If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks!
by Skip Cohen
This is the seventh post in this series, each one written in the hopes of helping you take action to capture more sales in the upcoming holiday season. The reality is there isn't any single key to success. But there is a winning combination of publicity, products, and promotion.
There's only so much content you can put in a blog post. So, today, it's just getting you to think about building awareness. What good is working so hard to create the best images of your life if nobody knows who you are? Too many of you think of publicity as awareness outside your control. So, let's kill the myth - thanks to social media and communication technology - EVERY business can control and contribute to their own awareness.
The definition of publicity from Google is:
In marketing, publicity is the public visibility or awareness for any product, service, or organization. It may also refer to the movement of information from its source to the general public, often via the media.
Stop waiting for that knock at your door from a reporter who wants to do a feature profile story about you and your business. Those opportunities will come, but you have to build your own awareness first!
The bottom line is simple: "use more hooks!"
A goal is just a dream with a deadline!
by Skip Cohen
The one thing we can never change is time. We can't slow it down. We can't speed it up. We never have enough of it - but right now, when it comes to preparing for the seasonality of the fourth quarter of 2021 - you DO have the time.
Most of us fly by the seat of our pants. We're reactionary and respond accordingly to whatever good ideas and, too often, bad ones come our way. Then when an idea doesn't produce the results we hoped for, we withdraw until we regain the confidence to try again.
Okay, enough of the philosophical side of trying to run a business at a time when the world is upside down! Let's go straight to the "brass tacks" of whatever it's going to take to make you smile about your business at the end of the year! I'm assuming everybody wants to regain a firmer footing in their business during the next few months - so, there's the goal and that dream with a deadline. Start with thinking through what you want to offer to your clients.
Here's my point - last year's holiday season was one of the toughest ever. We were all dealing with the unknown and the challenges created by the pandemic. And while we're still faced with so many challenges, there's never been a greater sense of family.
As a photographer, videographer, and artist you've got the skillset to offer your clients great ideas tying in your skills with their families and friends. It all starts with you, and while I hate the expression, "you snooze you lose."
And if you're stuck for ideas, you know where to find me and I'm serious, I'm happy to try and help.
"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
by Skip Cohen
I'm so tired of hearing how much the pandemic took away from business. I don't want you to think I'm minimizing the pain of the challenge, but Covid didn't take away your creativity, or your skillset. It also created great opportunities to demonstrate a leadership role in your community by working together with other businesses to generate some promotional excitement this holiday season.
Here's a shortlist of potential partners for five different specialties in the portrait/social category:
And this is only a partial list. For example, years ago, while doing a Hasselblad University program in the Cleveland area, a portrait photographer told me how a landscaper approached him to do a landscaped scene behind his studio for family portraiture, complete with a small pond and walkover bridge. It was like a mini Hollywood set, and at no cost to the photographer if he'd just promote the landscaper's business. Why? Because the landscaper knew, for this artist, there was a high correlation between the families he photographed and homeownership!
In terms of designing an effective promotion, you can do anything from cross-promote each other's products and services to planning a mailing together to an open house, gallery-like event to introduce the community to your businesses.
Last but not least - think about partnerships like this - each member of the group becomes an ambassador for each partner's business. Working together reduces costs and increases cash flow. But if you do it all alone - 100% of the cost is on your shoulders and wallet!
“Teamwork: Simply stated, it is less me and more we.”
You don't have to be a solo act. Stop thinking you've got to do everything alone!
by Skip Cohen
Most of us have seen the artwork done by StoryPeople in various shops and galleries over the years. For Sheila and me, we've always found their messages mostly related to us personally or about love and relationships.
Well, I'm on their email list, and I get a new one every few days. But the minute I thought about the message in this week's artwork, my mind went immediately to business.
Right now, most of you are doing everything you can to get your business back on track. You're fighting to rebuild, be creative, and figure out how to best enjoy the upcoming holiday seasonality.
