This topic has 25 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 9 months ago by  Ana Brandt.

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    • #3825
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Where you are you marketing right now?

      I can help turn your focus on your work and your website but I worry you don’t have too much time for photography. I also want to see where your marketing efforts have been.

      (PS ) don’t worry about the 30 day timeframe…I will give it more time to work thru it.

    • #3828
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana! First of all, thank you so much! I still need to find out more regarding website makeover with Geoff. We supposedly should have a quick chat on last Friday but it didn’t happen so I need to reconnect and see if we could touch base this week.

      This is what I have been doing marketing wise:

      1. Social Media:

      – I have a Facebook VIP group and a Facebook page. I post frequently in my VIP group, go-live, BTS, giveaway, polls, etc. My Facebook page is usually just a re-share of my Instagram post. Most people don’t see what I post on my Facebook page anyways thanks to Mark Zuckerberg. Once in a while I pay for a post boost for impression and drive traffic to my website. According to statistics it works well. My rates per engagement is low and I do drive significant traffic to my website but haven’t been successful in converting them into booking. (back to the website topic)

      – Since I work full time I outsource my Instagram and Pinterest management to 3rd parties. Their main task is help me to gain exposure. I think of the strategy and provide them with direction, they do the targeting and following/unfollowing. But I still manage the contents.

      – I try to make video slideshows when possible and I post them onto my YouTube.

      – I have presence in Yelp! and Google+ but not active. I generated leads through both before but not recently. Don’t feel like paying for Yelp! Ads or Google Adwords.

      2. Newsletter

      – I have a Mailchimp account with about 300 subscribers. I send out newsletter once in a while but not frequently. Usually is to announce some significant blog release or mini sessions.

      3. Local events

      – I try to donate to a few charity in the past. The result is usually well and I get to know a few very good clients that way. But I stopped because many local photographers are copying what I do and I lost my spot to some high end ones who donate pacakge worth thousands. Last silent auction event no one bid mine but everyone bid on a high end studio. I can rethink my strategy here.

      – I try to partner with premium brand local venues for events. The result is slow but could potentially lead to high pay clients. A recent collaboration with a local premium Chinese fashion store resulted in the owner wanting to hire me for her own family portraits and commercials shots for her marketing needs. Still under contract negotiation. But collaboration with places like music and dance school, gymnastic teams are usually not so great. People already poured their money there so don’t want to invest with me. And I am not interested in becoming a team photographer.

      4. Re-branding

      I hired a graphic designer to redesign my logo and social media kits, so I could appear consistent and premium across all platforms. I filed with NJ state of revue for DBA. My other brand name would be “MuSen Photos by Karen Kwong”, more personal and easy for people to remember.

      5. Girl Scout

      I am a Girl Scout leader and approve vendor of my Council. I host Junior and Ambassador photographer badge workshops across central and southern NJ, once a month. It is easy work not really for money but more like something I believe in doing. It helps with imaging but not booking other than private workshops for troops.

      6. Committee member position at local photographic group

      Photographic Society of New Jersey (formed by a group of Chinese and most members are Chinese) asked me to be one of their publication director this year and I agreed. The workload is close to nothing there but sounds great for brand imaging. I get some good Chinese clients that way but it also means I am competing with other Chinese photographers in the same group.

      My booking now is pretty full till May. It ranges from newborn, family reunion, girls night out, children birthday portraits, family portraits, college senior, to First Communion. Really all over the places.

      I am able to get booking but I want to touch premium market. Take less session but earn more per session. I don’t do much IPS and not sure how I could do it if just part time. But some took place naturally and I do see the power of IPS. Once in a while I meet my ideal clients who value my work and happy to pay for print products though that is rare. Most clients negotiate with me on pennies and dimes and I am tired of it. I analyze my ideal client’s profile they are mostly middle-upper class: doctor, lawyer, corporate manager…and they don’t spend much time on social media although they do check my profile to make sure I am reputable. So I am not sure how I could meet more of them.

    • #3836
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      OK a few things – and thanks for typing all that

      I texted Geoff to check in with you

      On this…
      – Since I work full time I outsource my Instagram and Pinterest management to 3rd parties. Their main task is help me to gain exposure. I think of the strategy and provide them with direction, they do the targeting and following/unfollowing. But I still manage the contents.

      Is it worth it really? I hate seeing people waste money. I have never paid anyone for social management and I have a wide reach

      —IPS – Ok now you are talking my language.

      Do you have products to sell? So you only do online? Forgive me if I should know this.

