Cherry Picked!

Hand-selected articles, guides, and more from the makers of Check Cherry, designed to help your business grow and flourish.

January 30, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

The Most Popular Photo Booth Backdrops

A lot of business was done using Check Cherry's photo booth booking software in 2019. We thought it would be helpful to analyze and share some of the data with the community.

This article will be helpful if you are new to the industry and looking to buy your first backdrops. After all, you'll want to get the most bang for your buck. For those more established, it may be helpful to get an idea/confirmation of what the market is doing. Perhaps you're missing out on an important option, or maybe you need to diversify so you can stand out from the crowd. Be sure to look at the smaller words below; you might spot an upcoming trend.

This word/tag cloud is based on the name of each backdrop selection that happened on Check Cherry during 2019. The larger a word, the more frequently present. You can think of frequency as the number of times a backdrop was selected for a photo booth booking.

There is no doubt that sequin backdrops ruled the roost in 2019. Here are the top 10 phrases containing two words:

1. "gold sequin" 814 occurrences
2. "silver sequin" 346 occurrences
3. "sequin gold" 335 occurrences
4. "sequin white" 316 occurrences
5. "white sequin" 219 occurrences
6. "sequin silver" 190 occurrences
7. "sequin black" 190 occurrences
8. "rose gold" 180 occurrences
9. "inflatable led" 168 occurrences
10. "white gold" 159 occurrences

And here are the top 10 words we found in the names of the backdrops:

1. "sequin" 17.4% of backdrops selected
2. "gold" 11.8% of backdrops selected
3. "white" 9.7% of backdrops selected
4. "black" 5.3% of backdrops selected
5. "silver" 4.4% of backdrops selected
6. "led" 2.4% of backdrops selected
7. "inflatable" 2.3% of backdrops selected
8. "red" 1.9% of backdrops selected
9. "wood" 1.8% of backdrops selected
10. "rose" 1.7% of backdrops selected

The most popular photo booth backdrop is gold sequin.

If you're looking to get one backdrop that most people want, it looks like a sequin backdrop is a great option. Gold, white, black, and silver backdrops are going to be popular among clients. Remember, preferences vary by market and the type of competition. For example, some backdrops will be more popular at weddings while holiday parties may want something more seasonal.

Bonus Content

Here is an expanded version of the word/tag cloud.

January 23, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

See All Competitor Facebook Ads [Marketing Hack]

Have you ever wanted to see what your closest competition is doing with Facebook advertising? In this article, I'll show you how you can browse the ads of your competitors and cover some ways this information can be helpful and also how it might not be so important.

A few things before we get started:
  • The search covers all Facebook platforms, including Instagram.
  • You can search by the name of a Facebook Page to see results.
  • Only active ads will show.
  • One does not need a Facebook or Instagram account.

About Ad Library

Facebook has been under meaningful pressure related to its business model, privacy policies, and the impact of advertising on social issues, elections, or politics for its platforms. As a response to criticism, Facebook has opened the data and allows people to search for ads. They named this Ad Library. I'm going to ignore searches for "Issue, Electoral or Political" matters, but it's worth noting you can search by keyword, and that is not a feature for all other add categories like photo booth rentals or the booking/CRM software we offer at Check Cherry.

How To Search Your Competitors Facebook Ads

Head on over to the Facebook Ad Library and search for a Facebook page by name to see the results. For example, here is what Check Cherry is currently doing

Reasons This Infomation May Be Helpful

There are several insights on can gather from the search results. First off, are there any results? Your competitors may not be running ads; that can be worth knowing. Another insight is the content of the ads, as it can give you an idea as to how a company positions itself. The sheer volume of ad results can be an indication of their budget and/or the amount of effort they put into the program.

Reasons This Infomation Is So Not Helpful

While it may seem like Facebook is really opening up here, there are a lot of important details missing. For example, you won't know which ads are for retargeting and which are for finding new eyes. Similarly, you will not see what interests or demographics they are targeting. This is a key component to running successful campaigns. Perhaps most importantly, you won't know if there is a positive ROI for their Facebook ad spend. Just because one spends money does not mean it's working.