It doesn't matter whether you believe in angels, and you don't need one drop of spirituality to appreciate the message. Here's my point:
It's your imagination and creativity that will carry you through this year's holiday season and, in turn, sales. Coming out of the pandemic, even though we're struggling with politics and fighting to not get sucked back into a second wave - the world really is in the palm of your hand.
There's a new sense of family and just for a second, think about what everybody, especially "Grandma," has missed most - her kids! So, when it comes to the challenge of what to get Grandma this year, I'm not sure there's a better gift than a new family portrait. And if you're not a portrait artist, think about wall art. We've all spent more time at home with limited travel, looking at the same artwork on our walls. It's time to redecorate, and you've got the skillset to meet the needs of your clients.
But nothing happens without your imagination and creativity! Use your blog to plant the seeds of ideas. Talk to the vendors in your network, especially your lab, about unique products. The reality is - angel or not; your community is in the palm of your hand!
by Skip Cohen
Last Monday, I shared a post reminding you that you're coming down to the wire to be planning your marketing activity for the seasonality of the fourth quarter. It was pretty general, but this week let's start to list some actions you should consider.
Blog Content: If you've got a blog, it's the perfect vehicle to plant the seeds of gift ideas in photography with your clients. Here are some topic ideas:
Direct Mail, alone and with partners: I'm a huge fan of relationship building with other vendors. While you can do a direct mail campaign alone, with two partners, like a florist and salon, you'll reduce your costs to 1/3 of what it would be if you flew solo. Now is the time to get out in the community and look for partners.
New products for gift ideas: CALL YOUR LAB! I mentioned this last week, but the pandemic hasn't slowed down technology. So all you have to do is call your lab and ask, "What's new?" Then kick back and listen. Somewhere in there, you'll hear about a product that will get you excited as something new and creative you want to offer.
Community Involvement: In the top 100 things guerrilla marketers need to be doing, base on Jay Conrad Levinson's list many years ago, is be involved in the community. People like buying products from companies they perceive as giving back. Now is the time for you to be raising your hand to be involved in activities in your area. And remember, this is about people getting to know you, and it doesn't always have to involve your camera. Even working at a Friday night football game, filling ketchup and mustard containers for the Booster Club, is a way for you to be involved.
No one post can cover everything, but each Marketing Monday, I'm going to be doing my best to share more ideas for you to consider. Most important of all, remember there's a renewed sense of family in the world. Who better to help capture and create those memory-making moments than you?
Images copyright Andrew Michaels. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
One aspect of the fun of a conference or convention is the people you meet. Today's post is a perfect example with a guest post from Andrew Michaels. We met briefly at ClickCon in Chicago last week, and after the convention, he sent me an email about a unique special project he worked on during the pandemic.
The main idea was to photograph a different train operator at each of the 194 CTA stations. I simply wanted to put a face to the L. I know a lot of people don't even think about it. After showing my friends, I would get texts "OMG I saw the operator at the front of the train!!" And from what the operators told me, it meant a lot to get that recognition...The message I was trying to send hit me harder than I intended. These people really are part of the community, and just like your barista you see every day, no reason you can't say hi and just smile to brighten their day. I got to know some of them, and they are truly amazing people.
There's that old line about "it takes a village." Well, take a second and think about the people in your "village" since the pandemic started. For Andrew, he wanted to recognize the team that kept Chicago's transit system operating - never missing a day of support for the community. And remember, they supported thousands of nurses and doctors who rely on the CTA to get to the people they care for!
I'm a big fan of special projects because they help you focus on essential concepts outside your business. In addition, they help bring out your creativity and spirit, which too often, lately, are buried under Covid's baggage. In other words, they help keep you grounded!
Andrew needs to be on your radar - visit his website and follow him on Instagram.
"Dedicated to the entire CTA organizaton for their consistent dedication keep Chicago moving forward."
by Andrew Michaels
In January 2020, I made a decision to commit full time to photography, spending January offering headshots and February learning squarespace to put the new portfolio online. In March 2020 COVID hit, so my plans came to a screeching halt.
