again. Sometimes it will be something you never thought it would be possible. Or maybe it will be activities that you don’t really like to do right now, or it appears as something “huge.”
Then, make a good plan, break the project into pieces, and just start. Start investing if you believe that will help increase revenue again.
What are some ways people can invest in their businesses now without spending a lot of money?
I would say, look for a marketing tool that is low cost compared to advertising, full-time employees, or other expensive forms of marketing.
Remember that the most powerful form of marketing is when customers, visitors and guests share their enthusiasm for your business with their network!