Day 7 Bonus: "Marketing - Part 1"
Today, we're going to talk about marketing and marketing is one of those subjects that you can either get really excited about really bummed about, and I have talked to a lot of photographers over the years that just tell me I am not a good marketer and I kind of think it's funny to hear that because if you really stop and think about it, we are marketing all the time, especially a small business owners, you are your brand, and so when you think about marketing, you need to just think about the things that you do on a day to day basis and all it is is reaching out to that target client that we defined yesterday, so be thinking about who that target client is and how we're going to communicate with them and that's what marketing is, you know, branding is who you are and of course, as a photographer, you are your brand marketing is what you do, and so we're going to talk about that today, and I hope you'll get excited along with me is you think about some of the different opportunities t...
hat you have for marketing that are just right in front of you, and I hope that we get to the end of the day and you don't feel like I can't market I'm a bad marketer because marketing really it's simple it's just getting your message out to your target market, and so we're gonna talk about lots of ways to do that today, and I just wanted to share first there's, an author, writer speaker named dan kennedy who I've read several of his books and have followed him for a while, and dan kennedy says that marketing is the number one job of small business owners are entrepreneurs the number one job he goes on to say that nothing else in any business matters as much or means as much to the success of a small business that's pretty powerful when you stop to think about it, you know, marketing is the most important thing that we can do in our business and you know, you're you're good photographer, you love working with people or you wouldn't be doing this job, you know, we've got that part down, but if we aren't marketing and bringing the right type of clients into our business, then we're not making any money. We're not running a business so let's talk about marketing and some of the things that you can do that are just right around you, and first I want to talk to you about your website ah website is very important to the presence of a professional business. I want you to think about getting away from your tumbler accounts and your flicker accounts and just having a presence on facebook, you know, when you're ready to become a professional and take it to the next level. Those things are not enough. They're great is a subset toe what you do in your website, but a professional website is your calling card that's going to make a huge difference to the perceived value that you have as a business? So look at companies like photo biz, and there are many others out there that have professional templates that you can just plug into. They're easy to incorporate and to use, and they also have great customer service, so when you need that help, you're going to get it but create something special and unique that says something about your brand and who you are and that's really going to help you mark it in the right way rather than sending someone to a facebook page that anybody can have a tumbler account that anybody can have and it's free and it's easy and that's a great way to start to show off your images. But your website is going to be a tool that's going to do a lot more for you, you're going to be able to communicate all the different messages that you want to communicate. You can include, you know, a starting investment price if you want teo, we'll talk a lot about pricing later and kind of you in my thoughts on that but you know whether it's clothing suggestions or for me you know, talking about hanging portrait's in your home on your website now whatever that messages that you want to communicate, you're able to do that through a website and how you want to do that instead of bringing people to a facebook page that's just got your images on it and, um, you know, again that's a great other side to it but create that unique and professional website for your clients and potential clients to come too when you also want to keep it updated and you know, that's one of those things that I know I'm just a bad about it as anybody, but in the beginning stages it especially you should really put a plan in place for making sure that you're changing up your images and keeping things fresh and exciting if you don't change it there's no reason for anybody to ever come back and so make sure that you're keeping things exciting and updated and give people a reason to get back to your website and that leads us into your blogged a blogger is another thing you've got to make a very clear decision on whether you're going to have a block presidents or not because if you can't keep it up and keep it updated that's something specifically that when people come to your side they're looking at your last post and so if your last post was six months ago it's the perceived idea that you haven't done business in six months and so make up a point to keep your block up maybe he planned for every sunday morning you know dad gets up with the kids and does breakfast before church and that's your time to sit down and update your block now whenever it is put a plan in place so that you can keep that fresh, keep it updated and make sure that it's you know, on a timely basis. So whether it's weekly bi weekly you know, whatever it is if you've got a plan for that, then you'll make it happen on one of the things that I would highly encourage you to do. You know, we've got thes built in platforms like our website and like our blogged and so I would encourage you to find a way that when you are updating, you get it into the hands of your clients to spread the news about what you've updated and so with that one of the things that we created in the past was a block card and what this is is it's ah it's just a digital piece that goes out in an email and we let our clients no, you know your your child's been featured on our block or on our website and then this little piece goes out in the email that lets them then four that out to their friends and family that says, you know, hey, my child's been featured on the lorry nordstrom studio blogger than lori norsemen studio website and then we'll put a link a bill click right into the email so that those friends and family that they sent it to king clicking right to the block and right to the website and I will say on that note that if you let your clients know you know, hey, your your daughter, your son's been featured on our block run, our website, they're going to be thrilled they're going to be so excited about it, but it doesn't feel as good if they just land upon it and see their child. And so not only are we getting them excited and we're letting them know that their child's been featured, but then we're also putting a marketing tool in their hands and allowing them. Then teo blast that out to their friends and family, and I will tell you that a lot of the people that you'll send these two will blast those out to their entire database because they're so excited to share the images of their children and, you know, don't discount the power that you have in that, you know, that's, why facebook has billions and billions of images going on every single day we want to share our lives, we want to share those images, and we want people to get excited about what we have to share. Now. The block is today's news letter, you know, back in the day we didn't have logs and so newsletters or a really powerful form of marketing for the studio to let people know what was going on, and I still believe that newsletters have their place it's nice for clients to get something in their email toe let them know that a specials coming up or, um, you know, something new that you're doing at the studio, but another way to make your newsletter even more powerful is to include other people, and so whether it's, another business that you're networking with, or a client that has done something really cool, you know, maybe it's, a high school senior that's been awarded with you know, something academically or maybe it's, the captain of the football team that did something really special, and then you get to photograph them and doing a little interview with them, and it could be a business that you're networking with, and you do it on interview for them. It could be a client, but in whatever way, if you incorporate someone else into your newsletter, then you've got the power of that person in that database behind