by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday and a great time to share ideas on a concept so few of you are doing - continuity marketing.
My first introduction to the concept was back in my Polaroid days. In 1986 Polaroid introduced the Spectra, which was incredibly successful for many years. It was the first Polaroid camera launched as a complete system. From a wireless remote to tabletop tripods, a Cokin filter set, camera cases, and albums, there were accessories to help keep the consumer excited about their purchase. Then throw in special direct mail offers on copy prints, mini-albums, and new products and there was a non-stop flow to keep customers feeling good about their camera choice.
That same basic concept is perfect for you to implement for your current and future clients. Here are some ideas:
The Image Box: The first time I saw this product in use was through Bambi Cantrell working together with Art Leather Mfg. many years ago. She'd surprise her clients with an image box filled with a dozen or so prints on mattes, signed by guests at the wedding in advance. It wasn't meant to replace the album but be an enhancement.
Today, just about every album company and lab offer some sort of upscale storage box. What if in that box from a maternity session, for example, there was a series of special coupons provided for additional events like a newborn session, a family portrait or something extending out to the first birthday. There's so much more an artist could be offering to bring clients back.
Wedding Clients: From additional prints to multiple albums, etc., there's potential to expand coverage with a bridal client. For example, David Ziser used to talk about first anniversary portraits. On the first anniversary of many of his clients, he'd call the bride and offer a free portrait sitting for the couple. Think about the brides you've known - the younger they are, the more friends they have who will be getting married. Imagine the excitement a bride would share with friends that her wedding photographer was coming to do an anniversary portrait. It's a goodwill bonanza!
New Print Products: All it takes is one call to your lab and ask the question, "What's new?" From metal prints to canvas to new sizes and other materials, here's an opportunity to offer your clients new ideas in how they display their prints. And while canvas isn't new to any of us - it is new to so many consumers. We might be tired of it, but they're not!
Full Service and Frames: Michele Celentano is the first photographer I ever heard refer to herself as a full-service artist. She'd start by working with the client on the front end to decide the size of the final print, framing, and where it would be displayed in the home. Then, when the print was ready, Michele would arrive with a hammer, hook, and a level. There was no way her stunning work was going to sit in a closet waiting for somebody to hang it on the wall!
Pet Products: In the hierarchy of why people hire a professional photographer, it goes brides, babies, and pets. And while things may have shifted due to the pandemic, pets are still in the top three. There's a correlation between families and pets as well. Years ago, Vicki Taufer launched her Dog Days of Summer campaign involving cause-related marketing for the local animal shelter. She knew there was a correlation between children and pets. Well, not only did the program create new clients for her, but she became one of the most recognized pet photographers in the area for several years.
Legacy Programs: I've already shared ideas on legacy programs and multi-generational portraits. This is an ideal time for you to market to the renewed sense of family in the world. Again, this is about expanding your services and then sharing the ideas with your target audience.
Here's the bottom line - in the same way, Polaroid launched and then continued to reach out to customers with new accessories in the Spectra line, you've got the same ability to reach out to your audience with new services and products. From promotional offers to print products to pets, frames, and albums, you can stay in touch with your clients and keep them excited about the services you offer.
New products and promotional offers are perfect for direct mail, social media and your blog. You have to cultivate excitement with your target audience, both in your database and followers as well as new targets.
However, if you're in business today and operating like a "one-trick pony," you're missing so many great opportunities.
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.