Two key components to your photo business promotional strategy involve promotional budgeting decisions and promotional communications approaches.
Specifically, promotional communications can be segmented into two categories: one-way and two-way strategies.
One-way promotional strategies are the types of promo activities that are meant to attract clients/buyers without the expectation (or desire) for direct interaction. More-or-less, a one-way strategy is exactly what the name implies. Information is traveling in one direction — hopefully in a clear, memorable and unique manner.
Contrarily, two-way strategies attempt to create a communicative exchange between photog and client.
A prime example of a one-way strategy is listing yourself in a professional photography trade association database (e.g. ASMP Find a Photographer). You don’t necessarily expect a direct reply, however, you definitely hope to ‘get on the radar’ and generate interest for assignments in the future. Similarly, offering a coupon or rebate on services via your website or local print publication is an example of one-way promotional activity.
Two-way promotions, on the other hand, are meant to create a conversation (hopefully a long-term one) that builds on the interactive exchange between client and photog.
Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the least expensive and most important 2-way communicative promo strategies at your finger tips (or tip of your tongue more accurately).
While casual word of mouth or more intensive ‘personal selling’ promotional activities (e.g. portfolio meetings with ad agencies) are easy to understand as basically 2-way verbal communications, another non-verbal two-way strategy is your e-newsletter.
Sure, you might not be actually ‘talking’ to one another via direct e-mail campaigns (or other direct mail campaigns like photobook/tearsheet submissions), but the interaction is definitely more personal and can certainly lead to future face-2-face contract signings.
Finding a balanced promotional communications strategy which incorporates one-way and two-way approaches is important to building awareness amidst a “red ocean” of photo market competition.
In essence, every form of promotions — whether it be through direct mail campaigns or face-2-face conversations on the street corner — involve the delivery and ultimate absorption of that delivered information from the other side.
Regardless of whether the message was sent from a ‘one-way’ or ‘two-way’ perspective, the receiver will indelibly process that message in his/her own unique fashion. In the end, you’ve started (or attempted to start) a conversation using either method, but the question remains whether or not that conversation will continue.
Therein rests the importance of why it’s imperative for you to accurately identify your target audience and adjust your promotional activities accordingly.
To be continued….