you. So you're not just mailing it out to your clients. Your then having that person that's been featured, send it out to all of their friends and family, or it might be that they will link to it on their own block of it's, another business. A lot of families now have family blog's, and so you're then giving them that linked back to you, which of course creates more more power for your business. So think about the different things that you can incorporate in your newsletter for interest other than just, you know, hey here's, the last session that I did, you know, like a lot of times we post on our block and and that's another way to even with the block itself, get more interest in activity and make your block more exciting is to incorporate stories about other people you know, people love reading other people's stories, so tell them you have the perfect tool with your camera to be ableto photograph people and tell their stories. And so, you know, it's, a way to make that blogging that newsletter and ways that your marketing and communicating with your target market more interesting next we're gonna talk about social media and I'm not gonna go hugely into social media because there's so much information out there for you but you know whatever you're doing whether it's facebook lengthen twitter there's so many things instagram now is huge with the preteens and the teenagers you know? So whatever you're doing, make sure that you're making a plan for it and being consistent with it I want you to create a space on foursquare so that people can check in with you and that's something that you can do even if you have a home studio you can still have a location in your town you don't have to put your exact address on there and that's okay but have a have a presence so that when you're working with people they can check in with you and what happens is as you grow your business and you start photographing more and more people then when those new people check in, they get to see that you know all the ten of my friends we're also checking in with this business and so they just build that excitement and builds that community for you. And no matter how you use your social media, you know, make a plan one of the things for me I don't I'm not huge on marketing through facebook I personally feel like getting clients through facebook causes a lot more work for me because there's usually somebody that's going to be a price chopper they haven't been, you know, had any experience with my business, I would much rather have somebody come in and by word of mouth or from one of our displays, and we'll talk more about that as well. But, you know, with facebook I've got a lot more work, and it doesn't mean that I don't market it all through facebook, but ahm and that's gonna be different for different people. Facebook marketing might be, where is that for you? But the way I used facebook is to really look and stock my clients and I want to know what's going on in my client's lives and I'll go on and facebook and, you know, tell somebody you know hope the game goes great tonight or, you know, I hope you feel better whatever is going on in their lives, I want a comment and I want to keep up with that and if it's a major life event, I want to make sure I'm documenting it in my database, so the next time I work with them, I can talk about that and, you know, they know that I care about them and that that that I have been keeping up with them, another marketing tool that you have right at your disposal, our press print products that's something that I hear a lot from photographers that they don't want to do because of the time that's involved as well as, you know, it's not going to be a huge money maker, we can't mark up cards, you know, five, six time's usually were doubling them, but the reality is, is that press print products are a huge marketing tool for your business? Press print items are no cards or maybe it's just even a calling card, but it could be a greeting card. It could be gift tags for holiday packages, you know, it could be any number of things that you're getting into your client's hands that they are directly sending out to other people for you. And so I've always been a huge believer in press print items in fact, years ago, back two thousand, two thousand one um, and even before that, you know, I went digital in two thousand and so I could start laying things out digitally for cards. But before I went digital, I was actually sending in wallets taped to a piece of paper that I would send to the to the printer so that I could make holiday cards for my clients make christmas cards, and I at the time I had to order five hundred cards as a minimum this was before all the labs had press prints and you know so I would order these five hundred stacks and stacks and stacks of cards would come back and my back room was just full of cards because of course I wasn't selling five hundred cards to my clients but what I was doing is they had to order a minimum of one hundred most ordered one hundred and that paid for my printing for those five hundred cards I didn't make a dime but you know what? It was so important to me that my clients bought those christmas cards because I knew that they were sending out marketing pieces for me name goes on the back logo website goes on the back of all your press print items and that's a marketing piece that your client is paying for and mailing out for you two targeted clients hopefully if they're targeted client then you khun bet the core base of their friends and family are gonna be target clients for you as well. So don't miss out on those opportunities and you know I want to look for opportunities at every point along the way working with my clients for press for an items so some of the things that we're doing you know clients come in and do their newborn session and they by birth announcements because that's the normal thing to dio but then we've got these opportunities at four months and eight months and then at a year that they're coming in and I want to get things in their hands at their excited to hand out to their friends and family of course they're not gonna hand out, you know, one hundred dollars prince and so what can we get in their hands? We'll press providers that makes perfect sense and so what, four months you can do an update card and at eight months and update card you know, we should be asking our clients all along the way what those milestones are anyway because those are great talking points through your session, so if if we asked them all when when was she holding her head up so well, she's just doing such a great job and mom's going to tell us you know what happened at this point? You know, when was the first time that she smiled a daddy and she's going to tell us and we can talk about that? You know, maybe it four months they already have a sweet little giggle and if you're talking about that with mom she's going to see that every time she sees that image so by talking about the milestones we're putting power right into the images that were taking but it's also going to be something that you can and then in turn print for your clients so we print little update cards that have the baby's milestones on them with an image from the session, and then when they come back to view their their session and place their order, we can give them those cards as a gift. And yes, I give them away, we can order about fifty cards from our lab from a c I for twelve dollars, I think it is, and so absolutely I'm going to give my clients with those things that they were so excited about handing out to their friends and the same thing as the child gets older, you know, at after a year work, they come back it's for the eighteen month session or maybe the two year session, and we're at that time going to do play date cards, and that is just kind of a calling card for mom that she can give to her friends and she's, so excited to show off her baby in her child's image. She's, you know, goingto hand those cards out, but what the playdate cards say is they're going to say, you know, come play with me or want to play no something on the front with an image of the child and then on the back it's going to say, call my mom or it's going to have, you know, mom's info in some way, so it it really is mom's calling card but by making it a playdate card she's got that excuse to hand out those images of her child you know and and she will and she you know, one of the things that I did years ago with a uh talk I was doing at a mom's group it was mother's of multiples and I just I offered a free set of playdate cards for any session that was booked and we booked a ton of sessions just because