With the Internet era fully entrenched in web 2.0, SEO, and social networking/marketing, businesses often overlook the invaluable realm of traditional marketing. Here’s a quick look at some ways you can keep traditional marketing strategies in the fold for 2011.
1. DEFINE YOUR MARKET
First off, it is important for any business to define their market. Ask yourself: what areas of photography do I excel in? Is there a niche market for my work? Who are the clients I want to attract? Are they located in a specific region, or are they defined by a certain style, or a certain need? When identifying your audience and clientele, it’s important to imagine yourself in their shoes and ask, “Why should I hire this person?” and “What makes his/her business special?” Do you offer a unique service or product offering? By asking yourself the right questions, you can attract more of your ideal clients and better define your strengths.
2. REACH THEM
Once you’ve identified your market, you will need to reach them. In this day and age, many of us have gotten lazy with easy access to tools such as email, IM, Twitter, Facebook, and message forums. But remember the other ways we used to reach our customers? A direct mail piece (letter, postcard, mailer, etc) is still a great way to get someone’s attention, especially when their email box is filled with hundreds of email promos they receive. Send a promotional postcard with a special discount code on it, exclusive for these clients or potential clients on your mailing list. If you have their phone numbers as well, follow-up with a friendly phone call to see if they’ve gotten your postcard and have any questions.
Or, let’s say you’re a portrait photographer and it’s senior portraits season. Get in touch with the yearbook staff at your local high schools and let them know you’d love to be one of their preferred photographers. Plus, you can get their guidelines on what is and isn’t acceptable for their yearbook photos. Find out where teens are hanging out – post up flyers at football games, your local Starbucks, etc.
Are you a wedding photographer? If so, have you left your promos at wedding gown boutiques, florists, or venues? In fact, you should try to partner up with other businesses that cater to the same market. Extend an offer to a wedding planner to refer clients to them if they do the same by referring clients to you. Take the co-promotion a step further and print a co-branded brochure or promotional piece –you get the back side, and they get the front side. Speaking of print, buy an ad in the local paper, when and if it makes sense. For example, if your business caters to California’s Napa Valley, where a lot of weddings take place, you might want to take out an ad in Napa Sonoma Magazine or Napa Valley Life Magazine. And don’t forget events – do a Google search for bridal shows in your area and consider setting up a booth or at least do a little networking at the event. Another idea would be to list yourself with the local or regional trade organization.
Lastly, and arguably the best way to reach them, is word of mouth. Encourage people to talk about your business–create a referral system where clients can receive special discounts or offers by referring their friends and family to you. And you may not normally think of competitors as bringing you business, but in all likelihood you’ll run into situations where you’re already booked and the client could use a referral. Why not ask a few of your competitors to refer your business in these situations and promise to do the same?
3. CONSISTENT BRANDING
When relying on many of these traditional marketing techniques, always remember to keep your visual branding consistent. Use the same logo, the same color scheme, the same fonts across all media, from print collateral to online collateral. After all, your web presence is essentially a business card or billboard that exists in cyberspace. Tie all physical material back to your online presence. Remember to include website address, email address, Twitter handle, Facebook page on your flyers, ads, business card, etc.
As you can see, there are still many effective ways to attract new clients offline, so combine this with your online tactics to maximize your efforts!