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Your Target Market & Brand Message

Lesson 23 from: How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

Your Target Market & Brand Message

Lesson 23 from: How to Start a Photography Business

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

23. Your Target Market & Brand Message

Identifying your target market and brand message is essential to building your business. Dive into the topic with an example using Pye's own photography business.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of the lesson is how to identify your target market and craft your brand message for a photography business.


  1. Why is it important to research your target market?

    Researching your target market helps you understand their needs, preferences, and behaviors, allowing you to tailor your brand message and marketing efforts to effectively reach and appeal to them.

  2. What are some ways to gather information about your target market?

    You can conduct market research by looking up industry studies, analyzing competitors' experiences, and surveying or interviewing your target customers.

  3. Why is it important to establish the value of your services before revealing your prices?

    By establishing the value of your services first, you can justify charging higher prices and increase the likelihood of clients being willing to spend more.

  4. How can social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook be used to connect with potential clients?

    According to the lesson, brides and grooms often connect with brands and vendors through social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook. Therefore, it is important for photographers to have a presence on these platforms and share content that aligns with their target market's preferences.

  5. What are some examples of different brand messages in the photography industry?

    The lesson provides examples of different brand messages, such as a luxury and refined look, a bold and adventurous vibe, and a soft and romantic style. Each brand message is targeted towards a specific audience and conveys a unique value proposition.

  6. Why is it important to create client personas?

    Client personas help you understand your target customers on a deeper level, including their demographics, preferences, and needs. This information can guide your marketing strategies and help you create content and messaging that resonates with your ideal clients.

  7. Should a photography business target a specific niche or cater to a broader audience?

    It depends on the business's goals and resources. Targeting a specific niche can allow you to become an expert in that area and attract a more focused clientele. However, catering to a broader audience can provide more opportunities for growth and diversification.

  8. How can understanding your target market impact your marketing efforts?

    Understanding your target market allows you to create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. You can design advertisements and content that speak directly to their needs and preferences, increasing the chances of attracting and converting leads.

Next Lesson: What's in a Name


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Common Myths & Unknown Truths


The Road Ahead


Find Your Passion


The Lin & Jirsa Journey


Part-time, Full-time, Employed, Partners?


Stop Wasting Time & Money


Your 12 Week Roadmap


Great Plans Still Fail


Strategy Vs. Planning


Mind Mapping


Select a Focus


Competitor Research


S.W.O.T. Analysis


Strategy & Long Term Goals


Values, Vision & Mission


Effectively Managing Your Time


Artistic Development


Create Your Plan


What's Your Product


Luxury vs Consumer Products & Experiences


Quick Break for Econ 101


Your Target Market & Brand Message


What's in a Name


Your Client 'Why'


Crafting the Why Experience


Document the Client Experience


Business Administration Basics


Book Keeping Management


Create the Logo & Branding


Portfolio Design


Design Your Services & Packages


Pricing Fears & Myths


Three Pricing Methods


Package Pricing Psychology & Design


Psychology of Numbers


Pricing Q&A


Grass Roots Marketing


The Empty Party


Friends & Family Test Shoots


Join Groups


Second Shooting Etiquette


The Listing & Classified Hustle


Make Instagram Simple


Your Automated Pinterest Plan


Facebook Because You Must


Giveaway & Styled Shoots


Content Marketing & SEO


The Monster: SEO


Selecting Your Keywords


Testing Your Keywords


Grouping Main & Niche Goals


Your Content Road Map


Content Marketing Q&A


Inspiration to Keep Working


How to Craft Your Content


Internal Linking Basics


Back Link Building Basics


Link Value Factos


Measuring Link Value


Link Building Strategy & Plan


Link Building Plan: Vendors & Guest Writing


Link Building Plan: Features, Directories, Comments


Link Building: Shortcuts & One Simple Tool


What is Sales? Show Me!


