by Mark Weber, M.Photog.Cr, M.Artist, CPP What is your reason…
Intro by Skip Cohen
I love this post from Sarah Petty’s archives at the Joy of Marketing blog. Sarah shares six great tips to make sure your clients know your studio is moving. But as I read it, I realized a lot of what she’s sharing is simply great marketing for any business.
According to Google statistics, Americans move an average of 11.7 times in their lifetime. Since so many photographers are small business owners working out of their homes, Sarah’s tips become even more relevant.
Being a success in today’s business world is about relationship building. That means you’ve got to keep in touch with your clients. While Sarah’s post is in reference to physically moving her business, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping in touch with your audience regardless of whether you’re moving or not!
By Sarah Petty
Let’s face it: No one LIKES moving. In fact, mention it and my mind starts racing about endless sorting, packing, lifting and other back-breaking, no-fun work. Oh, and did I mention that I’m a hoarder? Not the kind you see on TV, but I do enjoy collecting things I think I’ll someday need. This little habit makes moving even more overwhelming.
And moving isn’t any better when it’s your business. It might even be worse. Why? Because running a successful photography business relies on having clients above all else. And if they can’t find you, you’ve got big trouble.
In fact, my photography business, Sarah Petty Photography, is going through it right now. Earlier this month we left the location we’ve called home for the past 11 years. Soon, we’ll move into a brand-new space designed by my husband and shared with his architecture firm. It’s all very exciting. But easy? Not so much. This is why I’m happy to share a few marketing tips for your photography business I’ve learned along the way.
- Leverage Local Media
Pitching your story to local media should be part of your photography marketing strategy.
Social media may get all the buzz, but there’s no substitute for the good, old-fashioned press. I pitched our story to the local media, which led to a plum piece on my studio and its story.
- Make Multimedia Magic
Would you believe I pretty much have no photos from when I was a kid? It’s one of the reasons I became a photography business owner. I think every child’s bowl haircut, gap-teeth and all should have childhood photos.
I’m in the business of images. But I’m also a business person. And I know that video, when done well, helps get your message out quickly. What’s so great about video? How about the fact that video generates 1200 percent more shares on social media than text and images combined? Or that videos trump statuses, links and photos when it comes to generating organic reach on Facebook?
I don’t use social media to get new clients. But it’s a great way to communicate with current clients in a situation like a big studio move. This is why I created an Animoto video about our studio move and pinned it to the top of our Facebook page. I even boosted the post to minimize the chance that our local clients would miss our big news.
One of the most exciting aspects of using Animoto? I was able to incorporate my own images and music to bring to life a video slideshare that summed up my business and brand
- Maintain a High Profile
If you’re moving – Make sure you let all your new and existing customers and prospects know well in advance.
One of my biggest concerns was that clients would drive by our former location and think we’d gone out of business. A month before closing shop at our former location, we created a large sign to signal clients about our upcoming move. We also made sure our Facebook page conveyed the “We’ve moved!” message loud and clear thanks to an updated cover image featuring a bright, splashy and can’t-miss-it announcement.
- Reach Out
Reach out to your existing clients and potential clients instead of waiting for them to come to you.
You can kick back and wait for your clients to come to you, or you can reach out to them. We chose the latter. (You should, too.) In addition to implementing a direct mail campaign, we also called all of the clients we knew with rising high school seniors. Why? Because our move is occurring at the start of our prime senior portrait season. We wanted to make sure our clients knew that while studio sessions would be held later in the summer, we were still available for on-location work.
- Reach Out Even More
Make sure your business neighbors, partners and vendors all have your most current information.
But we didn’t stop with our clients. We also hand-delivered cards to our former business neighbors featuring a rendering of our new studio on one side and a free headshot offer on the reverse. Yes, we wanted to say goodbye and thank you, but it was as much a strategic measure as it was goodwill. We were willing to go the extra step to ensure that when people came looking for us, our neighbors would respond in a beneficial way. (As opposed to with the damaging, “Oh, I don’t know. They probably went out of business.”)
One final marketing tip for your photography business? Set a specific time frame for the free headshots. We picked a two-hour window during our packing up period. While we didn’t want new clients coming into the chaos, our neighbors not only didn’t mind…they loved it!
- Work Your Website
Make sure your website has your current contact information and relevant news.
An outdated website is a massive no-no, to begin with, but it’s potentially fatal if your contact information isn’t current. Make sure your new address and other contact details are accurate and accessible to website visitors. We’ve also made sure to blog about our photography studio moving adventures. This not only gets the word out but also ensures that new traffic is met with the most relevant news.
Moving to our gorgeous new photography studio is sure to add even more joy to my life as a photographer. If you’re relocating your photography studio, I hope your move is seamless.