Balloon HQ 
home
 
The Guide | Photos | Videos | Columns | Calendar
Artist Directory Classified Ads | Who's Who
Entertainer Forum | Decorator Forum | Recipes

Twister Advertising

My business cards are hypercolor. When they are warm they are pink and when they are cold they are purple.
- Unknown

How Should I Advertise/ Promote Myself?

Balloon Care Cards

Business Cards

Flyers

Miscellaneous

Photographing and Filming Your Work

Newspaper Ads

Sell yourself!

Yellow Pages


MB 12/13/95
SKB 2/11/96
SKB 9/15/96
SKB 9/25/96
LM 12/?/96
LM 1/29/97
MB 4/4/97
SKB 6/16/97
WNL 12/9/97
SKB 12/20/97
MB 7/7/98
MB 7/9/99


Wait, don't go away - there's more! Additional material for this chapter has been saved from posts on the mailing lists. Rather than keeping it hidden away, it has been temporarily placed here until the guide editors get a chance to move it to its proper location in this chapter. Feel free to make use of it.


--

ADVERTISING
MARKET YOURSELF - WAYS TWISTERS CAN ATTRACT ATTENTION TO A BUSINESS:
REFERENCES
CARE CARDS
BUSINESS CARDS
IDEA BOOKS

--

ADVERTISING
I try to avoid the "out of sight out of mind" trap.  I stay in 
the public line of sight with a classified ad and the sign on my van.  
I try to stay in the corporate line of sight by mailing original postcards
them at least 4 times each year.  This includes Party Planners, Talent
Agents, Mall Managers, Car Dealers, Radio Station Salesmen (these
guys are great for referrals), Amusement Parks, Fairs, Festivals,
Private RV Parks, and anyone else who might hire some kind of
entertainment.


We held a coloring contest.  We asked for permission to distribute line drawings
through the school and the principals said okay.  We broke it down into
three age groups.  They had to drop off their colored picture at the store (to bring
them in).  Everyone that participated received a piece of candy (could be a
small toy) just for participating and then there were winners in each age
group.  We picked the main winners randomly and then gave honorable mentions
to those that did a particularly good job but you could set that up anyway
you preferred.  When we selected the winners, we sent them a letter telling
them to stop by the store at a specific time and date to claim their prize
and that we would be taking a picture of all the winners.  We had over 100
children participate in a town of 4000 people and we had a press release
beforehand and then we had a story and photo of the winners afterwards plus
all those people came into the store to drop off their pictures and yes,
most of the parents did come in with their children.  There are lots of
wonderful opportunities for publicity here and the only cost was
photocopying the picture (we had a friend draw an original picture for us)
and the prizes (McDonald's gift certificates, pizza house gift certificate
etc.)

If you have a college in your area it might be possible to find one of the
better students in the advertising design class to help you out.  Some schools
even have a separate dept. that handles projects like that.
All around the country there are many printers that offer full color runs 
in small quantities at reasonable prices and at a quick turn around.
Don't "lift" photos from the industry publications for your promotional use.
That would be the worst way to leave yourself open for one
incredibly expensive copyright lawsuit... not from the publisher but from the
person that contributed the photo... and you would lose BIG TIME!
I have always felt that originality is what makes a business stand out,
particularly in its promotion material.
The most important things are who you market to and how you relate to them!
If you wish, e-mail my designer (Ken Skistimas) at Meddle0001@aol.com.  
He could help you out on printed material, and he is fair!



I once had a job at an event that was covered by the local news. 
I talked to the TV crew and asked if they could use me to do something 
specific.  After talking to the crew, they used a
tight shot of my hands twisting a poodle as their lead-in shot for the
story. As I finished they pulled the shot back and showed my menu board
which has my name and phone number on it. Make sure you have a good visual
for them that has your name and phone number on it. Free advetising is
great.

Start by going to the local library and do a show for them. Have lots of cards
and brochures and handouts and give them to all the kids that show up.

