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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear Photographer: Your Marketing Isn't Working for Me

When I received the third promo card from a photographer in what seemed like three weeks, I decided to write about it. I find so many things wrong in this approach I just have to break it down. I don't want to name the photographer or show the work because I don't fell the need to subject this photographer to derision. Besides, I think what I have to say is valid for all. So here goes:

Dear Photographer,

Why are you sending these promos to me? I do not hire photographers, so why waste money and material on me? If you want me to look at your work, why not email me and let me know why you want to show me what you’re up to? At least then you are giving me the option to look or not to look. I like having that choice.

The next problem I have with your promo is that it’s sent in an envelope. So instead of saving money with a postcard, you spend more for the stamp and then leave the waste with me. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to deal with less waste. In fact, I try my best to not get additional packaging if I can help it. By using the envelope you’re telling me you don’t care about the environment. That doesn’t go over well with me.

And the card itself doesn’t make sense. The images are printed on what seems to be photographic paper. There is no note or personalization at all. So why are you sending it? Has something changed since you sent me the last one (about a week ago)? There’s no way for me to know. And since you can't be bothered to write something specific to me (even just "hello"), your marketing is terribly impersonal. When you are trying to make a personal impact that is not the way to go.

In addition, you have your name, phone number, and URL on the front of the card, but not your email address. If I wanted to drop you a line I would have to search it out on your website. Why make it that difficult for me? In this day and age I want less steps, less clicks, not more.

Now let’s talk about the images themselves. There is always more than one image on the card, and yet it is hard to distinguish them. At first I thought it was a multiple exposure image. It was only after looking at the next one that I realized you were using more than one image. Well, the format doesn’t work. The images don’t jump out at me. In fact they don’t make me give the card a second look at all. If your aim is to capture my attention, it’s not working.

Now I don’t know how you came to this marketing plan, whether it was your idea or someone else told you this was the way to go, but I don’t think it’s either the best use of your resources, or the most productive. Your marketing should have a goal behind it. Exactly who do you want to reach, and why? Have you culled a smart, focused mailing list, or just emailed everyone you’ve ever met?

Your first impression when you do a marketing push is the most important, so you need to think very hard about how many cards you send, when you send them, and how you can make them most effective. Are you using the right paper? Is all the important information there? Am I spending my money most efficiently? And finally, are these great images I want to show which will separate me from the masses?

If you don’t ask yourself these important questions, you are just throwing yourself out into the world without focus. That will not get you closer to what you want. The more research you do, the more you question your own motives, the better chance you will have of reaching the people and places you really want to reach. Anything less than that is a waste of your own time.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Angela said...

I couldn't agree more. I try to hand write all of my promo cards for a personal touch. In all, I like a naked card, sans envelope, with one fabulous front image, all the basic contact info, a clever note on the back and a big bold stamp. I want clients to know that *I* also care about them, and that they should care about me. Even if I mail 3,500 cards, I do it all by hand. I notice a huge swell in book requests after I do this so I know it's working.

October 06, 2011  

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