by Skip Cohen
For over a year and a half, I've shared a Fast Food Friday tip, almost every week. In fact, there are seventy-five different articles; each one focused on a specific aspect of your business. Most of them are short, but they hit on topics ranging from marketing to expanding your skillset and even a few on how to keep your sanity as a small-business owner. Well, it's time to raise the bar a little, and here's a great place to start, diversity, and growing your business.
I'm in contact with dozens of photographers every day. While many of them are new to the business, lately, there's a trend of more seasoned artists trying to figure out how to mix up their game and go in a different direction. It's the Darwin theory of survival of the fittest.
You can use the survival of the fittest to refer to a situation in which only the strongest people or things continue to live or be successful, while the others die or fail. (From Google and Wikipedia)
Here's the first new installment in this Fast Food Friday series - growing your business outside your core specialty.
Stepping Into the Senior Market
Over the last decade, the senior market has become one of the fastest and most diverse specialties in professional photography. Done right; each session is based on relationship building, being fun to work with, and fine-tuning your listening skills. Remember, these are young adults, and as an artist, you'll often be the first professional photographer they've ever worked with. Your relationship should become an investment in future business with them as well as their parents.
But the challenge becomes where to start. Remember, this is the first in a multi-part series, and we're going to start at the very beginning of the marketing process.
Before you roll your eyes about my endorsement of an SCU partner, if you've followed me for even the shortest amount of time, then you know I don't endorse any company who doesn't have something to offer you when it comes to growing your business.
Chamira Young and I have worked with the PhotoTexting.com team since last February. I love what they're doing to help photographers raise the bar on how they communicate, react, and respond to their audience.
With the senior market, we're talking about an audience with demographics that scream "early adopters." Seniors are mobile and text-focused all day long. Knowing the usage rate for teens is high, I had some fun on Google searching to see what the stats suggest:
More than half of teens (54%) say they spend too much time on their cellphones, and 41% say they overdo it on social media. According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours a day online...
Now, take that information and think about your younger clients - teens, as well as their parents. There's a lot of useful data for a starting point on growing your business and taking full advantage of mobile solutions.
Don't be thrown by the video below being called a "webinar." It's under four minutes and perfect to watch while enjoying that morning cup of coffee.
This is the first installment in a new series about growing your business. And while we're starting next week and be more focused on marketing to Seniors, the video above applies to so many different aspects of your business! Communication technology is not going to slow down, and mobile technology especially is here to stay - embrace it the right way, and you're going to have the tools not only grow your business but close sales faster, expand your reach and increase revenue!
In keeping with the Fast Food Friday theme, we're going to take it one step at a time. Next Friday, we'll hit getting started in marketing to Seniors, and we'll keep building from there!
It's Marketing Monday and the perfect time to talk about seniors. Having been in the industry my entire adult life, or at least the time I was supposed to act like an adult, I've seen so many changes in photography. One of the biggest is with high school seniors.
Today's senior sittings, if they're done right, should be part of a full experience. It's not just about a good headshot for the yearbook, family, and friends, but getting to know the subject. It's about listening more than talking and then capturing their personality and interests in a series of photographs and even short video clips.
Being a senior photographer is about establishing great relationships. Right at the top of the list of building blocks is how you communicate. Seniors live in a texting world. They're on their phones constantly.
While this is going to look like an infomercial, it's not without a huge benefit. PhotoTexting.com has built an entire platform to help you communicate faster, and expand your reach into the senior market more effectively. And, their Senior Rep Program is just one solution to helping you grow your business.
Besides building a business in the senior market, there's a reason that's significantly more long term - a strong relationship has the potential for future business. Remember, for most seniors; this is the first relationship they've had with a professional photographer. It's a time for you to build trust with both the senior and their family. Seniors have siblings; seniors grow up and become brides and grooms, and seniors start their own families. You want to be part of that cycle.
One other aspect of this program I appreciate - it gives you a better way to connect with Mom and Dad! Watch the short video below and then click on the banner to visit PhotoTexting.com and check out the 20+ solutions to help you thrive!
Copyright Steve Brazill. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Nothing extends our reach or builds friendships faster than a scroll through cyberspace. Now, combine the power of the Internet with a couple of good old fashioned phone calls, and the potential for a great friendship starts to build.
Steve Brazill joins me on this 126th episode of "Why?" We met through his recap of Photoshop World in Las Vegas. In one segment, he interviewed "Dr. T" founder of Platypod. With Platypod being a new SCU partner, I called Steve for permission to share the video.
