Monday, July 29, 2019

Should You Show Your Prices on Your Website?

Pricing can be quite a sensitive subject for many business owners. There are many who do not want to display their prices for a number of reasons:


  • Fear of competitors seeing it - the truth however, is that your competitors probably already know your prices. It's very easy to get a friend or a relative to call, and to be honest, you should also know your competitors pricing as well! If you're afraid that competitor will undercut you, don't be. Stop focusing on your competitors, as that takes up way too much energy. Instead concentrate on your own business and create the best product/service that you can.
  • Nothing we make is standard, everything is custom designed for our clients -    Yes, clients are all different, but you should have an idea of the average cost of a design, and therefore you should be able to have a DESIGNS FROM price that you can show. You can still give your clients flexibility - for example, by swapping balloons and accessories in and out of similar value, or adding in additional balloons at an extra cost.

  • You're afraid that your prices will put customers off buying from you.                  Most customers already have a budget in mind. Being honest about prices on your website will actually help you attract prospective customers/clients. Most people research prices before they consider buying a product or service. If you’re the only person talking about prices on your website, you will be likely to get more traffic to your site than your competitors, which will mean more leads and sales. Having no price looks even more expensive than actually having high ones. Imagine walking into a high-end fashion retailer that had no prices - most of us would think: If you need to worry about the price you’re not welcome here. 
Price is an important decision-making criteria, so if publishing your price on your website makes it easier and faster for them to decide in your favour, why would you get in the way?

So what is the best way to show your pricing structure? 

Here are two completely different ideas: 

Blenda Hughes Berrier of Balloon & Event Construction Company in Florida, USA, uses online catalogues to inspire her clients with categorised decor types. Each catalogue has a theme, and when a customer opens a catalogue, they will find detailed information to help them to make a choice, as well as a fabulous range of design ideas and guide pricing.  This is a very simple way for a client to navigate and choose what they want! 

This is a sample page from one of Balloon & Events Construction Company catalogues.
The great thing about creating this type of price list is that you can update and add new ideas on a regular basis.


The second idea comes from David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday in Texas, USA. This is what he says about pricing on his website:

"One of the best things I did on any of my websites was to add lots of additional information for clients to access to make their lives easier.
By doing this, it helped potential or current clients find answers to questions that they may have had regardless of the hour of the day. This saved me a ton of time and money and built better relationships with clients. If I was having a particularly busy day, I could easily send links to information on the website or communicate to clients that they could find that info on the site.
One area of our website that gets explicitly used a lot is our 'common decor guide.' This simple little pricing guide with illustrations of common decor work has helped us save time explaining what a specific design looks like but also allowed clients to use the guide to help budget or figure out their needs for their event.



A secondary benefit to having the decor guide on the site is that it helps prequalify potential clients. You see, if a client has a limited budget and wishes for a complicated or expensive request, the guided helps by showing them a baseline of pricing, which eliminates a lot of these frivolous requests. You know the ones I am talking about - Can we do an 80-foot organic wall for $100? - LOL!!!! 🤣
We are excited about working on our new website because not only have I updated the decor guide to have a more of a contemporary look but I also added a new backside for trending balloon designs.
I have to thank Rachel Porter and Blake Engel both for having Esty Sites that have a lot of pre-made clipart. Those resources have saved me a ton of time in updating my decor guide because I did not have to build everything from scratch.
 So if you have not added things like the decor guide to your website or considered adding more information to help clients access regardless of the time of day or how busy you are, consider the many benefits it may have not only for them but for your company too. The internet is open 24/7. Let it work for you whiles you sleep or busy working. I know it has made an enormous difference in our company and clients love the easy."
A huge thank you to both Belinda and David for very generously sharing their on-line pricing ideas.

Happy Ballooning!

Sue

www.suebowler.com
#suebowler

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Be the Balloon Specialist and not the Balloon Seller - Inspiring Ideas for Party Shops and Retailers.

One of the most difficult things about being a balloon retailer is that almost anyone can inflate a balloon and attach it to a weight. Unfortunately, our biggest competitors do this very well, and even worse, they usually sell them for less than you ever can due to greater buying power, higher turnover, and lower profit margins.


However, many of us, including our competitors, are currently experiencing difficulty obtaining helium, and those who can find it will experience significant price increases. 

This is where we can gain an edge on competitors. We should take this opportunity to be the balloon specialist, and not just the balloon seller. It's important to understand how to take a balloon or two, add value, and make them into something really special - with or without helium! 

Balloon Arrangements and deliveries are a big part of any balloon business and will ensure the long-term success of your business - better perhaps than any other product or service. 



Tropical Toucan Birthday Luxury Design



Balloon Designs without helium

Air-filled designs can range from a relatively simple idea to something much more elaborate!

Some of the best parts about using air-filled arrangements is that they can be made in advance, the balloons will last for a long time, and they are perfect for in-store displays. Customers rarely know what they actually want or request a bespoke or customised design. 

We generally buy what looks best to us and what is within our ‘considered’ price range.






