marketing-automation

Time to build Marketing Automation into your Photography Studio

Today’s Marketing Monday slot is at a different time….

And thats for a reason… when we undertake any form of marketing we test and measure, to see when we get the best response. Over the past few weeks, we’ve tried 11am, 1pm and today, we are testing around 8.30pm.

Our topic for discussion today, is Marketing Automation.

If you’ve read the business book, The E-myth by Michael Gerber, then you’ll be familiar with the idea of creating systems and processes in your business to simplify and standardise things.  Marketing automation has boomed in 2019/20, and it’s here to stay.

As with all marketing, we really need to look at things from a main perspective of improving our customer experience, and then the benefits it brings to us as a business. Marketing automation gives us the tools to educate and qualify our prospects and customers, providing repeat business and customers that are fans of our brand.

Marketing automation comes in a number of different flavours that we can put into play as a photographer:

  • Drip feed email sequences for new customers. Here at British Institute of Professional Photography HQ, we might have an email sequence that drip feeds information to new members, from introducing their regional chairman, to educating about events and talks, through to hand holding about qualifications. This would move our member from being a ‘newbie’ to helping them have a great all round knowledge of the help available.
  • Chat-Bots are another great example of where we can use a hybrid of Live Chat on the website or social media to answer common questions before ‘qualifying the lead’ to become an enquiry.
  • Another way, we can use a Chat-Bot is Social Messages. Tools like ManyChat allow us to start automated conversations with people that comment on our posts, or images on social media. Your client loves their picture on you Facebook Business page. Friends comment and like, based on a keyword you select, they’ll receive a messenger message when they comment using that word. (Great for competitions too!) 
  • Don’t you just love it when your Chiropractor remembers your birthday? Yep, my Chiro sends me a text on my birthday, and I get a complimentary treatment, or a discount, that’s great marketing automation at work. We love the guys at Halsa in Windsor. Capture the data once, and set up the marketing once, and your client gets all the smart little touch points through the year. With great systems like LightBlue it’s easy to put these marketing automations into place.

Is pizza changing your customer habits?

One of my favourite marketing automations comes from Dominos though.

When I place my order, I get updates and notifications when my Pizza goes through each of the stages of preparation.

This is something you could easily work into the workflow in your studio management software. 

Customers love to know what’s going on and what to expect, and when. 

It’s now easier than ever to satisfy that customer need, the need to know whats going on.

N.b. Want to find out more about how Dominos has used technology to gain an advantage with its business? Head to this article in Fast Company.

The take away from today’s Marketing Monday slot is however a little marketing automation that you should go away and do today.

If you are using studio management software, why not add a final step to your workflow. 

After your products have been delivered, to automatically send out an email asking for a review, and adding the links of where to post them. 

We’ve done this in our own business, we ask for reviews on 3 platforms (select the best platforms for you, but we use a mix of Google My Business, Yell.com, Facebook and FreeIndex) and it provides regular fresh reviews from our customers because we make it easy for them to do it.

Albert Einstein’s famous line: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

I know so many photographers that reply to emails with a fresh email every time, templating proposals and then tweaking them, or having a email sequence for wedding enquiries from shows to nurture them over a number of months, etc. Save time, save money and give our business uniformity.

What can you automate in your marketing to give you more time and better results?

But I would never send something automated to my customer? I have a high-end photography brand.

Marketing automation doesn’t have to mean in-personal, in fact, the very opposite, it allows us to segment and personalise our emails, advertising campaigns, websites, and other marketing based on people’s decisions and data.

Still not convinced about how marketing automation can work for your business?

Here is a really good case study of a Wedding Stationery company, Paper Style.

They introduced marketing automation, to separate out their prospects – from people engaged, getting married soon, to those shopping/researching for a friend.

That’s a simple thing that wedding photographers could do with their marketing. They planned out the steps each customer would go through and then created education around it.

They know that people would think about invitations, save the date cards, etc before contemplating buying wedding favours, etc.

Likewise, photographers could identify areas that as a wedding photographer you could increase sales, from engagement shoots, to planting the seeds of wall art sales after the wedding day.

As an aside, more and more couples live together now before they are married, so the old days of wedding gift lists are less relevant.

Could photographers change their marketing to get the wall art sales funded through the gift list process? Crowdfunding art for the wall.

As with all marketing, the process has to be planned and if it’s something that people want to consider, this case study has some great takeaways, especially for wedding photographers.

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