San Francisco-based food photographer Joseph Weaver was planning to make the difficult transition from editorial to commercial. With editorial clients he had relied on word-of-mouth to promote his excellent reputation. But the Covid lockdowns made Joe realize that for commercial clients he needed to give more attention to his branding and marketing efforts.
We hopped on a call to review Joe’s site and brainstorm how to accomplish his goal of actively attracting new clients in the commercial food industry. After our chat it was clear that the most efficient way to accomplish this was with our Branding Overhaul service, and happily Joe was onboard with the plan.
Our high touch–low volume approach allows us to tailor our services to the needs of each photographer, and this is especially true for the Branding Overhaul. Whether a photographer is looking for help creating their marketing materials and defining their brand, or if, like Joe, they are looking to transition to the next level, the Branding Overhaul allows us to offer multiple services at a discounted rate in order to help them get from where they are to where they want to be.
Keeping in mind Joe’s goal of expanding into commercial advertising, we decided to start with an Emailer Template and Client Meetings and support these efforts through Creative Coaching.
Senior photo editor Honore Brown started working with Joseph on Creative Coaching in order to give him feedback on the organization, edit, and overall feel of his site so that he could implement those changes that would attract the kind of clients that were populating his Client List.
by Honore Brown
When Nadia let me know that Joe was preparing to make a big push with his marketing efforts, I knew that the first step for us in Creative Coaching would be to retune his website. As is often the case, tightening the site organization and tailoring the gallery edits to reach a wider audience would largely entail developing more narrative work within the portfolio. Joe and I discussed the possibility of adding a “Stories” section to his website, and from there we worked to develop some of his projects into individual story edits.
Through a series of conversations followed up with some mini editing sessions, we focused on bodies of work like The Harbor House Inn , an establishment with which Joe had an ongoing relationship with photographing. From this we put together an edit that captured the full experience of the location from the unique and exquisite cuisine to the restorative seaside location. By showcasing this type of story-driven work on the website and tightening the focus of the Food and Wine galleries, Joe was now well positioned to market.
by Lindsay Thompson
It’s always exciting to work on different platforms when designing emailers. We typically work with Mailchimp, but as a Squarespace user, Joe had the opportunity to implement this familiar platform’s marketing tools. Design-wise, Joe wanted to mimic the clean, simple aesthetic of his website. After sending Joe a few examples and getting a feel for what he wanted, I began my first round, creating four options to choose from. Option one was the winner with just a few simple tweaks — make the negative space tighter in the grid and use a footer from another option. With these changes in mind, the emailer was ready for Squarespace in no time.
ESPs offer a variety of templates. However, if you want your design to stand out, we recommend taking an extra step and do some designing in Photoshop. That is how we accomplished Joe’s emailer. In his final round, I gave Joe all of the tools he needed — including PS templates and a step-by-step guide to re-create all future emailers.
Once we had the Emailer finalized it was time to move on to the most potentially fruitful portion of the overhaul: Client Meetings. Joe’s Client Meetings outreach went out to 50 targeted creatives in Southern California and the response was phenomenal.
Here’s a quote from Jen Warren’s separate article on the Client Meetings portion of the project:
Overall, Joseph had an excellent return, with a 55 percent open rate and a 16 percent reply rate. With this prospect list in hand, Joseph now has the tools to continue his marketing efforts throughout the year. With the Wonderful Machine marketing portion completed, I suggested that Joe follow up individually with each prospect throughout 2021 via email promos, new project pitches, and LinkedIn connections. When all was said and done, Joseph had this to say about his experience with our Client Meetings service:
By the end of the process, Joe had a slew of new connections and a sleek new Emailer Template to complement the fresh edit he and Honore put together. He already had a solid foothold in the restaurant world and now has the tools to reach many more clients. We’re all excited to watch as his career progresses.
Here’s what he had to say at the end of it all:
Working with the Wonderful Machine team over the last few months has been a great experience. From the editorial help to mailer branding and client outreach I’ve seen an immediate increase in work. Several clients have even mentioned how my web and other collateral are looking even more put together than before.