With my studio-that-never-was on lock down, I needed a new creative outlet. I sifted through my phone notes and landed on an idea that I really liked: to photograph a CTA bus driver at every stop as they opened the door looking at the passengers outside. But with about 10,000 stops in Chicago, the “L” seemed like a better option, with 194 stops. In hindsight the “L” was even more near to my heart, given how many hours I’ve spent photographing classic shots like the Merchandise Mart and the Adams/Wabash overpass.
As I went about my work, kicking off each day with my morning coffee, I started to consider how the local barista becomes a friendly face in my morning routine. It occurred to me there's no reason the CTA staff shouldn't be embraced in the same way. It can make such a difference in someone's day to get a smile from a familiar face. I got excited thinking how a collage of 194 different operators could encourage the riders to connect with the workers. At the very least it would literally force Chicagoans to register the idea that these iconic trains don't drive themselves. It’s an obvious but often overlooked fact.
As I went about the project, I was amazed at how many times an operator - who I previously photographed, would appear days/weeks/months later at a different stop. It was serendipitous to see, even with such a sprawling organization, I might cross paths with these people over and over. In fact, the very first operator I photographed, Calvin, was spotted 3 times before I finished the project.
In rail transit, a “meet” is a situation in which a train traveling in one direction "meets" another traveling in the opposite direction. Growing up, I was pretty shy, so my family would encourage me to push outside my comfort zone, stressing the importance of meeting new people. “You never know who you’re going to meet…” implying at any moment, you can make friends with a stranger who may become the most important person in your life years later. On a micro level, this project proves that to be true.
I ended up leaving many of the duplicate people in the final collage to reinforce the lesson I was taught growing up, and during the project- treat every stranger you meet as if you will meet them again.
Sorry, but a blog post doesn't really do the collage above justice, but I know you'll get the idea! Check out “Familiar Faces” on instagram.com/statestreetphotostudio .The posts are more visible and the “Familiar Faces” highlight shows BTS/ video content as well.
by Skip Cohen
It would be so easy if there was just a button on your keyboard you could hit and have all your ideas in place for this coming holiday season. Well, there isn't, but that doesn't mean you can't come up with everything you need to give 2021 one of the strongest finishes you've ever had!
It's Marketing Monday and August 16 - just a month ahead of the start of fall seasonality and into the fourth quarter, the busiest time of the year for photographers. What are you doing right now to start planting seeds for ideas for your clients with imaging products?
This will be an ongoing weekly series because no single post could cover everything you should be considering. But here's an ideal place to start:
What are you offering this season that's unique or, at the very least, new to your target audience? Here are some things to consider:
Here's my point - September is two weeks away with kids going back to school (if they're not already), Labor Day, and Fall. October brings in Halloween, and by November, we're already into Black Friday specials from companies all over the world. That makes NOW the time to get your ducks in a row and have plans in place to capture the seasonality.
It doesn't matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.
So, where is your business going for the rest of the year?
by Skip Cohen
As a kid, I know I'm not the only one who dreaded bringing home a report card every six weeks. While there were moments of brilliance when I applied myself, most of the time, there was something I had to explain. LOL Then, as a parent, the process returned, only now I could hear my folks saying, "You'll understand when you're a parent someday." Well, now fast forward to today, and the closest thing to a report card you get is feedback from a client now and then.
With ClickCon right around the corner, then WPPI, Photoshop World, PPE, and IUSA in January, if you're going to make the very most of the time you put into the events, let's look at your "report card."
Here's my point - your time and funding for attending conferences is limited, even if they're online. So take the time NOW and do your own report card. The goal is to walk through the door (or portal) for each event ready to get the most out of it.
Intro by Skip Cohen
I've shared this post several times over the years, and always at this time of year. It's one of my favorite guest posts by my good buddy Scott Bourne. This year after dealing with the pandemic and ALL of us graduating back into a bit of normalcy over the last month, Scott's words are even more appropriate.
