Whether you’re ready to start a photo booth rental company today or simply exploring the opportunity, we wrote this comprehensive guide to answer the most common questions about what it takes to launch a photo booth business.
Ready to become a successful photo booth owner and operator? Let’s go!
Why start a photo booth business? 🤔
“The things you regret most in life are the risks you didn’t take.”-Unknown
You don’t have to be an Instagram star to know that people are wild for personal photos these days. And so it should be! Photos allow us to capture some of our most precious memories and moments, from wedding days to weekend nights out. What’s more, the advent of smartphones has transformed nearly everyone into amateur photographers, eager to document every phase and season of our lives.
Happily, the age of the smartphone selfie has not dimmed the consumer appetite for photo booth pictures. A rising tide floats all boats, and people crave photo opportunities more than ever. MarketWatch reports that the global photo booth market is expected to grow 12% annually over five years, with revenue rising from $360 million in 2020 to an estimated $582.9 million in 2026.
Photo booths have grown from being a novelty at the mall and events to a staple at every special occasion. Modern photo booths are compact and provide digital, interactive displays to text or email photos directly to you. Businesses have even begun using photo booths to capture contact information in-store and at events. New technology has made it an exciting time to start a photo booth business with more diverse opportunities than ever.
In this age of social media, photo booth participants can easily share images, videos and GIFs on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other channels. This feature is a win-win for everyone, from the user who gets to flaunt their cool experience to the host business or organization that gets immediate publicity.
Is a photo booth business a good idea? 💡
Becoming the owner of a photo booth business can be an exciting, profitable life choice that doesn’t require a lot of money upfront or an excessive time commitment. Some of the advantages include:
- Low start-up costs. You can start a photo booth business for as little as $3,500.
- Good money. You’ll get out of it the time you put into it. But it’s not unusual to earn $50,000 per year with a photo booth business. And you can make much more than that if you own more than one booth.
- Serve a range of events. You’re spoiled for choice among potential clients and niche opportunities, from retailers and bars to high-end weddings.
- Highly scalable. It’s relatively easy to grow a photo booth business while keeping expenses and costs low.
- Allows a flexible lifestyle. You can shape a photo booth business to fit your needs and lifestyle. You can run it as a “weekend warrior” in your spare time or go all-in from the start.
- Easy service to sell to the right clients. The benefits of a photo booth are easy to explain and readily apparent to most individuals and businesses. Perfect your sales pitch, and you’ll be golden.
- Portable equipment. With the right photo booth, you can easily transport your business around town or across the country for events.
- Easy to train staff/assistants. Operating a photo booth is so straightforward that you won’t have to invest much time and money in training your staff.
- Offers the possibility of repeat business for certain clients. If you keep clients happy, they’ll contact you again and again.
If this sounds good, keep reading. We’re going to teach you how to create a photo booth business (and grow it) step-by-step. By the time you finish this guide, you’re not only going to have the know-how to build a unique brand, you’ll also have a wide range of tools, references, and recommendations to make your photo booth business as profitable as possible.
Step 1: Define Your Target Market 👥
“Everyone is not your customer.”-Seth Godin
It’s important to define your target market before making a lot of other key decisions so that everything can align in the customer’s best interest for maximum impact.
Part of what makes photo booth businesses so exciting is that they can serve such a broad array of markets. Weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduations, family reunions, retail and hospitality, team-building events, brand activations… opportunities are everywhere. The downside of this blitz of choices is that it can be challenging to narrow your ideal client base. But it’s something you need to do.
The benefits of defining your target market
When you focus your marketing on a specific type of client, you can speak to their unique needs and interests in a way that is impossible when you try to appeal to anyone and everyone. The goal is for a potential client to visit your website and think, “this company gets me and what I want.” When that happens, you’re almost certain to get a new lead and make your next sale.
Defining your target market early can help ensure that every aspect of the business is designed toward attracting this group, from the type of photo booth you purchase to your website’s content tone and color themes. In other words, once you know who you want as your customers, you can start developing your brand identity—the all-important quality that will make your business stand out from the competition.
How to define your target market
So, what type of clients do you want your photo booth business to attract? You’ll need to do some market research– and a bit of soul-searching—to reach an answer. Consider the five following questions to guide your process:
- Who would benefit from photo booth services? As mentioned above, photo booth rental companies can serve numerous markets. In addition to those listed in this section, write down as many potential markets as you can think of. Think as broadly as you can for the moment.
