Fast Food Fridays are all about things to help you fine-tune your business and create stronger branding and awareness in your community. And, we're at the very beginning of the fourth quarter with great seasonality to close the year.
There are so many things you can do to create strong awareness for your business and in turn, not only close this year with a good finish but set the stage for 2019.
It's time for another entree from the new menu at the SCU Diner.
I want to focus on promotions, but with a very different approach. Let's look at some of the things photographers think about when it's too late, after the promotion is over.
We all do it - We "Monday Morning Quarterback" our disappointments. Although every promotion can be done better, it accomplishes nothing to "should" on yourself.
Focusing on Promotions
We'll never completely get away from realizing things that were missed and playing "Monday Morning QB," but let's see if today's "blue plate special" can help you become a little more proactive on the front end. I'm hoping by thinking about what you might miss before you even do the promotion it'll help you create a stronger concept, right from the start.
Did the program have value? Recently I got a direct mail piece from one company offering a $5 off coupon and another with 10% off. Does $5 or 10% off anything these days get you excited? Think about the value of what you're going to offer. Within photography, I've seen photographers offer something free from their lab. The concept would be fine, except the target audience doesn't know the product. You have to create promotions that get people excited, and they have to recognize the value of your offer.
If you're thinking about offering free goods, then spend a few months in advance with the product in your price list. Use your blog to talk about what it is and show examples. Establish value on the promotional product BEFORE you share it as part of a campaign.
Did people understand the concept? One of the most difficult challenges we all have is explaining/describing something. Here's a good example. I took a speech class in college, and the assignment was to explain to somebody how to put on a coat. We had to assume they knew nothing about what it was, what sleeves or a collar were or what was the inside or outside. It was almost impossible.
Sadly, that's the way many of you write up a promotional offer. You assume your clients understand what you're talking about. The best way to resolve a challenge like this is to write up your offer and then read it out loud. Next, have somebody else read it. Then, read it again and last on the list, get another person to read it. Most effective of all, get your "proof-readers" from outside the business.
Did you price it right? There are sensitive pricing thresholds throughout the consumer world. There is no specific formula in photography because every market is different. You need to pay attention to the demographics of your audience and then price things accordingly. Do a little research before you launch and as I once heard Denis Reggie say, "Don't price things on what you can afford. It was years before I could afford myself!" You've got to look at your target audience.
Pricing in itself is a challenge, and you might want to read this post from my buddy Bryan Caporicci several years ago. He did a great job of talking about pricing in general, but the same principles apply to promotional offers.
Did people know about it? This is one of the most common problems. You created a promotion but did a horrible job of getting the word out. Remember you have to keep getting your message out there again and again. Utilize every vehicle at your disposal including email, direct mail, advertising, your blog, partnership marketing and publicity, just to name a few. You have to use all of them at the same time to get your message out to your target audience and get through the noise.
What were your competitors doing at the same time? You can't avoid this because you don't have control over your competitor's business, but look at the community when you launched your promotion. Then, do your best to find windows unique to your reach with minimal noise. Check out this guest post from Bruce Berg on the Lane County Children's Contest. It's five years old and still completely valid! Here are three studios working together during the first quarter to create excitement at a time when the market couldn't be slower.
How did you present the idea? It's a combination of design, timing and with printed material, being a wordsmith. Think about things from the perspective of your target audience. Did your presentation get their attention?
There's a great line I heard thirty years ago from Ed Foreman, a motivational business speaker from Texas. I've shared it many times in previous posts.
"if I can see the world through my client's eyes, then I can sell my client what my client buys!"
I guarantee somebody out there just rolled their eyes and said, "put yourself in their shoes." You don't need to be in their shoes - it's only going to make your feet hurt.
For most of you, your target audience is "mom" - that means you need to see the world through her eyes. You need to understand what's important to her; where she needs help; and the things she worries about regarding her family, children growing up, etc. "Moms" wear multiple hats and it's your job to understand the importance of each one.
Successful promotions don't happen overnight. It's a process, often of trial and error. The days of just putting together a great two-for-one offer and then sitting back and waiting for consumers to charge through your doors are long gone. You have to create excitement, have value and above all have a product people want!
Be patient - keep trying new combinations of offers with value - pay attention to how your message is received and keep fine-tuning your process.
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