His original target with the post was the new artist just coming into the business after graduation, but take a second and think about his advice. We've all experienced some level of hitting the "hold" button over the last year. His advice is the perfect reminder of the things we need to do like marketing, business, technology, and social media to get back into full swing.
We're all never-ending students! And, to Scott's point about relationships - Relationship building is your most valuable marketing tool!
by Scott Bourne
Commencements are coming up all over the country in the next couple months. As someone with gray hair, I can’t help but have a very different perspective on photography than someone of college age. I am often asked what advice I’d give someone just breaking into professional photography. The usual response goes something like this…
“Be prepared for lots of hard work – sales and marketing should dominate your day – show the work every chance you get – network like crazy – shoot what you love – repeat.”
But while that’s all good advice, there’s more I would say if I were speaking at a commencement.
I’d talk about understanding the high degree of importance graduates should place in each and every relationship they engage in during their career. Whether it’s the mailman or the recent client, these relationships are really all that matters. I didn’t know this when I was young and it hurt me…both personally and professionally.
So obsess over gear and f/stops if you must, but if you really want to succeed, pay attention to the people in your professional life. Build solid, long-term relationships with them. Care about them. Help them. Put them and their interests ahead of your own. You never know where that will lead. You might be dealing with that person 30 years later. They’ll remember how you valued (or didn’t) the relationship when you were young. And so will you.
If Scott isn't already on your radar, check out his blog; his website and follow him on Facebook. Plus, check out his field workshop and portfolio reviews.
by Skip Cohen
We're right in the heart of spring seasonality, and although Mother's Day has passed, you've still got proms, graduations, and Father's Day ahead. That leaves some terrific opportunities to pick up a little momentum for your business.
As we slowly come out of the pandemic, there are so many ways for you to start to regain some of the business you lost. Plus, there are some unique opportunities to raise the bar on your skillset.
If you're a senior photographer, Marathon's program on grad cards increases your profitability by 50% with their buy-one-get-one offer. Think about the Class of 2021 and what they've been through their senior year. They need all the help they can get with ways to celebrate, but this is also your chance to start building brand awareness with the Class of 2022. Click above for more info!
Need help with your skillset in photography, videography, marketing, and business? Check out the upcoming Visual Storytelling Conference. The VIP Package is on special for $99, and the free software alone is worth almost $200. And if you don't want to spend any money at all - you can sign up for the FREE pass. Just click on the banner above.
Father's Day is right around the corner, but there's plenty of time to get Mom thinking about the need for a new family portrait. And it's the perfect gift for Dad! Use your blog to plant the seeds for ideas. And Throwback Thursday posts are perfect to help remind your target audience it's time for a new portrait.
Stuck on ideas for new products to offer your clients? Pick up the phone and call your lab. All you have to do is ask, "So, what's new?" Then kick back and listen. Technology didn't slow down because there was a pandemic, and there are so many products to offer.
I'm a huge fan of metal prints, especially when they're hung outside on a porch or patio. It's unique and becomes a conversation piece when people are together. Check out Bay Photo's Performance EXT Metal prints.
Here's my point - the pandemic created a greater sense of family and also heightened our awareness of our friends. Most of us hunkered down and kept in touch with Zoom, Skype, Facetime, phone calls, and email. But now it's time to get back to capturing memories, and nobody can do it better than you!
There are only two significant stretches of seasonality in imaging, the Spring and the November/December holidays. Don't miss the opportunities around you right now...you snooze, you lose!
And if you're stuck on ideas, you know where to find me. I'm happy to help you take those steps to get your business back on track.
by Skip Cohen
I apologize for this sounding like a rant, but while so many of you are working hard to get business back on track, there are still too many of you bitching, moaning, complaining, and whining about what the pandemic took away. So, this email is addressed to those of you stuck in analysis paralysis trying to figure out where to start.
I keep sharing links to various programs coming up, and the response is minimal. Yet, when I wander into many of the Facebook forums, there are threads of conversations from photographers who are still procrastinating about ramping back up! It's time to put your energy into relationship building with your target audience.