Also, go to your local Hairdressers and leave a stand at the register with
your brochures and cards. Keep checking every couple of weeks to refill it.

A couple of times when things have gotten slow for me I have loaded-up my
balloons and headed for a local park on the weekend. I have set-up and
started making balloons for the kids for tips or for free. It's amazing how
many people will come buy and talk and inquire about parties or promotions
or whatever.

A sign will help giving your phone number and the kind of work you do. I
have received calls from people who didn't talk to me at an event or at the
park but just made a note of the phone number and called later.

It doesn't have to be a park...just go where the people are and you will
generate interest. Get out among 'em and let 'em see 'ya. After the jobs
start to happen then the best advertising in the world, Word Of Mouth, will
take over. Always remember that you are better then you think you are!


I've just created a killer promo kit and i am making them available to fellow 
balloon people at a reasonable cost.  It includes a customized brochure, a 
fact sheet, business card and a glossy promo pic, all placed in a nice glossy 
portfolio with you business name on the front.  call me for any details or 
email me - they have doubled my bookings with large corporate events
michael lynn jr.
the balloon animal
http://www.balloonanimal.com
508-676-6536
other services include : custom biz cards, resumes , flyers with tearoffs,
labels of any sort


Includes your
*name* in all advertising and in any promotional literature you hand
out, and don't hide it in tiny print in the middle either. 
I'm a performer. I tell the promoters that using the *name* of a performer,
rather than the generic "Clowns! Magicians! Balloons for the kids!" type
listing is more interesting to potential attendees- because hey, that
performer must be worth something to have their name listed and all.


advertise in places frequented by people who can afford you



advertising with a web page
  As far as actually booking shows from someone cruising the net for
clowns/magicians/entertainers... very little if any business is gained that way.
As you said, most people will get entertainment from looking locally before
cruising the Net - mainly because the net goes worldwide, and obviously most of
our business is done locally.
  So, why have a website... you may wonder.  Several reasons!  Thoush you won't
get many new customers from websurfers... here is how to use your site:
  What a great advertising tool a website is!  Put your website address on
business cards, flyers, mailings... everywhere.  Unlike brochures or business
cards, you have a huge amount of space to work with - it can be changed at
anytime with no cost - and you can have all the imformation and photos a customer
could want.  When you get that call, and they would like some more info... or
would like to see some photos or whatever, they can be directed to your site!
While a customer is on your site, they can take as much time learning more about
your services - plus, if they are booking for a company, now they have something
they can show the boss or board members who are deciding who to hire for this
year's event.
  If you do children's entertainment (like I do), a website is a great way to
have more fun with kids.  I designed my site to be fun for kids, clowns and
adults alike.  When I do shows, I hand out my coloring pages - I don't put my
phone number on them (kids aren't going to be hiring you), I put only my website
address:  Kids think that is truly cool... if they don't have a computer at home,
most can access your site from school.  Trust me... kids will love to see your
website!

I do not expect the site to find the customers for me. It is used mainly to add to
the information available for my customers. The web site address is on all
of my advertising so if they want more detail or wish to see photos they can
go to the web site and find what they want.

I have gotten a few shows each year from people who find my web site. If
even one books the web site pays for itself and I still get the added use
for the customers that find me through other sources.  When you figure how
little the site cost me it is a great investment. I pay only for registering
my site url (about $35 per year) the server I use is free,  I do all my own
web page designing. So cost is kept very low

a web page is best used by customers who would like to see your picture... 
It's a way for them to learn about you.  It can be used to state your 
schedule for regular gigs and to provide additional information.  
You should include the area that you work.  I have seen a lot of 
clown and balloon artist web sites on web rings and you cannot tell 
if they are in Los Angeles or Peoria.