they wanted those silly free plate id cards and so those press print items could be very, very powerful marketing for you and you know, make sure you're getting them into your client's hands you know, I've always said I would do those press print items even if I wasn't making a dime on them from my clients because it is so you know, such a great marketing tool tohave for them to be sending out to their friends and family of course we do make money and so it's a way to get that marketing paid for. All right let's talk about special events that you can host you know, you may not have a retail space like ideo and that's okay don't let that be an excuse for you not tow host event's host an open house um you know there's there's ways that you can tie in with your clients or with another business that you could network with we're going to do a whole segment on networking and hopefully give you tons of ideas for networking with other businesses uh for your marketing but I think about tying in with them for a special event or with a past client. One of the things that we've done in the past is an unveiling for our clients and I will let them know if it's somebody that has purchased well for their home and they're doing some really cool things to hang on their wall I might just say to them at the end of working with them you know, I know you're gonna be so excited to start showing this off you know, would you like for me to come and host an open house at your house? We can bring in all of your friends to see what we've done and just doing unveiling something really special and so that's the way to get into your client's home and in front of their friends, which again, you know if they're they're friends, they're probably going to be another targeted client for you if that client is one of your target clients and if they've purchased well, they probably are and so you know, don't let not having a retail space being excuse for you not hosting a special event you know there's a book called indispensable that I really love and the author's name is joe callaway and one of the things that he promotes in the book is, you know, just start hanging out he actually says stop marketing and start hanging out, but you know, the point of that is, you know, we get so obsessed with all these things that we have to do for marketing when it really just is a simple as hanging out, getting out there, getting involved in your marketplace, getting in front of people and so think about the opportunities that are available to you if you do have a retail space it's a perfect opportunity for you to host a special event at your at your business or host an open house, throw a party, throw a party, any chance you get just to get people together and always when we do special events or parties, we want to make sure we've got some v I p guests and what that means is we're inviting them maybe we're unveiling their portrait's, and so they're the v I p a v I p guests at the event, but what it also does we want them to invite in their friends to the event so it kind of gives us the power of growing that database in that way by recognizing some special people and so we want to do that, whether we're doing it in the studio or working with another business or write in a client's home so think about those different ways that you can incorporate other people to host your event so you you're the hose you go and you take the wine and the snacks and and make it a fun event but they're going to host it they're goingto invite their friends special events leads us right into local events you know look around you to see what's happening you know, in marketing there's a term called low hanging fruit and what that means is you always want to look for what's easiest to grab what's going on right around you and local events or one of those things that it's very easy to get involved locally because usually for your local events even if you're in a bigger area there's going to be you know, like a little regional our community things that might even just be in a subdivision and I went I was at a client's house last week and they had just had their their yearly picnic they have an annual picnic that's for the neighborhood and it was out in the middle of a cold a sack and everyone had come in the tent was still up when I had gone there for their family portrait and so I asked about it and she told me and you know, one of the things that I would do if I lived nearby there was I would find out how I could get involved with that annual event, it may just be being there to photograph and putting a fund slide show together for the neighborhood but some way to get my name there, get my name out there so look for those local events that are happening and how you can get involved one of the things that happens here locally for us I'm in a tiny town of fifty, five hundred people and, you know not a lot going on and winterset iowa, but, uh, one of the fun things that we do and have going on all summer long is bike night, and that happens once a month, all summer and into the early fall, and so I decided, you know, I want to find out how I can get involved in bike night and it's, not just a bunch of rough biker dudes it's actually a family event and there are tons of kids out there it's a really fun thing are downtown squares filled with people for bike night, and there are different booths with shopping and food and there's always entertainment that that goes on even further kids so thoroughly fun thing and and one of the things that I decided to do, we're right on the square in our downtown, and so I've got banners that we hang in the window that say, you know, welcome to by bike night and I just went through my archives and I pulled all the images that I had of either children or families on motorcycles and use those for our displays and for the banners and so it just gets says that attention and it's specifically targeted to the people who are here on the square and so we just said, welcome bike night and, you know, schedule your fall family portrait session today with our phone number on it and you know, that's something that you can do and I am right on my downtown square, so it works I'm right here, but if you're not look for another business that you can partner with and hang banners in their window do some cooperative marketing there so that your, you know, working together to reach out to those potential clients look around you look at that low hanging fruit, get involved, get involved with your chamber and other local groups that are going to help you spread the word about what you d'oh another thing that you can look for locally are any groups that are getting together and there are tons of groups for whatever john ross you are photographing for me, I'm going to do maybe a search that says mommy groups des moines and he will be shocked at how many things come up for you no matter where you are and I've done these searches in different places for different people that I've worked with so do those google searches and find out who's getting together and if they're getting together and it's your target client you need to be in front of them um one of the things that groups that meet monthly they all have speakers and they all you know they're looking for speakers so it's a great thing to send in a couple of title options to them you know these are a couple of things that I could present for you guys some things that would be of interest to you and you know very rarely are you going to be shot down you know, these people there's usually someone in charge of finding speakers and you know they they aren't just falling in their laps s o if you give them the opportunity to work with you they more than likely will I know some of the topics that I've done in the past are taking better pictures of your kids at home which is a huge interest right now and don't worry you're not going to lose business if you teach them some tips for photographing their kids at home you know you're going to show them professional beautiful portrait and you know that's that's one of the things that I have people all the time that will ask me you know well how do you feel about mom being next to you with her iphone are you know, having her little point and shoot with you on a session, you know, I do not care, it really doesn't happen to me often, but when it does happen, it's fine, they're images are not going to look anything like mine, so I'll even have moms take snapshots while I'm doing senior pictures and and tell them he knows put this on instagram and here's my hashtag so you know, I'm encouraging them to do it at some points and it's ok, they're images are not going to look the