7 Secrets To Strategic Marketing Photography That Attracts Clients To Your Studio Like A Magnet Attracts Paper clips!"
by: Charles J. Lewis, M. Photog., Cr.
First, A Great Quote:
"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does." - Stuart H. Britt, New York Herald Tribune
Here Are The Top 7 Most Valuable "Secrets" For Strategic Photo Marketing Success, That If You Take Action On Them Now, You Will Enjoy Enormous Photographic Success - FAST
1. Create a HUGE demand for your limited supply, and then control the volume of work you do with the price.
Before before I discovered this, I thought I didn't really have to do all that much marketing, since I was a one-photographer studio - how much photography marketing did I need to do?
But I discovered that the secret is to really create a huge demand - by doing lots and lots of different types of marketing, so I could then control the volume of work I did with the price.
This gives you market presence. Your target market becomes very aware of you, on an ongoing basis, and your phone rings consistently, with qualified calls.
2. The Best Marketer Wins - PERIOD. And the single most effective way to market your photography is to have exhibits of your work all over town.
That's right. There is NOTHING - not direct mail, not television, not radio, not anything - that can beat exhibits of your work for bringing in highly qualified potential clients. Why?
A. Every exhibit of your work carries with it the implied endorsement of the location where your exhibit is located.
B. It's the single most artistic way to present your work.
C.. Exhibits allow people to closely examine and scrutinize your work, with no salesperson or other distraction.
3. After exhibits, in my opinion, well crafted direct response marketing is the second best way to bring in qualified potential clients.
Direct response marketing is where you specifically ask the recipient to take action, to contact you directly. Although mail is not the only form of direct response marketing, let's talk about mail here, and list a few key points.
A. The more you tell, the more you sell. In direct response marketing, longer copy, if well written and persuasive, almost always outsells shorter copy. It's true.
B. Have a double readership path. Some people are readers, others are skimmers. Write for both types. Use lots of bolded "subheads" which contain the main benefits of your message.
C. The headline is the most important part of your piece. The headline must stop your target market dead in her tracks. It must contain a clear benefit. It must get her to read the first sentence of the message. So work hard on that headline, it's very important. And never write anything that doesn't have a headline. It's the "ad" for your ad or sales letter. Here's a few examples of good headlines:
1. How To Avoid The Huge Mistake That Nine Out Of Ten Families Make When Choosing A Photographer. (Yes, headlines are most effective when the first letter of each word is capitalized.)
2. How To Have The Most Magical, Romantic, And Emotional Wedding Day Of Your Dreams!
3. How To Avoid The Eleven Huge Mistakes That Ruin Most Senior Girl's Portraits.
D. Always keep excellent records, so you know your 80/20. This way, you know what the best types of clients are to go after, or target.
Just so we all are on the same page - the "80/20 Rule" states that 80% of the money in your pocket (that's PROFIT, not gross!) comes from 20% of your work.
So by carefully targeting your most profitable clients, you can dramatically increase your profits - while actually doing less work!
And you don't need an expensive computer program to figure this out, although there are some excellent programs out there that will help you with this, if you prefer.
You simply need to keep good records, so you will know everything you need to know to make intelligent, smart decisions.
For example, you want to be able to know at any moment, what the average sale is for a specific type of client. You also need to know what your costs are for each type of client, both in terms of production, and in terms of time, so you can determine if you're making what you want to make for each type of client. I break my clients down by family portraits, children's portraits, engagement portraits, weddings, young couples, mature couples ... you get the idea.
5 The Best People To Market To Are Your Past And Current Clients.
This is the most overlooked "gold mine" in our profession!
For example, you start what I call a "V.I.P. Club" and mail something EVERY MONTH to your current and past clients. V.I.P. stands for very important patron. For example, you send them a simple newsletter. Or a nice personal letter, letting them know how much you appreciate them working with you in the past, and then offering them some special offer to work with you again.
The very BEST people to market to, are the people who already know you, like you, trust you, and appreciate what you do.
But, and this is really important: You must mail to them every single month. It really works. (And please realize that you might not get any response to your first few months of mailings, if it's been a long time since you mailed to them last. But you keep going (it's a Strategic Photography Marketing Plan) and you will see enormous results! Trust me. I know this to be true.
6. Never ever mail anything (or put anything on your exhibits, or record a Hotline Message, etc.) without an offer and a deadline.
This does not mean you must give away free photos. In fact, I urge you NOT to do that! It cheapens your reputation and your product.
There's a common statement in the marketing business that goes like this: "No offer means no response!" It's very true. If you mail something to someone, without an offer of some kind in it, your response will be very low. So always have a special offer, with a deadline.
For example, the offer can be for a percentage off your regular prices; or for a special bonus of a high quality frame with each portrait purchased; or a free beautiful flower arrangement from a local florist; or dinner for two at a local restaurant - or better yet, a COMBINATION of these as more is better. But DO NOT GIVE a free photograph.
Why no FREE PHOTOGRAPHS? Because that sends a powerful message to your clients that your work is not worth much, as you're giving some of it away free. It cheapens your work. We NEVER give away free photographs.
7. Never mail anything without Testimonials and photos
Without testimonials, no one is going to believe what you say. In fact, in most of my studio marketing, I let my clients do almost all the talking - rather than me saying how great I am (which comes across as arrogant) I let my happy clients say how great I am and how happy they are. This is so much more effective and persuasive.
This is so important, that I suggest you make it a rule to never publish any photographs without a testimonial along with it, and never publish a testimonial, without a photograph along with it. It really helps people decide to work with you.
Begin today, to formulate and put into action your Strategic Marketing Plan. It will bring you wonderfully qualified clients, who will be happy to pay your prices, and will be much less interested in talking with your competitors before they make a decision.
I sincerely hope that these seven major marketing secrets will be helpful for you. But remember, nothing is helpful, if you don't take action on the ideas immediately. No action means no growth.
CHARLES J. LEWIS ONLINE NEWSLETTER
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