First birthday parties are big business. In a recent survey by Babycenter.com, the overwhelming majority of respondents reported spending more than $500 on their children’s first birthday parties.

This makes first birthday parties a huge opportunity for balloon decorators. We asked five industry leaders who book a lot of first birthday parties to share some tips to help you grow your first birthday business.

Contributors: ‘Tope Abulude, CBA, Tina Giunta, CBA, Connie Iden-Monds, CBA, Dante Longhi, CBA, Jill Shortreed, CBA
 

STAY TRENDY

Jill and ‘Tope both suggest researching what is trending on websites like Etsy, Pinterest, and Instagram. Jill advises that people like instant gratification. If you offer trendy designs, customers will buy from you instead of ordering items and waiting for them to ship.

CONNECT WITH OTHER BUSINESS OWNERS

Dante encourages forming partnerships with professional photographers in your area. People who spend money on newborn photoshoots are likely to want a first birthday photoshoot as well.

TAP INTO PREVIOUS CLIENTS

Dante and Jill recommend that you keep track of your wedding and baby shower clients. When Jill does a baby shower, she thanks her clients with a "coupon" to use for the Baby’s First Birthday. This coupon is often for a free #1 balloon or dozen balloons. She advises that it is better to assign a dollar amount to an item you’re giving away rather than give a percentage off. For example, $10 off sounds better than 5% off.  Dante schedules an email or birthday card one year after baby showers. 

GO THE EXTRA MILE

Tina practices the art of adding an extra special touch to her first birthday parties. Whether she adds something extra for the cake table free-of-charge or makes the decor a little more elaborate, she keeps moms elated and grateful. She says, “When people are made to feel special it’s only natural for them to want to help you in return, and they will do this by telling other Mums about how great you are.”

USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO GROW WORD-OF-MOUTH

“Social media is a gold mine for attracting clients celebrating their child’s first birthday,” says Tina.  “Whenever you decorate a first birthday, ask the Mum if she’s on Facebook or Instagram so you can tag her when you post photos of their event.  Try thanking the parents in the post for allowing your business to play a small part on this special day. Or you could compliment them for doing a great job with coordinating everything and hosting such a beautiful event. By personalizing the post, you encourage them to interact with you, rather than just give you a ‘LIKE’. It’s this interaction that spreads the word on social media and attracts more Mums looking for something special for their own child’s first birthday.  Whenever possible you should also tag the venue, cake shop, caterers and any other business whose product appears in your photo. Compliment them as well. The more interaction you can encourage the better.”

Dante offers additional thoughts on word-of-mouth marketing.  He points out that when you decorate a first birthday, the guests are typically the same age. New moms will likely be in attendance, so they will remember the beautiful decor you did when their little ones turn 1.

Extra Tip for Entertainers

Connie and 'Tope have found that most of their first birthday business comes from marketing to various cultural groups, because different cultures put a high value on celebrating a child's first year.  Connie markets to Korean, Indian, and Persian groups on Facebook and through local meeting halls and churches.  She advises that packages tend to be the best tactic to encourage the use of entertainers at a first birthday party.  As example, she may price a face painter and balloon artist together for a set amount of time, or package an arch, two buffet pieces, and two hours of entertainment for $X.

Need more inspiration to grow your first birthday business?  Check out some of our contributors’ first birthday work here!

Click here to download a poster to help you sell first birthday decor!

QBN BONUS: click here for exclusive digital marketing materials to help you grow your first birthday business! Download the instruction sheet for this adorable cake!