Intro by Skip Cohen
Bev and Tim Walden never let me down with their never-ending passion for the craft and marketing. Today’s post is from Bev’s “Tuesday Tidbit” two weeks ago, and I wish we could make it mandatory for every small-business owner to read! It’s not just for photographers, but for any business.
The challenge is finding ways to make your business and your role in the community unique. How do you build in gaps that elevate working with you versus your competition?
Terry Clark, another artist and friend I respect, said many years ago – “Check out what everybody else is doing and then do something different!”
I’ve been friends with Bev and Tim for a whole lot of years, and they ALWAYS walk the talk. They’ve built-in gaps that separate them from their competition as well as other educators and artists. It starts with their skill set and the quality of each image they capture/create. Next comes the experience they create for each client. The mortar holding all the “bricks” together is their integrity and passion for the craft. But all along the way, there are things they’ve built in to exceed expectations with every client and student!
The best advertising you can have is a loyal customer spreading the word about how incredible your business is.”
What makes me different? Why should prospects check me out instead of my competitors? How can I distance my business from a price-sensitive audience? How do I create a place in the marketplace today for my portrait studio?
First of all, defining your style and knowing who you are as a photographer helps you break through the clutter of the many photographers in the market.
Donny Deutsch says this in an article in Success magazine, “The biggest mistake is to try to be all things to all people. Then you’ll just have a middling response. Part of what makes a brand is having a passionate constituency, even if it’s small.”
And remember, your style must be well defined for quick recognition, unique from others, be from your heart, and most important, it must be investment-worthy.
We knew long ago that we wanted to photograph people in a way that told their stories as well as offer products that were of the highest quality we could produce.
And we knew we would never be the lowest price in town!
For us, our goal is to be the trend-setters, not the trend followers. We believe in ourselves, so we run FROM the trends, not TOWARDS them, especially since they don’t match what is in our hearts as artists!
As we saw more aspiring photographers shooting in parks around town, we started more heavily marketing our studio work, especially since studio shooters are in short supply these days.
It is one of our GAP creators.
Along with this, we make sure every client feels treasured. Every touch point is carefully choreographed to ensure every client experience is amazing.
We are having such fun creating new ways to pamper our clients.
One current idea is themed, “Our Favorite Things.” We have selected three businesses that we have a personal relationship with and that offer unique Kentucky products. Our plan is to visit them (one down-two to go), take a photo of us with the owner in their store, and make a postcard with the photo and their story.
Upon the completion of a client’s order and 1 week after pickup, we will send one of these gifts along with the designed postcard as a special thank you gift.