Sometimes it just goes ALL wrong: top photography marketing horror stories from YOU

Last week I shared my marketing horror story from back in 2012, and asked YOU to share yours.

I got quite a few replies back.

I wanted to share a few of them with you.

Because we can all learn from what has happened with others, and take those experiences as lessons for the future.

The first two are very very similar:

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And...

  Man oh man, Jodi and “ready to learn.”. It totally sucks to not reap the benefit of your time and energy into marketing...but the fact that you were truly trying to support a good cause? Now THAT is heartbreaking.       I think there is a big push in the photo industry  to partner with charities, but the truth is we need to rely on ourselves, instead of hoping that they will successfully help us get the bookings we need…       ...The fact is, many charities don’t have an email list, big social following, or put the info into a “newsletter” with 10 other items (trust me, been there...got zero bookings even though the email went out to a big list).        Now that being said, it’s GREAT to help people out and partner with a charity, and I encourage it.        But I look at it a bit different…       I feel we need to rely on ourselves to get the photography bookings, not on a charity (or other business, or anyone else for that matter), and the donation is purely one out of the goodness of ourselves and our business.       On another note: even if we put our message out there on  facebook pages and groups, facebook ads, email marketing, etc, it doesn’t matter if the message doesn’t resonate.       The message needs to be compelling.    It needs to tell them why they should care.       Donating to a charity isn’t enough for people to be compelled to purchase a photography session or product.    They still need to want the session - they need to feel they need the session.       You MUST communicate why your photography and your session is so highly valuable.    And we all KNOW how valuable photography is.       It’s the thing people say that, if their home was on fire, after getting their family and pets out, they would next take their photos and albums out of the house with them.       If our photographs are so highly valuable that we would leave all of our other belongings - or $900 phone, our jewelry, our $500 Vitamix, our EVERYTHING…..       Then why is it so hard for us to COMMUNICATE that value?       Marketing is just that: communicating the value of our products and services.    On the other hand, posting to Facebook, Instagram, Emailing your list, those are TACTICS.        When you can’t communicate the value of your products and services, then it doesn’t matter how many times you post to social media and email your list.     People won’t get why they should go to you over the competition.    People won’t get why they should book a session now, instead of waiting until they lose the extra pounds (which may or may not ever happen).    People won’t get why they should book you instead of just having a friend photograph their senior pictures.       So I went on a bit longer then expected, so I’ll stop here for the day.    I’ll post a few other horror stories at the bottom of this article.       Tomorrow I’ll get into how I personally communicate my value, and the surprising reaction I get from people when I do it…       ...Lets just say I never thought people would think I’m a good person for the way I market, even though in this particular situation I’m not donating anything to charity.       Until tomorrow!       Cheers!    Lisa Edwards    

Man oh man, Jodi and “ready to learn.”. It totally sucks to not reap the benefit of your time and energy into marketing...but the fact that you were truly trying to support a good cause? Now THAT is heartbreaking.

 

I think there is a big push in the photo industry  to partner with charities, but the truth is we need to rely on ourselves, instead of hoping that they will successfully help us get the bookings we need…

 

...The fact is, many charities don’t have an email list, big social following, or put the info into a “newsletter” with 10 other items (trust me, been there...got zero bookings even though the email went out to a big list).

 

Now that being said, it’s GREAT to help people out and partner with a charity, and I encourage it.

 

But I look at it a bit different…

 

I feel we need to rely on ourselves to get the photography bookings, not on a charity (or other business, or anyone else for that matter), and the donation is purely one out of the goodness of ourselves and our business.

 

On another note: even if we put our message out there on  facebook pages and groups, facebook ads, email marketing, etc, it doesn’t matter if the message doesn’t resonate.

 

The message needs to be compelling.

It needs to tell them why they should care.

 

Donating to a charity isn’t enough for people to be compelled to purchase a photography session or product.

They still need to want the session - they need to feel they need the session.

 

You MUST communicate why your photography and your session is so highly valuable.

And we all KNOW how valuable photography is.

 

It’s the thing people say that, if their home was on fire, after getting their family and pets out, they would next take their photos and albums out of the house with them.

 

If our photographs are so highly valuable that we would leave all of our other belongings - or $900 phone, our jewelry, our $500 Vitamix, our EVERYTHING…..

 

Then why is it so hard for us to COMMUNICATE that value?

 

Marketing is just that: communicating the value of our products and services.

On the other hand, posting to Facebook, Instagram, Emailing your list, those are TACTICS.

 

When you can’t communicate the value of your products and services, then it doesn’t matter how many times you post to social media and email your list.

People won’t get why they should go to you over the competition.

People won’t get why they should book a session now, instead of waiting until they lose the extra pounds (which may or may not ever happen).

People won’t get why they should book you instead of just having a friend photograph their senior pictures.

 

So I went on a bit longer then expected, so I’ll stop here for the day.

I’ll post a few other horror stories at the bottom of this article.

 

Tomorrow I’ll get into how I personally communicate my value, and the surprising reaction I get from people when I do it…

 

...Lets just say I never thought people would think I’m a good person for the way I market, even though in this particular situation I’m not donating anything to charity.

 

Until tomorrow!

 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

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Matt - how GREAT it is that you realized the lesson in that story - that "laying down and playing dead" is certainly not a good marketing strategy! A few others to go along with this are: trying something but not sticking with it and being consistent (you may be JUST around the corner from it working!) And failing at something and not learning, tweaking and trying again.

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Steve - this is a heart breaking story. There could be a few places to look at to start getting booked. Firstly - your message (as explained earlier in the email). It may be that people just aren't sure WHY they should book YOU, and why what you do isn't just different, but MATTERS to them. This can be a hard thing to look at and reflect on. If we realize (which I have in the past) that what we're doing is very similar to everybody else not in the work we do but in mattering to our clients, then we have to change.