- Which markets appeal to you most? From your brainstorm list, pick the top five markets that you’d be interested in targeting. Without doing any research, consider factors such as how many potential clients are in your area, whether you’d feel comfortable working with this particular group of clients or at their events, and how accessible this market is to you.
- How can you narrow the target market? The wedding market, for example, is very broad and full of engaged couples with varying ages, income levels, educational statuses, gender identities, cultural backgrounds, and values. Considering all or some of these factors, who do you want your brand to most appeal to? Who is your ideal client?
Create a client persona and begin to paint a picture of your perfect client. Does this couple want a big, extravagant wedding, or small and intimate? Are they keeping it inexpensive or trying to go all-out? Do they want their wedding to be a giant dance party or a reserved, classy affair? What kinds of activities does this couple enjoy? Where do they live? What are their attitude and values? Although you will ultimately serve a diverse range of clients, this client persona will help direct your marketing efforts and brand decisions.
- Will your target market be profitable? There’s no point in targeting a particular audience if they can’t afford your business. You need to conduct market research to determine whether your target audience actually exists and that they are willing and able to pay for your services.
- What’s the competition doing? Research the other photo booth businesses that would be operating in the same space. Is the market oversaturated? How can you differentiate your business? What problems can you solve for your clients that the others can’t?
The earlier you hone in on the right audience, the better, since it will influence many other decisions you’ll make about your business.
Step 2: Build a Budget 🤓
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.“-Warren Buffett
For many entrepreneurs, the relatively low cost to start a photo booth business is one its most appealing features. You don’t need an expensive storefront or a bunch of employees to get started. With the right equipment, targeted advertising, and the ability to handle events on your own, you can launch a successful business from home.
Types of Photo Booths
As you might expect, your biggest initial investment will be the photo booth and the equipment that enables you to capture quality photos. The type of booth you choose will depend upon the size of your budget, the clientele and events you intend to serve, and your brand’s unique selling proposition.
Photo booths come in a a variety of styles and options, here are a few to consider:
Traditional, “Closed” Photo Booth
These photo booths remind people of a simpler time. They fit a handful of people, have a curtain and an actual booth to sit in, and print two sets of photo strips per session. They can still be popular for traditional weddings, but are heavy, time-consuming to set up, and less versatile than other types of photo booths. We wouldn’t recommend this type for starting a new photo booth company unless you are very confident it’s what your target market wants!
Freestanding Photo Booth
Also known as an open-air photo booth or selfie station, freestanding booths have become more popular because they often have an interactive screen for participants, can deliver photos digitally, fit more people in the photos, have more options for software, and are generally more inviting, modern, and attractive than the traditional style.
Within this category, there are two main subcategories: DSLR and iPad-based photo booths. DSLR photo booths offer high-end image quality but also require more maintenance, technical know-how, troubleshooting, and knowledge of photography. iPad-based photo booths have become popular because they are very easy to setup, do not require as many separate components and cables, connect to the internet, provide a touchscreen for participants to engage with their pictures, and “just work”.
Some photo booth manufacturers offer a large, freestanding mirror that doubles as a touchscreen. These are impressive displays but also very expensive and have limited options for software.
360 Degree Photo Booth
This rig actually spins a camera around your participants, capturing slow motion video of them having the time of their lives. It looks awesome with something to throw in the air like confetti. You can charge a higher amount for a specialized photo activation like this, but may find yourself with fewer potential clients. Specialized booths can be a great way to expand your business in the future.
Buying a Photo Booth
Prices vary greatly for photo booths. You can build a do-it-yourself photo booth for as little as $300, buy a dazzling open-air digital booth with all the technological bells and whistles for $3,000, order a big vintage-style traditional booth with print photos for $10,000, or anything in-between. You could also make your business unique by offering a 360 degree photo booth or a large freestanding mirror, which tend to be more specialized and more expensive.
The wide range of options is good news for aspiring photo booth entrepreneurs because it means you can start a business regardless of the size of your budget. That said, the photo booth must meet the needs and expectations of your clientele. If you’re planning to target clients throwing large extravagant weddings, a scrappy $300 photo booth is highly unlikely to get the job done.
We recommend a freestanding photo booth for most new companies because they appeal to a broad audience, are highly versatile, and affordably priced. Now, let’s break down some of the components and features to consider when shopping for this kind of photo booth. It’s always a smart practice to purchase these components from a single vendor to ensure they work well together.
#1. The body or shell
Open-air photo booths can have very different aesthetics, from being old-fashioned and boxy to sleek and compact with modern curves. DSLR-based models will often come as an empty shell with places for power and wires to go, giving you the option to select your own components inside.
