Marketing to Seniors Overview
The last thing I want to talk about is a little bit of the marketing. And then some of the other stuff that I do outside of senior photography because, for me, living in Nebraska, it is definitely a seasonal business and there's tons of stuff that I do the rest of the year that all the skills we talked about earlier can apply towards that. So let's start digging into marketing. I am by no means a marketing expert, I'm gonna let everybody know that but I do have great resources and friends who helped me along the way, who know a ton of stuff and I'll point you in their direction as well. It's kind of those things of do as I say, not as I do, type of thing because I definitely know how it works and I am pretty knowledgeable within it but I don't always take my own advice so it's something that a lot of people do in any aspect of their life, you pick your strengths and you work with those and then you kinda let other people help you with the rest. So I do want to talk about a little bit o...
f marketing evolved and what I mean by that is, I've been in business for a long time so I do have experience in how things have changed and I wanna talk about that. Getting started, I've started two senior businesses essentially. I started back in 2004 when I was in college back in Iowa and then I moved to New York for a while, I moved back to the Midwest, to a new city and started an entirely new senior business in a brand new market. So I do know something about getting started and ways to bring in clients that first time. I wanna talk about how the experience is almost more than the photos these days, while all the stuff we've talked about, lends us to think, 'You need to be a great photographer' which you do. And as someone who loves photography, I want that to be my strength. We're at a time where it's and the experience you give your clients is almost greater than the photos themselves. I wanna talk about the impact of social media. And not just what you post but how things have shifted that way over the years. I wanna talk about posters and by posters I literally mean the pictures on the wall. How you can use that. How I use that to help me not only stay creative but reach different markets as well within schools and advertising. The last thing I wanna talk about is alternative income. That goes along the lines with the posters and every thing else. It's shooting business portraits, corporate advertising work, editorial, we're just gonna briefly dig into that but I wanna show you just a little bit so you kinda get the full spectrum of what I do on a daily basis and year round. So Marketing Evolved, back when I started in 2004, there wasn't social media. I didn't even have text messaging on my phone. It was back in a time where people checked the mail and you got gobs of mail everyday. And the only way as a senior photographer to get the attention of your clients, their parents, especially seniors, was to send out mass mailers. Those days are pretty much done. In the advertising world, they still definitely exist. A lot of people do mail promos. But as far as targeting teenagers, they probably don't even know the last time they opened their mail box at home unless they're looking for a college acceptance letter or something like that. So I used to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars designing and printing and mailing brochures and postcards to all the seniors. You'd pick a zip code or a certain range or maybe you were lucky enough to get a school directory, if those still exist, I don't know. And send all of those materials out. It's kinda like fishing with just a really wide net. You just send a whole bunch of stuff out there and hope that people saw it and would give you a call. And you know, we've gone from, sending that stuff out in the mail and having all that expense to now, marketing is essentially free other than what you put in for time. So now we've gotten to the point of Instagram and Snapchat as the main marketing for senior photography So, again, I'm not an expert on how all that works but I do know the importance of keeping up and I'll give you some resources that you can follow so you know more about it as well. It's all about now, the investment of time versus money and with things like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, it's all about how you put your time into doing it not so much of the money you need to spend because your target market is right in front of you, it's just a matter of getting their attention among all the other things that are targeting them as well. And the client needs have evolved. We've gone from a time where, when I got my senior pictures taken, it was, roll of medium format film an hour of my time, my mom just wanted a few photos for the wall. There wasn't anything about this experience or any of that. Now the client needs have shifted so much between different generations and the fact, as I mentioned before, everybody has a nice phone with a camera. The iPhone 7 Plus takes awesome photos. So these kids have great photos that their friends take of them on a daily basis, whether they're trying on new outfits at a boutique or they're out with their friends at a park or out to eat, anywhere you look, they are constantly taking photos and some of them are pretty good. So the fact that they're surrounded by those constantly, makes their need for photos less but the experience you can give them as a professional is something that you need to work on so it's a lot more than just putting photos on the wall.