Marketing your Photography Business in the Real World
Let's talk about marketing in the real world okay? Here's where it comes down to, this is where you guys got to bite the bullet, do some work, face to face, that's the hard part. Old school, face to face, not FB meaning, go out, be it an auction, a charity, really powerful for what you do, portraiture, high-end portraiture, auctions, charity events. Beautiful ways to get your word out there. One of the key things, if you guys do charities, auctions, any kind of events, you can't just put your stuff up there and hope for the best. You can't put your stuff up there and a stack of business cards and hope for the best. You may get a few hits on that. What you have to do is have a reason for them to contact you. One way to do that is a contest. Put your name in this jar and you could win a free portrait session valued at $500. You got to do that, because, what you do, is you get all those at the end, become contacts. So you can now, get in touch with. So, one of my mentors years ago, a guy,...
Bill Sorensen, he's retired now, but he had a really famous well-to-do studio in Portland, Oregon. And he would teach these very occasionally these sales and marketing seminars. I took one years and years ago, I took one from him. And he coined that term relentless pursuit of business which we're going to talk a little about that as well, but one of the things, his key thing that really hit home to me is everybody does auctions, everybody does charities but, nobody takes advantage of it. 'So here's what I do', he said, this is him, is, I have my portrait displayed and then I have a little box that says enter to win a free portrait session valued at 'x' whatever. Everybody's entering that because they want to win right? Now, into the auction he takes this bowl full of numbers and he calls every single person, you've won a portrait session. You've won a portrait session... you've won a portrait session, you've won a portrait session. They're all 'yay!' They all come in so the next week he's got fifty sittings lined up for the week. Everybody comes in with a free sitting and then he proceeds to sell them on average two to five thousand dollars worth of portraiture after the fact. Now he's an amazing sales person. You can do it too. But the point is, he got in touch with every single person. Whether you want to give them a free session or at least offer them something in person afterwards, everybody's a winner and now you've got all these people in your contact list. And he says, believe it or not, this is my most profitable marketing things I did was my portrait drives, the auction drives, the fundraiser drives. Because he would literally line them up back to back for the next two or three weeks session after session after session from people who signed up, alright? Trade shows. . . I'm thinking about bridal shows in particularly. I used to do those and when I did them I found out it was actually more effective for me as a vendor schmooze. Like I would go there to impress the vendors in my industry, not so much the brides. I didn't have low-end packages they would book on the spot. Like a lot of the photographers are booking, boom boom boom on the spot, had really cheap packages so brides could make that instant decision and book them at a bridal show and I never really got much of that, but what I did realize is that we'd go and my wife would man the booth and I'd actually walk around the floor the whole day talking to vendors and schmoozing, making friends with all the vendors and getting to know them, and getting them to know me so that they would refer me. And that was actually very effective for me. And a lot of people don't think about the value of that, versus just where you're going to book on the spot because that's short term. I'm talking long term value, make connections and then I could drag them over if the new vendor I didn't know. I'd say 'hey, come over check out some of my work', or I could bring an album over and it's a chance for you to actually connect with every single vendor in town and make sure that they know you. So think of it, maybe, that way, it might be more effective for you. Local shops, very important if you're doing portraiture, kids, families, whatever, there's local businesses that will be happy to display your work and help to promote you. One of the ways to do that is do free sessions for them. All my wedding coordinators in my wedding business, I would offer them all free family portraits. Everybody that I knew in the wedding business, DJs, whoever, I would say, if I got to know you, 'hey, I'd love to do a family portrait for you guys, complimentary, what do you think? No. I don't want a family portrait from you. You're not asking for anything from them, just like, I would love to do a family portrait for you guys, you guys are awesome family, do you have family portrait? No? Let's do it. And then, what do you think happens?
(audience member) Do you offer them anything besides the . . .
That's not what happens.
Oh they buy it.
Right! Thank you. Good answer! No. They don't buy it, they get, everything's free. They get a session, they get a free print put on their wall, they refer me now.
(audience member) Oh, okay, I see.
Because you want the DJ referring you, you want the wedding coordinator referring you, you want the jeweler referring you, that was one of my favorite promotions back when I was really pumping my wedding thing, was I would go to the jeweler. When a guy says, 'Will you marry me?', what's the first place they go? They go to a jeweler to pick out a ring. Right? So I want to be the first person on their list, so at the jeweler, I went to all the jewelers and I said, 'I got a promo for you, I got a cool thing, I got a gift certificate', it's a beautiful gift certificate I printed out. Anybody that buys an engagement ring or wedding ring, you can give them this for a free engagement portrait session, including a free print, no strings attached. Just get them to me, it's like, $500 value, get them over, and you got this to give to them. And I said, every time I shoot pictures at a wedding of your rings or whatevers, if you want I'll take some, I can make some nice big wall prints for you. We can put them up, do some really cool, artsy photos for your walls, and they're like,'yeah, cool!' But having that gift certificate is a value because now they can say if you buy a ring from us, I got a bonus $500 value portrait session that I can give you for buying that ring. How nice is that, right? It's a win-win. And, now I'm the very first person on their list when they start looking at wedding stuff. First person on the list is Kevin Kubota Photography, right? Okay. Sorry, I interrupted your question, what was your question? Or did I answer that, did we answer it? Okay.