The key aspects to consider are how sturdy it’s designed and constructed, whether it handles power and lighting for you, the size, weight, and ease of setup. You may want to ask your photo booth vendor if they have a video or setup instructions before you purchase so you can visualize what you will need to do before and after every event.
Investing in a photo booth that is sturdy, convenient, and visually-attractive will be worth your while.
You can usually purchase the DSLR camera or iPad with your photo booth to make sure the device will be compatible.
iPad-based photo booths have become an industry favorite over the last few years because they are much simpler to set up, easier to troubleshoot, provide real-time previews, and offer slick user interfaces that participants love. After all, half the fun is getting the instant gratification of seeing your photo after you take it!
The latest model iPad, which works on a range of booths, including Simple Booth HALO®, costs about $329. Expect to pay at least $350 for an entry-level DSLR camera, plus a memory card and extra cables.
If you decide to go with a DSLR or stand-alone camera, our guide to the best cameras for photo booths can help you make the perfect choice.
#3. Stand or tripod
Most open-air photo booths come with their own support system designed to hold them. If you’re buying a more economical model or building a DIY photo booth, you may need to choose your own stand or tripod. Again, there’s a great range in options out there, but a basic rule of thumb is to choose one with adjustable height that can hold three times the camera’s weight. Prices for quality tripods vary from $150-$300.
Lighting can make a dramatic difference in the quality of your photos. A right light, for example, can bring out the best in your subjects and make faces look amazing by reducing harsh shadows and glare. Ring light photo booths are popular because they light faces evenly with soft light that surrounds the camera, avoiding the issue of glare that can result from DSLR flashes and other small light sources.
Make sure that your photo booth is designed to shine. If not, consider learning the basics of photography lighting and whether to purchase separate lighting.
#5. Photo booth software
Any digital photo booth requires selecting reliable software to capture the photos, deliver them to guests, and everything in-between. Software like Simple Booth® (that’s us!) offers a variety of features such as GIFs, videos, digital props, customizable borders and overlays, image filters, green screen background replacement, text and email delivery, social media sharing, print templates, branding and messaging, real-time analytics, and more.
Most photo booth software plans will range from $49-$149 per month. Keep in mind, you often “get what you pay for” and a photo booth app on the App Store that only costs a few bucks is unlikely to have the features or support you will need for professional use.
Software is usually priced per booth with add-on licenses available at a discounted rate. We recommend asking for a trial to evaluate various software solutions for yourself and make a careful selection based on factors such as ease-of-use, participant experience, quality features, and marketing tools you can use to grow your business. Many companies offer month-to-month plans so you only have to pay when you have events.
#6. Printer & printer media
If you plan to serve weddings, you’ll need a high quality photo printer with at least 300 dpi resolution that can keep up with a line of eager participants. You will need to consider factors like print speed, paper sizes, and media cost. Quality printers can cost $500 to $1000. Ink and photo paper can cost $50 or more per event.
Pro Tip: Offering prints can affect whether you need to collect sales tax in some states. Digital delivery of photos is more likely to be exempt from sales tax than physical prints.
FURTHER READING: Buyers Guide: The Top Photo Booth Printers
#7. Travel case
Freestanding photo booths are always portable, but some more than others. Make sure to buy a travel case to protect and transport your investment. The price for a good, quality case that fits everything is often at least $500. You should purchase your travel case from the same vendor as your photo booth to ensure the proper fit.
Some larger photo booths require two separate cases: one for the body and one for the stand.
Beyond having an actual photo booth you can rent, you should consider what items you’ll need to provide a great experience to your clients and be able to operate your business efficiently during the week. Here are some things to think about.
Props. People love to enhance their photos with props like oversized sunglasses, cowboy hats, or electric-colored feather boas. Depending on the range of goodies you want to offer, plan on a budget of $50 to $150.
Backdrops. While you can always point your photo booth into the party, most clients will prefer the clean and polished look of a dedicated background. This is usually achieved with an 8×8′ backdrop support system and full length, fabric backdrops. You could start with one or two backdrop options and add more to your library as your business growths. If you want to offer green screen for corporate events, you might consider purchasing a wrinkle-free, fabric green screen.
Marketing materials and branding. To get the word out about your business, you’ll need to produce polished branding and marketing materials, including a website, business cards, logo, and more. Marketing costs can vary wildly, from under $500 if you do it on the cheap to thousands or tens of thousands if you hire a design or ad agency.
Some economical ways to get started include hiring designers on a crowdsourcing platform like upwork.com or 99designs.com. These sites let you post projects with a set price to keep your costs in check.