Your First Massive Failure


The Sales Process


Your Second Massive Failure


Understand Buyer Psychology


Step 0: Building Rapport & Trust


Step 1: Identify Need or Want


Cognitive Dissonance


Steps 2 & 3: Value Proposition & The Solution


Step 4 : Close, Make the Ask


Step 5: Follow Up & Resolve Concerns


Family Photography Hot Seat


Business Example Hot Seat


Boudoir Photography Hot Seat


The Best Sales Person


Your Mindset, Vibrations & Frequency


Always Positive, Always Affirming


The Second Money & Dual Process


Chumming the Price Waters


Creating Want or Scarcity


Timeless Advice on Being Likable


Selling Over The Phone


Forbidden Words in Sales


Lesson Info

Your Target Market & Brand Message

Your target market and brand message. We're gonna talk specifically about weddings just because that's our focus. I want you guys to see how we approached it. There's a 2016 BRIDES American Wedding Study, you can look these things up online, they're very simple to find, these different studies in different genres. If you're in a niche area, it might be more difficult to get generalized information, so you're gonna have to go off of, like we talked about, kind of other photographers' experiences, and that type of stuff. So, brides/grooms are focused on making the entire planning and wedding process more meaningful. As of 2016, the Millennial generation and younger, they want everything to have meaning, experiential purpose, they want there to be a reason for why they need these products. Probably becomes important in our brand messaging. It's bride focused, but then more than ever, men are weighing in on weddings. Like the guys are actually getting interested. It's not the old days wher...