Now and then, we're lucky enough to meet somebody with one of those personalities you can't help but click with. Platypod was actually the shortest part of our conversation, as Steve and I talked about photography and an industry we both obviously love. *poof* A new friendship kicked off and with it this latest episode of "Why?"
While Steve's passion as an artist is in music photography, he's found a way to include his experience as a recognized broadcaster with his series, Behind the Shot. While most imaging podcasts interview guests who talk about their work, Steve starts with a photograph and then gets inside the mind of the artist to talk about the critical elements of the image itself!
Steve Brazill needs to be on your radar. Both of his links are below. Check out his work as a photographer and then move over to his podcasts in Behind the Shot. You'll never be disappointed. A BIG thanks to Steve for joining me on "Why?" and especially for his non-stop passion for sharing great content about photography!
"Why?" is brought to you by...
PhotoTexting.com just recently launched their new website, and it's jam-packed with 20+ mobile solutions designed to help you book more clients, build a stronger business, and increase revenue!
If you're a senior photographer, check out their new Senior Rep Program together with the two new levels of Concierge Support, (if you don't want to set up your premium apps and senior rep program yourself, PhotoTexting's mobile app designers will build everything for you)!
Communication technology is changing every day! PhotoTexting's here to help you grow your business.
by Skip Cohen
We couldn't be more proud to work with some of the very best companies in professional photography. One of those, PhotoTexting.com launched their new website yesterday with an incredible list of 20+ mobile solutions to help you grow your business and expand your reach.
If you're a senior photographer, their new Senior Rep Program offers you an incredible collection of tools to be more interactive with the senior market. Each component of the program not only takes full advantage of cutting-edge technology in communication but can make your business with seniors more fun. Remember, "fun?" It's one of those words frequently lost in business today. What started out fun years ago is too often drowning in a sea of stress and frustration.
The senior market over the last decade especially, has completely changed from what it was when I was a kid. This is where my buddy Scott Bourne would ask if Matthew Brady took my headshot to the right! LOL Back then we all dressed the same — just a boring black and white headshot for the yearbook.
Even my Dad's senior portrait, approximately twenty-seven years earlier was at least hand-colored! Done by Olan Mills Studios, there wasn't a formal senior program, but set up by my grandmother directly.
Well, fast forward to today, and senior photography is about capturing the personality of the subject. It's about multiple sittings, wardrobe changes, and building a relationship with each client. It's about creating an experience. Remember, for many of your senior subjects; this is their first real experience working with a professional photographer. Build the right kind of relationship, and you'll see them return as they get older and have other imaging needs.
PhotoTexting's new program for Senior Photographers is all about relationship building and utilizes the most important element, great communication. It allows you to be interactive with your senior reps and build a team beyond what traditional methods have allowed you to do.
But, don't take my word for it - check out the forty second video below and then click on the banner for more information!
What a kick to have cutting-edge technology at your fingertips and new ways to grow your business!
by Skip Cohen
Technology and how we communicate are continually changing. To grow your business, you've got to be able to adapt and reach your target audience in the most effective ways possible. It's time to supercharge your website and social media presence!
We're excited to share the launch of the NEW PhotoTexting.com website, giving you access to over twenty simple mobile solutions to grow your business. Watch the three-minute video below. Then, check out the link to PhotoTexting.com and the special bonus offer making new texting technology easy to understand and even easier to afford! There are 20+ simple to use mobile solutions to help you raise the bar on how you communicate with your target audience!
And, if you're a senior photographer check out the remarkable NEW Senior Rep Program!
Image copyright Terrell Lloyd. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
"Why?" is all about unique backstories and special images that often helped launch the careers for some of the most respected artists and educators in imaging today.
Terrell Lloyd joins me on this new episode of "Why?" Although there's probably nothing Terrell hasn't photographed or can't, his first love in photography is sports, especially when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers. He's been their Senior Manager of Photography Services and Lead Team Photographer for twenty-three years!
I don't usually share videos on "Why?" episodes, but the video below was produced by the 49ers and also shared by SanDisk on their YouTube channel a few years back. Considering that my primary purpose for starting this series was to introduce you to the movers and shakers in our industry, it's perfect for giving you a look at a day in the life of a totally dedicated team photographer!
Terrell originally sent me the screenshot of a collage of Joe Montana's last game in 1992 shown below. It clearly is a pivotal image in his career. I wanted to share his photograph and backstory, so I pulled the image from his collage: hit the clarity fix tool in Luminar, and that's the image above.
Remember, this was captured on film and the negatives are somewhere in Terrell's storage. Considering that this image is from a screenshot, with minimal post-production, it's still perfect to appreciate its significance. If you've ever spent any time with Terrell then you know it's representative of his passion for photography. The image was a significant building block for the foundation for an incredible career!
To find out more about Terrell or contact him, visit his website. And, he's just a click away on Instagram... www.instagram.com/49ersofficialphotog.
"Why?" is brought to you by...
We live in a world where instant fulfillment is the norm. Communication is continually changing, and consumers are looking for fast responses to their inquiries. PhotoTexting.com is giving photographers the ability to respond to inquiries quickly, expand their reach, raise the bar on Customer Service and in turn, increase revenue.
Check out everything PHOTOTexting has to offer with a click on the banner above. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build stronger brand awareness, increase sales, and build stronger relationships with your clients.
Image copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
We're back with a new episode of "Why?" and another great image and backstory. The "Why?" series was started to help introduce you to the movers and shakers in photography and education by way of one of their favorite or best-known images.
Rick Friedman's in the SCU house today with a story about an image that's been published hundreds of times in publications around the world. While Rick's best known for his work as a photo-journalist, there's probably nothing he hasn't photographed. One trip to his galleries, and you'll be hit by the number of iconic portraits you've seen in magazines, newspapers and on the Internet.
Rick's no stranger to SCU and we recently shared one of his images and information about his lighting workshops, which have become almost as well known as some of his celebrity subjects. Rick needs to be on your radar, and you can keep track of him by visiting his website - it's just a click away on any of the images in today's post. And, while you're there, check out his workshop schedule. He's got a lot coming up next month!
"Why?" is brought to you by...
Think about how much has changed in imaging and communication over the last few years. The Internet changed the way we share photographs; the way we're able to keep in touch and mobile technology has changed how we communicate. We get everything from our news to GPS to instant fulfillment on questions about virtually anything.
PhotoTexting.com is all about helping you take full advantage of this ever-changing communication landscape and creating the most effective ways to reach your clients and build a stronger business.
PhotoTexting is giving thousands of photographers the ability to market in the continually growing mobile side of life! They're leading the way in helping photographers communicate with their clients through a great list of creative apps like Customer Appreciation, Mobile Business Cards, Referrals, and Brochures, just to name a few.
Check it out with a visit to their website. Better yet, check out a sample brochure using one of the apps. You can't afford to miss the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your clients. Isn't it time you found out what all the buzz is about?
It's hard to believe we've been able to share a new Fast Food Friday almost every week since last February! And, while it started as a way to share quick ideas to help you raise the bar on your business, today's blue-plate special is a lot more than just "fast food."
Today is a full entree, but it's also an opportunity for you to change one aspect of your business - how you communicate with your customers.
Just like the Internet changed the way we share photographs, our phones have changed the way we communicate. We're all texting more and more. I'm using text messaging all the time. From our local CVS Pharmacy to dinner reservations to updated airline information when we're traveling, texting is fast becoming one of my most efficient methods of communication.
Why? Because it's fast, and when done right I have instant fulfillment to my questions, along with a visual copy to refer to later on if needed.
Texting is here to stay, but sadly, so few of you understand the benefits and the many things you can do to engage customers faster, improve customer service and establish an ongoing system for demonstrating customer appreciation.
Five Things that STOP Potential Clients from Making Contact
In the last few weeks I've been introducing you to Phototexting.com, a new SCU partner. I'm excited about what they offer and in fact, I'm using one of their applications myself when teaching/speaking. While they're an incredible developer of marketing apps for photographers, they're really a communications company and they're changing the lives of business owners every day.
I "borrowed" the five points below from their website introduction to share in today's Fast Food Friday, the top five things that stop potential paying clients from contacting your business.
1. Today's consumers do not like email and will avoid filling out forms. Solution: Potential customers may not be ready to engage in a personal call with you, but they will text you. The option to text your business phone number is faster, easier, and preferred by consumers. Texting starts more conversations, more conversations means more bookings.
2. Consumers want answers to their questions NOW. Solution: Answering inquiries instantly is expected and offers great customer service. With PHOTOtexting Text Chat, you are notified instantly that you have a business text and you can respond immediately from your phone, from anywhere.
3. Consumers dislike waiting for additional company information they're promised. Solution: When a lead is asking for more information about your pricing or services, they are close to making a buying decision. PHOTOtexting provides you unlimited smart apps of all your services that you can instantly send to their phone.
4. Consumers appreciate follow up and will respond. Solution: Once a consumer contacts you, they are automatically added to your company mobile list. This makes it easy to send automated alerts and promotions to consumers, keeping them updated and engaged with your company.
5. Consumers want a deal. Solution: Let's face it, everybody wants a deal. A simple added value can move a potential customer closer to booking your business. Need a spike in your business? Send out a text blast alert or promotion to all of your leads with one touch.
I know there are plenty of skeptics out there, but here's a statistic I shared in a post a few weeks ago: 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive.
Check out everything PHOTOtexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build stronger brand awareness, increase sales and expand your reach.
Check out four of my favorite ways to use PhotoTexting.com and test drive the process yourself with a text to the number below.
Images copyright Joe Brady. All rights reserved.
I started this series to introduce you to the movers and shakers in photography. What better way than to share their favorite images and include each backstory? It's now been almost three years and 113 artists to date, with at least twenty more in the wings. The challenge is often working with everyone's travel schedule, especially this time of year with so many conventions and workshops.
Joe Brady is in the spotlight today. Joe and I have been trying to catch up to record this episode for months, but we finally found a time when we were both standing still long enough! Joe's a photographer, artist, educator, writer, video producer and passionate about every aspect of the industry. While he's best known for his landscape and portrait work, I'm not sure there's anything he can't photograph. His signature is the quality he puts into everything he does.
Joe needs to be on your radar, and the best way to stay in touch with what he's working on is to sign up for his free newsletter. It's always filled with great information and perfect for you to stay in touch with product and book reviews and new things going on in imaging.
Click on either of Joe's images in this episode of "Why?" to visit his website. And, track his workshop and tour schedule with a click on either thumbnail below.
Joe's "Why?" image above is the one he talked about in the podcast, but I wanted to share what he referred to as the same photo everyone always gets, which is below.
Follow Joe's Workshop and Tour Schedule...
Solid content and special projects like "Why?" don't happen without support from some great companies in the industry. A big thanks to a new SCU partner, PhotoTexting.com. Communication is continually changing and PhotoTexting is giving thousands of photographers the ability to market in the mobile side of life! Check it out with a visit to their website. You can't afford to miss the opportunity and upgrade how you communicate with your clients. Isn't it time you found out what all the buzz is about?
One of the biggest challenges for every photographer is pricing. Whether you're new and just starting out in business, or you're a seasoned veteran offering new services and products, maintaining a healthy profit margin is critical to not only survive, but thrive.
Last week I joined my co-host from Mind Your Business and Beyond Technique, Chamira Young to talk about some of the mistakes photographers make when setting their prices as well as a few solutions. There's a lot of good content in this new podcast and thanks to PhotoTexting.com we expanded the topic into what is the next big thing in marketing and relationship building.
Think about how your clients communicate today versus ten years ago, or for that matter just five! Technology is changing every day and along with the changes come some remarkable opportunities. Understanding how texting can help you grow your business, reach more clients and reinforce your client base with a stronger sense of customer service is so essential to your success.
PhotoTexting.com's Mobile Price Lists App helps you book clients faster. See how it works for yourself! Text "pricing" to 800-240-6909 to see a sample price list. You'll receive a text with a sample price list so you can experience what your client would experience if you were using the Mobile Price Lists app. NOTE: You won't be spammed, and you're not signing up for anything!
The Mobile Pricing App can include your pricing, specials and various options for prospective customers to book your business with one tap on their phone. And, you can customize your mobile presentation to be unique to your business and style.
The Mobile Pricing App is just one of a dozen or more apps to help you build a stronger business. Isn't time to check it out and learn what all the buzz is about?
The first post in our new PhotoTexting series talked about your first step in the process of taking your business to the next level, being assigned your own exclusive 800 number. Well, this week let's jump into mobile brochures.
Wandering into Google, I asked a simple question, "How many people text?" General information from several different sites showed some incredible statistics**:
Twenty years ago I helped two friends design a product brochure and a workshop piece. I put what seemed like endless hours into creating and writing text for both brochures. And, while they both looked okay, they were printed pieces, expensive to produce because they were being printed in small runs and couldn't be easily updated. We had to guess at quantities. With one we printed too many and the other not enough.
A printed piece is still a necessity to have, especially when meeting directly with clients but the world is changing. In the same way, we share pictures today with the Internet we're communicating differently.
PhotoTexting.com is a new SCU partner, and I'm excited to not only be on the cutting edge myself but be able to share their apps with all of you. Having the ability to keep your company brochure updated with new images, text, and links to contact, special offers and pricing information is at your fingertips and easily changed/updated.
Most of you know I refer to myself as the "Low-Tech Poster Child" of the industry. Well, if I can do this stuff so can you. At WPPI last week I used their App as a speaker. Instead of giving people a handout of notes from my presentation, with one text message to my number they automatically got back my notes and a link to my website, exclusive content and two short videos. They could choose what they needed.
And here's one more important statistic about texting**:
82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive.
Check out everything PHOTOtexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build stronger brand awareness, increase sales and expand your reach.
And nothing changes from my goal - I don't want you to just survive in 2019 - let's make sure you thrive!
**Sources: StasticBrain, CTIA, Pew Research, Gallup, FlowRoute
Often when I'm teaching a marketing workshop or doing a website review, the importance of accessibility comes up. It happens every time I come across one of my pet peeves on a photographer's website - the absence of a phone number. They've got everything there, EXCEPT a number for people to call. Typically that launches a rant on the importance of giving clients and more importantly, potential clients instant fulfillment in their ability to talk to you.
Many years ago we lost one of the industry's greatest managers and friends, Bruce Landau. Hearing the sad news, a number of us started chasing down people who we knew he was close to. I got to a well-respected photographer and educator on my list, but no matter where I looked I couldn't find a phone number. He'd recently moved, and there was nothing on his website. A few months later I saw him at a convention and apologized for not taking more time to find him. His answer left me speechless, "Yeah, there's no phone number because I don't want people calling me!" He honestly felt phone calls were a bother!
So, fast forward fifteen years and I'm still seeing photographers who don't have a phone number. They use a template contact form for email, but don't respond quickly. They act as if it's the customer's job to become an Internet miner and find them! And when I've confronted some of these artists, their attitude is, "If they really like my work they'll find me!"
Think about your frustration the last time you called a company and couldn't find a way to talk to a live-body! We live in an instant-fulfillment world and that old expression of "strike while the iron is hot" couldn't be more valid.
I'm very excited about a new SCU partner, PHOTOtexting, a very cool app that helps you market to and book new clients from your phone. I'm using their application myself this week at WPPI with presentation notes for attendees at two programs I'm doing in the Panasonic booth (934). Think about the Internet, social media, how we use our phones - everything is changing from how we share images to how we can more effectively communicate and market ourselves.
This post is the start of a series of marketing ideas on how to build a stronger business in 2019, and it starts with being accessible and responding quickly to customer requests. And, best of all for me - I'm excited because there's the potential to not hear excuses any longer from people who think they don't need a business phone line!
Check out everything PHOTOtexting has to offer. There are so many different applications and ways for you to build a stronger presence.
I don't want you to just survive in 2019 - let's make sure you thrive!
This post will be most relatable to those of you over thirty. If you're younger, you might need to take the trip down Memory Lane with one of your parents!
Over the last two decades, the Internet has changed everything in the way we communicate and especially share pictures. The world has become a tiny place giving us the ability to share photographs with friends, associates and the public at any time.
Along with the change in how we share pictures, how we communicate has also changed. The other day a friend shared a video with me of two teenagers unable to figure out how to make a call using a rotary dial phone! They only knew how to use their cell phones. And, with our phones, access to the world is always at our fingertips.
SCU was built on a foundation of passion for marketing, business, and education. Communication is a huge part of that passion. After all, what good is working on your technique to capture the most magnificent images of your life if you're not reaching your target audience?
Just like imaging and communication changing over the years so has marketing.
It's time to take how you communicate with your clients to the next level! With the help of PhotoTexting.com, we're excited to introduce you to a more effective way to reach your target audience!
PhotoTexting.com is in the SCU House!
With PhotoTexting Apps you've got dozens of ways to build a stronger business, increase inquiries and reach your target audience quickly; boost your inquiries; inspire more conversations and most important of all get your brand to their phone before they shop your competitors.
There's an endless combination of ways to communicate with your clients. Each app focuses on a different aspect of your business including customer appreciation, referrals, promotions, and business cards to name a few.
"I've been building out my mobile apps inside of PHOTOtexting. The idea of using anything else is daunting to me. It's amazing the inquiries I now get from my website and social media, with my new business line. It's so easy sending my company materials and services to consumer's phones. Before, I would have software, landing pages, order forms and have to figure out how to tie them all together. I'll never have to go through that again because of PHOTOtexting" - Rick Ferro, Disney Photographer
Stay tuned because we're going to be sharing a lot of solid content to help you build a stronger business; increase revenue and establish a more recognized brand!
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
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.