Intro by Skip Cohen
Last Friday I announced a new menu in the SCU diner, and a different "cuisine" with more extensive "entrees" to help you build a stronger business. Fast Food Friday has received a lot of nice feedback, but it was time to start serving more sophisticated recipes.
Well, little did I know that my co-host on "Mind Your Business" and "Beyond Technique," Chamira Young not only loved the concept of an open house, but has her own recipe for success going to back to her move to Port Huron, MI a few years back.
As a new photographer in the area it was important to meet the community and at the same time have them get to know her. Part of the success of the event included a short video clip which she turned into a promotional piece on her website. Check out her guest post below and then think about your own needs in the community.
Remember, success in any business, especially photography, is about relationship building and establishing trust. Hosting an open house, even when you don't have a "house" is one ingredient so many of you need to either kick off brand awareness in a new community or jumpstart an established business that needs to stand out more!
By Chamira Young
Little did I know the decision to throw an Open House would revolutionize my struggling photography business. It's a big part of how I built my client list from virtually nothing after moving to a new town and having to essentially start my business from scratch.
Was an Open House outside of my comfort zone? Yes. But was it worth it? Absolutely. A classy Open House event is a great way to build credibility, momentum within your community, and a solid contact list for you to keep in touch with in the future.
At my event, I not only had a handful of folks sign up for headshots beforehand (which required them to register with their email address, phone number, make payment, etc), but the people who stopped by just to check things out also had to sign in with their basic info.
I was ecstatic over how many of these "freebie" folks later signed up for a full photo session once they met me and had a chance to see me working in action at the event. That's why it's so important to greet every single person at your Open House. They need to get to know you and it's the first step to establishing trust and building relationships.
Below is a short video, just over a minute. I created it after the event, which served as a great marketing tool for social media, future events, and even on my About Page on my website. Don't forget, if you're doing any kind marketing video keep it short.
I underestimated the impact this video would have on social media, especially with folks who were not able to attend but watched the video to get the "experience" of the Open House. Not only did I get comments ranging from "Amazing!" to "Congratulations!", I received emails and phone calls from folks who wanted to schedule a shoot because they got to see me work with clients through the video.
Another surprise came in the form of a steady stream of questions from fellow photographers asking how I put it all together, which led me to create a podcast episode going into detail about it.
While it takes some time and effort to throw an Open House together, it's definitely worth it!
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