One of the key marketing strategies that online business’s use is called affiliates.
You see this in play all the time. You may sign up for a newsletter, or buy a product, and the next thing you know you’re getting pitched related products…via email.
Btw, this is not a new strategy and as photographers we can use the same strategy in our towns, cities and communities. I call it affiliation marketing 0r pitching to a group that you would be somehow affiliated with…something in common.
You might think, yes, but I hate it when they send all those spammy emails!
True. That is not good. It means one simple thing: They aren’t doing it right. When you work affiliation marketing strategies you can’t abuse it.
For example, you could go after local jewelry stores, wedding stores, caterers, or anyone else who caters to the wedding industry, and assuming you have a good working relationship with these folks, they will let you pitch their clients and prospects. Or, better yet, they will go after them for you.
There are many, many ways to implement this and as many areas of which you could hit and and ‘affiliate’ yourself with.
When I started my first studio way back, and had way more balls than brains, I walked up and down my street (which was long-about 5 miles long) lined with stores and business of every type. I walked in and pitched them all. Yes, I did.
A better way is to actually sit down and make a list of specific places that would work in the same industry. But hey, I said more balls than brains. It’s a phase. And one that gets better if you keep at it.
Last week I worked with a local guy named, Bill. I love working with Bill. He’s the best in our area when it comes to wedding coordination and entertainment. He charges 3 times the going rate. He’s that good.
He promotes me. I like working with him. I try and help him whenever he wants anything. When I show up at a wedding and Bill is running the show, I know several things will happen:
* the wedding will be very well organized
* the couple and guests will have a great time because of him
* I will get many photo opps as a result….
Whenever I work with affiliates I cherish our relationship and try my best to maintain it and keep on good terms. I am generous with them as well. To me, whatever I give them in money, time, talent, or whatever, it is money and time well spent. A cost of doing business.
It’s the very best investment in ‘advertising and promotional’ dollars. That’s the way I see it.
Here’s an image I shot from my last wedding where Bill was working. We talked about creating a unique pose for the bride and groom. You know, the whole gang at the reception doing jazz hands…fun, fun, fun! And unforgettable. He organizes this pose and gets it done in record time.
Even though it was the middle of supper and no one really wants to get up off their chairs, he was able to get the job done. Everyone even had a good time doing it.
He also asked for a quick shot of him with the bride and groom for blogging and social media uses. He ‘likes’ and is very active on Facebook and loves collecting images from all his past clients. He is one of those vendors who creates a strong bond and connection with his clients. See photo 01.
When he asked for that shot I obliged without hesitation. I have a basic rule…any of my affiliations get most if not all their photography for free or at cost depending on the situation. To me, it’s simply the cost of doing advertising and money well invested.
Here’s a list of some place I have worked with and had the ability to go after their clients. See if you can think of what specific portrait ideas you can also pitch via these affiliates:
- Hair salons
- Associations (Rotary, Toastmasters, Chamber of Commerce, etc.)
- Real estate offices
- Car dealerships
- Clothing stores
- Specialty shops
- Dental offices
- Shopping malls
- Baby doctors
- Health clubs
- Insurance companies
- MidWife clinics
- Baby stores
This is simple. Think about your target market, where they shop, where they eat, where they hang out, and where they spend time and money. And go get em’!
If you go in to any place like this do not jam your agenda down their throats, instead be eager to help them and they will help you.
The possibilities are vast…wall displays, cross promoting, publishing books, offering a gift from your studio, one day event photography (think Dog Day at a vet clinic)….try it. Get creative. Find those “Bills” out in your community, in your markets, those that rise to the top, and affiliate yourself with them.
What a great way to achieve publicity and, better yet, get new clients.
Yours in photography,
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