During the month of June, we have the Seniors Ignite mentor team with us! Be sure to pop in soon and learn from the following photographers:
Cherie Phelps, Jeff Richardson, Jennifer Tori, Joey Jones, John Pyle, John Ratchford, Joy Vertz, Michael & Melia Winslett, Nancy Nardi, Nick Sharples, Chris & Tammie Billey, Missy & Dustin Sinner, Jael Thorpe, Nicholas Alexander, Mitch Kitter and Shalem Mathew.
Are you stressing about getting senior clients in the door right now? Trust me, I understand. We’ve all been there. You’ve got a limited budget to work with and you need ways to get the right seniors booked. Maybe you feel that you’ve tried everything. Maybe what worked in the past isn’t working any longer. Either way, it doesn’t matter. You need to find ways to market to your seniors now that works.
In order to effectively market your photography business you must first (and continually) build a brand, a relationship, and trust between you and your target market. Your audience is not interested in being sold to continually. They need to have a desire for what you offer before you can effectively sell them anything.
So how do you do that when you don’t have a large marketing budget to spend?
1) Create partnerships with local businesses.
In order to make this an effective avenue for your marketing, you must first consider a few things – one, does this business fit my brand image, and two, does this business have access to my target market (and does my target market shop here)? If the answers to both of these are ‘yes’ then this business is a great target for you to develop a relationship with. But don’t just walk into the store and ask the manager if you can hang up displays of your work – this will get you nowhere fast. You need to approach this with their needs in mind. Begin by answering the question ‘What can I provide for THEM?’ and come up with a value proposition for their business.
For example, say you want to partner with the local ‘it’ boutique where your target seniors shop. Send the owner or store manager a gift card to Starbucks with a handwritten note on your studio’s press printed notecards letting them know that you have an idea you would like to discuss with them that can help grow their business. Let them know that you will follow up with them on such-and-such date with a phone call. This removes the daunting ‘element of surprise’ that can hurt your efforts if you just burst into the boutique unannounced ready to throw ideas at someone you have never met. You have set the tone for a good first impression with your Starbucks card and given them time to prepare for your call. When you call them, setup a time to meet in person to tell them about your great idea. This is all about how you can help THEM. When you meet, tell them how you have a great idea to photograph their seasonal trends 4 times a year and create a lookbook for them to distribute. You can use this photo shoot as a model call for your studio, or have them provide models (giving you access to their clientele). Create a digital lookbook for them to post on their website, as well as a custom mobile lookbook that they can email out to all of their customer base (created through Sticky Albums with your studio branding). By providing a service that helps them grow their business and show off their products, you give them a reason to gush about you repeatedly to their clients. And as your relationship grows, opportunities to do more together arise and get you in front of your target market.
2) Host an event.
Get in front of your target audience and make an impression. Host a Social Media Headshot party at your studio (or partner with a venue) – have food and drinks for people and have them come by to get their free social media headshots taken. Create the sizes needed for social media (Facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.) and brand with your studio logo. Create goodie bags for everyone who attends with fun items from local businesses, including a beautiful press printed piece of yours showing off your branding with a surprise gift for them. Promote the party through your senior models, your clients, and online social media. Get email addresses from attendees so that you can email them their headshots to use. Keep their emails for your email database to market to year round.
Get together with several local businesses that all market to your target client. Create a summer kick-off bash for your upcoming seniors and their friends (invite all the underclassmen to get in front of your future target market as well!). Have everyone market the event to their clientele and create giveaways, goodie bags, and shoot social media headshots while they are there. Partner with a DJ or go in with other businesses to bring a DJ to the event for a dance party. Make it fun and show off the uniqueness of your brand!
3) Donate to a charity event or auction.
Seek out charity events that engage your target market. Donate to their auctions and get involved in fundraising for the events. But don’t just donate your typical ‘free session and an 8×10′ – every other photographer in the area will be doing the same thing. You want to stand out and create marketing and excitement for your business. Ask if you can donate to their live auction and then donate something with a high retail dollar value. For example, donate 3 30″ gallery wraps and a free portrait session. This increases the value of your donation and oftentimes will increase the display space you are given at the auction. Attend the auction and meet as many people in person as you can. When it comes time to auction off your portraits, you now have the auctioneer promoting your photography business to a captivated and engaged audience – the entire room! Want to go one step further? After your item has been auctioned off have the auctioneer announce ‘Amy’s Portraits wants to be able to raise as much money as possible for the American Cancer Society, so for everyone who walks right over to the payment table and makes a $100 donation she is going to gift them a $200 gift certificate to her studio!’ (or whatever type of gift you would like to give). Getting involved in your community and giving back are great ways to market your business while increasing awareness and support for wonderful causes.
Want more ideas that will grow your senior business? Download this FREE guide ’12 Low Cost Marketing Ideas That Will Grow Your Senior Business’ http://www.seniorsignite.com/
:: Jen Basford owns 3 girls photography in Edmond, Oklahoma. She is best known for fashion-inspired high school senior portraits and the annual must-see fashion show she puts on for upcoming seniors each spring. Jen is one of the top senior portrait photographers in the Midwest largely due to her out-of-the-box approach to marketing and client relationships. Jen also owns Seniors Ignite (www.seniorsignite.com), an organization dedicated to providing next-level senior portrait photography education to photographers to help them grow their business. Catch Jen here: www.seniorsignite.com • www.3girlsphotography.com • www.3girlsphotography.com/blog • twitter: @jenbasford • instagram: jenbasford • Google +: Jen Basford • Facebook: Jen Basford, 3 girls photography, 3 girls photography seniors, Seniors Ignite.
We have over 5 hours of the SPTV.com Design to Sell program to share with you. Featuring Tana from Wild Sorbet, Tonya from Kotori, and Lori Nordstrom! Click here to watch.
Joy Vertz has so much NEW going on, we wanted to give her space to share everything she’s doing! This month will be jam-packed with info!
From Joy…“It was so fun to read my older interview and as my goals were realized and business has continued to grow and thrive since then. What is new for us is that we are diversifying into different new markets. We were finding that there were several people calling with smaller budgets that we were turning away because they were not profitable for us. This was money left on the table. By crunching our numbers and revamping packages to minimize time spent on sessions we have successfully appealed to a new market without affecting our existing higher end market. To make this happen we had to impose some limits on our shorter sessions (which helped to show the differences and provide value to our more higher end sessions too!) to make sure we could remain profitable at this different market.
I’m excited to have had the opportunity to dive into several educational opportunities because I am finding that this is what feeds my passion for the industry. I am finding that I truly love giving back to the industry and watching photographers improve their businesses!”
For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to meet Joy, read our 2011 interview below:
Tell us about yourself.
When did you decide to become a photographer? What does being a photographer mean for you?
Describe a typical day.
Tell us your most memorable photoshoot.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph? And how would you describe your style?
Where do you find your inspiration?
What’s your favorite image?
If you could buy anything for your studio, what would it be and why?
What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face? Anything you’d do differently?
Advice for other photographers?