same, so don't worry about that. So that's one title that you could dio another title, but I've presented in the past has been, you know, decorating with portrait ce and, you know, I want to get that message out that you can do something beautiful for your home, that you're going to enjoy every single day, you know, show off what's most important to you with portrait's of your family in your home, and so, you know, that's, another great title and, you know, just think about the things think about the groups that your meeting with and what would be of interest to them, and even if it's not about photography, you can still show a slide show with your image is in it. You know that your images can be placed along with the titles of the slides that you're presenting, so they're going to be able to see your work. You could also take a couple of portrait's on easels that you could put out for people to see, or maybe you specialize in albums, so take a few albums, their ways for people to see your work without you being a standing commercial, and so get in front of those people and that's, another great wayto even get involved in your local community and just, you know, have that presence in that name that people recognize is to get in front of these small groups and present another way to market locally and get involved in your local market places through charity events. And whether you are raising money for a local charity or national or international charity, you're creating this business, that cares, you know, letting your community know that you are somebody that's willing, teo, get involved, and you raise that money, fundraise and do something that is for someone else. So I love the idea of charitable marketing, and really just the presence that it gives you in your marketplace, so we started doing a charity event many years ago about two thousand, so it's been, you know, twelve, thirteen years ago that we started this and we created what's called our little angels event, and for ten years I did this through and raise money for the leukemia and lymphoma society, which worked out really well for us as a studio, we got very involved with the organization and we're there at there main gallas and events and and we'll talk about auctions here in a little bit, but, uh, we raise lots of money for them over the years. And then a few years ago, I started a new organization called dondo, amore and dondo more means giving love in spanish, and we are raising money and support for orphanages and ecuador in africa. So that's been something, of course, now that is near and dear to my heart. And so, after ten years with leukemia lymphoma society, we switched over and now to our charity for don doa more. But you know, one of the things that I want to encourage you for when you you're starting your charity event. You know, back in the day, I had a little bit of a hard time asking people for money, you know, thinking about the idea of fundraising, even beyond the ways that I'm going to tell you it works to the studio, but one thing that I've realized over time is that, you know, if you aren't giving people the opportunity to give you may be taking that opportunity away from them and you just never know who's gonna be blessed through what you're doing and through the things that are important to you so keep that in mind as you're planning a charity event make sure that you're choosing an organization or you know it's just something that's important to you and it may be that you have everybody in your family is healthy that's how we picked the leukemia lymphoma society was you know, I really didn't have a charity that was near and dear to my heart and but we opened up ourselves to it and I brought my team together at the studio and said, you know, I really want to do this I want to do a charity event and within days are my office manager at the time came into the studio and her niece had been diagnosed with leukaemia and we were given our charity and so I really truly believe that when your heart is open and ready for these things you're going to be given them and so uh think about your charity events and I'm gonna tell you kind of how ours works in a nutshell, I won't be giving you all the nets and bolts, but you'll get a very good idea how you can raise some great money through your studio and the way we work that in the right way we raise money is we're going tow first, set up sessions through, you know, little angel sessions, and I like to do the sessions at other businesses, so I want to tie in another business into our cause and the way I find those businesses, I'm gonna look at who's advertising in the newspaper who's taking out full page ads, and I want to find out who is advertising on our local five o'clock news I'm gonna be watching that I want to look for businesses that have a lot of power in the marketplace and with the media, and so I want to tie together with them. I will call those businesses and I'll let them know this is our event that's what's going on, and this is how you can be involved. This is how you can give back, and really all I need is their space, and I need them to help me advertise the event, and by doing that, they're gonna look really good. They're hosting a charity event there, helping raise money for this event, and they really don't have to do a whole awful lot, really, the truth of the matter is I want their name behind this event, and so I have done this, you know, just looking at those newspapers advertisement in our local news advertisement, I have done these events at banks at jewelry stores at car dealerships I don't care, I just want teo I just want somebody that has a space and we just set up in a small area sometimes it's been a board room it's been out on the showroom floor at a car dealership, you know we'll do it anywhere we just need a little bit of space and then we need a place to sell because we are going to sell the package is for our sessions immediately following, but the first way we make money for the charity is through the sessions we charge a one hundred dollar donation for each child that's photographed, and that was something that I really learned the hard way the first year when I was photographing cousins and dogs and who knows what? Because it was one hundred dollars for the session and so they were trying to bring everybody into the session now it's one hundred dollars per child and so, you know, yes, families will still bring their three children, but they start thinking a little bit more about who all they want to be involved in the session. They're not going to be bringing cousins and dogs so that's step number one, we're going to be making money for the charity through those sessions that hundred dollar donation per child and then step number two is really where the magic happens we make so much money for our charity through voting and what their voting for is their favorite little angel to be chosen for our little angel calendar that we put out every year and so what happens is is after each session I'm going to choose my favorite image of each child and that favorite image is going to be placed on a shopping cart. The shopping cart that we use is through our photo biz website and donde wilmore as well as my studio are both on photo biz and then they have shopping carts that you can add onto your website through photo bits so we use that shopping cart and when we set up the shopping cart instead of, you know, setting up a five by seven and eight by ten eleven by fourteen we're going to set up one vote one dollars, five votes five dollars, ten votes ten dollars all the way to one hundred votes um that that's going to be set up in that shopping cart and then what happens is each and every family is out campaigning for their child to win as the favorite little angel that's going to go in the calendar so we have that voting going along for a month we raise lots of money through that in one year alone the biggest year that we ever had we raised almost thirty five thousand dollars through voting so you know, it is a huge, huge campaign that that we can do to raise lots and lots of money. This is the calendar we've got, of course twelve spots through the calendar for the one through twelve placing of the little angels, and then our thirteenth angel is our cover, which is actually number one, the one that raises the most money is going to get the cover and it's so fun starting a project like this and mom's really will get out there and fight for their kids to be in this calendar and on the cover. So it's a super fun way to raise money and even awareness for the studio it's great marketing for the studio, because people are sending their friends over to