Closing Thoughts

Keep tabs on competition is a normal and healthy part of winning business. However, it's important to remember: you are not your competition, and what works for them may not work for you. The best way I know to gain insight as to what might work is to talk and listening to customers/prospects. Testing out your original ideas for winning new business is the best way to become/maintain a market leader. I'd stay away from straight ripping off ad copy and running them in your own account. That said, browsing companies in similar industries can be a great way to get inspired.
January 13, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

2019 Highlights

I'm proud of all we accomplished in 2019 and motivated by the excitement and appreciation of our customers when they see each new iteration of Check Cherry.  In my recap of 2018, I wrote Matt and I both felt that 2019 was going to be even better than in 2018. I'm happy to share, our instincts proved to be accurate. While it's been a lot of work, it's also been a lot of fun to see Check Cherry continue to mature and help more people.

Our customers are continually sharing feedback while they use and implementing the Check Cherry's style of a CRM or booking management system into their business. I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of those who took the time to provide feedback (big and small) to help make the platform better. Check Cherry has come a long way and is in a great spot; however, we recognize there are still a lot of ways to make Check Cherry better. Please keep the feedback coming.

On to the recap of 2019:

We rolled out a series of features allowing customers to manage the availability of their company, packages, staff, equipment, and more. Included was an innovative feature for bundling items together and capping its availability. This bundling aspect of Check Cherry allows for more complicated configurations, such as managing the availability of double-sided backdrops or a set of equipment often included as a package.

We developed an official solution allowing customers to send proposals to their clients. A simple, yet highly effective implementation, the proposals feature compliments the self-service booking side of Check Cherry extremely well.  It's been heavily used and we received a lot of feedback leading to several iterations over the year.

With mini-sessions, you can offer several short slots for customers to choose within a given time frame. Minis are popular in the world of portrait photography and helpful for booking short sessions at your studio. We think they will come into play for other customer profiles of Check Cherry, just as photo booths in the years to come.

We released and reiterated upon a robust integration with Zapier. This feature gives customers more options for integrating their Check Cherry account with over 1,500 other applications. For example, one can easily sync their customer list with the mass/bulk email service provider of their choice such as Mailchimp or Contact Contact.

We continued to improve the Design feature. Enhancements include integrations with the PBO Design Shop and Photo Booth Talk.

From the time of our public launch in late 2016, integrating with Square was a common feature requested. In 2019 it made it to the top of the list, and customers can now choose among Stripe, Square, and PayPal to process card payments.

With widgets, customers can embed components of their Check Cherry account directly within their marketing website. Widget options include backdrops, add-ons, staff profiles and more.

Email Events
There is no more guessing if a client opened or clicked an email. Check Cherry now reports back the following actions for each email sent: delivered, opened, clicked, bounced, dropped.

Some of our customers are required to collect a different sales tax rate for each address/venue they provide services. With Check Cherry's TaxJar integration, customers can now automatically set an accurate tax rate based on state, county, city, and special districts.

Travel Fee Enhancements
We improved Check Cherry's feature set around Travel Fees. Customers can now scope Travel Zones on a package-by-package basis, add a custom address for each to calculate the distance and prevent self-service bookings that fall outside their travel zones.

Multi-package Support
One can now add multiple packages per booking/proposal. This is a great feature for those who offer multiple services (e.g., Photo Booth and Photography) for one client event such as weddings or corporate parties.

Staff Account Enhancements
We added extra permissions for staff accounts allowing admins to limit access to pricing and other actions of standard accounts. One can also now specify and customize the title/role of staff accounts for each booking. 

Calendar Refresh
Perhaps one of the most used features of Check Cherry, the calendar, got a refresh allowing one to see Confirmed Events, Proposals, Canceled Events, Company Time Off, and Staff Time Off in a single layout.

Improved Search
We leveled up some of the search features for Check Cherry to make it easier to find the booking, proposal, or design you're looking to work on next. We're indexing more data and leveraging best-in-class search technology for fast and forgiving lookups.

Override More Stuff
Over the years, we've come to realize just how important flexibility is when closing a deal. While Check Cherry is setup to auto-populate based on your business and package preferences, we spent meaningful effort to make it flexible. Allowing customers to override booking data such as the price of a package, price of an add-on or payment due date.

Hundreds of refinements, enhancements or fixes.
Looking back, there were a lot of smaller tweaks or enhancements which are not worth mentioning in this recap. However, all of those small changes add up to make a huge impact on how smooth and easy-to-use Check Cherry is for customers.