Incorporation fees. If you decide to formalize your business’s legal structure, add in associate fees ranging from $300-500, depending on your state and the type of structure you choose.
Software to manage your business. It’s good to sign up early for an online accounting software like Freshbooks, Quickbooks, or Xero to enter expenses into, invoice customers, and process payments.
Project management or photo booth booking software. As your company grows, you will have more and more things to keep track of. It’s a good idea to make life easy on yourself with a tool to keep track of it all! For project management, popular services include Monday.com and 17 Hats.
There is also dedicated software for managing photo booth bookings like Check Cherry or Booth Book that can do project management and more, even improving your customer experience by making it easy to reserve a date and purchase a package online.
Per event costs: It’s a good idea to track your per event costs, like printer media or parking fees, separately to make sure you have a healthy profit margin on all your packages.
Miscellaneous. You’ll also have to pay for expenses such as domain name registration fees, power cables, and other small items that can add up. Build in a cushion of at least $300 to account for these extra costs.
Sample Budget for a New Photo Booth Company
|One-time Costs||Estimated Range|
|Photo booth with camera, lighting, stand & case||$2,500-10,000|
|Printer and media (optional)||$1,200|
|Branding & marketing materials||$500-5,000|
|Backdrop stands and fabric (optional)||$500|
|Monthly Costs||Estimated Range|
|Photo booth software||$29-150|
|Online accounting software||$6–30|
|Project management or booking software||$10–30|
|Staff for events||Varies|
|Per Event Costs||Estimated Range|
|Printer media (optional)||$0.12-0.25 per print|
|Staff (optional)||$8–18 / hr|
Step 3: Draft Your Business Plan 📈
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.“-Yogi Berra
Starting a photo booth business is a more straightforward process than other types of start-ups, but there can still be a lot of value in writing a business plan. A business plan allows you to think your venture all-the-way through, articulate your vision for its future, and document a strategy for achieving that vision. It’s also a key asset if you’re seeking business partners or investors to build confidence in your ability to succeed.
There’s no need to write a traditional 45-page plan with all the analytical bells and whistles. You can start a successful photo booth business with a simple yet carefully considered “lean” plan that covers areas like these 6 below.
#1. Mission statement
The mission statement dives straight to the heart of the business’s purpose and answers the question—what does your business intend to do? This statement can be no more than one or two sentences long, but it must be precise and actionable.
For example, a photo booth company focusing on parties might have a mission statement promising: “To provide an outstanding photo experience that makes everyone who snaps a picture walk away with a big grin.”
This statement gives every stakeholder in your company, from customers to employees, an immediate understanding of the business’s purpose and goals. It’s the thing you will never compromise on.
“A mission statement is not something you write overnight… Fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values.”-Stephen Covey.
#2. Unique selling proposition
The unique selling proposition is a statement that explains what makes your business and brand different. It gives your customer base the reason to hire you over the competition.
A good USP is short, precise, and memorable, delivering its message with a powerful jab. It should sum up the main benefit your business offers customers or the unique way your business solves the customer’s problem. Think along the lines of the famous FedEx USP: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” or, more recently, from the publishing platform Anchor: “The easiest way to make a podcast.”
Over time, as you emphasize your USP on website landing pages and marketing materials, it will come to define and strengthen your brand.
#3. Customer profile
Understanding your customer is very important.
The customer profile section should provide a detailed description of your target market and target audience. Do your own market research to build a customer persona of your ideal client. As described in Step 1, the persona should include their age, profession, income, activities and interests, location, and what they need or want out of your photo booth services.
Also try to find out the number of people in your target audience in the area you intend to cover, and any emerging trends for this demographic that you can lead in. All of this information is crucial for building a successful marketing plan.
#4. Operating plan
In this section, you’ll think through how your business will operate on a daily and weekly business. Describe what you need to make the company operational (e.g., equipment, funding, etc.), what tasks need to be carried out for sales to work effectively, and what needs to happen on event days (how to transport the photo booth, who will operate it, etc.).
The very act of writing this out will help you avoid surprises when you start serving clients and provide a foundation to build on.
This section should also include your intermediate goals and milestones for the business and a timeline for meeting those goals (buying a second photo booth, expanding into a different location or market segment). Again, you don’t necessarily have to nail down every detail–just enough to have a realistic picture of how the business will run and grow.
#5. Marketing plan
Here you’ll detail the marketing strategies that will tell the world—and especially your target audience—about your business. What methods and mediums will you use? Which channels are most likely to reach your target audience? What will your messaging be? We’re going to discuss how to develop a solid marketing plan in Step Five.
