One of the real benefits of my job is that I get to meet with successful photographers all the time. One of the challenges is that I also get calls from folks who are struggling. Some folks I can help. When it comes to ideas for marketing your business, dealing with sticky situations or just the need for a quick pep talk, I’m your man. (Just don’t ask me to help you take better pictures. There are lots of people who can do that better than me). With this said, there is one question I get asked all the time. How can I sell more products? My answer is simple … (and therefore probably counter-intuitive). Use Pictage more.
Here’s what I mean. When I ask photographers if they talk with their clients up front about Pictage many (most?) say no. That’s a mistake, and I mean that in the empirical, this is based on the facts sense, not in the emotional, gee I really wish you would sense. Here’s how I know that. We have a view into who sells lots of stuff and who doesn’t. I’ve talked with lots of the folks who do. Do you know what they tell me? They use Pictage. Here’s how.
When they meet with their clients before the event or session, they explain that their images are going to go up on Pictage. They show people a sample gallery and show them how it works. They also explain – and this is really really smart (way smarter than I would have been on my own!) – that Pictage will send them emails to let them know when the event is online, when there are specials on cool products, etc. They explain that most of their clients like these messages because, “they’re like reminders of something really fun that you did,” and they also explain that if for any reason their clients don’t want them they can simply “unsubscribe” when they get the first message and then they won’t hear from Pictage at all. Then, they go on to show the “cool products” including canvases, books, etc.
This is smart because it’s introducing the client to the idea of Pictage (and Pictage’s promotional emails) during the time when they’re MOST excited about working with their photographer. It’s also smart because it gives the client the information they need about how to use the service, why it’s there, and what it is, up front. That way when they get the first emails they’re excited about using the service. “Oh yeah, this is what my totally amazing and wonderful photographer told me about!” If one of their buddies calls them and says, “I don’t like getting these emails from Pictage” they don’t say, “Oh my, what do I do?” They say, ‘oh, just unsubscribe and they go away.’ (they do, forever, for all events they may ever be associated with – and there is an unsubscribe button on every email we send).
Here’s the thing. Pictage’s promotional emails work when clients are prepared for them. (This is also why we’ve begun to notify you of upcoming promotions). The click through rate is nearly 50% (which is stratospheric in email marketing circles). These messages remind your clients to come back and see the incredible images you shoot. They give them opportunities to get great deals on great products. That’s why you signed up for Pictage in the first place, right? Clients who click through the emails stay on the site for a while doing just that, and if they find something they like, the promotions really do offer great deals, of which they’ll want to take advantage.
So if you want to sell more product, be brave. One of the reasons your clients are hiring you is because they want a great memorial from their special day. Give them a heads up about the program and show them some products so they can take advantage of all they can get through their professional photographer. It’s great, because in this rare case what works great for you works great for them too.
Written by Pictage CEO Jim Collins.
Jim joined Pictage after a long and successful career in managing and growing a variety of businesses that focus on small business services. Most recently Jim was the CEO of Affinity Internet, an internet hosting provider to small business. At Affinity, he successfully grew the company from 11,000 subscribers to over 450,000, and showcased his relentless focus on customer service. Jim is an avid photographer, and he is excited about having direct access to the industry’s leading pro lab.