vote in the family over to vote so that's the second way that we raise money, the third way that we're going to make money for the organization is through the calendar sales themselves and one of the things that I learned the hard way you're going to get to learn right up front. But if you wanna have your calendars in another store, if you want to have him in a bookstore or a gift store someplace where they're going to be sold for you, then you need to have what's called an espn number and that's what this barcode is that goes on the back of any book any journal calendar, any printed piece that is in any store magazines even are gonna have an I s p n number, and this cost us about seventy five dollars. I believe each year and you confined it just by researching I s b n number and just google that you'll come up with several different resource is for that. We typically just purchase ours right from espn dot or ge, but there are a few other in it's, less expensive places to do it, um, way do go that route and pay about seventy five dollars, they send this bar code to you, and then this goes directly to your printer. The printer that we use for these is marathon press, and we've been really happy with the quality of these over the years. We've been using them since the beginning. Um, one other thing I wanted to mention about this campaign that we haven't talked about yet is, uh, the sales that we do immediately following our little angel sessions, and we do it that way for a couple of reasons, you know, in the beginning, actually, the very first year I showed the images immediately following the session, and we did our sails right away, and it worked really well. But I also believed in the power of projection and you know, that whole process with the clients so the next year we thought we'd be really, really smart and bring everybody back in for their sale the next week well, fifty little angels and does not take next week it takes like next month and the month and the month after that we were photographing are showing little angel images and doing those sails forever, and it was a nightmare, and so ever since then, we've been just doing them immediately following, and I love it because it just completely cuts down our workflow were only touching the images that have been ordered, and that is a wonderful, beautiful thing, but to do that, we've got to be really prepared, we've gotta have packages in place that we're plugging people into and suggesting for people, and I'm working through that we'll talk about some of that when we talk about pricing, but I want you to consider if you're going to do an event, consider showing the images immediately following it really, really cuts down on that workflow and that those sales are the way that the studio is profitable through these events and, you know, yes, we want to give, but I always say, you know, make a lot so you can give a lot and if your profitable in near business it's going to be so much easier for you to be able to give and to be able to do these kinds of things you know, over and over. So yes, you want to be able to give but also learned teo teo, to stay profitable and to receive as well, when you start doing charity events, you're also going to start being asked to participate in auctions and auctions can really be a great thing for your business. I know a lot of times the first thing that we think about it, so we don't want to give away the farm at an auction and so we put up a session and eight by ten that is going to go in the silent auction. Well, that is not going to give you much bang for your buck and it's also not going to really reach that target client that you're after. So think about doing something really grand for the auctions that you really wanna have a pardon you're going to be asked to do things from school auctions, teo, you know, little local things to the big uh events like the leukemia in the film a society or maybe something particular that you have in your town through junior league or something like that that's a higher end event, those are the events that you want to do something really special for the lower and events the school events and that kind of thing I want to be able to have a presence in I don't want to participate but that's not where I'm going to plug in a thousand dollars or fifteen hundred dollar package that's really not like, you know, target market, but I do want to be involved and so you can do something like donating an art piece or even just a frame from your studio and that's fine to go on the silent auction another thing that I do is I create gift certificates and those gift certificates are good for one hundred fifty dollars in the studio and they can, you know, sell those auction those off for a donation of one hundred dollars, so for a hundred dollar donation to the charity, they're going to get one hundred fifty dollars certificate to the studio, so those are the type of things that I want to give to the schools and the other, you know, smaller local charities because it's something that they can fundraise and due for one hundred percent of the donation you know, it's not like selling candy bars where it's a ten dollar item and they're only getting three dollars of it or five dollars of it, you know, this is a hundred dollar donation and they're keeping one hundred percent so they're excited and it looks good for me in reality you know, I'm giving five ten of these hundred dollars one hundred fifty dollars gift certificates away so their fund raising for five hundred dollars or thousand dollars they're making from the studio, but in reality, you know, one or two of them may come back into the studio, which is fine with me that's great those one or two that actually take me up on it, make the phone call coming and used that gift certificate usually are good targeted clients. Another thing that you can do is plug those people into certain events in your studio. And so our local charity are just our school when they do, they're fundraiser and somebody calls me from that we're going to plug them into a wednesday at our studio when we do winterset wednesdays and have a little bit different pricing and a little bit lower session fee for people that are in our own five, zero, two, seven, three zip code, you know? So you can plan those kind of things as well, so that you're not tying up prime time for your target clients if you're working with them but find little ways like that that you can tie in and could be of service and give and get your name out there and not, you know, break your bank, so those are the things that we do for the smaller events I also do those for the large events because once they auction off my large item and then they can say all right, anybody who bid on that and didn't win we now have one hundred fifty dollars gift certificates to lord lord, some studio that you can have for just one hundred dollar donation and then they auction those off so it's a great way for them to raise another five hundred thousand dollars looks great for my business and but, you know, it's not really giving away a lot for one hundred fifty dollars, you can't really buy much at my studio, so think about that too. When you're setting your price point now on those large oxen auctions, I want to really have a presence and so there's a couple of things that I want to do first, I want to ask the charity where are your sponsorship levels and typically a sponsorship level's going to start in about a thousand dollars? So whether it's a thousand dollars or fifteen hundred dollars, I'm gonna look to that sponsorship level and that's where I'm going to plug in my, uh my auction item and one of the reasons is I want to be on the live auction and not the silent auction I want to be up there with a high dollar items that people are excited about infighting over and bidding over so the silent auction I I'll let every other photographer there beyond that silent auction I don't require that I'm the only photographer by any means I love having, you know, five other photographers that have a session in an eight by ten on the silent auction that's fine, I'm gonna have this big item that people are gonna get excited about so it's going to be a thousand of fifteen hundred dollars I've even done in eighteen hundred dollars item at an auction at one time if somebody's bidding on that type of auction for you, they are going to be your target client and you know yes when they come in, we make additional income from that, but that's not the point to me, I want a client for life that is the whole reason for me working with somebody I want to keep working with them again and again. And so if I'm bringing in that right