Remember the reason I started this series - there's so much you can be doing to strengthen your business and secure a stronger market share in 2018.
I'm staying with the new menu, and this week let's put together a time-sensitive list of things you should be doing NOW! Every year many of you do the same thing, you think of great ideas too late. Let's make this the year that none of you should on yourself!
The seasonality of the fourth quarter is right around the corner with great potential for increasing business, but why not be ready? Let's turn 2018 into the year that made you a "showstopper" in your community!
Ready for the Holiday Season in Professional Photography?
- Relationship Building: This is the time to hook up with people in your network involved in community events. Hopefully, you've been building relationships all along, but the challenge now is, who's photographing the various holiday events around your community this year? Who's doing portraits at the various dinners/parties around town like Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.?
- Who's on your "thank you" list? Now is the time to start thinking about extra things you want to do for those vendors who helped you earlier in the year. It might be time for a fruit basket for that wedding planner who's been good to you. Or, maybe it's taking your favorite florist out to lunch or dinner. Remember, everybody gets busy over the holidays and the sooner you plan something, the more potential impact it has.
- Holiday Cards: I've written about them a few dozen times over the years, but right now I'm talking about your holiday card featuring one of your images and a holiday message to your clients, vendors and the opinion leaders in your community.
- Products for Your Clients: From holiday cards to prints, frames and novelty items - pick up a phone and call your lab! It's such an easy question, "What's new?" You're looking for ideas to include in a holiday promotion as well as possible thank you gifts for a few exceptional clients.
- Open Houses: The topic has already been covered in two different blog posts, over the last week. But this is a perfect time to host an open house to feature your work and further build your reputation in the community.
- Community Education: Most of you have the experience to do a program for your community to help them raise the bar on the quality of their images over the holidays. Do something through your church, a parent's night through the school or just a couple of evenings in your neighborhood. This is about sharing your expertise as a photographer. There are so many things you do every day that shared, can help people become better photographers - composition, fill flash, exposure, storytelling, printing images, etc.
- Ramp Up Your Blog: From gift ideas this holiday season to tips on technique, your blog content goes hand in hand with the relationship with the community. Remember "Mom" makes 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories - so share posts that target Mom.
- Own Your Zip Code: Now is the time to be knocking on doors and introducing yourself to all the businesses in your community. No matter what your specialty, all of you have the ability to help business owners with their photographic needs. A wedding photographer for example might say, "My specialty is weddings, but if there's anything you ever need help with in photography, I've got a great skill set and other photographers I work with who will be able to help." That's all it takes - throw in a handshake and leave your business card.
- Headshot Campaign: I love the idea of having fun with this one and positioning it as a community cleanup campaign. No matter where you are there are dozens of professionals who need a new headshot. Have some fun with this and do a holiday promotion and get people thinking about how long it's been since they had a new headshot.
- Partnerships: I've written a lot about partners in mailers, online promotions, and live events. You don't have to do everything alone. For example, hosting an open house with two other companies gives you two more ambassadors to get the word out and bring in more guests for the event itself. Plus, splitting the cost three ways reduces your out-of-pocket expense by a third!
Since I'm having fun with the diner analogy, your dessert with today's entree is the added strength to your brand awareness and eventually your bottom line revenue! Most important of all, remember to include your family in discussions about what you're doing to create more excitement this holiday season.