I am convinced that email and my web site get me buisness. 
I have my web page and email address on my buisness cards and on my brochures.
I have a lot of people inquire about my services thru email. It's not the
future, it's now. A Web page is such a simple venture that there is really no
reason not to have one.  If you have internet access (from any system) you
can have free Web Pages all the way up to spending thousands of dollars a
month for shopping cart systems & online credit cards...etc.

One of the wonderful things about the internet is that you can present a
professional image very inexpensively.  You do not have the great expenses
of printing a full color brochure, you can change your images at will, you
can update your site daily.  A well done site is NEVER obsolete.

I get alot of hits on my sites (I have several) and I would have to say that
I book about 50% thru the site...(from persons looking me up from an ad, or
my biz card...from other sites...etc.)

In 1999 people expect business owners to use all the current
electronic resources. I refer them to my website where they can get more
information about my clients, experience, see photos and have fun with
my coloring page and puzzle page.

Potential clients frequently send e-mail to check on my availability and
to send me directions and maps to the parties. They sometimes send thank
you e-mails after the party, too.


  Almost all internet providers allow space for your own website at no
extra monthly cost... for non business use.  If they find out you are
using it to advertise your business then you get hit with a charge or 
you will try to go there one day and find that your web pages are all gone. 

If you want your own domain name (ie:
http://www.yournamehere.com) you must pay extra.  While having a domain
name is very cool... and makes it easy for people to remember your
address, having one is really not that important in this field.

I find it very important if you want to look professional to the people you
sell to. I deal with business people and I want the professional look to my
site. And it is much easier for them to remember to goto themagicman.com
over clinton.net/~magicman or whatever your address may be, how many know
that the ~ is called a tittle then you have to explain it to them as  the
little wigglly sign over the number 1,  no thanks.

  Obviously, if you have someone else design your website... that is
probably going to cost you.  And if you have someone maintaining
(updating when needed) the site that can also be an additional cost.
Also, you should never be forced to have advertising on your site... so
avoid those as they make your site look cheap.
  In order to make your website most cost effective is to design your
own.  This may take time, and maybe a little learning on your part - but
there is a great deal of pride when you know you were the creative force
behind the look of your site.
  If you must pay someone to design a site (which is just fine, you will
get a very professional looking site), try to either: A) have them
design it so you won't have to update it regularly, or B) learn a little
about web design, and make sure you have access to the site to do your
own updating.
  There are tons of programs available from the internet for building a
website - some are made for the very beginner... and pretty much designs
the site for you after you fill in a few blanks here and there.  These
will look ok, but they really limit your creativity as you can imagine.
There are many programs that mix in beginner and advanced techniques...
and most all programs have a help section explaining how to design a
site.  The problem with  programs you download off the internet will be:
They are shareware, which means they are A) limited on how much you can
do, or B) have a time limit on how long you use it without paying for
it.
  There are many programs available for sale.  Many of the inexpensive
ones are the 'fill-in-the-blank' style... while some of the fancier ones
are pricier.  If you are interested in purchasing one - I would download
the shareware version and see how you like it.  One super-duper website
designer I have seen on the net is called 'HotDog'... which retails for
around 200 bucks.  Very expensive, but a very nice program.  Another
good program is called 'HomeSite' - which is what I used to design my
site originally.  Since then, I have moved on (mainly because the time
limit expired on the shareware!).  Currently, I use Hot Metal Pro...
because the company I work for sells it and I get a good discount.  I
have been happy with this one as well - it is a little tricky to work
some parts of it if you are unfamiliar with HTML.
  Just so you know, I pay 20 dollars a month for my internet service -
with that I get 10 mb of space for a website (10 mb is extremely
generous... most websites won't come near that!).  If you have visited
my site, you know it is very large - I pay nothing extra for my site
(and luckily, I design and maintain it on my own). So there - an
absolutely no extra cost website can be obtained.


does anyone really get work from Web Pages?
Here's my short answer: for the most part, a website for magicians,
twisters, et.al. is not a sales vehicle, but rather a support tool. 
In other words, I don't expect someone to stumble across my site and 
then hire me (although it has happened). Rather I use my site as one more
resource to compliment my mailings, phone calls, and other marketing methods.
For example, if someone calls why make 'em wait a day or two for materials, 
when they can log on and get photos, testimonials, etc. immediately? 
That's the advantage I get from a website.