Our team is really excited about 2020 and where Check Cherry will be in 12 months. We're not satisfied simply creating a better mousetrap, we want Check Cherry to be something unique, innovative and to continually challenge the definition of what category of software Check Cherry falls under. We're so much more than CRM and while booking management will likely always be at our core, we have a few exciting features that have been on our wishlist for years and it looks like 2020 may be the year we get to push the envelope and see how everyone responds.
January 6, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photo Booth Rentals & Sales Tax [General US Guide]

Just about every state in the union imposes some form of sales tax. Among the few states who do not, some of them allow local counties, cities, and municipalities to tack on their own rates. As such, be sure to doublecheck because you may still be required to collect on that next booking.The intent of this guide to help you quickly understand some key concepts related to sales tax and how they might impact your photo booth business. It's important to note: taxes in the United States can be complicated, making compliance painful for small businesses. Often some areas need interpretation. After reading this guide, you'll have a better understanding of several important concepts.

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December 27, 2019 Judd Lillestrand

Managing Availability For Online Bookings

Happy Holidays! Check Cherry now has more advanced features around the concept of managing your company's "Availability," so you can be sure you have everything you need before taking that next self-service booking. 📷📦💻✔️Over the years, we've learned firsthand how service providers like you run unique businesses, and the standard inventory/equipment management concepts just would not have cut it for our online booking software.

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January 10, 2019 Judd Lillestrand

2018 Highlights

Looking back, 2018 was an amazing year for Check Cherry. With your help, we were able to continue improving the platform making it easier to use and more powerful. A sincere thank you to all of those who took the time to share their thoughts with us. Here are just a few things we accomplished together in 2018:Improved Tax SupportTax support in Check Cherry is rock solid. From managing different rates on a per event basis to allowing for only certain packages or add-ons to be be taxable. Your accountant is going to love what we did in 2018.PayPal PaymentsThis long requested feature finally hit production.

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August 13, 2018 Judd Lillestrand

Call-to-Action Guide [Tips & Tricks]

Most people who visit your website will never reach out to you. That's why your website needs to be the most helpful resource for people looking to hire you. By anticipating common questions, providing clear answers, and guiding people through each phase of the buying process your website will help you increase sales.Adding common sense calls-to-action on your website is the best way to help people find what they are looking for so you can keep the buying process moving even when you are not there to help.What is a call-to-action?A call-to-action (CTA) is text on your website, often a button itself or a short sentence with a link. They are designed to prompt someone to click and take action.

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February 21, 2018 Ross

7 Great Ways To Automate Your Photo Booth Business

I absolutely love the notion of keeping my customer experience consistent and saving time. This year I've really dialed up my customer automation efforts. I thought I would take a few moments to jot down some ways I'm automatically sending messages with Check Cherry for my photo booth rental and mobile DJ company, Local Boy. Generally, any email to the customer should be sent with intent to provide value and/or helpful information to the customer. Setting up automation is super easy, so don't feel overwhelmed. We have a video showing you just how easy it is to get started.The Proactive NotesI've been laying the groundwork for delivering an amazing customer experience by automatically sending out emails leading up to the event.

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February 15, 2018 Matt Goatcher

Feature Enhancement: One Click Lead Conversion

We hate busy work and are always looking for ways to make your life easier and create the best photo booth booking software. Now you can convert a Lead into a Reservation with a single click. Get more leads, close more sales, and grow your business with Check Cherry.While this may seem a small thing, we know it's the little things that count and add up to make one awesome service.If you want to learn more about Check Cherry's Leads, watch this video:A huge thanks to the Check Cherry customers who suggested this feature. We hope you love it!

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February 8, 2018 Ross

6 Ways To Increase Photo Booth Sales With Coupons

Coupons are an amazing tool to help grow a photo booth business. I've found some really good ways to use coupons at my business, Local Boy, and I thought I would share what is working for me so you can consider them for your business.Venue DiscountsDo you do business with a venue on a recurring basis? Create a special coupon with the venue's name in it. By including their name in the coupon code, they know it's exclusively for their customers and gives them another reason to recommend your service to others. If you want more venue business, try calling several in your area and and offer an exclusive coupon.

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