You’re a photographer – not a marketer! Shooting pictures is your passion, you would much rather be behind the lens than strategizing how to sell yourself and bring in more clients. Business cards, logos, websites, trade shows, and mailers are all on your to-do list to bring in the foot traffic that your business needs in order to grow. However, there is one tool that you may not have thought of. It can increase your prospects, engage your current audience, help keep your past 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: 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 costs of graphic designers, sitting for hours in front of a word document to attempt writing marketing copy, and putting together endless amounts of information packets. Just one customizable magazine can save you hours of work and start generating business now.
Generate revenue today with a custom magazine add-on for clients.
Custom magazines are an excellent add-on for clients. With the average cost of $4.00 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 Engaged 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 a higher perceived value for their clients. However, with so many photographers offering this already, it’s no longer a unique product offering. Wedding and engagement packages are as common as wedding photographers. So, other than your featured work, what are you offering to potential clients that someone else isn’t?
A custom Engaged 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 are always 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 for 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 is invited to the wedding, while providing all the relevant wedding information for the guests. It’s useful to the client, their guests, and yourself.
So, 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.
Define yourself as an industry expert with pre-written articles featured in magazines.
The term, “Content is King” is so widely used, when marketers hear it they shudder. However, 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 magazine or welcome guide can be just as effective at getting results.
We talked about the importance of creating a point of difference between yourself and the competition. If you want to be seen as a leader in a particular niche, you need to show your 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 you prospects. Clients are looking for a company that they can trust. They want someone who will answer their questions give them an honest opinion. Clients want to make sure that they are not only getting what they are paying for, but that they have all the knowledge that they need to make sure the experience was as successful as possible.
A Magazine, like Headshots, that doubles as a Welcome Guide is a great way to showcase your knowledge while providing answers to common questions. A marketing tool that not only puts your business out into the pool of prospects, but also builds trust and confidence before the client even steps foot in the door. It is going to produce more results in the long run than a business card.
Provide useful information to clients to help you achieve better outcomes.
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 topics are not only building trust between your company and potential clients, but they are also helping you:
- Answer commonly asked questions
- Provide information to clients they may not have thought to ask.
- Encourage better outcomes so clients can help you get the best picture possible.
Increase your prospects with a magazine that generates leads through a downloadable PDF.
A good marketing funnel for a photography business should have at least three parts.
- 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 will also help you keep the top of your funnel full with traffic and inquires.
This is the point in the funnel when your action is required. If you have been attracting customers in an honest and organic way, the traffic you are generating is interested and in your target market. The next step is to gently nudge them into 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 Maternity Magazine. Photographers looking to grow their business may choose mothers-to-be. This particular niche is the perfect way to begin a long relationship with a growing family. The Maternity Magazine would be advertised through your awareness channels and then available for download on your website. In order to download the PDF, the interested party will 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 e-mail sign up conversion rate:
Place the e-mail 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. An example would be to have it on 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 an idle form. Call out the benefits of the sign up, either the Magazine download or another marketing offer.
Promote the magazine on Twitter and Facebook. A best practice to follow is 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 e-mail 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 their information, the more email addresses you will get in return.
The email address allows you to continue sending information and building a relationship with that potential customer. This, in turn, can eventually lead to a sale. Not every person who likes your Facebook page or clicks on your website will be ready to hand over their email address though. 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 “Find the Perfect Prop for your Maternity Session” or “The Ultimate Guide for Amazing Maternity Pictures”. Photography props is a pre-written article already in the Maternity magazine, other articles include “Getting Ready for your Shoot,” “How to Prepare for Your Photo Shoot”, and information on a fun Gender Reveal. Create interest, urgency, and need with the way you market the magazine. The more daring you are, the better results you will get and the fuller your funnel will be.
The best part of all your marketing efforts culminates when a prospect finally 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 officially obtained a higher perceived value than your competitors. That means your calendar will be full and your prices can go up. Don’t be surprised if you can’t take a weekend off for the rest of the year!
Create a newsletter that contributes to the client lifecycle of a photographer.
Once you have converted a customer, or during the prospecting phase, e-newsletters are the perfect way to stay in touch. Both 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 individual magazines. Send an email newsletter to parents, or school officials with links to last year’s top Senior Look Books. Once they see the creativity, there’s no way they will book with anyone else.
Wedding professionals may find that a quarterly or yearly e-mail newsletter is a great way to show their clients and other industry contacts any 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 like wedding planners or florists you get the additional benefit of merging your email lists for the e-newsletter. Not only will you renew interest your clients, but also your partner’s clients who may not have found you otherwise.
In the event industry, follow best practices in cleaning up your 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 helps you keep your customers. A key principle to a successful business is repeat purchases. Creating emails may feel like a hassle, however, it is less expensive to keep your old customers than to go and attract new ones. Segment your list based on marital status, number of kids, 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 a:
- Take away 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)
- Guide for initial meetings (Move from initial information, what the customer gets, tips to make their experience exceptional and end with pricing)
- PDF download on website for Prospecting
- E-Newsletter content to keep your customers coming back year after year.