Unlimited Ways To Get Your Name Out
In Section 1, we present Studio Photography readers’ diverse programs and projects for promoting their brand and increasing their profile in their various markets. Varied and effective, the strategies include: turning the promotional spotlight on clients . . . offering free Halloween prints of customed children to parents . . . presenting a fashion show fundraiser . . . taking a grassroots approach to creating awareness . . . creating a website that’s beautiful as well as functional . . . realizing marketing is a total package . . . using school auction programs to jumpstart a new business. . . keeping promos simple at bridal shows . . . marketing consistently. For more ideas, read “What’s Working,” reader tips that address following up on website leads, sending monthly promo emails to clients, and the payoff of a commercial wedding photo shoot.
Marketing Focus on Clients Brings Steady Growth Turn Spotlight on Customers, They Will Focus on You
by Julie Gandy
Six years ago, we established Southern Portraits, one of South Georgia’s most sought-after wedding and portrait studios. We’ve literally built our business from the ground up, doubling and tripling the number of weddings and portrait sittings each year. We believe this growth is due to our customer-centered marketing approach.
We have found that creating advertising that focuses on our customers, rather than on ourselves, is priceless. Our studio is located in South Georgia’s fastest growing city, Valdosta. In spite of its rapid growth, Valdosta remains a place where just about everyone knows each other and congratulates each other on accomplishments and successes.
We’ve discovered that spotlighting a local individual in one of our ads attracts a lot of attention for that individual and creates excitement among his or her friends, family, coworkers, fellow students, and neighbors.
So when potential clients scan through a magazine or newspaper and happen upon a photograph of someone they know, they’ll stop and take notice of that ad and, in turn, appreciate the fact that we’re the photographers.
We keep the overall look of our ads simple to keep the focus on the subject. Usually, the only wording about our studio is our name and Web address or phone number. We also keep it simple by running all black-and-white ads. Although we could get a full-color ad at the same rate we pay for black-and-white, we’ve found the quality issues outweigh the benefits of color. As a photography studio, we value highly the quality of the print, and we find it difficult to ensure accurate color in some magazines and newsprint. Besides, in a magazine where everyone else advertises in color, we stand out.
Being customer centered also means listening to the needs and wants of your clients and making them feel appreciated. We treat everyone as a potential client. Our customers become our friends and, in turn, are loyal to us. We offer the style of photography they want, make it convenient, and provide a high-quality product they are proud of.
While some photographers believe that printed proofs are a thing of the past, our customers welcome them. Excited about the results of their portrait session, they’ll take the proofs and show them off at work, school, and church. They reach many more potential clients than we ever could in one day.
Yes, we offer online proofing and may reach just as many people that way, but we want the quality of the print to be appreciated, as well. Placing a linen texture on the proofs helps to alleviate copying and gives the prints a look that sets them apart from ordinary proofs.
In our online proofing, Showit Web slide shows have created more excitement than we could have imagined. Our brides are forwarding our website to everyone they know and creating a huge buzz for our business.
We cannot stress enough the importance of having a properly coded and listed website. We all know the benefits of showcasing our work online, but we also have to know how to draw the type of customers we want to our sites. At the very least, well-thought-out keywords will help. We also recommend working with Web designers to perfect metatags and registration with key search engines.
Remember: Keep more of the marketing focus on your clients and less on your studio, and customers will become focused on you! Jeff and Julie Gandy established Southern Portraits (www.southernportraits.com), one of South Georgia’s most sought-after wedding and portrait studios, six years ago. They are located in Valdosta, South Georgia’s fastest growing city. One of the top designers for photography studios, Brian Crouch of Skooks Designs, is currently building their new website.
Downtown Event Increases Studio Exposure Free Halloween Prints Scare Up Hundreds of Neighbors