Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Borrowed This Idea to Help Make a Point About Shoot-and-Burn Photographers

Every year, my local community center puts on a pretty impressive Bridal Expo, targeting area brides and inviting vendors from the wedding industry to participate. Even though I don't do a lot of these shows, I like this one because it keeps me visible in my community and the cost of the actual booth is very reasonable.

As with many Bridal Expos, there are couples who are are there to "kick the tires", as well as other couples who are pretty serious about planning an event. There are also maids-of-honor, sisters, friends, parents and of course, a few reluctant grooms. (I still think bridal fairs should have an open bar and a big screen TV just to give these poor guys something to do!)

My displays consist of finished albums and large canvas prints, with a few smaller books and some non-wedding couple and family images sprinkled in for a wider base of appeal (just in case you're the MOH or girlfriend who has a family or just wants to update their image with their "significant other".) It's always good to let prospective clients know you do more than just weddings.

There are drawing forms on the table for a series of prizes; in additional to the basic information (name, date, address, email and phone) I also add a few important check-boxes:

    - I have immediate need for your service; please call to schedule a studio visit!

    - I am still in need of a wedding photographer and would like more information.

    - I'm not interested in your services, but please let me know if I'm a winner.

    - If I'm a winner, I would prefer the cash value of the item instead.

My best prospects are going to come from #1, with some potential for those who checked #2. Obviously, I'm not going to waste time and money marketing to those who check the #3 or #4 boxes.

One of the other things you can do after you've had your drawing is send out "Second Prizes". I will often send out a $100 studio gift card to every attendee who fit into the #1 and #2 category. This gives them a little added incentive to call the studio and schedule an appointment; people hate to walk away from a gift card with any kind of substantial value.

Even though my business model is selling completed albums and printed images, I also get my share of people who say "we just want the images on a disk." Earlier this week, I saw a post come across on Facebook that was too good to pass up. It showed an old floppy disk with a CD label that said "What if this was the only way you could view your grandparents' wedding photographs?" Brilliant! How many hours have I spent extolling the virtues of professionally printed images to couples and telling them that any type of media - CDs, DVDs, thumb drives, even hard drives - is fragile and permanent storage and long-term accessibility can be questionable.

So . . . off to eBay I went to find someone selling old 5 1/4" floppy disks (I don't even have a computer that takes these, so I tossed all of my old ones). I also ordered some business-card sized stickers from my lab to put on each disk. I will hand these out to brides who request info this weekend, as well as displaying one on my table.

I think it gets the point across quite well.

- David


  1. I also saw the floppy disk and shared the idea. Genius to hand them out like cards. Make the point tangible. I thought about pulling one out (yep I have at least one or two around, mementos haha) and keeping it handy to show with that same idea in mind.

  2. Awesome idea David ... love it!