1. Marketing

Four Great Ideas to Build a Stronger Brand

Intro by Skip Cohen

Bev Walden is back with four terrific thoughts about marketing. I love pretty much everything she shares, but there are two especially important points in today’s post.

Using social media: Hunkering down was about your health, not about your business. Since your very best marketing tool is relationship building, keeping in touch with your clients throughout the year is critical. Sadly, too many business owners walked away from their clients and didn’t keep in touch through the pandemic.

Giving back to your community: People like buying products and services from companies they perceive as giving back. So, you’re looking for your community to be good to you – then you’d better make sure you’re good to your community! Look for ways to give back that separate yourself from any business that’s just another retailer.

By Beverly Walden

“Marketing may take a day to learn, but it takes a lifetime to master.”

Marketing needs to be targeted, well thought out and planned ahead of time rather than occasionally thought about when business is slower. Success depends on putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time.

Here are four of our thoughts about marketing to consider…

ONE: An integral part of our marketing is making our clients feel special.
They respond to being recognized. We take kindness and service to the next level, creating an experience that is not easily forgotten. We create friendships with our clients that go deeper than a transaction.

Years ago, after reading the book, “Hug Your Customers” by Jack Mitchell, we created what we called the Hug Calendar. Whenever we heard of an accomplishment from a client (or read about it on Facebook), we sent a handwritten card. At certain times, we sent a small gift. And yes, we are still doing this! It’s called Surprise and Delight!

TWO: Social Media has become more important than ever to reach our clients, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for personal touches such as a card or note occasionally sent when appropriate. And, we have taken printed booklets into the digital realm using www.issuu.com which takes your PDF and turns it into an attractive e-magazine. We love that we can update the images on the fly and then, send just that booklet to a specific client.

As technology keeps changing at such a high rate of speed, we make sure we are keeping up with what fits our brand and letting other things go that distract, keeping the great and letting go of the good.

With so much to learn in this arena of social marketing, we are determined to pick our battles, so to speak. Otherwise, we would feel overwhelmed.

THREE: Plant seeds to market towards the future.

On every visit to our studio, whether it’s planning, selection or pick-up appointment, we start a conversation about what their next portrait should be. We created a beautifully laid out e-booklet called Your Life in Portraits that goes through every age of a child growing up, from baby to high school senior with suggestions for portraits at each age and parked it on www.issuu.com.
It helps us answer the question, “What should I do next?” or “What are the best ages to have my kids photographed?”

“Hope is not a strategy!”

FOUR: Work with a charity. Remember the Law of Reciprocity?

We did portraits for over ten years for a charity called Daniel’s Care (see portraits below), a pediatric hospice group in our state. Every month, we photographed a family with a child who had a life-limiting illness and the family could not otherwise afford a portrait with all of the medical expenses.

We then printed, matted and framed a black and white wall portrait to go to that family at no charge; archival to last and treated with much love and care. These were emotionally difficult, but we felt it was the best way to give back to our community.

Fast forward to today…Daniel’s Care was dismantled a couple of years ago, and we searched for another organization that we could work with to do a similar project.

After contacting the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital with a proposal (and waiting several months), we finally connected with them and are now doing portraits again of these sweet families with children who may not be with them much longer.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make,
but the stories you tell.” -Seth Godin