Have a range of designs always made up for a variety of occasions and ‘ready to go’. Don't forget to add a price tag - this takes away the fear of asking the price.

Using a double 4-balloon cluster base like the one shown above is an ideal base for many air-filled designs. The sizing of the base balloons will depend on the balloons that you are featuring. For example, the Toucan Microfoil is quite a large balloon, and when air-filled it becomes relatively heavy; therefore, the base would need to be large enough to allow for stability throughout the design. Based on the photograph, I would estimate that the base cluster is inflated to around 8" and the second cluster to around 6" - but don't be tempted to make the base too big, as it could become out of proportion with the rest of the design. The design will also require a double-stuffed sand or water-weight to be pulled into the centre of the base.








Here is another great example of an air-filled design - Party Narwhal Birthday Luxury Design. An 11" latex base topped with a fun 18" round Microfoil and the Party Narwhal special shape Microfoil creates an impressive, yet simple, design for that customer what wants a bit "more!"

For more design inspiration for air-filled decor using this technique visit Balloon Decor - Inspiration on www.Qualatex.com












I personally love "Balloon Buddies," they're fun, interactive and great for children and adults! 

The "Baby Boy Balloon Buddy" is a number one seller for baby showers and new baby arrivals! 

In a recent blog post I talked about the benefits of developing twisting skills and these designs show why. 

If you missed the post Develop Your Twisting Skills and add Value to you Every Day Designs click on the link HERE. It's packed with great information and a fabulous video by Jackie Ochitwa who demonstrates "Essential Twists for Balloon Artists."







Who could resist this adorable "Cute Clown Balloon Buddy" another great design perfect for children of all ages! 











If you want to take your Balloon Buddies to the next level add a helium-filled balloon or balloons, then use a Qualatex Deco Bubble for the body and fill with mini-balloons for that "How did they do that - wow factor!"



There are so many wonderful and very sellable designs using air-filled balloons which are a little bit different from the norm!

They can be as simple as these "Grab & Go" air-filled displays.


Or how about these adorable "Gentlemen with Flowers", by Vadim Shushkanov from Moscow, Russia. You can learn how to make these by simply clicking HERE.




You could also try your hand at making one of these adorable air-filled arrangements, combining a range of balloons like the "Sweets For My Sweet" design created by Cam Woody, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA.




If you haven't checked out all the amazing designs in the Inspiration Decor section on the Qualatex website, click HERE. If you are a QBN member, you can download each design as a full-sized image that you can use on your own website and social media channels. 

I hope that this blog post has given those of you who are struggling without helium supplies a little bit of inspiration! Let me know what your number one air-filled sellers are!

Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler.com


















Thursday, July 18, 2019

Are Your Social Media Posts Engaging and Memorable?

So you've started posting on Facebook and Instagram on a regular basis - that's a great start! But are you making your posts engaging and memorable? 

I don't know about you, but when I scroll through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, I realise that gone are the days when I like every other post. It takes something a little bit more unique to make me stop and look.


So how are we going to get our potential customers to stop, look, and hopefully like and follow our posts?



Making Our Posts Engaging and Memorable

For example, when we are looking for someone to decorate a forthcoming event, which would you prefer: Working with an event organiser who you can relate to and make a personal connection with or with a faceless company that simply shows endless photographs on their Instagram account? This is a tough call, as stunning decor photographs on Instagram can be arresting and a great attention grabber. But we also have to remember that what we see is not always what we get! 

The more memorable and likeable your business appears to be, the higher the likelihood that customers will pick you over someone else. So how do we get our potential customers to stop, look, and hopefully follow our posts?



Social Storytelling

I recently read an article by Jade Fraser - BAPIA's (Balloon and Party Industry Alliance) Social Media Manager - Your Social Media Checklist. With Jade's permission I am sharing it with you here, as it explains so how to turn a simple post into a great story! 

"We’ve spoken before about the importance of storytelling when it comes to sales. The more memorable and likeable you can make your business, the higher the likelihood that customers will pick you over someone else. You may think that the day to day of your business isn’t exciting enough for storytelling but think again. Next time you’re stuck for what to say, follow this simple storytelling checklist. Take Jenny for instance, who recently went on a training course. Imagine Jenny has uploaded this photo with the following caption:

“Team work! Group column building at the BAPIA Chris Adamo cba Tour. #bapiaparty
Now, Jenny thinks about the day again, this time considering the following questions: Checklist 1. What’s happening in this picture? 2. Did anything funny or relatable happen at the time? 3. What did I do well in this situation? 4. How might this benefit my customers? 5. What’s next for me?

