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Target Marketing to Build Long-Term Success

Intro by Skip Cohen

If Walden Coaching isn’t on your radar, it’s time you made a change. Beverly and Tim Walden are artists, photographers, educators and most important walk the talk with everything they teach/coach in marketing. Based out of Louisville, KY they’ve built a successful business of loyal clients. As Tim once told me – “We’re not selling a portrait session but an experience.”

Just recently the post below came in my regular “Tuesday Tidbits” newsletter email from them. It’s filled with great ideas to help you kick off the new year with the right selection of products to offer.

By Beverly Walden

TARGET your marketing to find the right clients and have long term success!
As we prepare to start the new year, I thought it would be a good idea to review how we look at marketing ideas and rate them according to the target above so that we start and stay strong.

In today’s environment where everyone is a “photographer”, it is easy to grab ideas that may generate short term success but harm your business long term in protecting you brand identity.

We judge every marketing idea by the target above, using only A and B ideas, in order to have long term success.

A=Acceptable ideas that completely line up with our brand and make it stronger
B=Ideas that don’t hurt our brand, but are to be used carefully
C=Brand “busting” ideas that we never use

When we have a marketing meeting and start discussing ways to get more qualified clients through our doors, we keep this “target” in mind. As we throw out ideas, it helps to have this visual representation to see where each idea fits.
Here is an example of each category for our studio. You will need to judge for yourselves if they are the right fit for your studio.

A: Portraits by Invitation…OUR PREFERENCE
When we feel we need to generate new sessions from clients we haven’t seen for a while and have spent well with us in the past, we personally invite them in for a portrait session “on us.” This is not a mass email sent to hundreds (like “We Need Models”) but we invite just a few we feel would be good prospects for this.

We explain that we would love for them to come in for a very special session to help us show off a new prop, a new background or for us to experiment with a new style.

In the examples below, we wanted to show more work with mothers and older daughters, so we combed through our client list and found these two that would fit.

What is nice about this idea is that there is no pressure on them to purchase anything, but instead, they are doing us a favor! It completely changes the dynamics. We meet and discuss the clothing we would like them to wear and our idea about the session. They are thrilled to help out and we design the session exactly as we want it to be.

We give them a $400.00 credit to use any way they wish and usually, they purchase much more. It is a win-win for everyone.

These are offers that vary from time to time and are emailed to our specific clients in our database. We actually use 5×7 Black Boxes with Gift Card Inserts that we fill out for each specific offer and we use satin ribbon and stickers that dress the box up.

These offers may vary from a set of Christmas Cards to a $500.00 Gift Certificate for $250.00.

The KEYS for this to work:
1. We limit the number of boxes for each offer. LIMIT ON QUANTITY
2. They have a very tight and short deadline. LIMIT ON TIME
3. We don’t do it so often that it is ignored. SCARCITY builds demand and value.

Procrastination is our biggest enemy as clients keep thinking they will do it next week, next month, next year…and then years go by without them coming in. We use the Black Box offers to instigate a sense of urgency.

“Many Groupon customers are customers who would not use the business’ services again without receiving another coupon.”

“In our opinion, at 70% off, you would be better not having a customer than having a customer. The Groupon mentality puts the idea into the head of consumers that all items and services should be sold at cost or below cost. They believe if someone is making a profit, then let’s find someone who is not willing to make a profit. Starting a Groupon or Livingsocial deal means you now have a loyal base of people who will most likely only patronize your business when they can get something for free.” ~rossmanngroup.com

Enough said! Again, you must decide for yourself, but this is not for us at Walden’s as we feel it would be a brand “buster!”