e, you know, guys were just like, "Whatever, I'll just show up. "Just tell me the date, the tux, whatever." No, a lot of our guys are the ones that are picking to go with Lin and Jirsa. A lot of our guys are like, "We gotta go with them, I love their work." Interesting. The average wedding cost is around $26,522 in 2016. And this is an interesting spot, part to kind of analyze, 35% spend more than intended. 58% are willing to increase their budget, and this is what I have to say to posting your prices online: if 58% are willing to spend more, why would you ever show them your prices before you establish the value that you want them to have? Okay? So a starting place as a filter is okay, but then posting your stuff, we're gonna talk about that, that's one of your biggest mistakes because there's been no presentation of value. We don't know what it is that you're offering, right? And if 58% are willing to spend more, that's a big thing there. And you can assume that this applies to almost anything. This is a general consumer mindset. How many of you would spend more to get what you really want? Raise your hand. Every one of us raised our hand. Now what you really want might be different than what I want. Like, I can tell that Kenna would probably drop $10, on the most ridiculous dream vacation safari trip in the world. But would you drop 10,000 on a pair of shoes? No. No. Because that is not necessarily something that you value. But there might be someone else in this audience that absolutely loves shoes, and they would. Does that kind of make sense? Like, the thing is, figuring out who is the target market, how do we present them a product that has value to them, and then not being afraid to ask more than they were intending to spend because we've shown them the value that it has. It's pretty simple, right? 82% of brides are connecting with brands and vendors via social media. That shows that it is important. Pinterest is actually the most popular one. How many of you spend the majority of your time on Facebook? It's okay to raise your hands 'cause I was in that group too. I would spend the majority of my time on Facebook looking for things until I learned. How many of you spend most of your time on Pinterest? One person, great. One person is doing it right! Great job, Julie. (audience laughs) But if you see this, and you're like, "Oh man, what am I doing on this other place, "let me redirect some effort." Social media platform, so Pinterest remains the most popular. For wedding, brides. 72% of brides are using the platform. The biggest ticket item averages are engagement rings at 5,000. Second on that list, this is literally a list of the biggest ticket items. Photography is number two. And you know that if the average is 2,000, the luxury market is a lot higher. And you know now that 60% of them are willing to spend more. Now it's just a matter of tailoring your message, correct? Getting the right product and tailoring the message for them. Are you guys like, "Oh yeah, okay." Like what Lee said, "Can we just press pause "so I can go do some stuff right now?" (audience laughs) Engaged, next steps. This is what we do as human beings right now in this age. As of 2016, we first tell our family members and close friends. That's probably like, "Hey mom, dad, I'm engaged." "That's awesome." Post to social media! That's number two. So, hmm. If that is the natural process is for our clients to be posting to social media frequently, then shouldn't part of our focus be in creating images that they would want to post along with those messages that they're sharing? That's where our engagement shoots come in. It's not so much an engagement shoot for the sake of the shoot itself. The shoots themselves are not that profitable until they come in and buy more stuff. But as a marketing tool, they're incredibly effective because every time they send another message out, every time they're like, "Oh my gosh, this." it's one of our photographs, right there, every single time. Easiest marketing. Not to mention it gives you more portfolio stuff, it gets them in front of the camera, it gets you additional revenue, it does so much for you. So this is us. When we put together our brand, and our look, this is what we wanted to convey. And this is where you guys are gonna go back to your mind mapping. I want you to put together your little box, it's gonna say, "brand message" and you're gonna branch out from there with what it is that you want to convey. We want our brand to appeal to women. But notice that we also want it to appeal to men, like we want to have kind of a neutral stance in that we have maybe a slightly feminine look without going over the top. We want refined and a luxury kind of look and feel to the site. An experiential meaning and purpose, like we want there to be something that, like a different experience that you get, and we're gonna walk through that experience in this segment. We want our brand to be traditional and neutral in perception. There's a big reason for that. We are not open online regarding political, religious beliefs, any of those things, because of our target markets. So, brides that we're looking for, they have parents, traditional Jewish parents, Persian parents, doctors, lawyers, all of these different high up people coming from different religions and organizations that need to be cohesive and look and feel like the message is neutral. So we present that message as neutral. We're not aggressive in our branding, we're not any of those things, because if we did, we would lose these people, right? So there's intention behind that. Julie? Would you also say that for your personal profiles on social media? To stay away. Absolutely, yes. Because, let me ask you this, how many of you have had a friend, raise your hands, have had a friend say something on social media that made you go, "I'm not your friend anymore?" Yeah, pretty much everybody has had that friend that said that? Now what if a company that you liked their product came out and said that? Would you continue to buy their product? No. No, it's the exact same thing. So be aware and cognizant of the messages that you put into the world, because it matters from every side and every standpoint. Now, that being said, if you wanted to go aggressive, I'm gonna show you like some different, like more kind of in-your-face and bold messages to attract clients that fit that. This isn't one right way of doing it. Let's go and show you another one. So this is, if you go to Lin and Jirsa, do you notice how like, a lot of these are older images, but still, they convey a sense of like, kind of drama and pop-y and modern, and like that kind of a look to it, right? You can see a cohesive look to that grouping of images. Then you go over to the right side, this is the actual site. It's designed to be, like this whole thing, this banner, you can actually go and see it, but that banner is like a video that plays across, very beautiful, there's this light and airy flare that comes across the bride and groom, very romantic. We have messaging here, the fonts, the type. Who we're featured by, Grace Ormonde, Maharani Weddings, these are all very kind of like, our two biggest features are high end. We have awards listings. So, you need to define your market and your ideal client. I'm gonna show you a couple different versions. I looked up, I had my mouse over the Google thing when I took this snapshot. It's on that day, it was Paula Modersohn-Becker's 142nd Birthday. Do you know, anybody know who that is? I don't know who that is. Okay. I looked up "tattooed bride." Guess who showed up as number one? My friend Mike Allebach. This is his company, his site. Beautiful images. Very different feel. Now let me ask you this, would a traditional Jewish mother go for that? (audience laughs) No. Let me ask you this, would a bold bride or groom that wants something very different go for us? Nope. It's not the same message. Okay, and that's to say that there is no right or wrong. 'cause Mike is very successful, he creates great images. I blocked out this section of images 'cause I looked up "tattooed bride," I don't know if all the brides there are his photographs, so I wanted to make sure that we didn't show anything that we shouldn't. But yeah. Check him out, amazing work. And I asked him to put into words what his brand message was. This is what he had: colorful, accepting, adventurous, quirky, active families, LGBT weddings, bold. Do you see that in this? How does that change, this all comes from your core values and your vision. This all goes back to that exercise that we did because I would hope that this whole set, your brand is going to follow the things that you are, what you define for yourself. That's the only thing that's sustainable, right? You can't pretend to be something you're not. Let's go to another one. Caroline Tran, another one of my friends. How different is this? I mean, look at all three of these. Look at this versus this versus this. So very different, every one of them. Every one of them have carved out a niche and a good business in the exact same product offering in the exact same industry. Caroline's focus, can you guys describe it for me? Does she have a look to her images? (woman speaks off microphone) Light, romantic, it's interesting you said romantic. Pastels? Posed. Posed. Cute. Look at her words, soft, romantic. Personal, emotional. She matched us on luxury, refined. Young families. Focus: female buyers. Guys, how many of you resonate with soft and airy and beautiful and soft and romantic type stuff? It's, but the great part about this is that, when it comes to weddings, you're 40% of the decision. Or less. And your bride is 60%, so she's playing on that. And this is her, this is her style, who she is. Do you think this client that wants that is the same client that wants this or is the same client that wants this? No. They're not at all the same. But that makes sense in terms of what we want to do for branding-wise. Okay. So this is where we're gonna mind map who is our ideal client? And you're gonna start to think about what would they want? So, oh, go ahead Julie. What if we have different target clients, like I have the mother-to-be, the bride-to-be, so it would be, do you need to do like different personals for each one of them, or? That's a good question. Let me see if, are you asking like, what if you have dramatic and soft and airy, like two different types of clients, or? It's more about selling your products differently according to the audience, I guess. Oh I think, you mentioned earlier like some of them are brides. Mm-hmm. Some of them are just girls that want to be confident. Yeah. But you have a single look, right? Yeah. Your look and style is one and the same. So what you have is kind of different product offerings in the same line up, okay? Okay. Their difference is this, if I, I know how to do light and airy stuff, okay, I like it, but do you think there's a purpose of putting it next to this on the same site? Those are two products that appeal to two completely different people in terms of like, it's not about the consumer, it's about like the taste. They're not the same thing. This is where you dilute your product and your brand by putting two things that appeal to two different markets next to each other. Can you buy, I'm gonna use this example 'cause it's ubiquitous, ubiquitous? Ubiquitous. Everybody knows these examples, but if you go to a Honda dealership, can you buy Acuras at the Honda dealership? Yeah. No. Do you know of a Honda dealership that sells Acuras also? Oh I mean used, I guess. I mean, dammit Joe! (audience laughs) in general, you have Lexus, and Toyota, and they're two separate brands, two separate buildings, two separate everything, right? They might sell used versions of everybody else's cars because they buy your used cars, but they market individually. And that's what I would say is the same thing. If you set up to market one side as traditional luxury and you have another product that appeals to another audience, break them out into two sites, if you're gonna do that at all, but don't put them on the same site. But if you're offering, let's say, let's go to Caroline's. Let's say you're offering family portraits and engagement and wedding, and all of it with this nice, beautiful style. That's cohesive enough to go on the same site. You're gonna be challenged in terms of marketing to all the different people at the same time, but it's cohesive enough to belong in the same brand. If that makes sense. Okay. Okay, so we want that list. So what I want from that mind map is your list, those words, these, the words that your brand message is attempting to convey. And if you don't yet know that, let's identify who your target client actually is. So I have step number two which is form client personas. Identify the actual clients that are going to buy your services, and you're gonna include basic information on each of these clients. You want their age, location, profession, their story, their bio, their needs. You're gonna make these up, they're fictitious. I gave you a template for it. It's in your downloads, okay, so pause, go grab the template, come back, this is what that template will look like for what I filled in for you. This is an example of our typical Indian bride, a big part of our market are Indian brides. Let me read it. Karishma is a 30-year-old lawyer from Los Angeles, she is the daughter of two respected doctors in the community and has a great relationship with her brothers. She grew up watching Bollywood movies and loves to dance. When she's not working her long hours and pursuing her career, she loves to travel, stay fit doing various group exercises, trying new restaurants with her fiance, or cuddling up with her dog Corgi. Aww, that's all fake, I mean, we wrote that. In terms of like, you're getting an idea of who this client is, right, because when I've identified age group 30, Los Angeles lawyer, income, graduate degree, wedding info, what is the typical wedding info, what is the typical, you should be able to think back and go, "Oh, I know exactly what product fits that person. "They're gonna want a three day wedding package "because it covers their pre-wedding events." Generally they have two pre-weddings, two pre-wedding events for Indian photography. If her brand preferences are in the Whole Foods, Lululemon, Apple, Mercedes Benz, I definitely know she's a luxury product person. She wants that experience. Let me craft this around that person. Let me give them a simple buying process. Let me do all of these things that other brand preferences that your clients have are doing. So this is where you look at like, well what are examples of what other people are doing for these types of clients? So, I'm gonna flip it to you guys. Who are some of your ideal clients? I know this is a tough question. I'm hoping that you have a focus by now, 'cause if not, you're like, "Everybody! "Everybody is my, whoever is willing to pay me some money "is my ideal client." No. Mine would be sports brands, so bicycle manufacturers, clothing manufacturers. Fantastic. And that puts the responsibility on you to figuring out, if those are your targets, how do they get their photography? How do they get? And then you start realizing, "Hey, they work through agencies. "How do I get into an agency?" Then you start playing that backwards game of getting there. But even in that niche of like sports brands, this is the beauty of commercial, when you're talking about commercial, you don't need sports brands, you need a sport brand. You get a Nike, you're done, you're good, that's all you need. And then you can work from there, but one client is enough for you. So it's more so about like, you're doing very longterm like kind of marketing approaches to try and get one. And that's what differentiates this from portraiture. Direct client serving where you're trying to do things to get masses. Personas are who the brand identity and message must be conveyed to. This goes back to, do you think Mike Allebach's personas are very different from ours? Absolutely. But your personas are a beautiful thing, because they're just gonna tell you where these people spend their time, what they buy, what they do. They're easy to put together, and it gives you a clear vision of who you're trying to market to. When you put together a little ad on Facebook, you know exactly how it should look 'cause you know the audience you're trying to appeal to. When you're trying to figure out what age group, 'cause Facebook ads, if you guys did take out a paid ad, it would ask you these questions. "What is your demographic? "What is the age group? "What is their preferences, what are their keywords? "What is the target income?" And it'll feed your ads to those people. So before you can even do that, you need to know know who it is that you're trying to serve it to. So how does this, does this shift the way that you guys think of marketing to your clients? I'm hoping so, right, 'cause instead of like, grabbing your shotgun and going and blasting a big giant hole as big as you can get it across the wall, you're just trying to be very accurate and go get your little accurate peashooter and just put it exactly where you need it. It'll save you a lot of time.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

