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!"
by Skip Cohen
I created this series to help you start thinking about things you need to consider to make this one of your best holiday seasons to date. This is the sixth in the series, and all it requires you to do is genuinely listen to your clients and change the way you respond!
While I'd like to take credit for the foundation of today's post, it's thanks to my good buddy, Doug Box. I first heard him talk about this concept with his bakery demonstration years ago. So while I've written about it before, most of you need the reminder with the holiday season coming up!
Paraphrased from Doug's presentation: Pretend you're a baker, and somebody calls and asks you, "How much are your cakes?" For most of us, we'd ask a series of qualifiers: How many people do you want it to serve? Sheet cake, layer cake, or ice cream cake? What flavors would you like? Anything to be written on the top? Any allergies we need to know about? When do you need it? Will it need to be delivered? And the list goes on and on.
Why, when none of us own a bakery, do we know what we'd need to ask, but as artists, most of you ask almost nothing? For example, a potential client calls and asks, "How much are your 8x10s?" and most of you would answer with a price. That's it - nothing more to clarify what the customer needed, and no effort made to upsell with ideas of other products you offer, package pricing, cross-promotions with other vendors, holiday specials etc.
Holiday seasonality is right around the corner. While the pandemic has created so many complex challenges in business today, it's also brought with it a renewed sense of family. With that new focus on family there's an increased demand for portraiture and creating/capturing new memories. Just ask yourself, what's Grandma missed the most over the last year? Her family!
Take a minute and think about everything you have to offer a client. From holiday cards to prints to capturing memory-making events - when you're contacted, don't just answer their question. Instead, take things one step further and give them something to think about that ties back to your skillset and everything you have the potential to offer.
Another good buddy, Tony Corbell, has used Disney as an example over the years. If you ask a Disney staff member when is the Electric Light Parade, they'll answer you, but then include, "And you know where there's a great place to watch it?" They'll then give you a suggestion on where to be in the park to enjoy it the most. They never just answer your question.
The bottom line is simple - we've been experiencing it with every fast food order we've ever made..."You want fries with that?"
by Skip Cohen
Although this podcast got great reviews on Photofocus.com and iTunes, I've been behind getting caught up here on the SCU Blog. So, over this next week, if you haven't heard the podcasts already, you'll meet some of the most talented and respected artists in professional photography.
Meet a great friend to so many of us in photography, Kristen Jensen. In this podcast, she shares so much great insight into her journey - from a Ford model to actress to moving behind the camera and more.
We first met when we were both working with Panasonic, Kristen as an Ambassador, and me in support of their social media building. And while we're not directly involved as much these days, that doesn't change the love we share for imaging, especially marketing/branding.
"Everybody becomes a celebrity when they take charge of their brand."
I wanted to share her promotional video from her website. It's all about branding, and is the perfect sidekick to the podcast above.
As I've written so many times before, the fun of this industry has little to do with imaging but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Sheila and I have caught up to Kristen and Tom each time they've been in the area.
A BIG thanks to Kristen for joining Chamira and me on the podcast. Click on any of the images below to see more of Kristen's work, as well as gain a better understanding of branding. She's one of the most diverse artists in imaging.
And one more BIG thanks to Photofocus.com and their support of the Mind Your Own Business podcast. It all started with Rich Harrington having an idea, Sheila giving us a suggestion for what to call it, and in 2014 we kicked off the first podcast in the series and haven't missed a month since!
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.
You can't be the kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it.
You have to go down the chute!
by Skip Cohen
Tina Fey's quote isn't new to SCU - I've probably used it as an intro to at least two posts previously. However, it seems incredibly timely for today's Marketing Monday post. Over the last two weeks, I've shared three previous posts on ideas to help you ramp up for the upcoming holiday season.
Well, there are still too many of you sitting on the sidelines watching the parade go by instead of being in it! So, here are a few things I know about this year's seasonality.
