It's the slow time for most photographers right now, at least in terms of actually shooting, especially in the wedding and portrait specialties. However, that doesn't mean it has to be the slow time for planning ways to build a stronger business.
On March 8-9 we're going to be spending a lot of time in my program talking about marketing and things you should be doing to create excitement for the rest of the year, but right now let's just focus on Spring.
It's time to be thinking about the upcoming seasonality. Think about the number of catalogs you got last October and November. Then, they died down and as we get closer to Spring everything will start ramping up again with Mother’s Day, graduation, proms and Father’s Day on the horizon. So, as your mailbox fills up with catalogs in April, what are doing to get your customers thinking about photography?
Now is the time to be thinking about Mother’s Day, prom couples, graduation and Father’s Day. Here are some ideas:
· For prom, how about contacting a local limo company or florist or both and do a joint mailing? Maybe this is a great tie-in with the high school PTA for prom portraits with a portion of the proceeds going to next year’s senior class party.
· How about Father’s Day? There isn’t a Dad on the planet who wouldn't enjoy an up-to-date portrait of Mom and the kids or just the kids, but you have to plant the seed. Maybe this is the ideal program to partner with the local children’s clothing shop in town. Don’t forget grandparents! Is there any Grandma or Papa who wouldn't love a portrait of their grandchildren?
· Graduation gives you unlimited potential, but if you don’t already have a relationship with the local high school or college then look to partner with venues where people go for lunch or dinner after graduation.
This is only meant to get you started with the process. There are numerous opportunities all over the country over the next few months, but you have to start planning now. A call to your lab to make sure you know all their new products is a great place to start. Then check with your album company. Between the two, I can guarantee you're going to find some ideas you haven't thought about before.
Remember, through all your promotions when it comes to the portrait/social category, your target should ALWAYS be Mom. Women make 98% of the purchase decisions when it comes to hiring a professional photographer in the portrait and wedding categories. I’ve probably written that a dozen times in posts over the last year, but it's so important. It's one of the most critical demographics too many photographers forget.
Other partners to help get the word out include florists, restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, salons, tux shops, gown shops and don't forget other photographers! Each one is a potential promotional partner, whether it’s just sharing the cost of a joint mailing or cross-promoting each other’s products and services.
But here’s the challenge: you snooze you lose! You have to be the one to plant the seed and start the dialog. Now is the time to be building relationships with other vendors so you’re ready for the next round of seasonality!
Illustration Credit: © Scantynebula | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos