by Mark Weber, M.Photog.Cr, M.Artist, CPP I’m a big believer…
By Skip Cohen
It’s the slow time for most photographers right now, at least regarding shooting, especially in the wedding and portrait specialties. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be the slow time for planning ways to build a stronger business.
It’s time to be thinking about the upcoming seasonality. Think about the number of catalogs you got last October and November. Then, they died down, and as we get closer to Spring everything will start ramping up again with Mother’s Day, graduation, proms and Father’s Day on the horizon. So, as your mailbox fills up with catalogs in April, what are doing to get your customers thinking about photography?
Now is the time to be thinking about Mother’s Day, prom couples, graduation and Father’s Day. Here are some ideas, but remember they’re also opportunities for you to share some excellent blog content and start planting the seeds of ideas for photography.
- Mother’s Day: From florists to gift shops and restaurants, Mother’s Day kicks off the seasonality of the Spring and gives you an opportunity to partner with other vendors in your community.
- Prom: how about contacting a local limo company or florist or both and do a joint mailing? Maybe this is a great tie-in with the high school PTA for prom portraits with a portion of the proceeds going to next year’s senior class party.
- Father’s Day? There isn’t a Dad on the planet who wouldn’t appreciate an up-to-date portrait of Mom and the kids or just the kids, but you have to plant the seed. Maybe this is the ideal program to partner with a local children’s clothing shop in town. Don’t forget grandparents! Is there any grandma who wouldn’t love a portrait of her grandchildren?
- Graduation gives you unlimited potential, but if you don’t already have a relationship with the local high school or college then look to partner with venues where people go for lunch or dinner after graduation.
This post is only meant to get you started with the process. There are numerous opportunities all over the country over the next few months, but you have to start planning now. A call to your lab to make sure you know all their new products is a great place to start. Then check with your album company. Between the two, I can guarantee you’re going to find some ideas you haven’t thought about before.
And, at the risk of this sounding like an infomercial, check out Marathon’s Bella Art Prints and Albums. The quality is fantastic and you’ve got a wide range of album colors and different papers to choose from and outstanding pricing. I just finished a project for Panasonic’s LUMIX Ambassador team with a Bella Art Album, and it’s stunning!
Remember, through all your promotions when it comes to the portrait/social category, your target is ALWAYS Mom. Women make 98% of the purchase decisions when it comes to hiring a professional photographer in the portrait and wedding categories. I’ve probably written that a dozen times in posts over the years, but it’s so important. It’s one of the most critical demographics too many photographers forget.
Other partners to help get the word out include florists, restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, salons, tux shops, gown shops and don’t forget other photographers! Each one is a potential promotional partner, whether it’s just sharing the cost of a joint mailing or cross-promoting each other’s products and services.
Think about it for just a second. If you did an oversized postcard by yourself, the cost is 100% yours – design, printing, customer lists, and postage. Now bring in two partners and each share a third of the card. Your cost is reduced to 1/3, and even better all three partners in the mailing become ambassadors for each other!
But here’s your biggest challenge: you snooze you lose! You have to be the one to plant the seed and start the dialog. Now is the time to be building relationships with other vendors, so you’re ready for the next round of seasonality!