The $100 billion pet industry is poised to nearly triple to $275 billion by 2030, creating potential tailwinds for pet-friendly stocks...The pandemic has upended the lives of humans, but for pets, it's been a bonanza: Their owners have been home all day, showering them with attention and treats...Morgan Stanley's housing strategists estimate that the growth trend of US pet ownership more than tripled during the pandemic.
Years ago, I worked for a company whose owner loved to ponder every significant decision. In the end, he pondered himself and the company right out of so many great opportunities. There's no such thing as a "sure thing" these days - so that means you have to take risks. But the great thing about imaging and business is that nothing has to be forever. Take risks, stop pondering at the top of the waterslide. Stop overthinking what you're going to do next.
Like the Nike tagline...Just do it!
by Skip Cohen
The title is a modified quote from "Life's Little Instruction Book Volume II", and it's one of my favorites. Unfortunately, with all the insanity in the world, there are too many artists who are letting the weeds take over their dreams.
While part of this post is from the SCU archives - it's time to bring the topic up to date and deal with today's challenges. I'm not minimizing anything you're dealing with, but having been in this industry my entire life, I've learned that whatever you're frustrated with today, somebody out there found a solution yesterday!
Weed 1: It's time to shut off the negative information in your life. I've written before about the importance of listening to your heart, but we're surrounded by negativity these days, and it's hard not to let it into your head. For Sheila and I, we've stopped watching the news. It's frustrating not to know who to believe, so we follow a couple of online news sources, listen to our family doctors and follow people we trust.
And the next time you're sharing an image in an online forum and a troll out there decides to shred your work, remember my buddy Dean Collins' line, "Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder!"
Weed 2: Stop thinking you're alone in your frustrations as a photographer and small business owner. Here's where getting involved in a local guild or PPA chapter is going to help. You need to be involved in the local network, not just know about it. Join whatever/whoever is in your community and start getting to know other photographers, as well as them getting to know you.
Get involved in the local business groups, both live and online. Host your own networking luncheon and invite people who target the same audience you're after. Start thinking how you can pool your resources.
Weed 3: Stop thinking you can't afford to promote your business! I just wrote a post earlier this week about partnerships. If there's a holiday promotion you want to get off the ground and you're worried about the ROI, then work together with at least two other partners. Sharing the costs is only one benefit. There's also the ability to expand your reach into the community and increase the value of what each partner is offering.
Weed 4: Take some time to think through your definition of success. Most of you are halfway there, but since you've only defined success in monetary terms, you have no idea how much you've accomplished just by being happy. And while I know just being happy doesn't put food on the table - stop thinking the pandemic got in the way of your climb up the ladder. You haven't lost your skillset, your creativity, or your passion for the craft!
Weed 5: Get out from behind your computer...often! I get that we've all been forced to be slaves to the Internet - after all, it's safe and provides an ability to communicate without any health risks. We're all experts in Zoom, Facetime, and Skype these days, but that doesn't mean you can't still meet with a client and maintain physical distancing. And nothing should hold you back from owning your zip code! It's time to get out and pound the pavement, meet other business owners in your community, and talk about ways you can work together. Your business will be built on relationships, and you won't get to know the people who can help you the most if you're at the computer all day.
Weed 6: Stop worrying about having the right gear. Do the best you can with what you've got. If there is something you desperately need to help raise the bar on your images, but you can't afford it, then find a good rental house. Years ago, Vincent Laforet spoke at Skip's Summer School. He was very open about the minimal gear he had when he first started and asked the audience, "You know what you do when you don't have a lens long enough?" "You move in closer!"
Weed 7: Don't be afraid to ask for help! One of the things I loved about the recent ClickCon conference was how attendees worked together and shared ideas about the solutions to their challenges. There are so many resources available to help you grow and rebuild your business. And don't forget a call to your lab - all you have to do is call and ask, "What's new?"
Weed 8: Stop talking and listen. There's that old saying about having two ears and only one mouth, so you've got to listen twice as much as you talk. All the answers are out there, if you just listen!
