Photography Marketing Success Secret #2 – Market & Sell The Emotion – Not The Paper

Photography Marketing Success Feels Great!

Photography marketing is difficult. In order to be effective, it’s critical you realize exactly what it is you’re really offering to people.

A quick story: I’m a real Walt Disney fan.  His brother, Roy, tells this story:  “There was this fellow who worked on the Disneyland railroad train and he handled the public rather curtly.  Walt said to one of the employees, ‘See if you can’t give that fellow a better understanding of the business we’re in. Cheer him up or if he feels that way, he shouldn’t work here. We’re selling happiness. We don’t like glum pusses or sour faces.’”

Walt knew exactly what he was marketing and selling – and it wasn’t an amusement park.

Well, have you ever thought about what it is that you are really marketing and selling?  Do you think it’s photography?  Because it’s not.

Many professional photographers get trapped into thinking that they are marketing photography, because no one told them anything different. What you and I are marketing and offering to our clients are EMOTIONS, memories, relationships, feelings, personalities and tenderness.

This means that if you are thinking in terms of pieces of paper with photos on them as what it is you’re marketing, you are going to have problems with your marketing and selling, and the success of your photography business.

I discovered this the long, slow, painful way.  For years I tried to market and sell my photography by talking about the photography.  But I really struggled.

Then I slowly began to realize that people invest in photography for EMOTIONAL REASONS – not price reasons, and not to get pieces of paper, or images on a CD. (At least this is true for the people who I enjoy working with, and who invest substantial amounts of money for what I create for them.)

What this discovery means is you need to keep reminding yourself, that you are NOT selling pieces of paper – you’re selling what your images say to your clients.

So how can you best use this fact in your photography marketing and selling?  Here’s 3 ways:

1.  Do your very best to NOT talk about sizes.  Those are numbers, and numbers are the OPOSITE OF EMOTIONS.  You want to keep your clients and prospects FEELING – not THINKING.  Do you see the difference here?  Thinking uses the left side of  the brain – the LOGICAL side.  Feeling uses the right side of the brain – the EMOTIONAL side.  So do your best to not talk sizes, but rather to talk emotions.

2.  Ask lots of questions of your prospects and clients.  Questions which get them talking about their family and loved ones – NOT talking about the photography itself.  You want them talking about the relationships between each of the family members. You want them talking about each person’s personality and likes and dislikes, and talents and interests. This just helps your prospects and clients see AND FEEL how much a finely crafted photograph will capture these feelings for them.

3.  In your marketing and selling, be sure YOU also talk about the emotions, feelings, relationships, etc. that each photograph captures.  That’s what’s really important to your clients. Don’t get all hung up on talking what size a photo is. Forget the paper. Talk about how this photograph captures the priceless relationships between the people. Talk about the valuable memories this image captures.  Talk about how sensitive the image is and what it says about the people who are in it.

See how this works?  Now, of course, in order to be effective with this, you do need to honestly feel this way yourself.  It works so well for me, because I just love creating images that cause my clients to cry tears of joy when they first see them.  I live for that, and I tell my clients that.  It’s the truth.  Yes, I’ll take the money, of course, but it’s not really the driving force behind what I do.  My driving motivation is to capture the emotions and feelings for them to enjoy for years to come.

Just remember from this day forward, that people invest in photography for EMOTIONAL REASONS, and tailor everything you do in your marketing and selling to address this fact.  Click here for more Photography Marketing Techniques.

All the best,

Charles J. Lewis

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3 Responses to Photography Marketing Success Secret #2 – Market & Sell The Emotion – Not The Paper

  1. February 13, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Another outstanding and insightful article on effective photography marketing. (I especially appreciate your articles and advice about the significance of displaying work effectively.) You’re correct, photographers would do very well studying and modeling the marketing of effective businesses like Disney – “The Happiest Place On Earth!” We wouldn’t do bad by studying by McDonald’s (they just love to see us ‘smile’) and Nike.

    Your three ways offers very good advice, in my opinion. I would just add that when implementing step 3, sometimes the customers reason for taking photos can let photographers know where to start talking about the emotions. In other words, they will tell us what are their emotional strings by telling us what they intend to do with the photo.

    Another very valuable article.

  2. July 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Gorgeous web site using pleasant informational content material. This can be a really fascinating along with educational article. Great task! continue, wish to study your own other improvements.

    • February 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks Mohamed. I appreciate that very much.

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