Make sure your site is listed on the search engine sites or no-one will
find out about it (kind of like advertising your advertising) A good place
to send your link to is your local tourism office or Chamber of Commerce.
    Perhaps you could join or set up a local entertainers web ring 
(where everybody's sites link to each other).
    One thing I've found is that if a site is not maintained and has stale
information I am unlikely too revisit it and I get a poor impression of the
business (if your website is your storefront make sure the windows are clean
and the sidewalk is swept).

I think it is important to have your promotional material online since the
cost is minimal and the potential exposure is great.  Like others, I agree
that very few people are going to just discover you on the 'net and hire
you.  It happens, and that's really cool, but other ways of getting your
name out will work better.  What's more important is that once they know
your name, they can find you and learn everything there is to know about
you as a professional entertainer.



I just wanted to add one more thing that I think will interest a lot of
you.  This is available on Balloon HQ.  Consider buying for a personalized
domain name.  The advantage of owning your own domain goes beyond looking
professional and having a name that's easy to remember (although those are
both important).  If you own your own domain name, your address will never
change.  You can print business cards and brochures, register with search
engines, and work your way into people's bookmarks.  You'll never have to
worry about those people that found you in the past losing you, even if you
change service providers.  So, as a compromise for those of you that don't
want to pay the costs of owning a domain but do want all of the
above-mentioned benefits, we offer BHQ addresses for all
balloon artists.  Many of the people I ran this past earlier even thought
this was better than having their own domain since it will establish you as
part of a community of professional artists and give you an address that's
already established in all of the major search engines on the 'net.

What we offer for a small yearly fee is an e-mail address of
the form your-name@balloonhq.com and a URL of the form
http://www.balloonhq.com/artists/your-name.  We won't host web pages or email
boxes.  We'll just forward mail from here to wherever you want.  This will
all be completely transparent to everyone involved.  Your mail will be
delivered in the way you're used to receiving it but it will look more
professional than just a random address you have elsewhere.  If your
address changes, just let us know and we'll update your record so the
address that other people have is still accurate and your mail will be
delivered without interruption.  The
summary is that you'll be able to have a steady address that looks good and
tells the world what you do without actually costing you much or changing
the way you work.  If you want to use a free email/web hosting service, you
can without the world knowing that.




MARKET YOURSELF - WAYS TWISTERS CAN ATTRACT ATTENTION TO A BUSINESS:
Have people fill out an info card in exchange for a balloon figure.
Put rubber banded business cards on the balloon figures.
Stick printed pencils in the figure as handles. 




REFERENCES
we provide new clients with a
list of 5-6 client references.  Since we always follow up with our clients
after an event, both with a phone call and a written questionnaire, one of the
questions we ask is ... "May we use us as a reference?  If so, how would you
like to be contacted?"

This is the information we put on the list -- Client's Name ( if it's a
corporated account, our contact), address & phone number.  Some clients do
ask, not to be contact by phone, so the phone # is excluded and that requested
is stated on our reference list.  Nothing more.  

I only list clients, who have given us permission.  Most are very happy to do
this .  And our future clients are pleased they have the information.

After a performance of any type we send the party that hired us a
questionnaire along with a stamped return envelope.  The cover letter thanks
them for hiring us and explains that we would like them to complete the
questionnaire.  It also explains that while we like positive comments we
learn from negative comments, so both are appreciated.  The questionnaire
consists of five or six generic questions such as was the appearance what
you expected?  Were the makeup and costumes professional looking?  Each
question line is followed by a line with "Yes", "No" and "Comments"  We
always have a two part question on each questionnaire; "Would you recommend
us for other engagements?" and "If yes, may we use your name, address and 
phone number as references for other engagements if we are
required to provide them?"