#6. Financial plan and projections
The financial plan details the business’s current and projected financials. This section should lay out, at a minimum, start-up costs, estimated monthly expenses, per event costs, prices and packages, how you intend to receive payment from customers, and monthly financial projections for the next 2-3 years. Most importantly, you need to estimate how many bookings per month and year you need to break even and then turn a profit. We’ll dive into details on money matters in Step Four.
Your plan will change
Remember that your business plan is not engraved in stone. It’s a living document that you can update as often as you discover new information, gain experience that changes your perspective, or the market shifts.
Keep an open mindset, be willing to change and adapt. Starting your own business is a journey and you will learn a lot along the way—it’s all part of the experience!
How to come up with a good name
Your business plan won’t be complete until you have a name for your new company! Picking a name isn’t easy. It should be unique, meaningful, and catchy…yet easy to remember, spell, and pronounce. Most importantly, it must be available: it’s crucial to make sure that name isn’t already trademarked by someone else or used by another photo booth company. In addition, try to select a name that has a matching domain name available, as this will make it easier for people to find you and lend credibility to your business.
Consider these top keywords for photo booth companies. Play around with different combinations, plus your own words, to see what interesting company names pop up!
Step 4: Setting Prices 💰
“The moment you make a mistake in pricing, you’re eating into your reputation or your profits.”-Katharine Paine
Photography might be your passion, but you’re in this business to turn a profit, right? Before you book your first event, you need to determine the price point or range that will ensure profitability.
Hitting the sweet spot is tricky: set the price too high and you won’t get business; set them too low and you’ll go bust. Plus, you need to get within the ballpark at the outset because dramatically increasing or lowering your prices can confuse or turn-off clients, or suggest that your business is inexperienced.
Look at what competitors are charging
The best place to start in determining your price point is by assessing the competition’s prices. Investigate photo booth businesses in your area that appear to target a similar audience and businesses offering similar services to a different clientele. Take note of their prices, but also examine the value of their service by considering questions such as:
- What is the business’s Unique Selling Proposition?
- What is their standard deal?
- What is their hourly minimum per event?
- What package deals do they offer?
- What add-ons do they offer?
- What discounts do they offer?
- What features do they offer that you don’t?
- What features do you offer that they don’t?
- How much do you estimate their costs to be?
- How much do they stand out in the industry?
- How could you differentiate your business from theirs?
After getting an idea of market prices in your area, consider how much you can or should charge for your services. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when comparing to the competition:
- Will you choose a higher, lower or similar price point as the average competitor?
- What makes your services worth more or less than theirs?
- Will you have the same type of clients, or different?
Remember that cheaper prices don’t always mean you’ll get more bookings. You should choice a price point that aligns with your brand positioning. Many people believe the adage “you get what you pay for,” so a higher price point can help reinforce that your services are higher quality if you are targeting a more upscale clientele.
How much do you need to earn per event?
Once you have an idea of what you could charge, consider how much you should charge. There are numerous ways to do this but one way is by estimating how much you’d like to earn per year.
For example, let’s say you’re planning to operate the booth only on weekends and would like to gross at least $12,000 per year. Assuming you land at least 40 events per year with a 2-hour minimum, you’ll meet your goal by charging $300 per event ($150 per hour). If you’re aiming to handle only 20 gigs per year, you’ll have to earn around $600 per event ($300 per hour).
Keep in mind that the market prices for photo booth services can vary widely from one area to another. $300-600 for a photo booth rental would be reasonable in many small towns but would look very cheap for a metro area like New York City. Other factors influence your ability to charge a premium, like the quality of your services, the appeal of your brand, and most importantly, whether your expenses per event make that rate feasible.
Another way to meet your target income is to upsell products or services. The word ‘upsell’ has a somewhat shady connotation, suggesting that you push expensive items on customers that they don’t need. But that’s not what upselling is about.
Upselling is about helping your clients find the products and services that will help them get the most satisfaction, pleasure, or success out of their photo booth experience. When done right, your customer will walk away feeling they scored a great deal, and you’ll have maximized your income.
Tiered price packages
You can upsell in two ways: offering tiered packages or promoting add-ons to a base package. In a tiered package pricing model, you should use a value metric such as a number of hours, and include a base set of features in each package that will appeal broadly to your target market. To illustrate:
- “Bronze” Package: $400 for 2 hours of hire, standard props, text message delivery for $400.
