Archive for April, 2010
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Sending an email has become as common as a making a phone call. If you are like most business owners, you send and receive a dozen emails a day. At JDPI we have a simple list of “rules of email etiquette” that we encourage our staff to follow in order to make it easier for you to communicate with us. You might want to share this list with your staff – it will make your business look more professional to your customers, and it will make your life a little easier too.
1. Use the subject line. Use 3-5 words to describe the email. Something as simple as “Your proofs are ready” or “Sitting confirmed Aug. 1st” is fine. Emails that have no subject, or emails with lots of exclamation points (BIG SALE!!!!) will be rejected by most spam filters.
2. Use upper and lower case letters. TYPING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS is called shouting, and is considered unprofessional.
3. Use the spell checker. Set it to automatically check your spelling before you send an email. Again, this will make your email look more professional to your clients.
4. Quote the previous email. As a courtesy to the recipient, when you send a “reply” don’t make them search through old emails to figure out what your reply (“Yes. Thanks!”) refers to. Enable the “quote previous email” option in your email reader program settings.
5. Don’t send large attachments. Many email readers will reject an email that is larger than 1Mb. If you are sending images, you should re-size them first, or upload them to the web (use one of these free services), then send a link in the email. When sending images to JD, always use ROES, LabPrints or our FTP service.
6. Include a signature file. It makes it easy for the recipient to contact you, and it will increase traffic to your website. A signature can be fancy with your studio logo, or it can be as simple as your name, studio, email address, phone number and website URL. Create a signature in your mail reader, and it will automatically be added to every email you send – saves typing.
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
I worked part-time at a drug store when I was in high school. Their wasn’t anything great about the store: they didn’t have great prices, and they didn’t have a great selection.
However, what they did have was 100% US Grade-A milk for 99 cents a gallon. Even then, that was a deal. I spent half of my senior year emptying and re-stacking milk crates so that the giant walk-in coolers in the back of the store were always full of fresh milk.
What does milk have to do with a drug store? Nothing. The milk was a loss-leader.
You’ve seen them before. Supermarkets put something on sale in the back of the store so you have to walk past everything else to get to it. In exchange for the great price, you put up with the inconvenience.
Marketing pros know that once you’re in the store, you’re likely to buy a few other items at full price. Nobody likes to waste time, and since you’ve already got a deal on the loss-leader, it won’t hurt to pick up a few other things. Sound familiar?
How could this work for your studio?
- If you’re a portrait photographer, offer a low-cost sitting fee.
- If you’re a wedding photographer, offer a low-cost starter package.
- If you’re shooting churches, offer a low-cost 8×10 print.
I don’t recommend this marketing strategy to everyone. Cutting prices – if not done carefully and strategically – can lead to lowering the value of your service in the mind of your customers. And some customers will frustrate you when they buy the loss-leader – and nothing else.
However, if you need to quickly generate some traffic into your studio, offering a loss-leader is a tested marketing strategy that really works.
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
It seems like every day we get a call from a customer who asks, “will file 1234.JPG look good as a 16×20 inch print?”
The simple answer is this: it depends. While some files are clearly too small to enlarge, others are in the “gray area” and might look good depending on the style you are trying achieve, and where the print will be displayed.
Here are the tricks we use inside the lab to help you answer this question. You can use them yourself, and in many cases make the decision before you place your order.
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
ImageQuix has announced its new version 7 software was released on April 7th.
If you are a MAC user, you should upgrade. PC users should wait a few months. Note that version 7 requires MAC OS 10.5 or greater.
According to ImageQuix, this new version addresses the number one request they have received from photographers: the ability to make the ImageQuix Full Service Order Fulfillment option available on the MAC operating system.
New ImageQuix MAC customers that sign-up for ImageQuix today will automatically receive the new ImageQuix 7 software. If you are a current MAC customer ImageQuix will contact you to let you know about the upgrade as well as help you change over to ImageQuix 7.
