These ideas can really boost your business and most of them are TOTALLY FREE!
Marketing is one of the most important parts of your business. You can be the best face painter in the world, but if no one knows you are there, you won’t be getting any business. The same happens the other way around.
I used to be very shy about promoting my own business; I thought maybe people did not want to hear about it, or that maybe I was being pushy, or I didn't want to sound like a car sales man (no offense to those guys, they are great at what they do). The point is, I had a business, but I didn't want people to know, except if they were there watching me paint. That was just crazy!
What I have come to realize is since you own your own business you have to accept that you are your own sales person, marketing consultant, spokesperson, etc. That can be intimidating for some, but technology can be of great help for those of you that have a hard time being outspoken.
Below I will list a couple of things you can use to advertise your business; the more you do, the better your business will be.
There are many many places that will let you build a free website as long as you pay a hosting fee. A website is one of your most important ways of advertising. That is where the traffic is for a business that doesn't have a store front. Make sure that your site showcases your best work, looks professional, has your contact information, is easy to understand and browse, and it is properly set so that search engines can find it. As an example, Flash content is a white page for a search engine, while an image with proper Alt+Text is something that search engines can understand and list. Make sure that your domain name is short and easy to remember too. If it can match your business name, that is even better. Important tip: Make sure to keep an up to date e-mail address on file with your hosting site so that you never miss a renewal and someone else buys up your domain. Set a yearly alarm to make sure that those bills get paid. Losing your domain can be really hard to work around. It happened to me and other painters I know.
This is a screen shot of my home page, www.jestparty.net It needs some work, but I made it myself and I keep it simple by really focusing on the painted faces.
This is your biggest friend. Facebook is free and most people use it. There are a few ways to advertise on Facebook. I would suggest for you to create a business Facebook page. That will make you look more professional and will separate your personal life from your business life. Post regularly, post pictures of your work, public events that you will attend, run promotions and contests. In order for your page posts to show up often on your “fan’s” feeds, they should be following you. Also, the more interaction your page has the more often your posts will show on their feeds.
You can pay or hold contests to get more viewers or get more people to like your page. That is a good way to start up your page. Make sure you target those paid ads to the right crowd. If you are in Dallas, you want to make sure those ads are targeted only to people in that area, and not someone living in California or Florida.
Adding your business to Google maps is free and it will make your business easier to find when people are doing local searches on Google. For example, if someone looks for “Face Painters in Florida” and your business is listed on Google maps, it is very likely that it will show up on that Google search, together with the information you provide to Google. This gives you an extra link on Google search, on top of your regular website link.
Free or Paint Internet Listings
List your website in as many free internet directories as you can. GigSalad, GigMaster, Yelp, etc. Each of those entries will show up on a Google search if they are properly entered. Some are totally free and some now have fees. Talk with other painters to find out which ones are worth investing in.
Blogs used to be about people, about stories worth telling. Now days, blogs are just an extra tool to increase your presence in search engines. The more you blog, if you do it right, the higher are your chances for your business to have a presence on Google. Blog post have to have targeted keywords linked to your website for it to be worth it.
For example, if you want someone to find your business when they Google “Face painter in Orlando”, make sure that you include that sentence on your blog post and you make it a link to your business website.
Face Painting at a job (word of mouth)
This is one of your best chances to get more gigs. Every time you are painting you are creating and impression and promoting your business. Make sure that you are always showing your best work, showing your best face, and looking professional. Every gig you do you expose yourself to tens or hundreds of people that could also use a painter. Make sure that they see the best of you and you are guaranteed to get more jobs. Create business cards with "Face Paint Removal" directions on the back. Now you have a very good reason to give a card to each family, or to give to the hostess to give to the parents.
Your Face Painting Setup
Think of your setup as a billboard. When people walk by you, can they see who you are? Can they find your contact information easily? A professional shirt with your name on the back, banners, business cards, etc can help you promote your business while you are painting. As a trick, many parents love to take pictures of their kids looking at the mirror after you are done face painting. If you have a hand mirror, put your business information and contact information on the back of it, so that when parents take a picture of the kids looking at the mirror they will also get your contact information. You can also make a banner with a nice background and your business information so kids can stand in front of it for their parents to take a picture.
Believe it or not some people still use the Yellow Pages to search for local businesses. For a long time, we were the only one advertising on our local Yellow Pages book, and we got some company picnics and smaller gigs out of that. This is not free, but it might be well worth the investment if you just make a small listing under Children's Entertainers or Clowns.
Working with agents can bring in a few extra jobs a year, or a lot of jobs. Make sure that they work with you under your terms, though you may find that you have to do some negotiating. I agree to their contracts but I also make them agree to mine. If you haven't heard of About Faces Entertainment before, they have been easy for me to work with in the past and they let you set your own rates. You also get a profile page on their website so that the party planners can pic the artist they want based on their profile.
Face Painting + Business Cards
If you walk around town face painted you are creating a great opportunity for people to approach you wondering about your business. You will then have a great opportunity to give them a business card without feeling awkward. Make sure that your business card looks professional, showcase your best work, and has all the information they would need to contact you.
These are just some ideas. There are many other opportunities for advertising out there: a booth at a local fair, local media, door to door direct mail, etc. Make sure you explore all the possibilities and be creative.
This is the back of my business card. I give steps about how to wash off the face paint. This is great to hand out to every parent, and it doesn't seem like you are forcing your business card on them because it has helpful information.
If you have any other ideas that you would like to share with us please comment below, we would love to hear what your creative mind has come up with to promote your business.
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net