- “Silver” Package: $600 for 3 hours of hire + everything in Bronze + premium props package
- “Gold” Package: $1,000 for 5 hours of hire + everything in Silver + a USB thumb drive of all photos
The benefit of the tiered pricing model is that prospective clients can easily see the range of value and features your business offers and are more likely to find an option–and a price point–that works for them. This model also allows you to maximize revenue in a way that adds significant value for the customer, but at relatively little extra cost to you.
Adds-on are products or services that customers can purchase separately from the base rate or package. Each one should improve the overall photo booth experience for the customer and be consistent with your brand.
You should consider making a feature an add-on if at least one of these three things are true:
- Not everyone needs or values it
- The people who want it are willing to pay more for it, or
- It costs you more per event to provide it
Popular add-ons in the photo booth industry include:
- Digital/print photo album
- Unlimited prints
- Custom themes or designs
- Physical props or premium props
- Real-time digital slideshow of the photos
- Premium backdrops
- Photo printing on mugs, T-shirts, etc.
- Attendant on-site
- Virtual photo booth web page for remote attendees to join the fun
Pro tip: Utilize a photo booth booking software that can automatically recommend popular add-ons when a new client selects their package online. This will increase your average value per booking!
Step 5: To Market, To Market! 💃
“It’s not what you sell that matters as much as how you sell it.”–Brian Halligan
You’ve got an excellent photo booth business in the works—now it’s time to let the world know! Your marketing plan lays out your strategies for attracting and landing your target audience.
Like a business plan, a marketing plan can be extensive, with pages and pages of analysis, or be lean and mean. But any effective plan comes down to having a firm grip on these five components:
- Your target market
- Your brand identity
- Your marketing goals
- Your marketing strategy
- Your marketing tools
Let’s take a look at each.
You’ve got this, right? If not, head straight back to Step Two. The success of your marketing plan hinges on knowing at whom to aim.
Your brand is how the public perceives your business. It’s the image in the customer’s mind, the feelings they experience, and the immediate associations they draw upon hearing your business’s name, or seeing its logo, website, or anything connected with it.
That’s huge, right? It could be disastrous if your audience perceives your business negatively or in a way that you never intended. That’s why it’s crucial to carefully cultivate your brand identity, and ensure that all your marketing materials present that identity cohesively.
The good news is that you do a substantial part of your work in defining your brand identity when creating your mission statement, unique selling proposition, and target market. Now to complete the picture, you should also consider and define:
- Your logo
- Brand values (e.g. timeliness, responsiveness, etc.)
- Brand colors (primary and accent colors)
- Brand personality, tone, and voice (e.g., luxurious, formal, cheerful, sassy, etc.)
Your marketing plan should describe each of these components to ensure that they’re consistent with each other, the overall vision for the brand, and the values of your target market.
Marketing goals describe the objectives you want your marketing efforts to achieve over a certain period. When you’re just starting, you’ll likely want to focus on a tactical goal like generating quality leads or growing your Instagram following. As you evolve and scale, you may expand your goals to raising brand awareness and increasing brand engagement, among others. You should know precisely why you’re setting every goal and how you expect it to benefit your business.
But it’s not enough to set objectives—you also have to track them to understand whether you’ve hit your target. The tracking and measurement tools you’ll use will depend on the medium you’ll use to reach your audience (e.g., Google Analytics for your website, Hootsuite for social media, etc.)
If leaping into the rabbit hole of analytics seems too overwhelming at first, set simple, easily measurable goals, such as:
- I aim to attract five high-quality leads by the end of the first month, and 10 in the second month.
- I aim to have 50 unique website visitors per day by year-end.
- I aim to book two events per weekend within three months.
- I aim to develop a partnership with three vendors serving the corporate event planning industry within six months.
- I will post two blog posts per month for the calendar year.
And so on. It doesn’t matter if goals use the latest corporate jargon. A good goal is clear, measurable, sets a timeline, and furthers your overall business and financial objectives.
A popular framework for setting goals is called OKRs, which stands for Objectives and Key Results. These types of goals ensure that the goals are well-defined and achievable.
Your marketing strategy explains how you plan to achieve each marketing goal. For every goal, there are often numerous potential strategies that could lead you to success. Your job is to determine which approach offers the best chance of getting you there. The ‘best’ strategy will depend on the goal, of course, and the various means and tools available and best suited to reach the goal.
Today’s entrepreneurs have a dizzying number of marketing tools available to them, both online and offline. We have good news: there are only about four must-have marketing assets when you’re just starting out:
Your website is the #1 tool in your marketing arsenal. It’s the first place most prospective clients will look to learn about your business, and it’s where you have the best chance of impressing a potential client when you’re not face-to-face.