I've grabbed the banners of a few of the great programs coming up, but don't forget about support through the blogging community, including Photofocus, who's always sharing great information to help you raise the bar on the quality of your images!
Click on any of the banners below for more information and put them on your radar.
by Skip Cohen
Long before the pandemic, we'd all experienced online education, but safety and social distancing has created an entirely new level of quality programming over the last year. "E-learning" is a buzzword regularly in our vocabulary. Coming up on April 16-18, circle the dates for CanAm Expo - three days of intense opportunities to help you fine-tune your skillset and raise the bar on the quality of your images.
Sometimes it's tough to figure out which programs are going to meet your needs best. Well, here's one that's destined to be outstanding - great instructors and a platform designed to allow you to raise the bar on your imaging skills with excellent presentations.
I've written a lot over the years about the best thing about our industry being the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. It goes deeper than that because it's also about respect for each artist's skill set, which is often the catalyst for kicking off the friendship in the first place.
Besides teaching great photography, there are three instructors who are great friends of both mine and Platypod's - Rick Friedman, Don Komarechka, and Shiv Verma. All three are teaching at CanAm and putting their best into programs to help you become better at your craft! Click on their headshots below for more information
Plus, there's a special bonus program: Batting "clean up" and wrapping up the conference is Platypod's founder and owner, Larry Tiefenbrunn.
"Dr. T" will be presenting a ninety-minute program on the last day of the conference featuring dozens of photographers using Platypod in a long list of different applications. Together with Shiv Verma, they'll share dozens of "how-to" tips to help change your perspective in portraiture, landscape, wildlife, macro, closeup, and even working with flash.
CanAm Expo offers you an opportunity to learn from thirteen of the movers and shakers in imaging today, all in the comfort of your own surroundings. Great topics and perfect timing for you to sneak in more ideas to help you create even better images for your clients as we approach Spring seasonality.
Remember, hunkering down has been about your health - not about your business or building a stronger skillset!
See you at CanAm Expo!
by Skip Cohen
I'm not sure the opportunities for senior photographers have ever been greater than they are for this upcoming graduation season.
To start, think about what these kids have gone through for the last year, compared to what all of us experienced when we were kids. Now, add the opportunities for creativity with seniors and the upcoming graduations, which appear to be scheduled LIVE in most communities around the country.
Last but not least, think about how senior photography has grown in the previous decade. We've come a long way from when I was a kid, or even my kids were seniors a generation later. (This is where I get to share my senior head shot each year - complete with clip on tie and glasses that hid my uni-brow!)
Senior photography today captures the subject's personality, with images often telling a story about their interests, hobbies, and even dreams for the future.
These kids deserve every opportunity you can create for them to help celebrate. So, do you offer grad cards? Grad cards represent one of the best tools you have to help families celebrate and appreciate images you captured and created despite the challenges during the pandemic.
Think back to the pride you had in the quality of the senior portraits you captured. Now it's time to put them to the very best use and create more ways to share the memories!
And yes, this is an infomercial for an outstanding product - grad cards! I love the way photographers can work with Marathon Press and extend the celebration for the class of 2021. Find out more with a click on the banner below, and make sure you check out Marathon's BOGO promotion going on through May 31, 2021.
by Skip Cohen
It's a short post this morning with a point that's so perfect for today!
Koi are beautiful but put a few hundred together in a pond, and they all look the same. None of them truly stand out.
Well, that's exactly what's happening in business right now, especially in photography. Everyone is in the same boat, battling similar challenges. Too often they're trying to rebuild business with the same old products and services.
If you're going to stand out, you've got to bring something new to the party! You've got to position yourself as a leader in your community. You need to start planting seeds of ideas on memory-makers. You need to take advantage of all the creative ways out there to reach your target audience. The pandemic took a lot away from every business owner, but it doesn't have to impact your creativity and marketing skills.
Seasonality in photography is right around the corner with graduation, proms, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. While most of what the pandemic did was painful, there's a new stronger sense of family today. There's a greater demand for family portraiture and you can help put the pain of the last year on a back burner.