After following the checklist, Jenny realised she actually had a lot to share about the day:



 “Team work making the dream work at the BAPIA Chris Adamo, CBA, Tour. The day started off shaky - I realised I’d walked into the wrong conference room when the overhead projector read ‘Travel Expo’ - oops, typical me! Things soon picked up though; I mastered these columns Chris showed us really quickly, woohoo! Expect to see LOTS more fun, new designs from me this year. Next, I want to master weaving flowers into my designs, ready for wedding season! #bapiaparty”

Do you see how, with a bit of storytelling, the same post becomes much more appealing and memorable? Though it may seem like a minor thing, you should consider every social media post as an advertisement for your business. Generally, it takes at least six exposures to an advert before a customer commits to sale. So, in a sea of social media posts, it’s really important that yours stand out. A post with a descriptive, well-thought-out caption will stand out a lot more in the middle of a scrolling session."

I found another great example of storytelling when I looked through my Instagram feed this morning. Born To Party in Sydney, Australia, shared a great photograph of an abstract organic balloon wall that they recently made. They talk about how big the wall is, about how they love to create new colours and how they think the design will look fabulous in Pink! Their post is colourful, exciting and charming, everything a customer what's to see! 





Personally, I know that this information will really benefit my own social media posts. When I look at my Instagram posts, I can see that with a little bit more thought and a few more words, I can transform my posts into something that my potential and current followers want to see.


A huge thank you to Jade and BAPIA for sharing this post with The Very Best Balloon Blog! For more great articles by Jade click HERE for a direct link.


Happy Ballooning!



Sue

www.suebowler.com
#suebowler


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Develop Your Twisting Skills and Add Value To Your Everyday Designs



Ballerina Design By Sue Bowler, CBA.
So maybe you're a balloon artist and twisting is just not your thing. Maybe you are scared to work with entertainer balloons, as they always seem to pop or go down quickly?













It personally took me a while before I really gained confidence working with the Q's. Even then, I know that I will never be at the same level as those who enter the incredible Colour Quest competitions, which produce fabulous creations like this wonderful Flying Dragon by Li Tao, Huangshi, China, which won 3rd Place (tie) 2019 ColorQuest Chrome™ Blue category. 









But what I do know is that by learning to use them, I have been able to add value to my designs, and make them much more appealing!

It might be as simple as adding a string of precision bubbles around an 18" balloon, then finishing it with a twisted bow, like the design on the left.









If you would like to learn how to make this design or be inspired by other designs featuring this technique, check out one of my past blog posts, which includes a great step-by-step video that you can follow: Learn How To Create Precision Bubbles to Add Value to Your Designs.






Basic twisting is made up of a few simple techniques. Jackie Ochitwa, CBA, of With A Twist Balloon Creations in Alberta, Canada, has very kindly made an easy to follow video that will teach you how to:







Make Bubbles
Lock Twist
Loop Twist
Pinch Twist
Tulip or Apple Twist
Marriage Twist
Bend a Balloon
Poodle Tail






Jackie has more great easy-to-follow tutorials on her Facebook Page - just click HERE for a direct link.

Earlier this year Balloon Magic was launched as an online publication available to read for FREE on Qualatex.com.  The online issue offers content like you’ve never seen before! Including the latest balloon news, step-by-step recipes and video tutorials, all translated into 5 languages!

As a decorator you may not have considered Balloon Magic as relevant to you or the type of decor that you usually make. However, I promise you that this magazine will inspire you and give you the tools to create new and exciting designs.

In issue One, Vadim Shushkanov's shared a one of his top selling designs - "Gentleman with Flower" which only uses 3 balloons! Watch his 5 minute video tutorial to master this cute and extremely sellable design! Click HERE for a direct link.


Online video tutorial by Vadim Shuhkanov, CBA, Moscow, Russia.
And if you are feeling a little more adventurous, try out Nicole Greg's fabulous Toucan design, which would be a fun addition to any tropical theme party! This is available as an easy to follow video tutorial, and it's free and available on Balloon Magic - click HERE for a direct link.


Online Video Tutorial by Nicole Greg, CBA, Nifty Entertainment, Adelaide, Australia.




My granddaughters birthday was a few weeks ago, and I decided to challenge myself to make one of Jackie's beautiful fairies as a gift for her. Jackie made a very easy to follow video tutorial, which is free for QBN members in the "Magic in the Air" article in Images 2019 Issue 2, and is also available as a payable download.

If you are not a QBN member but would like to learn how to make this adorable fairy, click HERE for a direct link.





Jackie Ochitwa's Fairy design made by me!

If I could offer one tip that really helped me when I was learning to twist balloons, it is to ensure that you always remove the tension from the balloons that you are twisting. That means that when you inflate the "Q" balloon, ensure that you allow a little puff of air to escape from the balloon before you tie it. When you squeeze the balloon, it should feel soft and not tight. You should continue to remove the tension as you twist by simply squeezing the balloon before you make your twist, this will ensure that your balloon remains soft.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, understanding some of the more basic twisting techniques will really allow you to expand your balloon repertoire. Adding a little character or fairy to a balloon bouquet can really transform a design and take it to a whole new level! 

A huge thank you to Jackie who made the "Essential Twists for Balloon Artists" video, and for all the inspiring design ideas shared by the many balloon artists featured in Balloon Images and Balloon Magic.

Happy Balloon Twisting!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler