Who is Today s Photography Client? Let s take a closer look at this Jennifer:

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1 Turn Your Website into a Lead Generating Machine: How to Increase Business and Reduce Marketing Costs By Making Your Website the Hub of Your Marketing Activities Who is Today s Photography Client? The most significant buying force in photography today is what many call the Generation X Mom. A young parent aged years old, Gen X moms are likely to maintain an active lifestyle that produces events and photography opportunities. The Photography Marketing Association calls this powerful target market Jennifer to drive home the fact that these customers are living, breathing, buying consumers who care deeply about their photography. The name Jennifer was chosen after Gen X and also because Jennifer is one of the most popular names of this generation. Let s take a closer look at this Jennifer: Compared to other target audiences, Jennifer is more likely to own a digital camera (but this is actually a GREAT thing for pro photographers because PMA reports have proven that people with an interest in photography on a leisure basis buy significantly more professional portraiture than those who don t!) Jennifer values home and family first (she s much more family oriented than her Baby Boomer mom). She rejects the idea of a being a super mom who is trying to squeeze everything into a single day. She s more willing to sacrifice for her family, so she s leaving the work force (at least for time) to be home with her children. Her focus on family and her role in preserving memories results in a strong desire to purchase the products that capture life s fleeting moments. Printed photos are more important to Jennifer than other marketing segments, with 47 percent of Gen X moms considering prints very or extremely important. She is an impatient shopper and wants the store to know what she wants, to deliver what she wants, and only what she wants. She does not want to be bombarded with

2 choice after choice. She wants value and is not impressed by brand names, nor is she as brand loyal as her parents, the Baby Boomers. She needs guidance from a trusted seller because she shops many different types of stores, both high end and discount, and she uses this trust to save time to spend with her children. She s not as into self gratification as the Boomers or other market segments. Good value is more important to her than low price. Connection is important to Jennifer, and her purchase processes can be shaped by providing her with an emotional focus on products/services that connect to her life. She is the 1 st Internet generation and uses it to research and compare products/pricing. She is media savvy, and probably has RSS on her cell phone. During the past three months, 69 per cent of Gen X moms have shopped online and 65 per cent used online banking more than any other group. 21% are now reading a blog once per month compared to 15% last year. 61% of Jennifers who are mobile subscribers text compared to 49% in She s also a big e mailer. Nearly half of Gen X moms e mail news and events to their friends. They want to hear from you by e mail, so keep those e newsletter lists up todate and timely. So, here s Jennifer, wanting to have a family portrait taken and she s researching photographers online. What will make her choose you? We know from the information above that connecting is extremely important to Jennifer. But it requires much more than putting a contact link on your site. Don t expect Jennifer to connect you set up your site so you can connect with her! STEP 1: Use your site to connect with Jennifer On average, a mere 2 percent of visitors to a studio s site will decide to book a session right then and there. In most cases, Jennifer is researching, trying to get a feel for the photographer behind the site and looking for a good reason to call you or not.

3 If only 2% of these potential clients click on your contact link, that means that 98% of people who could become wonderful clients will leave your site without contacting you and you ll have no way to continue the relationship unless you find a way to get in touch with her. In order to start the relationship you need to find out who Jennifer is. You can t very well connect with an anonymous visitor, so you ve got to get her to introduce herself. Use a lead capture system. This is known as an opt in form. With an opt in form Jennifer fills in information like her name, address, phone number, etc. so you have a way of getting in contact with her after she leaves your site. Rather than having her send you a regular e mail which has a high chance of getting lost in the shuffle I recommend using an online lead capture system like Aweber ( Constant Contact ( or Vertical Response ( These companies help you create opt in forms you can put on your site for Jennifer to fill out. Then the companies store her information in an online database that you can access whenever you want to get in touch with her. But to be truly effective, you need to do more with it than just putting the form somewhere on your website. Here are several ways to optimize lead capture forms on your site: Give your form prime real estate. To capture leads you have to entice prospects to hand over their contact information, and they can only do that if they can easily find your opt in form. It should hold a prominent place above the fold on your home page, so visitors don t have to scroll down to find it. Also place the opt in (again, above the fold) on all other pages in your site. Gather only the information you need to take the next step in the relationship. Make sure your opt in form asks for the necessary info, but don t ask for too much information at first or you ll scare Jennifer away. It s kind of like proposing on the first date: too much too fast and she s gone in a flash. Just get what you need for the next step in your sales process. Our opt in forms ask for contact info only. First & last name, e mail address, street addy, city, state, zip, and phone. I want this information so I can contact her through e mail, direct mail and telephone.

4 Reverse the risk for your prospects. The less risk Jennifer sees in sharing her information, the more likely she is to hand it over, so clearly display a privacy policy link just below your opt in form everywhere it s used on your site. Though she probably won t bother to read the policy, she ll feel safer about your commitment to protect her information, and that will build your trustworthiness in her mind. Spice up your response button. Instead of using the time worn command to submit on the response button of your opt in form, use action statements, such as Sign Me UP, Send My Report Right Away!, JOIN US, and so on, and so on. The possibilities for enticing, action oriented response buttons are nearly limitless. Make an offer Jennifer can t resist. You want to show Jennifer that you re interested in connecting with her. But offering to send her your e mail newsletter probably won t be enough to convince her to hand over her information. It sounds too much like work to read yet another e newsletter. So you need to offer something with such high perceived value that she ll be happy to trade her information. Your bait piece doesn t have to be expensive to produce. But it does need to be free to Jennifer after all the payment you re looking for is her contact info. Make sure, however, that the freebie you offer is relevant to Jennifer and her situation. Some companies understand the concept of trading something free for a prospect s information, but they offer things like pens or calendars or mouse pads. While items like these will have widespread appeal, and will generate a big response, they don t identify the good leads. Your freebie must relate to your product or service and speak to Jennifer s needs so it generates quality leads, not just quantity leads. As unglamorous as it sounds, high value information is still one of the most successful lead generating tools at your disposal. Not studio focused information, though rather you want to share information that is focused on Jennifer s needs when she s searching your site. For brides we offer an e book on wedding photography, which covers topics from setting a budget to getting the finished products. For portraiture we offer special reports on outdoor vs. indoor portraits, how to prepare children for portraits, etc. For each type of photography we offer, we provide information that addresses that potential client s questions and concerns.

5 Remember from the data we have on Jennifer she s looking for a trusted advisor to guide her to the right purchase while saving her time so she can get back to her family. Offering information that sounds educational instead of salesy will position you as that trusted advisor and set yourself head and shoulders above your competition in her mind. Educational bait pieces (free information pieces) can help you accomplish this. Educational bait pieces work well for several reasons: 1. They re inexpensive to produce and distribute because they re created in PDF format and go to Jennifer digitally once she signs up for them. 2. They offer a way for Jennifer to get to know your studio better and view more of your work without feeling pressured to commit at this early stage. 3. Written reports and e books are credibility builders that carry high perceived value. 4. They show Jennifer that you know what you re doing, in other words they help establish your expertise. 5. They differentiate you from your competition. 6. They pave the way for you to take the next step in the sales cycle. Once Jennifer has requested your bait piece, you ll receive an e mail from your lead capture company with all the info she shared. It gets stored in their database, but you ll want to have a backup copy of the database on your computer for protection. Give Jennifer a couple of days to look over the report then follow up with a phone call to visit with her further about her photography needs. If you can t reach her by phone, keep trying! Don t give up just because she didn t return your first phone call. Send an e mail then a direct mail letter with an offer of a gift card or a certificate as further enticement to contact you. Then phone again. Step 2: Use your site to build the relationship with Jennifer Staying in touch with prospects and customers. It s one of the most important aspects of marketing, and also one of the hardest. A program like AWeber or Constant Contact can simplify the task. You can write multiple messages and store them in Aweber, or whichever system you choose, until you want the messages sent. A good timeline seems to be sending seven to 10 messages over a 30 day period after you capture Jennifer s information, followed by regular contact at least once a month.

6 You can use these messages also called auto responders to talk about how Jennifer will benefit from your services, to deliver a short e course, your e newsletter, and promotions. Just don t make them all sales messages remember the content needs to be high value (80 percent content to 20 percent selling is a healthy mix). But don t just rely on , stay in touch with greeting cards, newsletters, telephone, postcards, and any other way you can think of to keep this relationship growing. Step 3: Take advantage of additional lead generation opportunities lurking in your website 1. Submit your reports to offline and online trade publications, as well as complimentary websites and organizations. Add links to the papers that track back to your website to bring additional traffic to your company and increase your search engine ranking. 2. Submit press releases to offline and online publications with links that send readers to your website. A great reason for a press release is the new report you just wrote! 3. Blogging is a marketing channel that s really coming into its own as companies realize its value for interacting with customers and driving traffic to their sites. Search engines love blogs because they naturally produce fresh content for the spiders to crawl. It VERY important though, that if you start a blog, you need to commit to keeping it up. In my research, I ve run across countless photographers sites with blogs that haven t been updated for months even years. A neglected blog is much worse than having no blog at all. It says to prospects, This really isn t important. 4. Delve into social media. The recent Cone Business in Social Media study indicates that 93% of Americans believe that a company should have a presence on social media sites and 85% believe that these companies should use these services to interact with consumers. Of the study responders: 60% of Americans regularly interact with companies on a social media site 43% of consumers say that companies should use social networks to solve the consumers problems 41% believe that companies should use social media tools to solicit feedback on products and services

7 You can use social networking sites to whet people s appetites on a subject then drive them to your website for the rest of the story, or to see more images. The links back and forth between your site and these networking sites also helps to boost your site s search engine placement. 5. When sending direct mail or placing ads, drive readers to a specific page on your site for more information about your offer as well as asking them to phone for more info. It s extremely important that you don t send them to your home page and make them hunt around for the info they want. With every offer, put a more in depth sales message of that offer on a page of your site all by itself. This is called a landing page, and statistics show that using a landing page to explain the offer further can double or triple sales over sending them to a generic page. The more ways you let people respond to your offers, the more likely they are to respond. By combining direct mail with a dedicated landing page and letting people respond by phone or go to your site, you will catch the hot prospects who are ready to talk over the phone, plus you ll catch warm prospects who want to know more but don t want to commit to a call just yet. Remember, less than 2% of visitors to your site will be ready to make an immediate purchase. By by capturing those leads and staying connected to them with relevant, high value content that 2% can increase up to 72%. If you have questions about anything in this outline, just and I ll be happy to answer them for you. This report is copyright, 2008, Kammy Thurman, Anchor Creative,, Laurel MT, 59044, Nothing in this report may be re produced in any manner whether print, digital, e mail or any other way without written permission from the author.

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