target client who's bid eight hundred thousand, you know, fourteen hundred whatever on my auction item, that person is probably going to be somebody that I'm gonna work with want to work with again and again. So, you know, think about the sponsorship levels, another just couple of things that have worked really well for me, teo, I have a larger presence at these events is really communicating with the charity and finding out really, just how I can be involved? Sometimes they'll have a slideshow that's running throughout the event, and so I've been able to plug images into that, you know, with the leukemia lymphoma society and went and photographed kids with cancer and did special stories on those that they ran on the slide shows when showed the little angels images as well, you know, there's different ways to get tight in. We've also had events where we've given away calendars we've given away thank you cards every single donor we provide the charity with thank you cards to send out. I print those I encourage the cost of that I donate those with those thank you cards air going out from the charity with a gift to lauren words from studio. And if you do this, you can pick your your donation point. You know anybody who donated over a thousand dollars I want this thank you card to go out. It looks like it's coming from the charity, but it's tied to a gift to the studio. So those are the type of people that I want to come in. So one of the things that I did start doing a couple of years ago that it was really successful was to find out who the special gas or speaker is at a charity event. And so I'll just ask the charity, you know, who's who's gonna be your special guest who's going to be your speaker and then we can talk about that person and when they give me their name, I'll let them know, you know, how would you feel about me giving them a call and offering to photograph them on your behalf and have their portrait there displayed at the event? Um if we can do this, I'll go out, I'll do a session with them and then they're actually gifted with that portrait there at the event, and so that is something that I'm completely donating I'm going and donating my time, I'm donating the printing usually I just do a large canvas piece and then we'll have it on display there at the auction, and what that does is, you know what ties me into this speaker, which everybody knows, you know, that's the guest speaker and then I have been I would have photographed their family and that's on display there, and so all of a sudden we create ah lot more value for a product that's coming up because now I'm tied an associated with that special guest, so um, you know, think about how you can work that way another very powerful thing to do is to find out who the auctioneer is and photograph that family which you know that sounds crazy but if you can do that and photograph that auctioneers family before the event, they're so much more tied to your package and so much more excited to talk about your package no longer is it this auctioneer whose trying to auction off a fifteen hundred dollars photo package you know now they've been tied to you and your experience and they can talk about it in a much different way so lots of ways that you can add value there to your big events the big charity events that you want to be involved in let's talk about local publications, local publications khun b a very powerful way to for you to have a presence in the marketplace but it's not easy it's a little daunting teo you know start contacting your local publications to try to get involved and have a presence so I want to talk to you a little bit about that first phone call and kind of howto work that um if you know me I am not a proponent of spending your marketing dollars on newspapers, magazines, radio I think you should be in all of those things but I want to talk to you about ways that you can be without having to spend those marketing dollars to do that. So when you call your local editors there, for instance, is a magazine in des moines called de esa magazine and when that publication called came out, I knew it was the publication I wanted to be involved in in fact, there they're little line that talks about their target market for their magazine it was so close to mine I was like, I've got to know these people and so I called the editor and a couple of tips before you call an editor first you're going to want to read through their past columns reed you know their letter from the editor that's in the front of every magazine even newspapers have editors that are writing columns, so you want teo, you get in touch with them, get it find out more about them read about them in those letters from the editor they usually are pretty personal they talk about vacations and travel and their kids and their dog and you know what their wife's doing, what their husbands doing so you can learn a whole lot about them and the more you learn about them, the more power that you have when you start talking to them, find out the things that you have in common talk about something that they've done recently that you find interesting talk about their kids, you know, whatever it is that can tie you into them, let them know that you've done some research and not in those words, you just wanna have this conversation that's very personal and another thing, the second thing that you're gonna want to do talk about how great you think that publication is and so, you know, even if you just say, you know, I love the magazine, you guys have done such an amazing job with this and, you know, I would love to get involved, so you're patting him on the back or her on the back and letting them know you love the magazine you love reading about their family, their travels, whatever, and so, you know, you're just building a relationship and that's really what it's all about are those relationships that we're building and so the first time that I call d s a magazine, I did exactly that. I talk to them personally about things that I had read I also did a little google google search and found out even more about the editor um and then I want to let them know that I love the magazine and talked about a couple of different articles that I thought were really great so very personal we had a very nice conversation, but at the end of the conversation I was still told you no, thanks so much for calling it was nice chatting with you, but we only work with photographers who advertise with us and I, you know, said thank you, no problem, I completely understand I just wanted to touch base and let you know that I love everything you're doing and would it be okay with you if I gave you a ring and about another month and and I'll tell you that even if that person is thinking no, I wish you'd never call me again they're not going to tell you know and so you know, could I call you in another month and then put that appointment on your calendar to make sure that you're calling again and touching base and just by doing that one little thing I've got it in several publications and I did get in d s and magazine in a very big way and have now shot several covers for them and have been involved in several articles that one of the things that I wanna offer to them is any time you need images for editorial, please keep me in mind I would love to be involved in that way I've also let people know if there is a new business that you want a feature I would love to go out and photograph that new business and that new business owner and provide those images to you I'm going to do that at no cost to them I'm gonna go out that's a way for me to meet and greet a new business that they want a feature that means it's probably somebody that I should be networking with especially since that publication is reaching out to my target client as well, so I want to go out I want to do the meeting and greeting I want to photograph that person I want to start that relationship so that you know, it's that can be a continual thing too, and we'll talk about those business partnerships that when we talk about networking but those air ways that you can get involved in local publications, even with the radio when they've got special events coming on, I will call and I'll let them know, you know? Hey, all right love to throw in a photography package for you, for your listeners that that can be included in that mother's day contest that you're doing or that holiday contest that you're doing, I want to be involved and that's another way as well that somebody's going to tell you usually the radio will tell you, you know what? We only work with people who pay advertising that's the only way you can get your product into our package