As photographers, you're magicians. You take intangible moments and turn them into memories your clients can hold in their hands for a lifetime! I wrote this the other day in a post - think about the last year. What's grandma missed the most? Her family - and what better time for an updated family portrait?
If you're stuck for ideas of what to do this season - you know where to find me. There are so many opportunities for you to be a leader.
In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.
Obstacles don't have to stop you.
If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up.
Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and almost a year ago, I shared the thoughts behind this post. Sadly, as we come out of the pandemic and things start to improve, there are still too many business owners struggling with where to start first. In some cases, they're genuinely confused, having spent too much time hunkered down from their business.They spent too much time being sad, frustrated, and angry - the result, is that deer-in-the-headlights look.
It's all understandable, but the pandemic has created a unique opportunity for leadership in your community. NOW is the time to step up and make the noise needed to remind people of the importance of memories and getting things back in focus (pun intended).
It's time to step out of analysis paralysis. I want to help you get back on track, and right now, you don't need to analyze anything. Stop worrying about what to do, and simply start taking action. The one common denominator for everyone is questioning the best ways to start getting business back on track.
Best of all - we're coming into Spring seasonality. LIVE graduations are taking place all over the country; Mother's Day and Father's Day are coming up, along with Easter. The importance attached to memories has never stopped - just the ability to capture them. And what's Grandma missed the post during the pandemic? Her family - and that makes the need for a new family portrait even greater.
This isn't meant to be a long, drawn-out "how-to" post this morning, but plant a few seeds to get you to start taking action:
Here's the bottom line - you're the only one who can impact rebuilding your business, but it takes focus. You know how to hold focus with your camera, and now it's time to take an intense look at your business. Everything has changed because of the pandemic, but that doesn't mean business isn't out there!
The pandemic is far from over, but things are improving. The risk and fears that goes along with Covid-19 aren't going to disappear, but there is a greater emphasis on family. And as more people are vaccinated, business is starting to pick up again - you can either be on the sidelines and watch the parade go by, or you can be in it!
"if opportunity doesn't knock, build a door!"
by Skip Cohen
In all my years in this industry, I've never seen a more brutal year than the last twelve months. We've all experienced the same challenges. However, as things slowly start to improve, there are still far too many of you looking like a deer in the headlights. I know I've got a reputation of being the industry cheerleader but whether you're with me as an optimist or the glass is half empty - the pandemic has created so many opportunities for you to be a leader in your community!
One of the most abused words through the pandemic has been "pivot." And while everybody talks about it, so many of you aren't doing it. Business is coming back with comments from photographers all over the country about things picking up. But if you're waiting for your phone to start ringing or knocks on your door from clients, it's not going to happen without you planting a few seeds first.
Speaking of things getting back to a level of normalcy, ClickCon is back on for Chicago in August. It's going to be smaller but jam-packed with inspiration and ideas to help make 2021 a year to make you smile! Here's the link.
by Skip Cohen
CIRCLE THE DATE!
Coming up tomorrow, ClickCon Nation has a day of great topics and speakers! And it's all happening online in the comfort of your own home/office. It's an all-star lineup.
And at 2:30 EST, I'm excited to be doing a program together with fine art, landscape photographer, and good buddy Kevin A. Gilligan. Kevin's no stranger to SCU, and in fact, he wrote one of our very best guest posts - a three-part series to help you put together your own exhibit.
We're going to be talking about ways to help you find balance and, in turn, create a path to help you follow your dreams!
Just click on the banner above to register! It's FREE - I hope you'll be there!
See you Sunday, March 14!
Life it is not just a series of calculations and a sum total of statistics, it's about experience,
it's about participation, it is something more complex and more interesting than what is obvious.
by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot over the years about getting involved in your community to build your brand. As we slowly come out of the pandemic, it's time for you to also get involved in the industry!
I'm not suggesting you need to be a speaker or grow to be an industry icon, but being involved will help build your network and strengthen your business by association with other people having the same interests as you.