      I have never not done IPS but I can tell you that people enjoy when you sit with them and go over options and products. In the Members area I had them do a 7 day sales/service challenge where we talked about all these things – are you a member – its inside here for free for memnbers. Either way I can help you with what products I sell and what works.

    • #3850
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Thanks Ana! I type more than I talk. Well, you are Ana! I am very bad at social media. Till now I rarely tag my clients because I am a private person and I force myself to be more open on social media because of business needs.

      It took me a long time to have a little over 200 followers so I found someone and for a one time fee he will try to help me to reach several thousand followers. But I also  notice it is hard to maintain genuine followers. Need good content and interaction for that. Once I unfollow them they will unfollow me immediately. We are just using each other for the numbers there are no interaction. Since he didn’t charge me much, it is worthy. I got several good bookings from that effort and the earning covered the fees. I just started Pinterest so not sure if it is worthy. Again the fee is low. Have you heard of Fiverr? Many freelancers there offering good and cheap services. I usually find the one located outside USA but with good English.

      How can I do IPS when I don’t own a studio and just part time? This is something I struggle with. Right now I include some print products in my pacakge because I want my clients to see my work printed. And that helps to drive more print product sales. My most popular products are prints 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, metal prints, and print boxes. So many people sell gallery wrap that doesn’t really sell well.

      What is your markup on print products? I don’t mark up that much. How to compete with places like Shutterfly, Costco, etc.?

      No I am not a member I don’t think I have access to that challenge.

    • #3920
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Please keep in mind when i started no one knew who I was.It took me years to build my name as there was no social media at all. I had to network with local businesses, go to events, enter my work,etc. Even when FB came on it took me awhile to get on. I felt like I was so behind in social as many other photographers had way more followers than me. I built my name by getting out there and trying to perfect my work.

      I am a very shy introvert. I would rather sit home in my pajamas watching oprah – truly.

      Thanks for sending your folders. I struggle with how much varied work you have – b/c its good – you havea. lot of good work – but its so much that not one thing stands out. That is the struggle.

      For IPS my first frame sale was at my kitchen table – I did not have a studio. So that is not an issue.But mini books, coffee table albums, etc…are great for selling at home.

      If you would only photograph ONE subject what would it be (you don’t have to) I am just wondering.

    • #3921
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Wow Ana, you never appear to me to be a shy introvert. I found IPS intimidating but some just happened so naturally when I clicked with the client well. I would invited them out to coffee or light lunch/dinner and just talk about options there with them. And before I know my session sales would be in high 3 digit numbers and sometimes hit low 4 digits. And I have had clients tip me as much as the session would cost them (100% tip). Only wish I have this happen all the time. But going forward I will try. So instead of showing an online gallery, I should show them gallery on a Laptop and show them various options of print products I offer right?

      Thanks for the encouragement. I was so afraid you would tell me I don’t do good work. To answer your question about the ONE subject. I would say girls between age 4 and 8, dressed up stylishly, at a famous landmark. That would be an ideal session for me. I find girls in that age group so pretty and innocent.

      I like to shop dress at this website for my girls. https://trishscully.com/ I think the photographer’s name is April Reese and the girl model is her daughter. I don’t really shoot in her style and my shoots are not for modeling. Personally I feel modeling field is full of gimmicks so I never want to use “taking modeling portfolios” as a marketing tool. I know there are photographers around me do that and a lot of stories I heard went ugly at the end. But I like the idea of it. A perfectly dressed up girl and I like to photograph them at some famous landmarks. For example, the Red Mill, Absecon Light House, Princeton University, Central Park, etc.

      In the past I was too focused on making myself look popular and busy and my portfolio is all over the place and I give people the impression I photograph everything so people contact me for everything. That positions me as a generalist photographer and cannot bring my pricing up. Did I understand this pitfall correctly?

    • #3928
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Yes exactly! When you start out you tend to photograph everything – I did it too – and this is good to prove you can shoot it all but then its hard to charge a premium b/c there is no direct specialty that you can niche against and market with.

      So this is good you have an answer! This means your new site should showcase this style/and age range up front – and then the rest can be there – make sENSE?

      A stranger needs to be able to go to your site and know immediately what you are about and why – this should be that way on your site and social media.

      You know this because when you go to other sites that have a strong focus its evident isn’t it?

    • #3930
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana,

      How is your foot? Yes completely make sense but not sure how to do the transformation and how long it normally takes? I went in to my Instagram and archived a bunch of busy posts and my profile instantly looking much cleaner. I also created a few albums in my FB page and added some of the best pictures I have in those categories.