You've got so much to be proud of, but take it one day at a time, keep procrastination to a minimum and keep working to build a stronger skill set. And if you're stuck - you know where to fine me. Some times you just need another set of ears or eyes on the challenge!
Wishing everybody a terrific weekend. Get control of those weeds!
"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?
Intro by Skip Cohen
Two of my most favorite portrait artists and good friends are Bev and Tim Walden.
In just a few weeks, they'll be launching one of the industry's strongest coaching/mentoring programs, Immersion. While I've been sharing a link to their program over on the right of the SCU blog, I asked Beverly to give me a short example of how straightforward they're going to be with helping you build your skills beyond your technical style.
It's your chance for a year long, never-let-up support system! You can even design the program you need the most over the next year, and add in an hour of private coaching as well! Just click on the banner above for more information!
One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results. Well, this is your chance to raise the bar on the quality of your work and your marketing/selling skills. And like Carly Simon's song so many years ago, "Nobody does it better!"
by Bev Walden
As much as you don’t want to admit it, objections exist. Personally, I would love it if our clients always agreed to everything I said, bought it all as presented and never objected.
That is just not reality.
However, take heart. As you are in business longer and longer, reputation will provide privilege as people know what to expect…and objections happen less often.
Our best advice (not meaning to sound flippant) is to avoid objections by doing groundwork from the beginning. Weed out problems beforehand. It is your job to think ahead for your clients and avoid any possible objections by informing them about things they need to know such as your pricing and payment options, how you do business and what they can expect.
After doing due diligence beforehand, you can prepare for each selection appointment with confidence. Here are three common objections we see.
Objection #1: Being indecisive. Can I think about it? I can’t decide right now.
This is where groundwork comes in. Take time before the day of the sale to plant seeds about expectations and share your “rules.” Talk about it every format you can (written, videos, etc) and reinforce it our and over. Your rules, your way. Time is the enemy. In the first moments of the sale is where the money is made and money tanks as time passes and clients leave without making a decision. Relationships become contentious as you try to re-connect to get an answer. This is one of the worst scenarios for successful sales.
What do we do if this happens?
We say, “Let’s put everything into the system like we’ve talked about since we’ve spent all of this time together already.” Then we collect the deposit. Before we finalize everything, we ask them to let us know within certain time (ie: 24 hours) whether to go ahead with the order as is or modify it. If we don’t hear from them, we go ahead. This approach gets a solid order and a deposit, yet doesn’t back them into a corner.
Objection #2: I can’t bring my spouse right now, so can I just look at the portraits now and then we can come back later to place the order?
What do we do if this happens?
We say, “It is hard to get on the schedule right now as we are several weeks out.” Usually, when they hear this, they will find a way to come as originally scheduled and place their order. What we don’t want to do is show any images before they are ready to buy as the excitement is much less the second time the images are seen. When excitement goes down, the money goes with it.
Objection #3: I look ________________. You can fill in the blank.
What do we do about this? We avoid this objection by prepping images that we want to highlight with a little retouching and liquifying areas that need it. We put our best foot forward! This is why we limit how many images we show. We want to make each as beautiful as we can without spending too much time fixing too many images.
Finally, don’t be afraid of objections. And remember, sometimes, there is not an answer. If you have done everything right and still have a bad sale, no worries. Let it go. Be ok with it. And learn from it.
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.
by Skip Cohen
Technology and trends in demand NEVER slow down. Now add in the "new" normal created by the pandemic, and there are so many opportunities for photographers to raise the bar on their skills and expand their business. Here's one example:
Thousands of restaurants all over the country are serving outside. At the same time, carry-out has become a significant part of their business. Most of them have little in terms of visual assets to show their menu.
But there's one more factor playing a role in your potential to grow your business - most of you have time on your hands. As we come out of the pandemic and things return to a little more normalcy, while business is picking up, it's the perfect opportunity to fine-tune your skill set.
Aaron van is an accomplished food and beverage photographer. The video below is only eighteen minutes, as Aaron goes through the technique and tools he used to light and capture the image above. In addition, he shares a lot of great "how-to" content.