Every questionaire we have sent has been returned.  Most of them will fill
in the comments section which we then use in our literature.  Usually by
stating "Our post show questionaires frequently contain comments such as
---------."  Most important is we are building up a reference list.  When we
are contacted by a potential customer that requires references, I will go
through the questionnaires to find the ones that had similar services to the
requesting the references.  I would probably not send a reference from
someone who had balloons only to a business that wanted a stage show only.

This has been the best tool we have used to gauge how we are doing.  Even
after an engagement that you felt bad about because of the kids responses,
the questionnaire will come back stating that we did a terrific job trying
to get the kids to be involved but they were tired from all the running run
around they had done prior to our appearance.  

These are just little things, but they do help to hear how the clients feel.
We have almost never received a negative comment and everyone has always
agreed to giving the reference.

For smaller parties, like home shows, I give out a self addressed stamped
postcard with a few questions on their response to the show, and a space for
comments. There is a box they can check if they don't mind being used as a
referral. I'm running a business; most people appreciate that and with few
exceptions are very willing to help me out.
For larger corporate functions I have just recently started the practice of
*asking* for comments on their business'/organization's letterhead, and
whether they would mind being a personal reference. Include a SASE.




CARE CARDS
by all means....DO IT!  Just whip up the balloon & carefully slide a 
card - whoops! I always manage to get a 2nd card stuck to it.  Oh well, 
just give it to a friend - into the custom created sculpture.

there are so many reasons why you should give out cards, the most
important one being that if you were to create a painting, take a
photograph, design a web page or do anything unique & creative that
requires some skill, talent & even training, THEN YOU SHOULD SIGN YOUR
WORK!  If time allows, I use the sharpie & initial it, but I always
include a card with my name and services, and with balloon care and 
cautions on them.  Make them very visible and available for the taking.

When I am working parties, I make a swan figure and insert about 10 cards in
the "pocket" and gently remind the children of balloon care as I go.  Ahead
of time, I have the parents sign a contract that (among other things) makes
them responsible for informing their guests of the potential hazards
related to balloons, with instructions on how to prevent them.  When you
are done, leave the balloon figure and cards there. 

Care cards are especially handy at birthday parties so that 
1) you get to know the kids' names and 
2) They always know who's balloon is who's!

when doing balloons for young kids I give the parents a special
business card which on the back has a parents advisery about the
choking hazard of balloons this will not only help out if you ever get
in legal trouble for a kid choking on a balloon but it also shows the
parents in black and white that you care for their kids.



BUSINESS CARDS

color changing business
cards...my printer called the paper "Sensor paper"  Charged me $75 per 1000.
Comes in a rainbow assortment or you can get just one color.  In my opinion,
only two colors are worth it; Dark green which turns to yellow, or grey which
turns white.


http://www.teachersource.com/color.htm

A better web page on Touch it paper would be their web site which is:

http://www.touch-it.com/


A little cheaper directly from the source.

Too much light on it will stop the color change effect. 
When this happens, it stays on the changed color. 
I remember my first flyer with touchit paper. It said:

  Sometimes you need some magic for children...

  Sometimes you need some magic for adults...

  Sometimes this brochure is pink...

  Sometimes this brochure is white...

  THE MAGIC BEGINS


when doing balloons for young kids give the parents a special
business card which on the back has a parents advisery about the
choking hazard of balloons this will not only help out if you ever get
in legal trouble for a kid choking on a balloon but it also shows the
parents in black and white that you care for their kids.


IDEA BOOKS
An EXCELLENT book on advertising, especially on a limited budget is
Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. It has a lot of
"non-traditional" advertising methods that we can use to get things off the
ground.



Balloon HQ home
Contact Us | Member Services | BHQ History
Advertisers/Sponsors | Editors | Contributors
Content Copyright