Your website should be professional, readable, look good on mobile dvices, and have your brand identity stamped all over it, through design, tone, and content. Visitors should understand what your business does (and for whom) at a glance, and be able to find your contact information easily.
“75 percent of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.”–Grafitti9, digital marketing agency.
It’s also imperative that your website is designed and the content is written with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. SEO makes it as easy as possible for search engines like Google to find your site, which, in turn, makes it easier for your target audience to find you when they type in the relevant keywords.
You can easily build your own website through sites such as Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, but it’s going to take time and a steep climb up the learning curve to make it look and function as professionally as it should. Consider hiring a web developer on Upwork on Fiverr to build a professional site for a modest cost.
Pro tip: Spring for a domain name unassociated with the hosting site—don’t call your business funfotoboothz.wordpress.com. You can use your domain name for a professional work email address, too.
#2. Social media
Social media channels that feature visual content (such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat) are the perfect platforms to show off what your business can do, whether it’s bringing smiles to people’s faces or promoting client events. Social media also allows you to host competitions, surveys, and polls, run advertisements, and genuinely engage with your target audience.
The trick is, of course, determining where online your target audience likes to hang out and getting in the habit of regularly posting interesting content there. Don’t have time to post every day? Develop a social media calendar and schedule your posts on automatic platforms such as Hootsuite. Just make sure that every piece of content you post is consistent with your brand identity and of value to your audience.
The best photo booth companies set up their social media to simply post photos from ongoing events, so they always have content and it’s not a chore to come up with new ideas all the time. They show off how amazing the photo booth setup looks and make sure to tag and congratulate their clients so they will repost it to all their followers!
Pro tip: Think of social media as a long-term investment—you might not have immediate rewards, but if you keep at it consistently, you’ll start seeing results. Forging authentic connections with your audience takes time and intentionality.
#3. Print marketing materials
You can do just about all your marketing online these days, but a lot of people still appreciate meeting vendors face-to-face when making their decisions. If you’ll be in the field at bridal shows or networking events, then printed materials with your website and contact information are going to be your best friend. These materials can include:
- Business cards
Printed materials may seem old-fashioned, but that’s exactly why they can stand out, especially if they have memorable colors, logo or motto (hello, brand identity!)
Pro-tip: Keep a few printed materials on you at all times. When paired with a sizzling elevator pitch, you might score a new lead when you least expect it.
Although you can build reach over time through SEO, content marketing, and social media, you will may also want to advertise your businessas to jumpstart your bookings or get leads you would otherwise miss. Ads and listings, whether online or off, paid or free, can be great for increasing brand awareness, particularly when you’re just starting out.
With your advertising budget firmly in mind, consider advertising in local newspapers, magazines (read by your target audience or potential vendor partners), pay-per-click search engine or social media advertising, or online directories that list local photo booth vendors.
Pro-tip: The success of any advertising channel depends on your area and target market. Often, advertising is a trial-and-error process to find what works, so be prepared to make some mistakes and keep trying new things until you find what sticks for your business.
Once you get your business of the ground, a significant proportion of new business should come from happy clients who refer you to their friends, family, or colleagues, and business associates. We’ll talk more in Step 7 about how to make your clients so happy they can’t help but talk about you!
Step 6: Get Out There! 🚀
“Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”-Peter Drucker
Okay. You’ve picked the right photo booth…developed a tight business plan…figured out suitable price points… and your marketing lasers are set to stun. You’re ready to get out there. But how?
Perform a trial run
It’s a good idea to run through your event process before setting out on your first paid gig. A trial run will allow you to get familiar with the start-to-finish process of running an event. Your operating plan might look straightforward on paper, but might be more complicated in action. The trial run is the place to look for and resolve those problems that can pop up unexpectedly.
You can also use it as an opportunity to create a packing list to make sure you show up to every event prepared and bring everything back home with you at the end.
We’re not typically fans of working for free, but donating your time and services to a local charity event or fundraiser aligned with your target audience could be worth your while. It can t help get your brand some local recognition while also making a positive contribution to the community that you care about. Bring business cards or flyers to hand out to guests and perfect your elevator pitch to create buzz around your brand and nab potential leads. Plus, you may be able to negotiate a sponsorship package for extra promotional value.