How to Launch a Photography Business Workbook
Experience Pricing Example

Ratings and Reviews

Armstrong Su

This class and materials are to the point and eye-opening on the business side of photography. Pye Jirsa is an amazing and fun teacher as well! Most photographers need more business classes offered to bring us who love to create art back to reality for a more successful business that makes a living on it's own. This course will definately get you started in the right direction and so cheap too! Great investment! armstrong outdoor tv case outdoortvcase Pye Jirsa is one of the best instructors that I have the pleasure to learn from. He and his team have given me so much more than they'll ever realize. Knowledge, wisdom, training, friendship, mentoring, inspiration, joy... I cannot thank Pye enough for changing my life for the better. I owe them more than they'll ever realize. Thank you, Pye Jirsa!!!

Angela Sanchez

This class has been an eye opener for me; a point of change in my vision as photographer. Pye is and AMAZING, INSPIRING, GENEROUS instructor, with an, authentic desire to help people and to share with them the best of his knowledge. I will not have enough words to say thanks to Pye Jirsa, as a teacher and as a human being, and thanks to Creative Live who allows us to benefit from the experience of such a knowledgeable, educated, well-versed photographer and instructor. 1000% recommended!

Yenith LianTy

Been following this guy forever. Pye Jirsa may be well known in the wedding & portrait photography world and if there is something that this guy knows it is how to create a business, a sustainable one. The workbook he provided is comprehensive, and I honestly wish I had this when I first started out as a photographer! I love that he talks about his failures, keeping it real and honest for anyone starting out. He is definitely one of the best instructors around, super humble, down to earth and with a sense of humor to boot. The course is worth it! THE WORKBOOK is AMAZING! SUPER DETAILED!

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