This is a guest post from Danielle Tirserio.
As glamour photographers, we’ve all been there. We stare hopefully and anxiously at our empty studio email inboxes. We quickly hop over to our “Contact Me” form and send a “test” email to make sure the form is working properly. “Bling!” Received and working just fine (Hmph!). Maybe it’s the Internet… Nope full bars on Wi-Fi. Perhaps there are sun flares disrupting the magnetic fields that…
Repeat after me.
My Facebook Page is not a marketing strategy.
It’s certainly a slice of the glitter-filled marketing pie, but it’s by no means all of it. Most importantly, it won’t lead to consistent conversion of leads into paying clients.
In this blog post, let’s go beyond your status updates and pretty pictures on your timeline and delve into the four stellar marketing tips for glamour photographers that will surely get your inbox humming and your phone ringing.
Why Email Collectors (and Diamonds) are a Glamour Photographer’s Best Friend
If you aren’t collecting email addresses on your photography site, you’re missing out a future marketing diamond mine. Plenty of lovely ladies peruse your website every day and leave before you can capture their information. Since you’re only counting visitors as impressions or “hits” on your site, the opportunity is lost.
If there’s only one thing you take away from this blog post it’s this:
Find a mechanism to collect email addresses right now. (For real… go.)
If they entrust you with their email, they are basically begging you to market to them. There are plenty of great programs (free for small lists) that can help you start collecting email addresses. I personally love Mailchimp and Mad Mimi. Both have super easy interfaces that make it downright simple to email studio newsletters. And if the thought of a full-blown newsletter scares you, you can also email prospects the RSS feeds of your blog with summaries and photos. This is especially helpful when you spend all that time putting together blog posts and no one seems to read it.. (Super sad, I know.) Emailing out your feed can be done automatically and effortlessly. Who doesn’t love automatic?!
Your email list will help you connect personally with prospects and convert them into paying, happy clients. You can’t live without diamonds and you can’t live without an amazing email list.
You Have Every Right to Be Annoying
Even really amazing marketing campaigns send 20+ messages to prospects before a would-be client decides to buy. Often businesses pull their promotions too soon, a message or two before they would inevitably make their decision to take the plunge. Messaging is filtered, scrolled past, accidentally deleted, or just plain ignored before it’s ever read for the first time. Remember that you can’t be annoying if they didn’t read your promotion the first 4 times.
Here’s a couple things to consider when you are putting together your next promotion.
Consistency and frequency are your BFFs. Make sure you use varying messages. If you write a title for a blog post, be sure to write out some alternative taglines or headlines. These substitutes will help you give variety to your message when you’re getting ready to schedule a Facebook ad for the same promotion.
Have a plan and start early. Use crayons, glue sticks, pipe cleaners, but whatever you do sketch out a plan to market your promotion (typically 2-3 months in advance).
Give them a reason. It’s often difficult for women to justify a glamour photography session in their minds because they don’t necessarily “need” it. Because of that, we need to constantly show the value of this genre through our marketing. This can be done through testimonials, quotes, and the overall emotional impact that our experience gives clients.
Utilize testimonials whenever you can. If you’ve ever seen an advertisement for beachbody programs, you know that they absolutely can’t produce an infomercial without testimonials. Especially paired with images, client quotes allow a prospect to “see themselves” in one of your clients. The more varied your women are in age, shape, and diversity, the greater the chance your prospective client will identify with what they say and book a session.
If you think you’re being annoying, just keep going. Remember that your studio messaging is front and center to you, but in the ever-increasing noise of modern culture, sometimes you’ll need to “over do it” just to get your client to look up from their smart phones and notice how amazing you are (and you ARE amazing!).
Build a Community and Get out into the Community
Consider Launching a VIP Facebook Group. I’ve seen this work very well in the boudoir arena, and there’s no reason why glamour photographers shouldn’t join in the fun. These Facebook groups are great places for past, current, and future clients of your studio to share ideas and connect as a community. It’s like a virtual slumber party (minus the pillow fights). Since Facebook has made it increasingly difficult to get our marketing messages through, a group setting provides the perfect environment for personal interactions sure to woo your next client. Let’s face it, “trust” is a huge factor in the decision for a glamour client to book. What better way than to give them a safe place to express their fears and have your past clients do some of the marketing work for you.
Get Personal. Dust off your handshake and get ready get out into the community. Personally, I make it a goal to sign up for an in-person event at least once a month, sometimes two. Building a network of strong personal relationships with other business owners, women’s groups, and entrepreneur networks is key to understanding your local market. Events are a great opportunity for you to practice your “elevator speech” and talk about why you love the genre of glamour photography. Listen carefully to those in your network and begin to make connections that will help their businesses, and eventually yours. You could offer head shots for their team, gift the owner a glamour experience, or donate wall art in their stores. I’ve even networked with a professional home stager so I could utilize some of her staging furniture in shoots! The more you focus on hidden opportunities, the better you will get at seeing them.
Impart Gratitude While Staying Top of Mind
Bridget Brennan, author of Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World's Most Powerful Consumers writes:
“Demonstrating appreciation is one of the simplest ways to generate word-of-mouth publicity and repeat business with women. If women are happy with your business, they are delighted to tell people they know.”
Even if you’re just starting your glamour photography business and you’ve had only two clients total, be sure to let them know (frequently) that you appreciate their business and want to stay top of their mind. The more they are reminded of their awesome experience, the more likely they are to talk about it with their girlfriends and colleagues. And since people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend*, it’s important that you tap into that marketing resource consistently and frequently. Be sure to gather client information like birthdays and anniversaries during your client consultations (Mailchimp has a neat feature that sends out automated emails on special events, cool…I know). This vital information will keep you in business and clients coming back for years to come.
Danielle Tirserio is a contemporary feminine portrait photographer specializing in modern glamour and boudoir photography in the greater Washington, DC area. She is an elite member of Boudoir International, a distinguished member of the Association for International Boudoir Photographers, a member of the Professional Photographers of Association of America (PPA) and Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI). You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.