So, whether food photography is typically part of your business or not, grab a coffee and take a few minutes to follow his process. Then, start thinking about the restaurants in your community that could use a little help in sharing their menu beyond their physical location!
Interested in seeing more of Aaron's work? Visit his website, and you'll see galleries of stunning work from one of the industry's very best. And check out KelbyOne for Aaron's most recent online workshop.
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
There's nothing new to write about or share following everything I've written over the last few weeks about seasonality. So this is just a you-snooze-you-lose reminder!
Every year in imaging, there are two stretches of seasonality - the Spring starting with Mother's Day and November, starting with Thanksgiving and running through the December holidays. Slowly coming out of the pandemic, the timing is perfect for you to be focusing on Mother's Day, graduations, proms, and Father's Day.
This will be a short post, but think about what parents and grandparents have missed the most. Got it? The answer is family! That makes this the perfect time to remind your clients it's time for a new family portrait!
And that's only the beginning. Think about what the Class of 2021 has had to deal with this year. Think about proms and the fact that many communities will have limited events. Then, Father's Day rolls around.
All it takes is a call to your lab and asking the question, "So, what's new?" Then kick back and listen. You've got a rare opportunity to be creative and help your clients create an incredible memory of Spring 2021.
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
This is hardly a new topic, but it's based on one an old African proverb. We're just starting to come out of the pandemic, and all of us have been a long way from "smooth seas" over the last fourteen months.
Think about it. The pandemic brought virtually every business to a standstill, especially in photography. But you've had a year to fine-tune your skills, expand your reach in social media, and hopefully diversify a little from your original specialty.
What's exciting right now is the new energy focused on marketing, relationship building, and leadership for those of you no longer willing to sit still! There's a stronger sense of family these days, and combined with the overwhelming need to help clients capture new memories, business is about to start growing again.
Plus, technology has made us stronger as an industry. Think about how we share photographs today - Zoom, Facebook, Facetime, Skype, Google, YouTube, etc. As the economy continues to improve, business will come back, starting with this year's graduations.
Scuba diving is a major passion of mine, and I remember a dive when I first started. We had 6-8 foot swells, and we were in a small boat - I was diving with my buddy, Bob Nunn. The captain looked at us and said, "If you guys can dive in this, you can dive in anything!" I came off the boat green, and Bob left breakfast a half-mile off the Florida coast, but it did make us better divers. It also gave us something to laugh about.
Well, none of us will ever be laughing about the last year but as an industry, we've survived the most brutal of times. Now, Spring seasonality is right around the corner.
What are you doing to let your target audience know you're back? Use your blog, email, the phone and direct mail to get back in touch with your audience. Own your zip code and start knocking on the doors of local businesses to introduce yourself. Look for partners (other companies with the same target audience) and get out to lunch with other artists.
The point is, we've all learned to sail in rough water, and now we're better sailors!
It's time for you to thrive, not just survive!
If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.
by Skip Cohen
We've been working on a butterfly garden for four years, and it's finally taken off. This is the first chrysalis we've seen, and sometime over the next few days, a Monarch butterfly is going to appear. When I shared the image on my Facebook page I mentioned it looks like an ornament missed when the tree was taken down after Christmas.
Butterflies don't live very long, which leads me to wonder how Mother Nature screwed things up. Cockroaches can live for two years, but Monarch butterflies live for 2-6 weeks! Hmmm, only the good die young? Any day now, we're going to watch a Monarch come out of that little pod, which is about the size of a large vitamin.
I know my opening quote above is an obvious lead-in for something about marketing. And while it couldn't be sappier - think about the pandemic chrysalis you've been in for the last year. Now, take it a step further and think about all the opportunities for you and your business to stand out today!
The list of things you can be doing right now goes on and on - and don't forget Father's Day, the start of Summer, owning your zip code, and making the community aware you're there for support! Everyone in business has had the same challenges over the last year, but now is the time to be a leader and work to have your business thrive, not just survive!
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.
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.