      Should I do a series of model calls to create the portfolio I want? It would take me a while since I do this part time and I am so booked right now.

      Karen

    • #3941
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Sorry for the delay – I finally subscribed to this topic so I get notified.

      So you can do 1 of 2 things

      1 – model call like you suggested – but how long is a long time?
      2 – of the sessions you have booked is there any way to sneak in your style or no?

      Meaning sometimes when I am bored with my work and I want to do something new – I will just use a new prop in my session and do something creative -I am just looking for one new thing each session – does that make sense? bu

    • #3943
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana,

      I will try to do both. I don’t know how long it would take me since I am part time but I have all the patience to transform myself.

      Among all the pictures I showed you before, I now created a folder called “close to ideal portfolios” based on that and I narrow down to 10 images that I really like the most for all these time. They are little girls ages between 3 and 9. Mostly outdoors but some are indoors. Looking at them I realize I like dreamy, pastel, and light & airy. I called them close to ideal because not all of them dress up the way I want them to be. The editing still all over the places including watermark design and placements but that is something I am working on right now – that is to settle down with one consistent editing style and also logo and watermark redesign.

      https://www.dropbox.com/sh/88g4ssno9wwx3fb/AABKwxZYLqfpOE7TWB2xA4Ksa?dl=0

      Geoff just kicked off the website makeover project with me. Do you think these 10 images can be good ones to present on the landing page? Should I at least include some boys and babies’ images but in similar look?

      Also do you think we can talk about pricing and pacakge strategy a little bit?

      Thanks,

      Karen

    • #3944
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Yes I would not put the snowy one though

      Yes lets talk pricing

      what are you doing now?

    • #3945
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Can you explain to me why not to put the snowy one? It is important to know what not to do just as much as what to do. 🙂

    • #3949
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Only because I felt like it didn’t go. I usually put seasonal images in their own gallery and promote them around the Holidays

    • #3952
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana,

      Got it! Now move on to pricing topics. My current pricing strategy is:

      A package that would include x amount of digital files with print release printable upto 8×10, and also include a print product worth about 10% of the pacakge price. I don’t charge session fees. Additional digital edits and print products are at a la carte pricing. I have taken some basic pricing class before and I did factor in my goals, fixed costs, variable costs, labor costs, etc.

      So basically, I don’t lose money with such model unless I went crazy with props. But since I rarely do in person sales, my earning is very thin. Sometimes I feel the burnout and the urge to quit because it is not rewarding. One thing we have been doing with this private mentor is to re-package myself and transform myself to be perceived as a premium photographer. The other is I don’t know what other pricing models I should consider. I have seen other photographers charge a very low session fee say $95 and give out $250 studio credits to be used. But I don’t have a nice catalog to present.

      I have a lot of questions regarding how to price myself right and what else I need to prepare to go hand-in-hand with whatever the model I choose to go with. I don’t know exactly what questions to ask you because I am clueless. What would be some basic rules in pricing 101?

      Thanks,

      Karen

    • #4001
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      I think we need a skype call – would be so much easier – do you have time this weekend?

    • #4002
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Hi Ana,

      I am available Saturday afternoon after 3pm my time (EST). My Skype ID is: karenk2856

      Thanks,

      Karen

    • #4068
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Are you around Monday at all? I am in San Francisco leaving earlier than I thought Saturday.

    • #4069
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Are you around Monday at all? I am in San Francisco leaving earlier than I thought Saturday.

    • #4074
       musenphotos
      Participant

      You mean next Monday 2/26? After 6pm EST is good for me. I work Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm but I also have an hour one-way commute and the obligation to pick up my youngest from daycare. So weekdays after 6pm are generally good for me. I have been following you long enough to know you don’t work on Sundays. 🙂

      Again my Skype ID is: karenk2856

      Thanks!

    • #4105
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Can you skype at 7 on 3/6

    • #4106
       musenphotos
      Participant

      Yes that works. Marked my calendar. Look forward to speaking to you on 3/6. 7pm EST it is. 🙂

    • #4167
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Sorry I had 7pm PST I was in session – I can get on now if you are available

    • #4168
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Sorry I had 7pm PST I was in session – I can get on now if you are available

    • #4169
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Sorry I had 7pm PST I was in session – I can get on now if you are available

    • #4170
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Sorry I had 7pm PST I was in session – I can get on now if you are available

    • #4171
       Ana Brandt
      Keymaster

      Sorry I had 7pm PST I was in session – I can get on now if you are available

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