Partner with complementary vendors
You can also start looking for opportunities to partner with vendors connected to your target audience. Think event planners, event spaces, DJs, hotels, wineries, and other venues. Let’s say you’re focused on a Latino audience, particularly those with daughters preparing to celebrate their quinceñeras. You could seek out DJs, dressmakers, caterers, party suppliers, or others who specialize in such events.
If it makes sense to both parties, you can cross-promote each others’ packages or simply refer clients to each other for mutual benefit. Just make sure that you’re a good fit with the partner in terms of professionalism, personality, and communication style. Choosing the wrong partner could lead to trouble later on and damage your reputation. But if the partnership works out well, you can help each other find business again and again.
Network within the community
As your website and social media content begin to attract an audience, work on generating buzz about the business offline. Join event or marketing related networking groups, such as the local chamber of commerce, the International Live Events Association, or the American Marketing Association. The right community organizations can become good source of referrals, partnerships, and industry knowledge. Plus, you might even have the opportunity to set up the photo booth at a networking event to give them a taste of your magic.
Step 7: Keep Clients Coming Back for More 🙌
“The customer’s perception is your reality.”-Kate Zabriske
At last, your photo booth business is up and running. You’ve been hired for a few events and have a few more lined up. Fantastic! Now, you have a new job: making your customers so happy they can’t wait to spread the word about their excellent photo experience with you–and rent the booth again.
Keeping clients happy can be more challenging than you’d think. It’s about more than making sure the photo booth operates smoothly and providing service with a smile. Functionality and a pleasant attitude are the bare minimum clients expect. If you want to leave an impression that generates referrals for you well into the future, you’ve got to do more.
No customer likes to be treated like an invoice number. Everyone wants to feel that they—and their events—are unique, special, and have your complete attention. So, go the extra mile to reassure your client that you understand their needs and desires and that you have everything under control. Take the time to ask them about their concerns and wishes, listen carefully to their responses, and give suggestions and tips to make them feel heard.
Things go wrong sometimes. Do your best to troubleshoot in advance. Bring extra power strips, cables, printer media, and anything else that would shut the photo booth down if it was missing. Make sure you (and your staff) understand the photo equipment and software inside and out, so you can fix any technical problems or misunderstandings quickly.
Dial-Up the professionalism
Maintain the expectation of top-notch professionalism. Show up at least 10 minutes before anyone expects you to, and ensure that your staff, if any, understands all details needed for a seamless setup and world-class service. Stay Make sure your staff isn’t zoning out on their smartphone during slow moments, making visits to the open-bar, or other behavior a client could find off-putting.
Always take safety precautions like taping down or covering power cables that could be tripping hazards.
Professionalism also means continuing to be responsive to the client after the event is over. Make sure you wrap up loose ends quickly and fulfill all promises. You want this photo experience to be the best they’ve ever had, from start to finish.
Send a post-event email
Every client appreciates quick follow-up. Let them know how much you enjoyed being at the event and the opportunity to serve them. If you have a public online gallery for the event, make sure to send a link to view all the photos.
If your client is a business, chances are they love data. Send them a report that shows the success of the photo booth in terms of pictures taken, number of times photos were shared on social media, and any captured email addresses if applicable.
Train your staff
If you have staff, make sure they take ownership of their role. Don’t just train them to operate the photo booth, ensure that they internalize your business’s mission statement, unique selling proposition, and core values. All of their interactions with customers should reflect your brand.
Don’t forget to show gratitude to your customers for their business. Consider throwing in a gift or freebie or two to show your appreciation. For example, you might surprise the main client with a picture frame, extra photos, or anything else that might make them smile. Also follow-up with a thank you note (a personal, handwritten one can make a big impression) and be quick to wrap-up any loose ends, such as uploading pictures or sending thumb drives, after the event ends.
We hope this was worth your time to read, that you’re inspired to start your own photo booth business, and that you feel more confident about how to do it.
If you have any questions about purchasing the right photo booth for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Simple Booth.
We live, work, and breathe photo booths. Our fun, versatile photo booth solutions make it easy for consumers to create, capture, and share photos and GIFs, anytime, anywhere. Simple Booth is the perfect photo booth for a variety of markets. Your customers will appreciate being able to take top-quality photos of their experience—with fun filters, digital props, and branded overlays—and being able to receive them immediately and directly on their devices, ready to share.
Simple Booth provides a solid platform that businesses can depend on for the most demanding, data-driven photo activations. Views and engagement are tracked through a unique short URL for each photo, including shares to Facebook and Twitter, making it a snap to monitor marketing performance.
Would you like to chat about how Simple Booth can help grow your photo booth business? Contact us today!