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Photography MarketerpreviousFEATURED ARTICLE:

RULE #5 For A Successful Photography Business (part 2)

by: Charles J. Lewis
m.photog., cr.

 In my previous Quick Tip, I began the discussion of "Photo Success Rule #5 which says:  Who cares how good a photographer you are if no one knows you exist." 

I revealed and discussed several major direct response marketing techniques you can use to build your "presence" in your market area, and build the studio of your dreams and the success you deserve and desire.

This Rule is so powerful - I see so many photographers, all over the world, making HUGE mistakes with their businesses because they are ignoring this Rule.

Now, let's continue with 4 more major principles of photographic success that are also an important part of Rule #5:

Without A Doubt, The Single Best Group Of People To Market And Advertise To Are Your  Current Clients.

In my opinion, this is the most overlooked "gold mine" in our profession!

For example, you start what you call your "V.I.P. Club" and mail something EVERY MONTH to your client list.  A simple newsletter.  Or a nice personal letter, letting them know how much you appreciate them working with you in the past, and then offering them some special offer to work with you again. 

Sounds almost too simple, doesn't it?  That's why almost no photographers do this!  They think like this:  "I don't have that many clients on my list".  All that work to send them something every month, and what can possibly come of it with so few people?  I need lots of clients .  If I'm going to put forth the effort, I better find the money to mail something to lots and lots of people.  Plus, I mailed something to them last year, one time, and got nothing from it.  What a waste."

Big, big mistake!  The very BEST people to market to, are the people who already know you, like you, trust you, and appreciate what you do. 

But, and this is really important:  You MUST mail to them every single month!  Do it!  It really works!  (And please realize that you might not get ANY response to your first few months of mailings, if it's been a long time since you mailed to them last!  But you keep going (it's a Strategic Marketing Plan) and you will see enormous results!  Trust me.  I know this to be true!
Never ever mail anything (or put anything on your exhibits, or record a Hotline Message, etc.) without an offer and a deadline.

This does not mean you must give away free photos.  In fact, I urge you NOT to do that!  It cheapens your reputation and your product.

There's a common statement in the marketing business that goes like this:  "No offer means no response!"  So always have a special offer, with a deadline. 

For example, the offer can be for a percentage off your regular prices; or for a special bonus of a high quality frame with each portrait purchased;  or a free beautiful flower arrangement from a local florist; or dinner for two at a local restaurant, etc.  But NOT a free photo.

Never mail anything without Testimonials and photos

In all the telephone consulting I do with photographers all over the world, this is one of the most common HUGE ERRORS that photographers make .  They fail to realize the importance of testimonials.  They're afraid to ask their clients for testimonials.  They don't take the time necessary for this critical "piece" of the "marketing puzzle."

Without testimonials, no one is going to believe what you say.  In fact, in most of my studio marketing, I let my clients do almost all the talking - rather than me saying how great I am (which comes across as arrogant) I let my happy clients say how great I am and how happy they are.  This is so much more effective and PERSUASIVE! 

Just make it a rule to never publish any photographs without a testimonial along with it, and never publish a testimonial, without a photograph along with it.  It really helps people decide to work with you.

Always Keep Excellent Records, So You Know Your 80/20. This Way, You Know What The Best Types Of Clients Are To Go After, or "target."

Just so we all are on the same page - the "80/20 Rule" states that 80% of the money in your pocket (that's PROFIT, not gross!) comes from 20% of your work and clients. 

That means that fully 80% of everything you do results in only 20% of your profits!  So by carefully targeting your most profitable clients, you can dramatically increase your profits - while actually doing less work!

And you don't need an expensive computer program to figure this out!

You simply need to keep good records, so you will know everything you need to know to make intelligent, smart decisions.

Now, I know you don't like this record keeping stuff.  I didn't either.  But it's vitally important to your success!

So this means that you MUST ask every single caller how she heard about you, and record that answer in your "Call Log."  This also means that if you do multiple mailings, you need to "KEY" everything you mail, and get that key from each caller who calls your studio, so you know what works and what doesn't work.

Begin today, to formulate and put into action what I covered in this and the previous Quick Tip.  It will bring you wonderfully qualified clients, who will be happy to pay your prices, and will be much less interested in talking with your competitors before they make a decision!

All the best,


Charles J. Lewis,  M. Photog., Cr.


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