Have you ever sent an order to the lab, then changed your mind?
ROES users can now cancel orders that have not been printed.
In your order confirmation email you will see a new link to cancel your order. Click the link, enter your customer ID, and click the “Cancel Order” button. The lab print system will check the order status. If the order has not yet been printed, it will be canceled. If it has already been printed, it will let you know.
Depending on time of day and order volumes, some orders are printed minutes after they are received at the lab. However, the cancel option will always work if you send in an order after hours and cancel it before the next business day.
Over at trendwatching.com, they write an article each year describing the top consumer trends for the upcoming year. These folks are among the top experts in the field worldwide, so I believe we should pay attention. The trends are:
1. Random acts of kindness. 2. Urbanomics. 3. Pricing Pandamonium. 4. Made for China (if not BRIC). 5. Online Status Symbols. 6. Wellthy (not wealthy). 7. Social-lites and Twinsumers. 8. Emerging Generosity. 9. Planned Spontaneity. 10. Eco-Superior. 11. Owner-Less.
Although the entire list is interesting and worth reading, not all of it pertains to the photographic studio business. Below are the ones that might give you some new ideas for your 2011 marketing.
In 1998 I attended a seminar with David Ziser and Ralph Romaguera demonstrating ProShots. Back in the day, ProShots was a revolutionary image ordering and marketing tool used by photographers making the transition from film to digital.
The seminar was an eye opener for me. Instead of giving out proof books, David showed wedding images on a big screen TV in a posh living room setting (with champagne) the day after the couple returned from the honeymoon. And Ralph treated his senior portrait clients like high-paid fashion models, letting them pick their favorite images on-screen during the shoot. Even 13 years later, both these ideas hold up as “game changers” designed to increase your average sale.
So what is the new idea that will energize your business in 2011? Not sure? Here are a couple ways to discover it.
Why is branding important? When folks don’t know anything else about two similar products (like two 5×7″ prints) they will use price to decide between them. Without branding, the lowest price wins.
If you don’t want to compete on price, you have to compete on brand.
A brand is more than just a logo. BNET defines branding as:
“a means of distinguishing one firm’s products or services from another’s and of creating and maintaining an image that encourages confidence in the quality and performance of that firm’s products or services.”
There are a bunch of videos about photographers and brides on YouTube, but this is the funniest one I’ve seen. On the other hand, if you are a professional wedding photographer, this may not be so funny to you.
If you don’t take credit cards, or if you’d like to take credit cards at an event, you should check out a new service called Squareup.
Squareup is an application that runs on any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android phone that is connected to the internet. It lets you scan a credit card with the free Squareup credit card reader, then submit the payment online. You get a response if the credit card was accepted, the customer will get a receipt via email, and in a few days, the payment will be deposited into your bank account.
I can think of a dozen ways you could use Squareup. For example, you could take print orders from guests during a wedding reception, an event, or while shooting families in the church for portrait directories.
The problem with getting older is that no one buys us really cool toys anymore. That is why I was amazed to discover the StopShot, a widget that uses your camera and flash to capture images that used to require thousands of dollars of high-speed photographic equipment.
The StopShot works by taking inputs from an infrared beam, laser or a microphone, letting you adjust the sensitivity, then outputting a signal to trip a camera shutter or fire a flash. The unit is so sensitive that with the proper flash it can be used to capture a .22 bullet in mid-flight!
Simply Elegant Photo Books are a fun way to preserve and present your images. Creating a customized photo books has never been easier.
Many pro photographers now use the Simply Elegant Photo Book software to easily create photo books for their clients. You can create a book that you previously built in Photoshop or LabPrints or ROES – but in less time.
As much as we appreciate the fact that you read the JD blog (over 700 of you do each week), there are many others – written for pro photographers – by pro photographers – available online.
Below (in no particular order) is a list of some of the better ones I’ve found. I suggest you click through each of these and see if their are any you like. Then, instead of manually visiting each blog daily, add them to your news reader. This way, you’ll have a virtual “pro photographer newsletter” that updates each time a new article is published. I’ve used both the Yahoo news reader and the Google version, but any of them will work great.
http://learnwithbetsy.com/ – Betsy Finn provides unbiased reviews of many products available for professional photographers. She takes the time to research the competition so you don’t have to.
Remember the scene in the movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise enters a mall and the advertisements on the wall talk to him as he walks by? The future is coming – Facebook now has a similar feature for iPhone and Blackberry users.
Using the built-in GPS capabilities of a cell phone with the mobile Facebook app installed, users can check into a place (like your studio) and see if you are offering any instant deals. If a deal is available, the user shows the coupon on the cell phone screen to redeem it.