or our basket or whatever they're getting away but stay on their minds, you know it's a way that you can again say, you know, would you mind if I gave you a call in another month, maybe send over a little care package to the radio station if it's you know when you want to target those avenues as well don't be you know, advertising on a station that your target clients aren't listening tio but if you know that they're there and you want a presence there, there are ways to get involved just by building relationships and networking there's one radio station in town that always talks about our little angel event and I've been involved with them just by by calling and taking over cookies and, you know, getting involved with them on a personal level and then when I have events come up they want to talk about them and so they'll bring me on as a special guest or though you know, talk about the event I've also have been involved in our local christian station where I've provided gift certificates and photo packages for people who are in need or, you know, maybe maybe it's mother's day and there's you know you can write in a letter that tells why your mom or your someone you know should get this special package that is, you know, maybe a hotel stay in a spa package and a photography session and it's just all about, you know, giving back in that way, but having a presence on those places where you know your target client is is the real goal of this so you know, think about ways that you can build those relationships and stay on people's minds and then make sure if you're if you're having to say something to someone you know, would it be okay with you if I give you a call in another month and just check in, you know, do that make sure that you're checking back in and keeping in front of them and staying on their mind? And you'll be surprised at what can come out from that from that, you know, don't let yourself get beat up when you're told no the first time there's always the next time we've talked about several ways that you can get out there and attract new clients to you and these air, always that are just, you know, that low hanging fruit things that are available to you and things that aren't going to cost you money, we need to invest time into our marketing as well as those marketing dollars, but if you can plan and schedule for that time that you're going to invest, there are things that are right in front of you that are going to be ways that you can get out there, have a presence in your community and really get in front of your target market. But I don't want you to forget about your current clients, you know, everybody's got clients that are, you know, have been that best. Past client and sometimes we forget about them and that's really going to be your best and easiest way to market is back through somebody who's already worked with you, so don't forget about those people and, you know, one of the things that I've learned along the way, and I'm sure that you have a cz well, no matter where you are in your business brand new ten years, fifteen years later, where ever you are, word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. We all know that inherently, but then what are we doing to make sure that it happens? So think about putting a referral campaign in place. Um, our referral campaign through our studio is called circle of friends and that's something that we started years ago, I realized that I really wanted a way to make sure that we're are encouraging our client story for us, and then we're thanking them. And so now we've taken that even to the next level by asking for those referrals. And so something that I want to say to my clients when we've kind of gone through the process and it may be it the order appointment and maybe after their porches have been delivered and I'm checking in on them, but I want to literally say to them. You know, I've loved working with you and I know I would love working with your friends is there anybody that you can think of that would enjoy this experience and get those you know, referral juices brewing you know, I want them to be thinking about who that they could refer who they could talk to about the studio I also want to let them know that for every friend that they refer to us they're going to get a fifty dollar portrait cut it to the studio towards their next session so that's something you know, I've had people ask in the past well, what if they come in with ten gift certificates? You know, hallelujah that means they've sent ten great new clients my way yes, I am happy to give him that five hundred dollars in credit they deserve it that's building our marketing team and it's building it very organically and it's not something that you have to pay for up front you're paying for clients that have been, you know, brought into you and so really encourage those referrals and put a plan in place to make sure you're thanking people for their referrals another way we wantto continue to market to past clients is through note cards and letters hand written notes that were sending out and, you know, make sure that you've got a follow up system in place so that six weeks to six months after a client session, you're touching base with them again, you're letting them know you hope they're enjoying their portrait, that you were just thinking about them and just touching base. And, you know, the art of the written letter is kind of a lost art, and I would encourage you, teo, you know, pick that up some of the ways that we're using notecards in the studio kind of plans that you should have in place are sent a note cards throughout the experience, you know, after that first phone call, send out a card that says it was so great to talk to you today, I'm so excited to photograph your kids, you could put a little reminder card in the note card, but just a way of touching base. You know, even if your client's or potential clients don't book a session with you, think about sending out a note card id them that says it was great talk to you. Um, I loved hearing about your kids this morning if there's anything that we can do for you in the future, please let us now in a way, I'll get those addresses if someone doesn't book in the studio, if they maybe weren't the right fit for right now. I'm gonna let them know you know I would love to touch base with you and let you know about special events that are coming up in the studio in the future could I get your your mailing address and your e mail address from you and so I'm building that potential client database in that way as well so that's a great first time to send out that note card the second time is going to be after the session right after your sessions sit down while you're downloading your card and write a thank you note to your client telling them what a great time you had it the session and that you can't wait for them to see their image is that's another just second touch point after that session to keep them excited and then we want to send a card again after the sales appointment after they come in and they placed their order we want to send out a card that says you know thanks for mei so much for being here tonight or this afternoon you made such great choices we always want to really pat them on the back and let them know that their choices were great and that they're going to really love everything when it's finished so touching base again and then finally on the follow up so those air always too the marketing currently with your clients and then those follow up notes are justus important you can also market and connect with your current clients by making a phone call, and that sounds a little scary when you first start doing it, and it is scary the first couple times you do it, but I know for me, a few years ago, we kind of hit a lull in the business for many years, my business just kind of grew on its own, there was lots of word of mouth, I was very active out with displays and, you know, and then I hit a point where I was a little afraid to market because I don't know if I could handle any more business, and so then, you know, as time went on, things kind of stalled a little bit and it especially happened around two thousand nine, and if any of you have been in business for before two thousand nine, you know what I'm talking about? Because about that time, it kind of came to that point where the phone wasn't just ringing all by itself anymore, and I don't want teo sit and stare at my phone and wait for it to ring. I want to make it happen, and so I started picking up the phone and just calling past clients. And there are a couple ways that you can do this you can just call and say, hey, this is laurie I was thinking about you guys wanted to know how the kids were I haven't seen you in a while and just have a conversation and you know, people will be surprised by that and it's happily surprised you know they love hearing from you but it's also so many times just on that simple phone call without even mentioning anything about the studio that person is going to say, you know, wow, we were thinking about you or wow it's time teo schedule our next family portrait session I can't believe that you called and so it's just saying in front of them and keeping those lines of communication over and keeping that relationship going on making those phone calls in that way another phone call that we make is to actually book sessions and for instance, before the fall season starts, we want to pick up the phone and start calling people in just saying to them, you know, hey, our fall season is getting really busy and we would love to get you scheduled and on the books before you miss out on that opportunity, and so we're booking sessions in that way and just taking a very proactive, you know, marketing stance with our current clients to get them back in the studio I also decided to start getting aggressive with my past clients that didn't sound right did it but aggressive and marketing to my past clients in the past years by creating something that would get them to come in again and again and so we started our our birthday club and that came at a time when I had really niche to myself into kids in the beginning I was photographing kids and that's what I love and then about nineteen, ninety nine I suppose I decided I needed to start photographing babies and maternity or I might miss out on the kids you know, if somebody went someone somewhere else for maternity your new born so I've started photographing attorney and newborn and over the next several years became extremely mitch into maternity baby and not really because I wanted to but it just happened in my marketplace I was you know, there wasn't a lot of that going on at the time and so when I started photographing attorney and baby people you know, came and uh then all of a sudden I was missing out on kids what I really really love to photograph and yes, babies turn into kids, but I wasn't I was just kind of missing out on that people were trickling off because I wasn't aggressively following up with them and so we created the birthday club at that time and what the birthday club is it started out for anybody who had been through our first year plan. Our first year baby was automatically enrolled in our birthday club, and so we would let them know that every year on the month of the child's birthday, up until age fourteen, they would get a free birthday session for that birthday child. Well, now, it's, we offer and extend it to anyone who comes in for a family portrait session, our first year, whatever if there a client that we want to work with again and again, they are gifted that birthday club membership, and so we do want to be ableto contact and get in touch with with those families the month of their child's birthday and get them scheduled, but it also turns into family portrait from that, and the way that happens is we really, really want to concentrate on the birthday child for those sessions. And so, um, in a positive way to communicate to the client instead of nope, you can't bring any other family members you can't bring, siblings can bring families, we don't, we want to keep it positive. And so the answer is, you know what? We're going to do something really special for your daughter for her birthday, we want to help you create a tradition so that every single year, she's a decided to come back and have her special time for her portrait so let's make this all about her and so that's allowed us to stay positively focused on just photographing the child while still, you know, scheduling those family sessions. We'll do a birthday session for the child, but then mom might say, you know, yeah, it's time for us to do our family session again. We want to make sure we get photographs so we could do our christmas cards and and gifts and so that'll turn into family sessions, but it's, just a way for us to keep in touch and keep contact and keep building those relationships have them return again every single year by putting a plan in place to make that happen, and so you could do that with a birthday club. You could even do that with families once they reach a certain price point, they don't pay for sessions again. If you know somebody is going to spend, come in and spend the right money with you, who cares if they don't pay a session fee? Give them that and let them know you know that's a way to keep them coming back and again, again, again, they're just hide in so you could create a program where once they hit that dollar amount, that is, you're kind of sweet spot during one single session you're going to gift them with a lifetime of free family portrait sessions and I think that's a fabulous way to, you know, keep clients coming back and again and again, if you're a wedding photographer and your wedding client has spent the right money with you, make sure that you're gifting them with at least a first anniversary session. You also want to be gifting them when they have their first baby and maybe even yearly. They get a free session the month of their anniversary every year, so it's a way to tie back into those past clients and keep them coming in again and again and last. I want to share with you our buzzworthy baby campaign and all throughout talking about marketing today, I've been sharing with you things that really aren't costing you any marketing dollars they're costing you time invested, which time is money? Absolutely, but when you're starting out and you don't have those actual greens to spend, you can invest a little bit more time into some of these things. But buzz really, baby er, that campaign is something that we actually do invest some dollars in, but it really has the return of great potential clients and what the buzz worthy baby campaign is is it's a gift basket that we've created that our favorite clients can gift to their friends or a sister or a cousin that is having a baby and so these gift baskets can go to the hospital they can go to a baby shower or to the friend's home but it's just you know for their baby it looks great looks amazing and the main piece and this is a little five by five wild sorbet frame and in that frame is a gift certificate to the studio and these gift baskets are certainly something that we could sell and make available of somebody purchased a newborn session or the first year sessions for their child or grandchild or a friend you know we could put this gift basket together and and just include the extras as something special to add to it it's certainly assailable product but the way I decided to do it in the beginning was to actually gift it to my favorite client so I sent out an e mail to twenty or so of my favorite people and it wanted to let them know that this was available to them to gift to their friends or family members who were having babies we do try to personalize it when we can if they know the baby's name but if they don't we just add a little title to it like sweet baby or little one something just sweet that can go on the all the personalization but we like to personalize it when we can and by doing this this is allowed us access two people that we would have never had access to two before the gift does look amazing so whether it's at a shower or at the hospital it gets attention and it's also spurred us into gifting like this for other things we we have put baskets and gift bags together for different events like high school senior graduation parties, children's birthday parties if we know there's going to be a high end event coming up, we'll actually create the gift bags that they can give out to their guest and so it's just a way tio no really network and stay involved in your client's lives and encourage that repeat business thanks so much for getting through marketing with me today and hopefully have gotten lots of ideas for ways to reach new clients and to stay involved with your current clients. I hope you've taken lots of notes in, you know, choose one two or three of the things that we talked about today that you know that you can take action on because that's going to be your next step is deciding, you know what am I going to do first? What am I going to do next and putting an action plan together for that? And we'll be working together to create a marketing plan, but I want you to start thinking about which one of these things that you actually want to put into place