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Bob Winkler from LumaPix presented the “Building Books with LumaPix” class Tuesday, April 13 to a room filled with interested professional photographers.
During this class, Bob focused on the Yearbook Fusion product because of its capability to match a database of names with images in order to create multi-page products like yearbooks and church directories.
“After looking at all the alternatives, I believe Yearbook Fusion is the most efficent way to quickly lay out a yearbook or church directory,” said John Hicks, President of JD School Pictures. “Our goal is to make this our recommended solution to all our customers.”
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Even if you’re studio is already on Facebook, you’re always looking for more fans. The question is, how can you get them?
Kraft Foods did it by asking folks to become a fan, then fill out a form to get a coupon for a free box of Mac & Cheese. To date, they have about 200,000 fans.
The take-away message here is, if you want to get something, you’ve got to give something. It would be easy to duplicate this for your studio, collect email addresses, then send a coupon for an upcoming special.
- Senior Portraits
- Wedding Consultations
Don’t just launch this Facebook promotion alone. Instead, make it part of your next marketing campaign. Use the same coupon in your email newsletter, mail it to previous customers, and put it on the front page of your website. Multiple impressions are a proven way to boost your campaign’s success.
Give it a try!
Monday, April 5th, 2010
- My friend recently decided to repaint and carpet her home. She asked her 14 year old son if he’d like any changes in his bedroom. “Sure,” he said. “Can you take out the TV? I don’t watch it anymore.“
- We have a college student working as an intern at the lab. Call his cell phone, and he doesn’t answer. Send him an e-mail, and it may take hours for a reply. Send him a text, and he responds almost instantly.
- I was at a party watching a twenty-something young lady sit in the corner alone, texting on her iPhone. I asked her “who are you talking to?” “My friends,” she replied. “I’m on Facebook telling them what a great party this is.“
These three Generation-Y young adults – children born in the 70′s through the 90′s – are your new customers. They are purchasing your graduation and wedding photographs. they are starting new families. Marketing to them is different than the traditional marketing we’re all more familiar with. Here are 7 items to put on your checklist when you plan your next marketing campaign:
1. How to reach them. Social networking has replaced the phone and email. Think Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and texting. Gen-Y won’t read your email newsletter or see your ad on TV or in a magazine.
2. What to say. Sales language turns them off. They’ve already heard tens-of-thousands of ads in their lifetime, and are totally immune to old-school marketing speak. Instead, be authentic. Start by listening to them.
3. What they purchase. Apple, Jet Blue, Trader Joes, Jones Soda, Mountain Dew, Hollister, Old Navy and Red Bull. Pay attention to each of these brands when you see them in videos, magazines or in stores. They have a “little attitude” in their sales pitches, are unique players in their respective markets, and sell a lifestyle at a relatively low price .
4. What they’ll pay. We’ve all heard Jet Blue sells cheap airline tickets, but what about $3 bucks for a can of Red Bull? While that might seem like a lot of money for a tiny can of pop, Gen-Y will gladly pay it. Like Jet Blue, They trust this product to give them what it promises (Red Bull = energy) and it delivers.
5. Good Quality. Google any product on the Internet and you can read dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of opinions about that product’s quality. If you’re not offering great quality products and service, people will talk and others will listen and trust them. Once you get a reputation – good or bad – you can’t take it back.
6. Fast Service. If you quit answering your phone at 5pm, the customer who calls you at 5:05pm will be calling your competition at 5:10pm. Gen-Y doesn’t leave a “voice message” then wait for for you to call them back.
7. An Experience. Perhaps the most difficult to quantify, but the most critical marketing tip for long-term success. For an example, go down to your local mall this weekend and walk into a Hollister clothing store. The sights, the sounds and the smells all combine to make you feel like you’ve landed in a southern Californian beach party, the clothes and the sales staff all match the brand, yet the prices are not much different than you’d pay at Macy’s or J.C. Penny’s.
If you can focus your marketing on Gen-Y clients, you’ll be on your way to capturing the next generation of customers for your business.