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You’re a photographer – not a marketer! Shooting pictures is your passion and you would much rather be behind the lens than strategizing on how to sell your business and bring in more clients. Business cards, logos, websites, tradeshows and mailers are all on your to-do list to bring in the foot traffic that your business needs in order to grow.
There is one tool that you may not have thought of that can make your life easier. It can increase your prospects, engage your audience, help keep your current customers and even help you become known as an industry expert. One simple marketing tool can help you achieve your financial goals for your photography business. The tool is a customizable magazine.
The most popular (and competitive) industries for photographers are covered in a customizable magazine: weddings, maternity, newborns, kids, high school seniors, pets and food.
Each magazine template is filled with your best work; information about your company; and, most importantly, your knowledge about that particular industry. Stop fussing in Photoshop to cut the cost of graphic designers, stop sitting for hours in front of a Word document to attempt writing marketing copy, and stop putting together endless numbers of informational packets. Just one customizable magazine can save you hours of work and start generating business now.
Create an Add-on Product
Custom magazines are an excellent add-on for clients. With the average cost at $4 each, a magazine allows you to provide a larger selection of products for a small amount of money and time. Custom products also provide a wow factor when meeting with clients. For example, the Wedding magazine template is perfect for couples looking for a wedding photographer.
Many wedding photographers bundle an engagement shoot with the wedding day collection to create more perceived value for their clients. But with so many photographers offering this tie-in already, it’s no longer a unique product offering. Wedding and engagement packages are as common as wedding photographers.
Other than your featured work, what are you offering to potential clients that someone else isn’t?
A custom Wedding magazine is a great (and easy) way to tip the booking odds in your favor. This particular magazine can be used by the couple as a:
- Save the Date
- Out of Town Guest Welcome Packet
Brides always are looking for ways to make their event as unique and memorable as possible. A custom magazine fits the bill. The template contains pages for engagement shoot photos, bios of the bride and groom, a cute infographic that shows how the couple met, an area map, wedding agenda, information on the wedding registry, and a RSVP tear-off.
Not only will you catch the glimmer in a bride’s eye, but it also doubles as a take home marketing piece for everyone who’s invited to the wedding, while providing all the relevant wedding information for the guests. It’s useful to the client, their guests and yourself.
To recap, the Engaged magazine helps you:
- Up-sell your photography package to increase revenue immediately.
- Create a higher perceived value of your offer than your competitor.
- Market to everyone at the wedding without having to push, beg or steal.
Other magazines that accomplish similar goals are available for high school seniors, graduations and newborns.
Showcase Your Expertise
The phrase “Content is King” is so widely used that when marketers hear it they shudder. Nonetheless, the reason the term was coined is because content is powerful. Content doesn’t have to be found only on a blog on your website to attract leads. Content in a client-focused magazine or welcome guide can be just as effective at getting results.
We talked about the importance of creating a differentiation point between yourself and the competition. If you want to be seen as a leader in a niche, you need to show potential clients that you have the knowledge necessary to fill those shoes. A magazine helps you step out of your competition’s shadow and speak directly to your prospects. Clients are looking for a company that they can trust. They want someone who will answer their questions and give them an honest opinion. Clients want to make sure that they are getting what they are paying for and have all the knowledge needed to ensure the experience is as successful as possible.
A magazine like Headshots (affiliate) that doubles as a welcome guide is a great way to showcase your knowledge while providing answers to common questions. As a marketing tool, it puts your business squarely in the pool of prospects and also builds trust and confidence before the client steps foot in the door. It’s going to produce more results in the long run than a business card.
Make Beautiful FAQs
Pre-written magazine articles cover topics such as “Why hire a professional,” “What to wear,” “Put Your Best Face Forward: Professional Headshots and Your Business” and “Tips to Rock Your Senior Session.” These kinds of topics will help build trust between your company and potential clients. There are other benefits to magazine articles:
- Answering commonly asked questions.
- Providing information to clients they may not have thought to ask.
- Encouraging better outcomes so clients can help you get the best picture possible.
Create a Special Offer for Prospects
An effective marketing campaign – a “funnel” – for a photography business should have at least three parts.
1. Generate Awareness
This you are already doing by creating magazines for clients and distributing them with your information and logo on it. Social media, traditional and online ads, and search engine optimization also will help you generate plenty of traffic and inquires.
2. Develop Prospects
This is the point in the marketing funnel when your action is required. If you have been attracting customers in an honest and organic way, the traffic you are generating should be interested and in your target market. The next step is to gently nudge them toward interacting with you.
For this step, you will need tools to convince the potential customer that you are the perfect business for the job. The tools should be easy to use and automatic. A magazine that speaks directly to your target customer is the perfect way to attract qualified leads.
