San Francisco-based food and drink photographer Joseph Weaver recently joined Wonderful Machine, making sure to utilize our Client Meetings service soon after becoming a member. For Joseph, researching potential clients and putting together the proper marketing materials — which includes constructing an eye-catching emailer — are somewhat intimidating tasks. He would rather focus his efforts on the creative aspect of his photography; this, he came to WM in search of help with finding new clients.
When it comes to marketing, we feel it’s best to have all of your brand identity assets in place (and sparkling) prior to contacting prospective clients. Think of it as putting your best foot forward by first having all of your branding ducks in a row. With Joseph’s new website up and running after working with Senior Photo Editor Honore Brown, I felt confident promoting him.
Our Client Meetings package always begins with a phone call between the photographer and the consultant. The purpose of the call is to discuss what Joseph’s overall goals are, what clients and types of projects he wants, and where he wants to focus his attention (regional, national, or both). I then take all of that information and think about Joe’s portfolio as a whole, including his specialties and strengths.
I like to do some creative brainstorming at this point and think about Joseph’s needs as well as some “out of the box” clients that I believe his work could be a great fit for — perhaps as a photo essay for a certain brand. Then, I determine what portion of the client list build will include publications, agencies, or brands as well as what location and specialty to highlight for each.
Joseph and I decided to do a list that was 85 percent locally based, with a mix of clients that specialize in food & drink, hospitality, and agriculture photography. I didn’t want to duplicate any efforts that Joe had already explored, so we also discussed what clients he’s worked with so I wouldn’t include them on his final list.
With an 85 percent locally based list and the remaining 15 percent being regional, Joe’s list covered a variety of food/drink and hospitality/travel brands along with a few publications and a book publisher. Once the list was complete, I sent it to Joseph to review along with drafts for both the initial and follow up emails that we would send to each prospect individually. With all of the marketing tools in place — list build, email signature, digital promo — we were ready to begin the outreach portion of the project.
I began by sending each prospect an individual email with a digital promo embedded in the draft; next comes a follow-up email that we typically send 4-5 days after the initial message is received. Our call to action differed slightly based on the audience, with in-person meetings or a virtual coffee break directed toward regional clients and phone calls or a virtual coffee break offered up to national prospects.
Soon after, Joseph landed a story pitch for a publication as well as interest from a book publisher among other encouraging leads. We also received this response from one of the clients:
Thanks for reaching out. Joseph has a really refined style, beautiful. What is he interested in shooting? And has he worked on any books with the many chefs he has collaborated with? I am in Santa Barbara, so a virtual meeting would be the best — unless by chance he’s here!
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:
Doing research on potential clients initially was a daunting task for me. I didn’t know where to begin or what questions to ask. Jen took care of everything, with almost no time or effort spent on my end. Within hours of the initial emails going out, I started receiving responses from some of my most sought-after clients.
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