There are some definite steps to being more involved, and they all start locally.
Here's what you're looking for in all of these opportunities: people to listen to. The industry is starting to buzz again, and you need to be on the front line to hear it first. New technology, new techniques, and recent trends – you need to know about them as they're happening.
Being involved in the industry is like voting. It's your right and responsibility as a citizen to vote in every election. Well, it's also your right, as a photographer, to make an effort to be involved and help the industry that's responsible for feeding your passion.
There are also some interesting side benefits, exposure for your work. For example, many years ago, I was working on an annual project with Graphistudio. They were doing a day in the life of WPPI book, and we needed four photographers. The photographers who were picked each year were chosen because they were involved, and we knew who they were.
And don't forget the other vendors out there. Getting to know a specific vendor might get your work seen in national or local ad campaigns or simply have your work displayed in a blog post or booth. Years ago, my friend Steven Katzman's images wound up in the Kodak booth. My friendship with Jerry Costanzo kicked off because we needed an image in the Hasselblad booth at what was then PhotoEast. Numerous photographers have had their work featured in articles and magazines because they worked to build relationships with the various editorial staff.
The key to be involved is nothing more than putting in the time. Don't jump into the involvement game with high expectations; just be engaged for the sake of growing and learning what's going on. Great things happen when you least expect them, and if you're active in the industry, you'll eventually get noticed!
The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals
and feeling truly happy about themselves,
continually put the other person's needs ahead of their own.
by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot over the years about the care and feeding of your network. Just like a house plant that needs water and sunlight, your network needs interaction, support, and as sappy as it might sound, a whole lot of love. And the pandemic has made it even more important to stay in touch.
The advantage of building a great network in the first place is all about support - not just for you, but as a two-way street, both giving and receiving. It's about having resources to draw from when you need help and also being there to lend your expertise to people in your network.
Unfortunately, so often, we'll go to chase down somebody and have obsolete contact information or be embarrassed to reach out when we haven't talked to the person in a year, since the last convention, first meeting, etc. Again with the pandemic, there's been virtually no live contact for most of us for over a year!
Here are some things to consider to help maintain a healthy network:
Everyone knows the expression, "having a green thumb." For years I referred to my skill set with house plants as "having poison thumb." I didn't give them the attention they needed, and they always died. Well, maintaining a great network is no different.
What you get out of it will be directly related to the effort you put into keeping it healthy.
Customer Service - Going the Extra Mile
"The professional takes that extra step - they follow up, even when they don't have to!"
by Skip Cohen
I'm a huge fan of Shep Hyken's and his focus on Customer Service. Shep's a Hall of Fame Speaker, NY Times Best Selling Author, and a Customer Service and Experience Expert. He walks the talk with his regular closing line of "Always be amazing." The short version of our friendship is, I shared a quote of his on Twitter. He responded; I called him, and he took the call. Since then, we've been on each other's podcasts, and even caught breakfast together in St. Louis two years ago.
I have so much respect for his expertise in Customer Service. Chamira Youngs and I recently had him on as a guest on the Platypod sponsored podcast Beyond Technique.
As I was thinking about 2021 and my realistic optimism for the new year, I started thinking about the role excellent service can play in the months ahead. It's simple - your success is about going the extra step and staying in touch with your clients, even when you don't have to.
As we all work to get out of the pandemic, now is the perfect time to keep in touch with your clients and your audience. It's about giving back, being helpful, and growing your strongest marketing tool, relationship building!
Excellent Customer Service isn't just about solving problems. It's about being proactive and creating top-of-mind-awareness with your audience - so whenever they think about photography, your name is right on top.
There are over 800 videos on Shep TV on YouTube. Here's the link, and it's jam-packed with content to help you rebuild your business in the new year. I wanted to share the short video below because it's so perfect for what your mindset should be right now!
Hunkering down is about your health, not about your business, skill set, relationship building, or CUSTOMER SERVICE! Start being proactive with your audience, especially your past clients.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.