Develop a Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategies. Give, give, give, give, give. Give in a way that gives you back. So when you donate something make sure that you have a way that it helps your business in return, okay? When you donate your time, make sure it's a good representation of what you do as a business and as a photographer. Press, this is an interesting thing. How do you get press? This was always the huge enigma for my business. How do you get press? Well, you do something cool. You do something interesting. You do something newsworthy. So when I donate to these organizations, oh my gosh, a local photographer is a philanthropist. A local photographer is doing something interesting in the community. Oh my gosh, a local photographer is teaching workshops to young moms so that they can get better images of their kids. These kind of things are newsworthy, and do you know how you get in touch with the news? There's this little button on their website for TV, radio, and newspapers that says if you have an int...
eresting story contact us. You push that button, and you say, hey, I just thought you might, I just thought you were interested in, we did this event, or we did this, or whatever it is that's newsworthy, you reach out. Sometimes you get a response, sometimes you don't, but if you are constantly reaching out saying this is new, we're doing this, I just went to a workshop here and learned about all these things, this is a local business that is reaching out, investing in the community. These are all news stories for local news. This will get you press eventually. Keep reaching out. If it doesn't work change your strategy a little bit and reach out again. Change your strategy a little bit and reach out again until finally the news anchor calls and says, this is a great story, thank you so much. They're always looking for local news stories, okay? It just takes trying. That's the scariest part. It doesn't have to be perfect, just try. And then online marketing strategies. We're gonna talk about these in the upcoming segments. So website development, PhotoBiz. You guys have the link for the discount code. We're gonna talk about social media, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, all of those fun things that we spend so much time on. You guys get a feel for how this marketing works. It's super cool, and you get to be creative, and try new things, and keep trying new things and once you figure it out enjoy it because it's gonna change, and you have to figure out something else new, and that's part of the joy of this business. It's never the same. You constantly try new things. You constantly push into new areas, and if you make a mistake it's not big deal. Just try something different.
Any, this is from Becky C, who sounds like is newborn photographer, and says, any ideas for newborn photographers at doctor's offices and hospitals in terms of that give and give back and giving value. She says, I'm not sure how I could benefit from the, how I can benefit them aside from giving them beautiful art work.
That's a great thought, and it's a good question, because you have to think about just because somebody's having a baby doesn't necessarily mean they are your target client as a newborn photographer, and so doctor's offices have all different kinds of patients, and so have to make sure that you are hitting your target client. So if your doctor's office that you're interested in partnering with does support niche pretty specifically then often times they give their new moms little goody bags with all kinds of specials and recommendations and little gifts. So that would be a place that you could use your gift certificates. That would be a nice perk that the doctor's office could include for their new mommies. But maybe what would be a better fit is the boutique down the road that specializes in providing all kinds of goodies that new parents are looking for because when they go to the doctor they're thinking about the health of their baby, and how this whole process is going to work. When they go to the boutique down the road they're thinking about, oh, let's think about all these fun things that I can get for my baby. So it's a whole different mind set whenever you're going shopping. So that might actually be a better fit for a gift certificate or a promotional piece to hand out to new moms.
In terms of the 800 to $1,000 threshold for clients and that if, that everybody can afford $800. Sometimes you might have to set 'em up on a payment plan. How do you go about doing that and not have that become a chase after the money issue?
Oh that's a really good question. We learned that one the hard way as well. So, payment plans there are a couple of really firm rules. I always get two forms of payment and I make it very clear that I am gonna automatically run the first card. If that doesn't work I'm gonna automatically run the second card. If I have to pick up the phone and call you it's a $45 fee, okay? And so that eliminates most of it. I also set it up so that it is custom for what they can afford. So, they tell me the dollar amount that I'm gonna bill every single month and I give them the option of having me run the card on the first or the 15th, okay? So they can choose, or both. Sometimes if they get a paycheck every two weeks it works really well to bill both times. So, for some clients it might be better to do $ twice a month. Other clients, it's better to do $100 once a month. Just talk to your clients about that, and then don't deliver the product until it's paid in full. So there's a surefire way to get that to happen every time and I can tell you over the years we've had a couple of clients that have started out on payment plans and have never finished them. They may have paid us even four or $5, and then they just kind of fell off the face of the earth. So, but we didn't ever create any product, and we've tried to contact them, and they just have never happened. So as long as you don't deliver product ahead of time you are in that control position again and who knows? Maybe they'll call us someday. (laughing) But that basically is it, and it's allowed a lot of people to invest with us that ordinarily wouldn't be able to do so. Yeah. Yes?
How would you suggest using gift certificates for corporate clients?
For corporate clients. Hmm, for corporate clients like event photography, or commercial marketing kind of photography? Both, okay. I don't know that you can use a gift certificate as effectively with a business as you can an individual. But what businesses need more so than a donation is a reason to want to work with you, and so rather than giving them $100 off or whatever that is, say hey, I know that you do events all the time, and I would really like to work with you in the future. Why don't you let me come in and photograph this event for you and show you how easy I am to work with? Go in, kill it, do an amazing job. That's your job interview, basically. Do a great job. Make it super easy to work with you. Create a high quality product, and they'll call you again and again and again. So if you wanna work in that arena, give up front, do an amazing job, and it's hard to find people that you really enjoy working with. So if you can be that person for them they will call you all the time, whether it's a wedding or a corporate client.
When contacting businesses, for marketing would it be easier to make a phone call and try and figure out who to talk to, or is it easier to email and try and figure out directly who I need to speak with?
Yeah, that's a great question. I struggle with that all of the time. It depends. If it's a big company that has a receptionist you can call and say hey, who's in charge of whatever it is that you wanna interact with, booking events, or the marketing person, or whatever. You can find a lot of that information on LinkedIn. You can find out who the marketing person is, or PR. That's a great way to go about it. If you know who they are, like a wedding venue, often when you're searching for weddings, you can see who the coordinator is, and just email them directly. Me personally, I always say pick up the phone because I want them to know that I'm easy to work with and I'm fun and personable. All of those things are really important for my brand. So it's always a phone call. Or, if there's an event where a bunch of people that you wanna work with come together figure out a way to get in that event and just be there. Show up. So that makes a difference as well. So, like if there's a trade show where all the marketing people come together, that's your gateway.
This is from Adamu Nicoli who says, the gift certificates, can you explain again what exactly are you giving away? So if it's for a family portrait session, is it money, credit towards the actual session fee itself or is it only towards product or what is it that you're giving away and then still maintaining profitability?
Absolutely. So, it depends who I'm giving the gift certificate to. So if I'm partnering with a local store I might give away a gift certificate that is valued at the same amount as my session fee. So $100 or $200, whatever that session fee is. If that's the one where when they come into a store and they spend $100 they get $100 gift certificate to Holcombe Photograph, that's gonna be good for the session fee. If I'm partnering with an organization and I'm trying to help them raise money and it is a gift from my heart to that organization I'm gonna give them something much bigger. So that's where I would give away the $1,000 gift certificate because I'm making a generous donation from the heart and I know that that's gonna be my target client coming back to me that I'm going to serve again and again and again, and if you think back to the pricing section earlier where I had a markup factor of at least five, instead of 3.3, I know that I can survive with a markup factor of three, but I always mark it up by at least five. So when I give away $1,000 I know that I'm still breaking even. I also know because my sales strategy is solid that I will likely get a $3,000 sale from that. So I still have $2,000 that I'm gonna collect from that client, even though they already spent $1, and donated that to the organization. It's not as profitable as a session where I got that $1,000 for myself, but it's still profitable because of my demand based pricing that we talked about earlier.