by Ron Pybus Published 01/02/2007
In the last issue we dealt with some of the ways in which you can market yourself and your product. This article continues with other marketing ideas. In this issue we will talk about marketing yourself through others in similar or linked trades, marketing yourself at wedding venues, the need to display pictures, use of computer displays and joint promotional leaflets and joint marketing.
Many photographers work from home and need to publicise their existence to potential customers in the town centre or via some other means. This article will concentrate on how you can achieve this. I tend to specialise in baby and child photography and have a long-standing link with the local baby shop which promote my services for free - and has done so for the last ten years. On average I receive about 10 leads per week. It all started when I was looking for a suitable outlet and the baby shop was worried about Mothercare moving into the town. I spotted this in the local paper and contacted the shop manager, offering him a free sitting and free photo for his customers - with exclusive rights in the whole of the District Council area. After a detailed explanation and some examples of my work he agreed to give the scheme a trial. I offered each of his staff a free set of photos and some photos of his shop for his website. Ten years on he still loves the scheme and promotes it to all his customers. A baby shop is ideal as new babies are always arriving. I have run the same scheme with a couple of hairdressers, but they have only a limited lifespan before they have been through their regular customers. At times such as Mother's Day and Valentine's Day I also offer local hotels and restaurants vouchers for free sittings, but this has to be done well in advance of the day and with people who know you and know your work. In offering any voucher it is important that the voucher is completed in the shop and not taken home. How often have you collected a leaflet and then discarded it when you got home? Usually only 4% will return vouchers, but if they are completed in the shop you get 100%. Some people will turn down the offer when you phone them, but the majority make a booking. The card they complete asks me to phone them, which gets over the legal problems of TPS (Telephone Preference Service) and cold calling.
To get a shop and its staff to market your product there has to be something in it for them. A free sitting for each member of staff means that they can directly sell your services from experience rather than second-hand. Free pictures for the shop's website costs little and being able to offer a quality product free, especially if it is exclusive, is an added advantage. The staff and the boss always get chocolates at Christmas and Easter. The shop links to my website and mine links to the shop.
Wedding photographers need to work with their regular venues. The venue should have an album of their work on display and the photographer should ensure that the albums are up to date and be full. The hotel I am in at the moment has a wedding book, but there are only 10 pictures in an album that holds 30, and they are very much a photographer's pictures aimed at the bride. If the pictures are selected with the venue in mind they will use the album to market their venue and your name will be quite visible. Venues always have a need in January and February for images of their hotel and its grounds with summer sun and summer foliage, together with a bride and groom. Stuart Schofield has gone one step further and brought together a hotel, a car company, flowers and cake supplier, and himself with a combined marketing package. This aims, not to sell the Friday or Saturday wedding but was sold to each participant company on the basis that they would be able to gain weddings on other days. It regularly brings in mid-week wedding bookings for all who buy the package, and the hotel, where brides go first, markets the package on behalf of everyone.
I also offer a discount package to parent groups at schools in the locality. This is not for school photographs but for family photos in my studio and again it brings in a regular flow of customers. The Parents' Association receives £5 from me for each sitting and thus is keen to promote the scheme in their newsletter to all parents.
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