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Cutting Edge Photography’s marketing plan is a continuation of an already successful working model. We have senior models that assist with promoting the business, and we integrate limited radio and print ads. The majority of business development is through referrals, direct client contact and creating “buzz” about our upcoming programs.
How and when we market to our seniors:
• Senior Models – Limit number per school to create feeling of exclusivity. They have rep cards to hand out. (May and on)
• News releases about David’s speaking engagements (year round). This allows Dave to be perceived as the “hot” photographer who shows off his senior images around the country, creating a coolness factor for seniors to brag about where their images have been shown….i.e. NYC, Las Vegas, New Orleans, etc.
• Facebook, Website, Blog (year round)
• Senior stickers (“GOT SENIORS”) on ALL ordered sports product envelopes. We dominate the youth sports market, so this is free and widespread advertising opportunity to prospective senior parents. (year round marketing)
• Limited radio ads (during Green Bay Packer games)
• Ads in school yearbooks
• Hand out cards for existing clients to pass on (year round). At end of each session, I provide promo cards to hand to other parents/friends.
• End of school year Customer Appreciation Open House (Seniors & Juniors) – kids are invited to a open house for snacks and drinks. One lucky senior will win a large (18”x24” or 20”x30”) canvas. Also, one junior will win a large canvas (to be added to their session). Need to show up to win. Want to add additional “prizes” so more people win cool promo items with studio name. (Early May)
Senior Model Plan
• We select 1-2 models per school as reps.
• Start talking with prospective models mid-junior year. Sign up April-May. Conduct FREE mini shoot for rep cards early May. Provide unlimited rep cards that provides a free set of wallets to whoever brings card in (added to their session). If rep brings in 10 friends, ROCKSTAR Session ($150) is credited back to them, AND they get a hardcover art book of session (total value $500).
• Free ROCKSTAR Session and Art Book ($500 value) is a great incentive for them to hand out referral cards.
• Popular kids (or make them feel popular or exclusive) work well to show off their “status” as a cool “model”
• Past clients’ kids tend to work harder than unknown kids
• Girls tend to be more vain and want a cool image to show off and hand out (it’s almost like a popularity contest)
• Keep providing them with free rep cards to ensure market saturation. Only 1 card per new senior can be redeemed, so Models are trying to encourage their friends to use “their card”, so they get credit. Who can be more popular?
What Did NOT Work:
• Discount their session or provide anything for free (other than rep cards) before they have 10 referrals come in because they lose incentive to keep handing out referrals.
• Unmotivated kids-prescreen to determine level of interest. Do NOT rely on parents’ excitement. Kids have to be equally excited.
• Having too complicated of a program or too high of referral numbers that are unattainable (seems like a scam otherwise).
• Not enough incentive-has to be a large & desirable “prize” for them to WANT to hand out rep cards. Plus excite their parents by the “savings” they would experience.
• Rep cards are skinny wallets (1/2 size wallet) that are printed on both sides. Front side has the model’s image and name. Back has “Bring this card in for a FREE set of wallets with your senior order.” Company info is also on back (see attached sample)
• Senior Model Program sheet discusses program and what they need to do (see attached sample)
• Check out our Facebook page for continuous updates on our work and travels
We do NOT have packages – everything is ala carte. This allows us to tailor sales to client and have them order more than a package would allow. Plus, it is hard to compare prices to other photographers package amounts. We promote it that there are no minimums, no limit on the number or size of orders and no packages that include items that you don’t need. People love this option, as it allows them to feel they are in control.
Average sales are around $800 – $900 (not including sitting fee). We live in a rural and economically depressed area, and we have found that Cutting Edge Photography’s sales are significantly higher than any other area photographer.
Largest seller by far is wallets. Kids like wallets and want multiple poses (averaging around 7-9 poses). We start sales session on wallets, then progress to wall portraits and finish with “gift” prints. Later, we suggest books, slideshows and announcements, as these are considered “addons” that become more desirable as graduation gets closer. Wallets often are reordered when the senior needs more. By allowing continuous ordering, the client often forgets how much was already spent and a “spend ceiling” is not as important.
What's Hot | What's Not
• Full Service (prints, announcements, banners, slideshows, framing, etc.)
• Wallets – Large upfront sale that people forget about later on and keep ordering. Typical sale is 5-7 poses (around $400 retail)
• Large luster coated prints – Large ticket items that we can now push framing.
• Unusual sizes and crops (i.e. 12”x12”, 10”x20” or 10”x30” mounted prints). We can now sell frames.
• Cool Wall Art
• Canvas Art – High-end look for our clients to show off
• Puff Print Wraps – People love how unique these look and do not need a frame (similar to your Roundabouts)
• Metal Wraps – Like a gallery wrap canvas, but aluminum
• Collages – People feel like they are getting a lot for their money (large profit item)
• Books and Slideshows are always a nice end of year add on
• Announcements – 5”x7” flat cards (postcard style) or fold over cards are great and allow us to add our logo for additional marketing exposure (marking by the 50’s or 100’s).
What’s NOT Hot
• Metal Tins (Metal Mural). For some reason, our clients do not prefer these type of items.
• Jewelry and high-priced novelty items
• Prints larger than 11”x14” that are NOT mounted (i.e. paper prints)
• “Name Drops” on wallets. We photograph in a way that name drops do not enhance the image, and we even steer people away, i.e. not a cool thing to do.
• Packages and prints that reflect “school”