(audience member) Yeah. (Kevin laughing)
So free sessions for the influential people who are going to talk about you, take them out to lunch, Yunina, your world's all about schmoozing and face to face and doing lunch and connecting with the right connectors in your industry. People, the receptionist at a law office, you can make friends with somebody like that, anybody who might have a connection. You don't want to go to the top, you want to go to the people who know what's going on in the business, you know. Receptionists are awesome. Secretaries that you can make friends with that can recommend you to anybody else in an office. Those are the people you want to be schmoozing. Google local business, we talked about that already. Local print advertising, talked a little about print advertising. Host your own show. Host your own show? I don't know. I don't even know why I put that in there. It's kind of a crazy thing to think about. Now, a show doesn't mean like a creative live kind of show. It could mean an art show, okay? An art gallery opening. So what I do when I travel, I do workshops for photographers in Italy and when I come back, take the images that I created in Italy just are all fine art images and I'll host an art show. I just use a local venue. There's some that do weddings that I can get cheap because I have a relationship. I mean I'll have to rent something, that's fine and I'll send out to everybody in town, I'll pass clients, potential clients everybody I have on my contact list, 'come on down, I'm gonna have a free show of images from Italy, I've got wine, and cheese, Italian wine and some cheese. We're going to have some music. It's a charity if you want to buy pictures, it's a fundraiser for, this is one of my favorite charities in town. Come down and party.' Tons of people show up. It costs me some money to put on, you know, to buy the food, the drink, the dah-dah, but bottom line, end of the night, I'm not selling anything, but I always get people to come up and say, 'by the way, we need a family portrait, we totally forgot, thank you, this has been awesome, when can we schedule our next shoot with you?', or whatever. Boom. Yeah, I got thirty minutes right now, let's do it! (Kevin laughing)
(audience member) Question when you do the free sessions and a print for the, you say that, do you send them your price list then and say, like, I feel like I have to tell them what I'm gonna charge if they choose to buy a picture, prior.
Are you talking about the contest free session?
Yeah like if they come in and get a free eight by ten, do you send them your price list first or do they come in, then go, 'whoa'?
If they ask for a price list, you can send it to them. I prefer to see them face to face first. But that's a good question, 'do you post your prices online and all that and sometimes if your website is really good, and you're really connecting with people, then the price list may not scare them away, assuming your prices are probably a little higher than they might be expecting. If your prices are cheap, yeah, why not? You're selling on price, which we don't want to do anyway. We want to sell on quality and personality, alright? So, I don't put prices on my site. Some people do, and that's kind of, again, you have to have a strong site. What I prefer to do is at least get them on the phone, or face to face, because I, I know, that if I can talk to someone or meet with them face to face, I will convince them to spend more money than they thought they would want to spend. And I did it over and over again. If I can get people to sit in front of me, and meet me, and see my work, face to face, they would stretch their budget. Whereas, if I just left it to putting it on the website and wait for them to call, they'd probably look at the prices and go, 'yeah, I can't really afford that', and they wouldn't call. I didn't even get a chance to break the ice. So, if you can, get them in. If they call and ask for the prices, you go through the process of introducing, talking, questioning, getting to know each other, and at the end of the call, you're all, I will now send you, I will email you my price list if you want. And then you send that with more follow up good, connecty stuff, you know, encouragement and I'd love to book your session, blah, blah, blah, we can talk about that tomorrow. But the prices will come but its only after you had a chance to connect.
(audience member) Got it.
Okay? Good question.
I think we talked about all those, Oh! The art show, it's a write off when you do it for business. I take those images from my Italy workshops, I turn them into picture postcards and thank you cards that I now use to send to people, anybody, everywhere, I'll send a card and of course on the back, it's Kevin Kubota Photography so now I'm showing my artsy stuff by sending these beautiful picture cards. Yuninez art work there would make beautiful picture cards, you can send out, make thank you cards out of that. Greeting card line. That's a nice little gift you can sell. Like, white house does the greeting card printing with the envelopes and everything, it looks just like your store bought cards. Why not offer that to your wedding clients? Here's some beautiful images from Italy, here's some beautiful Christmas images that you can use for greeting cards, whatever. But it's all getting your work and your name out there as an artist. There's different ways to use that. Alright. Last but not least. We got a lot of stuff we've covered today guys. Hang in there because this is, this is good, this is, again, something I learned from Bill. It was his slogan, RPB. He actually gave us all baseball caps that said RPB on the top at the end of our workshop and it's something that stuck with me over the years and it simply is relentless pursuit of business and that means do something, anything, everyday, one little thing towards marketing your business everyday. So it could be, just a call, several calls maybe, sending a thank you card, setting up some sort of special promotion or event. Whatever it is that you consider good connection with people, some sort of marketing, just make it a habit to do one little thing everyday. And like we talked about earlier is that you are now building a habit being a good marketing person. Could be making a lunch appointment for someone like Yunina who needs to connect with the connectors. Her industry's all about referrals and connectors, so who do you know in your industry or your friends that are good, they happen to, we all have these friends that know everybody. I've got friends in town that I know, they just know everybody. Somehow they're better at it than me so take advantage of it. Let them talk about you but you take them to lunch and schmooze them and ask them at the end of lunch, 'hey, here's some more of my cards, if you feel comfortable referring me, I'd love it.' Alright? So make a lunch appointment, make a phone call, at the very least write a thank you card to somebody everyday.