Sell a Smile
How will you promote International Balloon Month?
By Abby Heugel
The International Balloon Association (IBA) has declared September to be International Balloon Month, a month-long call-to-action for everyone in the balloon and party industry to bring the concept of balloons to forefront of people's minds.
With "Bring Balloons" as their slogan and a smiley face balloon as the logo, the IBA's goal is to be inclusive to every type of individual and business in the balloon industry.
"Encouraging people to think about bringing balloons could mean inviting a twister to entertain at your next event or hiring a balloon decorator to take your event décor to the next level," said Kathi Leiden, IBA Marketing Committee chairperson. "The logo includes smiley face balloons because every balloon manufacturer makes some type of smiley face balloon in latex or foil and they fit any season."
Leiden said that promoting International Balloon Month is a great sales tool for distributers, retailers, decorators and entertainers and a reason to pick up the phone or send an e-blast to your customer base offering special promotions or additional services for the month of September.
"September was selected because it isn't a big month for balloon sales and there are no big competing holidays," Leiden said. "We're hoping that the campaign will grow and expand every year, and we're excited to see and hear what people do in 2011 to promote International Balloon Month, and of course, to see the impact it has on their sales."
What are you doing to Bring Balloons for International Balloon Month?
From Bubbles and foils to 36-inch latex, my window will be full of yellow smiley-faced balloons. Staff will wear yellow shirts with the IBA logo on the front and a smiley balloon saying "Bring Balloons."
We will put it on our lighted sign in the window and have happy smiley face balloons go scrolling (dancing) by to get lots of attention. I stocked up on smiley-faced balloon inventory, as it can also be used for get well, just because, Happy Birthday, etc. My whole store will be full of smiley faces of gifts and balloons that it will make anyone happy to stop in.
Each week in September, we'll have a different offer for orders placed during that week. The first week will promote our helium tank rental business with an offer for flat product. Week two will promote our specialty bouquet delivery business. Week three will encourage customers to visit our warehouse with an offer for orders placed in person. The final week will promote our full service and express and décor services.
The offers will be sent out through constant contacts, Facebook, our website and through weekly emails sent out by the Chamber of Commerce to the local business community. A banner will also be placed outside our business to bring awareness to the month-long promotion.
I've been in business for fourteen years as a certified balloon artist and a professional Clown. International Balloon Month is the perfect time to thank my repeat customers with a cool balloon delivery and card, and I'm also going to hand deliver 30 booklets and balloon bouquets to potential clients - one for each day of the month.
It's My Party
We don't have any balloon packages with balloons on a weight and a foil anymore. Instead, we have binders with 24 pages of full color photos and designs in every category printed out from a PowerPoint presentation slide show, and we have the same slide show running on video at a kiosk. Customers can choose from these projects and it makes the ordering process simple.
It also gives the customer a lot of options without confusing the employees who make the bouquets, because creating each bouquet is as simple as duplicating the bouquet in the binder. Anyone who has a PowerPoint program will see how easy it is to create a slide show to be viewed both on a screen and on paper.
We also have a "Balloon Buddy!"
One is a balloon buddy with spiked green hair from a retro party (we call him Fred,) one is a girl another is an Elvis. This creates a lot of fun at the balloon counter and it gets people to notice that we make balloon people. It's funny what kind of reaction the children and adults come up with when we introduce them to our balloon people.
International Balloon Month provides me with a multitude of opportunities to promote and sell more balloons in September to my party store patrons, corporate clients and to the general public.
Some ideas include displaying a bouquet/arrangement by the register that includes smile face balloons and a "Bring Balloons" foil balloon in the arrangement, offering special pricing/discount on any bouquet that includes a smile face balloon or a free smile face balloon with every order over $25 and using a 5-inch smile face latex on a balloon stick or 260 balloon with a card attached as a give away for any kids that come to our store.
In addition, our town has a festival in September with a parade, and we plan to have an entry with a balloon release and pass out balloons with a card to offer a discount or promote a free smile face balloon with orders over $25.
Director of Purchasing
burton + BURTON
burton + BURTON plans to expand the reach of 2011 International Balloon Month (IBM) by taking the "Bring Balloons" message directly to consumers. The inaugural year of IBM was successful at promoting the industry and generating media buzz.
As an industry leader, we have decided this year to step up our participation and to help evolve IBM into more than just a public relations campaign. This September, we will launch a month-long promotional strategy that will spike balloon sales across the country, thereby increasing consumer value and retailer profits.
Linda C. Kiss
The best way to get awareness is to do something out of the ordinary, unexpected and put it at a public location for free. Years back we made Pooh Bear sculptures at the lobby entrances of all the libraries. We used the Pooh Bear Foil Head and Pooh was holding a sign saying, "International Balloon Month, Have a Sweet Day!"
International Balloon Month has been a terrific topic to talk about with our distributors. In July and August we e-blast all of our accounts so they can pre-buy our new Spandex base covers, Arch Kit tote bags and weighted centerpiece bases at discounted prices in order to have them in inventory and promoted at sale prices to their customers in September. Everybody wins during International Balloon Month; manufacturers sell more, distributors sell more, customers save money and lots of people receive balloons!