Archive for September, 2009
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
The 2009 MTPPA Print Competition will be held Tuesday November 10th, and the DPPA Print Competition will be held Tuesday, November 17th. I strongly urge you to enter one or both of these print competitions. Here’s why:
• There is no better way to improve your skill and confidence as a photographer than to enter a print competition. Preparing to submit entries to the DPPA competition (selecting and tweaking images, discussing choices with peers) forces you to look deeper at your own photography.
• DPPA takes the time to bring in a juried panel of print judges – the same caliber of judges you would encounter at a regional or national competition. If your prints do well at DPPA, you can be assured that they will be competitive at the regional shows next year.
• Award-winning prints give you the confidence to pursue PPA’s Merits and Degrees program. With a PPA degree, you are not only recognized by your peers, but a degree can help you to justify higher prices for your work.
• No matter what kind of photography you specialize in, your style and subject matter is suitable for this competition. There is no excuse NOT to enter.
If all of this isn’t enough to motivate you, everyone who competes in the DPPA competition will get a chance to win a $250 dollar cash prize.
I hope we’ll have another good showing of entries like the recent DPPA album and folio competitions. If you had the opportunity to attend these events, you saw some wonderful work (Great job everyone who participated).
As always feel free to call or email me if you have any questions.
DPPA Print Competition Chair
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
You’ve taken great family photos all year. That is why October is the perfect time to call up your customers and remind them that those great photos can easily become Folded Greeting Cards – just in time for the holidays.
To help you get started, from October 2 – 15 we’ve got a special just for you: Order 4 sets of Folded Greeting Cards and we’ll give you the 4th set free (standard paper only).
- Use this special as an opportunity to motivate your customers to “act now”.
- Send your customers here to see online all the styles we have available.
- Use this special as an offer in your October e-mail newsletter or mailing.
This is a special you cannot afford to miss. Use it to jump start your holiday sales.
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
Nadine Heintz over at Inc. Magazine has an interesting article about motivating employees:
“It seems like a simple concept: Make employees feel appreciated, and they will work harder and be more loyal. But there is often a disconnect between the type of appreciation employees want and what their managers think they want, according to a recent study by the International Association of Administrative Professionals…
Managers responding to the survey ranked promotions and cash bonuses as the two most effective ways of recognizing employee accomplishments, but workers said they preferred an in-person thank you or having a job well done reported to senior management.”
When times are tough, it is easy to rationalize that you cannot afford to pay your people more. The irony is, giving someone a raise is expensive and easy, while building a culture of employee appreciation is free, yet sometimes much harder for us to do.
Thursday, September 17th, 2009
In Building your e-mail address list – Part 1, I explain how to build your e-mail list from past customers, friends and referrals.
Once you’ve added all the people you know to your e-mailing list, it’s time to start adding people you’ve never even met. These are folks who’ve visited your website and want to learn more about you.
To gather their e-mail address, you need to:
- Put a professional contact form page on your website. Use a “Contact me” menu option or button in the upper right-hand corner of every page to link to your form. Don’t just show your e-mail address – make it easy for potential customers to contact you by e-mail.
- Put an e-mail newsletter sign-up form on every page of your website. Link to the sign-up form from your Facebook page, and put a link to it at the bottom of e-mails you send out daily.
The two tools I recommend for this are Wufoo and Vertical Response. Wufoo lets you create a professional contact form on your website, then collects the e-mail addresses in an easy-to-use file you can import into Vertical Response. Vertical Response lets you create a professional e-mail newsletter sign-up form you can put on every page, collects e-mail addresses, and automatically adds them to your e-mail newsletter list.
Sound confusing? Here are the steps:
- Open a free Vertical Response account. Upload every e-mail address you have into your master list.
- While in the List tab, create a new e-mail newsletter opt-in form. design the form, then copy and paste the code into every page on your website. If you aren’t comfortable modifying your website, you should have your web designer do it for you.
- At the bottom of every e-mail you send out (even for personal notes), put a link to the e-mail newsletter opt-in form. You’ll be surprised how many people will take the time to click the link and join your mailing list.
- Open a free Wufoo account. Design a contact page, then copy and paste the code into your contact page on your website. If you already have a contact page (some website templates have them pre-installed), whenever you answer an e-mail, make sure you manually copy the e-mail address to your vertical response master e-mail list.
- When you’re ready to send your first e-mail newsletter in Vertical Response, you’ll have a master list including past customers, friends, family, anyone who has contacted you, and anyone who signed up for your email newsletter. If you use Wufoo, you can easily download the list of everyone who has contacted you from your website, then upload it into your Vertical response master list (don’t worry – Vertical Response weeds out the duplicates automatically).
Note that while both Wufoo and Vertical Response are free to use, when it is time to send out an e-mail newsletter, Vertical Response charges 1.5 cents per e-mail sent. Since they also throw out duplicates, that is a pretty good bargain.
If you are diligent about building your e-mail marketing list, you should see it grow by dozens of people every month. Because it is inexpensive to send e-mail newsletters to these folks, you’ll soon find that your e-mail list is your most important marketing tool.
I just received this great link from Vertical Response to an article called 29 Ways to Collect E-Mail Addresses for Your Business. This is a great list you can copy and check off for your studio.
Thursday, September 10th, 2009
Next to your camera, your e-mail list is your most valuable business asset. It connects you with the group of people most likely to need your services.
Before e-mail, your customer list was was the best marketing tool you had. But your e-mail list can contain:
- Past customers
- Friends and family
- Folks you’ve met in person
- Referrals from clients
- People who visit your website (or Facebook page, or Twitter)
Notice how as you move from 1 to 5 you move from customers most likely to purchase from you to least likely (the marketing jargon for this is concentric circles of influence). When mailings were expensive, your tendency was to focus on marketing to the first group only. But with e-mail, you can market to all five for only pennies apiece.
So how do you get e-mail addresses from each of these groups?
1. Past customers – If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you only have e-mail addresses for a small percentage of your old clients. If you typically contact them by post card, when you send the next one offer them a free gift if they go to your website and “register”, i.e. give you their e-mail address. the gift could be a coupon, a limited edition print, or a PDF booklet you’ve written called “My top 10 tips for taking great snapshots.” It should have a high enough perceived value to get them to give up their e-mail address.
2. Friends and family – This one is easy. export your personal and business e-mail lists into your customer list.
3. Folks you’ve met in person – Always carry business cards. When you meet someone, offer them a card. If they give you one back, add them to your e-mail list. If they don’t have a card, ask for their e-mail anyway.
4. Referrals from clients – I wrote a post about referrals here, but the idea is that if you don’t get them to book a session, at least get their e-mail address.
5. People who visit your website – To get these folks you should have a contact and sign-up form available from every page on your website. If you don’t have this, the next post will explain the tools that I recommend to use.
Friday, September 4th, 2009
JD will be closed Friday September 4th after 2pm and Monday September 7th in honor of Labor Day.
Curious about labor day?
Here’s the official US Government History.
Everyone have a safe and happy weekend.
Friday, September 4th, 2009
This is your perfect opportunity to show off your best prints, to update your studio, to send a gift to a valued customer or friend, or to sell some to a new client! Don’t miss out on this great pricing before it ends September 17th.
To take advantage of these prices, you must enter either of the following promo codes in your order:
- Deluxe Prints: PROMO2030del
- Econo Prints: PROMO2030eco