The reusable party kit is still a fairly new concept. This means that many party planners simply don't know to look for a party kit, so here are our top tips for spreading the word about your party kit locally.
Understand your audience
Before you start investing time and effort in telling people about your party kit, work out who you party kit is for. The majority of party kits in the network are aimed at children's parties making parents their main audience, but this isn't always the case. Think about what types of celebration your party kit is best suited for and who locally might appeal to.
Also think about what benefits your party kit can offer these people. Whether it's the convenience of having everything needed for a party in one box, the appeal of saving money or the benefit of making their celebration a bit more eco-friendly.
If you're not sure, it is best to just ask. So if your party kit is mainly for parents organising children's parties, ask via local Facebook parenting groups what would make organising a party a bit easier for them.
Build your community
Now you have an understanding of your target audience, you need to find them! The best way to spread the word is to find local champions for your party kit. They will likely be part of your target audience and share your passion for reducing waste. They can help you reach more people more quickly.
As each party kit is different, not all our tips will be relevant to all party kits but hopefully there's a couple of ideas here which can help you to spread the word locally about your kit.
Get the most out of social media
Many party kits have a Facebook business page. This is the easiest way to create an online presence for your party kit. There is a guide to creating a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/business/pages
Ensure that visitors to your Facebook page can quickly understand your service: make sure it is really clear where you party kit is based, what's available in your party kit and how they can contact you.
When creating posts on your Facebook page consider what your target audience might find interesting. Posts should be inspiring, educational or entertaining - or even better, all three! Catch attention with the use of images and video content.
A good way to create a connection is by sharing content about yourself. This doesn't have to be your innermost thoughts, but as simple as sharing your reasons for setting up a party kit, or how you go about planning your own parties. You will convert more visitors into advocates if they can get a sense of your passion for the party kit concept.
Consider what time of day a post will likely gain the most engagement. If targeting parents, just after the kids' bedtime is often a key time to catch people scrolling through their news feed.
But before posting check that it passes the 'So what?' test. Is the content of this post useful or entertaining to your audience. If not, you probably shouldn't share it or it needs a rewrite!
As well as posting on your Facebook page, like, comment and share content from accounts which are likely followed by your target audience. This may be local online magazines or community groups. This will help you to raise your profile by being seen as engaged and offering useful comments and feedback to others without constantly promoting your party kit.
Consider setting up a complimentary local Facebook group. Research which local groups are already available and see if there's an opportunity for another. For example, setting up a Facebook group for local fancy dress swaps enables you to connect with local parents and help further reduce waste.
Find your tribe of local champions
Social media is a powerful tool, but it's not the only way to reach people. It can be very time consuming and you may find that you generate more interest in other ways.
Contact your local zero waste stores and any champaign groups, such as local plastic free and sustainable living groups. People who share your passion for reducing waste will often become your biggest advocates and may be able to share ideas of how to connect with more people locally.
When someone hires your party kit, encourage them to tell their friends by including leaflets or business cards in the box. And after a kit has been returned, ask hirers to leave a review on your Facebook page.
Consider creating a friend referral scheme whereby the hirer and a friend get something extra with their next hire, such as free pass-the-parcel bag hire or a discount off the hire price.
Try connecting with local businesses who offer complimentary services such as cake making, venue hire or party entertainment.
Generate local interest
In addition to inspiring people to champion your party kit locally, there are ways to reach more people without relying on traditional advertising.
One way is to take part in local events. Whether it's a sustainable living event, or parents show or a school fete, offering free party kit hire as a raffle prize or offering to run a stall can be good ways to reach more people while showing your commitment to supporting the local community.
Research local blogs which have a relevant audience. For example, if your party kit is targeted at children's parties look for blogs for local parents. Offer to write a blog post in return for links back to your website / party kit listing or Facebook page. The topic of the article doesn't just have to be your party kit, you could offer to write about sustainable party tips or another topic relevant to their audience.
Organise or take part in an event or fundraiser, something which not only has a benefit to the community but is also something which is news worthy. This makes a good topic to contact local papers and radio stations about and gives you an opportunity to mention your party kit.
Tackle the elephant in the room
Once we can safely party again, to some degree we will still be living with COVID so it's important to address the safety of a party kit.
The Party Kit Network has published some advice on lending a party kit during the COVID pandemic.
Share what you steps you are taking to keep your party kit equipment safe. If you have completed the food safety certificate or similar tell people about this. There are more details in the Hygiene and Safety guide shared with network members.
It is important to offer hirers a level of reassurance that both the hygiene of equipment and the processes for handing over the kit are as safe as possible.
Making a start
There's a lot of ideas here, and some will work better for you than others. It may take a bit of trial and error, but building your community of champions who share your passion for the party kit concept is the most powerful way of spreading the word.
If you've already had success promoting your party kit, do you have any tips for others? Share them with the Party Kit Network facebook group – we'd love to hear your stories.