As a commercial photographer, you may often find yourself wondering how to find the time to work on your marketing. Or maybe you carved out the time, but are not sure where to start. What if you could have someone do all of your marketing for you? Well, our Marketing Director service does just that. Photographer Jason Elias first came to us for help beyond what our other marketing consulting services offered. So we created a service that would offer photographers like Jason more comprehensive assistance with their marketing efforts.
For our Marketing Director photographers, we use a combination of personal emails, email blasts (think Mailchimp or Emma), and LinkedIn connections, on a consistent basis. We work closely with the photographer to make sure that their targeted clients are regularly pursued. We also track all of our efforts so the photographer can see whom we are emailing and what the response is (in terms of email responses, opens, click-throughs, and LinkedIn connections).
Since this was a new program for us, we needed to research and learn about what worked, what was efficient, and what was possible. What worked was sending 15-25 emails a week. Not limiting the emails to one specific number meant I could dive deeper into an industry or move along if there didn’t seem to be much meat on the bone. We also learned that we could cover more ground by sending emails on a weekly basis. Then we looked at how we can further develop the marketing cycle. By adding contacts to LinkedIn and Mailchimp and sending monthly newsletter-type emails, we were able to extend our reach even further. This all boils down to a systematic effort to reach clients through multiple touchpoints.
From our research and testing, we developed a program that would consist of weekly emails, monthly eblasts, LinkedIn connections, and social media management. Since this was our first time working this in-depth with a photographer, we tested out a few different approaches. During our research and testing, I found it worked best to send the weekly emails to contacts in a similar industry. Then, at the end of the month, we connected with all those contacts on Linkedin and added them to Jason’s Mailchimp account. I’ve tested out different subject lines as well as putting different content in the emails to create some sort of engagement.
One difference between Marketing Director and our other marketing services is that we spend about 5 hours a week researching and promoting you to your chosen clients (in comparison to about 5 hours a month for the other services). This opens opportunities for us to dive deeper into the research and create a marketing plan that is effective and curated specifically for you.
The best part of working with a photographer this closely is that I’ve gotten to know Jason pretty well. I know what’s important to him and how he approaches projects, so I’ve been able to craft a variety of emails for him. Jason showed interest in two industries in particular. The first was entertainment, as he is a key art photographer who frequently works with Discovery Channel on programs like Shark Week and Deadliest Catch. The second was the agricultural and industrial sectors. Since Jason’s target clients were easily split into two groups, I decided to alternate between the two industries month to month.
Researching in the agriculture and industrial sector has proven fruitful as Jason has gotten several meetings with dream clients in this category. This is an area Jason would like to move into but hasn’t been able to crack yet, so being able to get some face time with these folks has been valuable. Our Agriculture/Industrial emails have paid off as well, with emails going out to big players in the industry, including U.S Steel and Progress Rail. However, our research sometimes takes us down unexpected paths. For example, research in the Agriculture industry led me to companies that work in Agricultural Technology, which I have since learned is quite a big deal.
Outreach to the entertainment industry has proved to be a little more challenging, but there seem to be endless contacts. While I try to find just the right contact, it’s not always 100% guaranteed that I connect with the right person, so I’m happy to reach out to additional contacts at the same companies. For the Entertainment contacts, we’ve emailed companies like Sony Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Hulu, and Disney +. So far, I’ve set up several meetings for Jason with a number of potential clients from this category.
Marketing Director is a great way to meet new contacts where they are most comfortable. I have seen contacts who haven’t opened either our initial or follow-up emails, but open every single Mailchimp email. Or one client didn’t open any emails at all but was super excited to connect on Linkedin. The most rewarding part of this process has been helping Jason connect with clients through successful, meaningful interactions with them. He says,
I feel Marianne understands what type of clients I want to connect with and what type of work I want to book. She then uses that to reach out in a much more personal way than I can on my own. It leads to all sorts of cascading repercussions: from personalized emails to prospective clients, more robust client lists not just bought off a stale database, and a more unified social media feed that supports and is connected to the other marketing aspects she provides. And I have been getting far more meetings, so it seems to be working!