Cause Marketing for Photographers

As we move towards the coming new year many of us are beginning to implement a new marketing plan. Also, as the holiday season comes to a close many of our thoughts are on giving. Cause marketing is an opportunity to combine the two. For those unfamiliar with the term, cause marketing is a form of marketing that allows two organizations, one for profit, and one non-profit, to work together to further each of their individual marketing/development goals in a cooperative fashion. Think of the (product) RED campaign, or the partnership between the NFL and United Way.

Cause marketing can be as simple as offering a sponsorship to a local charity event, or as involved and complex as you care to make it. Below are some examples of actual cause marketing campaigns I’ve seen photographers in my market employ”¦

  • A local portrait/wedding studio holds quarterly workshops for photographers on various business practice issues. They host at their studio and usually bring in a guest speaker. They don’t charge attendees directly but ask that they make a donation to a specific charity ($40 to the local food bank or so.)
  • A commercial photographer sponsors a hole-in-one contest at a charity golf outing. If a participant scores a hole in one, they win $10,000. He gets a bond each year to cover it for about $100. He’s at the tee of that hole, shoots a photo of the foursome and mails each of them a print (with his logo and web address of course.)
  • A fine art photographer gives 25% of sales of a series of images of the Chesapeake Bay to a local environmental charity.
  • In lieu of holiday gifts for his corporate clients, an industrial photographer makes a donation to the USO (many of his clients are in the defense industry and are veterans). He then sends the clients a note thanking them for their business and letting the client know that he’s made that donation. (more…)

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Four Tips for Working a Photo Exhibition

Working a Reception (Photo Courtesy Mary Smith)
Working a Reception (Photo Courtesy Mary Smith)

My two-person show “Rhythms” opened last night in San Jose, and the reception was a blast. It can be a challenge to get the most out of a show of your photography, I’m often astounded by how many artists believe that their work will “sell itself”, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your photo exhibitions.

1. Make sure your pricing makes sense. Most venues will want about half of the gross of any sales of your work, which means that your half has to cover printing, matting, framing, labels, and oh, you wanted to make a profit, too, right? One of the biggest mistakes I see artists make is underpricing their work. If you don’t make it clear that to folks that your work is valuable, why should they believe otherwise? (more…)

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More on Value Propositions

In a previous article, I touched briefly on Value Propositions, and talked about how to develop one. I’d like to go into more detail, thanks to Joe Pici.

In review, a value proposition should focus on outcomes, and be result-oriented:

  • talk about outcomes not products and services
  • tie results to critical business issues
  • tie results to personal issues


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Now is a great time to start a…

… insert venture here.

It could be a photography business (or expansion of an existing business,) maybe a magazine or newspaper, maybe a creative services company or a consulting firm. Things are tough all over and everybody is re-evaluating their budgets and plans. That spells opportunity. (more…)

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Selling for Photographers – Part 2

Preparing for the Sale

The next step is to actually make sure you’re ready for the approach, and the ultimate sale. Do you have business cards ready? Contracts? Your calendar? Nothing turns off a potential customer quicker than an unprepared salesperson. They are trusting you to take their money and deliver a product – and if you seem “off” or flaky in any way, they would prefer to not give you money.

You should develop scripts – for the phone, and for in person. You will stick with these scripts as much as possible. You will refine them over time, yes, but for now you practice them until the words roll smoothly.

“All the world is a stage “¦” – Shakespeare (more…)

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Selling for Photographers – Part 1

If anybody asks you what you do, and you say, “I’m a salesman” (or saleswoman) – is there a teeny, tiny bit of shame, embarrassment, or even shyness that creeps into your voice?

I know that a lot of people have very negative attitudes about selling. The fact of the matter is, nobody gets paid until something gets sold. So, if you’re addicted to getting paid, somebody has to get good at selling. (more…)

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