It’s too easy for people to forget about your business.
There’s a Chinese proverb: “The palest ink is better than the strongest memory.” It’s too easy to forget what’s in a box or folder unless it’s well marked.
It’s too easy for people to forget about your studio if you don’t keep your message fresh in their minds. Attracting clients requires a high level of awareness, or brand in your market area. How do you increase your brand awareness?
You must use available communication techniques and tools in order to keep your message in front of clients as often as you can. The good news: this has never been easier or more affordable.
The marketing methods used twenty years ago were generally effective because there were fewer players in the game, and consumers weren’t suffering from 24/7 advertising overload. Today, all that has changed. Marketing a studio then was much like living in a small town; people knew you simply because you existed.
Living in a small town affords a particular familiarity; you know everyone and everyone knows you. You don’t need to be an extrovert because the odds are pretty good that most people will see you during the week in school, in church, or just walking down Main Street.
Marketing today is more like living in a large city; you have to do more than exist to get any attention. You must make your presence known in a city to avoid anonymity. Unless you go out of your way to join social groups, you may have few friends. If you work in a large company, you have to be either a shining star, or the poorest producer, to get the attention of others.
Twenty years ago getting the attention of and attracting clients was more expensive, but generally more effective. Direct mail was mass-produced to get an affordable per-piece-price, but few studios were using direct mail, and response rates were high.
Today, you can send a fully customized four-color piece in response to an inquiry sent to your website by a client who has just done a Google search for wedding or portrait photographers in your area. To stand out from your growing number of competitors, and get the attention of potential clients requires that you be a shining star in your market area.
HOW TO BE A SHINING STAR
People must associate you with a set of tangible or intangible benefits they believe they will obtain from your studio. To increase your brand awareness, client loyalty, and consequently client willingness to pay a premium price, you must do the following:
- Raise client expectations
- Distinguish your studio from the competition
- Unify your advertising and marketing message with what you actually deliver
- Use frequent and innovative messages to build and maintain marketshare
To build a strong brand your studio has to demonstrate that your photography and products are different from the competition. Having a strong brand will create a strong image and attract clients. As you improve your consistency, your brand will improve proportionately and you’ll stand out in the crowd for all the right reasons.