For this example, we will use the Senior Photography Magazine. Photographers looking to grow their business may want to choose to do senior portraits. This particular niche is the perfect way to begin a long relationship, potentially leading to wedding or headshot work down the road.
The Senior Portrait Magazine should be advertised through your awareness channels and made available for download on your website. In order to download the PDF, the interested party would need to provide their email address. Once they do, you have officially converted someone with general interest into a potential prospect.
To help you get started collecting leads, here are four ways to increase your email sign-up conversion rate:
- Place the email newsletter sign-up box in a prominent spot on your website. The location you pick can make or break your results. Choose an area that is seen on every single page, such as the footer or in a margin column. Make it obvious and use a great call to action.
- Install a pop up window. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want! A pop up will produce more results than a static online form. Call out the benefits of the sign up and provide either the magazine download or another marketing offer.
- Promote the magazine on Twitter and Facebook. A best practice to follow is that whenever you are posting to Facebook to do it at a peak time. For Twitter, focus on creating three distinct headlines for the magazine and email sign-up. Schedule them to post 1, 2 and 4 weeks apart.
- Keep the sign-up simple. Ask only for an email address and first name. Even better, integrate it with a social media sign in. The easier it is for a prospect to give you his or her information, the more email addresses you will get in return.
The email address allows you to continue sending information and building a relationship with a potential customer. This, in turn, can eventually lead to a sale, though not every person who likes your Facebook page or clicks on your website will be ready to hand over their email address. Your job is to make your magazine as enticing as possible.
Instead of posting the link and saying “Available for Download,” try using something catchy like “Make your Senior Photos Instagram Ready” or “The Ultimate Guide for Amazing Senior Photos.”
Getting Instagram ready photos during the shoot is a pre-written article that’s already in the Senior Photo magazine and other articles include “ Top Tips for a Picture Perfect, Senior Photo Session”, “4 Photo Products Every Mom Needs from Their Child’s Senior Session”, and information how to show your personality.
Create interest, urgency and need when marketing the magazine. The more daring you are the better results you will get and the fuller your funnel of leads will be.
3. Convert to a Customer
Your marketing effort culminates when a prospect converts into a paying customer. If you’ve utilized magazines each step of the way, the last part should be easy!
The customer already loves your work, trusts your business and feels like you understand them and their goals: You showed more perceived value than your competitors. That means your calendar will be full and you can increase your prices.
Don’t be surprised if you can’t take a weekend off for the rest of the year!
Build a Newsletter
After you have converted a customer – or during the prospecting phase itself – e-newsletters are the perfect way to stay in touch. Past customers and potential ones want to see what you have been up to.
Magazines are available in print and digital form. In this case, we are going to use them to propel your marketing campaign with e-newsletters. The only writing you will have to do is say a warm hello. Your prospects and customers just want see the good stuff.
Add links in the email to your latest projects featured in the custom magazines. Send an email newsletter to parents or school officials with links to last year’s top Senior Look Books (affiliate). Once they see the creativity, there’s no way they will book with anyone else.
Wedding professionals may find that a regular email newsletter is a great way to show clients and other industry contacts the styled shoots that they worked on. Brides-to-be plan their weddings years in advance. Having contact with you throughout their planning process will make them feel like you are involved and you value their business.
By collaborating with other wedding vendors such as wedding planners or florists, you get the additional benefit of merging your email lists for the newsletter. You will renew both the interest of your clients and your partner’s clients, who may not have found you otherwise.
In the events industry, it’s important to follow best practices when cleaning up your email list. A mandatory field for you is the event date. After a bride and groom tie the knot, transfer them from the wedding newsletter to the newborn and maternity list.
One of the best features of email is that it can help you retain existing customers. A key principle to a successful business is repeat purchases. Creating emails may feel like a hassle, but it’s less expensive to keep your old customers than to go and find new ones.
Segment your list based on marital status, number of children and event date to help keep your emails relevant to your clients. It also keeps your business top of mind for future opportunities.
Replace the piles of marketing collateral in your office with one magazine.
We’ve gone over so many uses for customizable magazines in your photography business – from generating awareness and collecting leads to capturing sales and propelling relationships with customers. Magazines can touch on each part of your business. Customizable magazines are:
- Takeaways at bridal salons (instead of a business card!)
- Giveaways at tradeshows (instead of a price list)
- Mailers (with more than a couple of photographs)
- Take-homes for consultations (instead of the generic folder)
- Guides for initial meetings (Move from initial information to what the customer gets, tips to make their experience exceptional and end with pricing)
- PDF downloads on your website for customer prospecting
- Email newsletter content to keep your customers coming back year after year