Business Pillar 6 - Marketing
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the hair of the dog podcast. I'm Nicole Begley. And I'm back today for final business pillar. Number six, we're diving all into that marketing. Now I know some of you might be tempted to go ahead and just dive into this marketing now, but there's a reason why it's the last one.
You need to make sure you have your other five business pillars in place. Before you go head first into the marketing, because you need to have the rest of your business machine built before you can handle the clients that you're going to get from the marketing. So if you haven't listened to our first five business pillar podcasts, jump back to episode number 79, or we start with our legal and admin and work your way through to get here to pillar number six, marketing. And if you're all caught up, well, stay tuned. We'll get started in a minute.
Welcome to the hair of the dog podcast. If you're a pet photographer, ready to make more money and start living a life by your design, you've come to the right place. And now your host, pet photographer, travel addict, chocolate martini connoisseur, Nicole Begley. Hey everybody, Nicole Begley here from hair of the dog.
Welcome back to the hair of the dog podcast. I'm excited to be back with you again for another week of our business pillars. I have had so much fun talking about these different pieces of our business and you know, so many times people get into business and they want to focus on just one thing. Or they think that there is just this one magical marketing solution that is missing. And that's the only thing they're missing for their business. And if they just had that, they would be a success.
Yeah. Okay. Marketing is super important and we're going to dive into the most important things we need to consider with our marketing, but guess what else is important? All of those other business pillars that lay the foundation for our business, because remember that story about me trying to make brownies without eggs. Yeah, it didn't go so well.
So you trying to do marketing and run a business without a proper website, all of a sudden, not going to go well or without proper pricing or branding or legal or anything else, all of these different pieces work together to create a actual business foundation, like the foundation of a house, like a recipe for brownies, the, bring it all together and then you will have success. So today we were talking about marketing, but if you haven't joined us before, remember jumped back to episode number 79 for business pillar, number one, legal and admin. And then 81, we talked about branding and then number three was website number four was pricing business pillar. Number five was workflow. And now here we are at that marketing. Now, before we dive in to marketing, I kind of wanted to find what marketing is and what marketing is not because I see a lot of photographers that think getting a beautiful website together and then posting on social media is marketing.
And I don't really think that is, I think that's the icing on your marketing cake. And I think that website pillar number three is absolutely before we start marketing. Because even if someone has been recommended or you've been recommended to somebody from, you know, someone that they really trust someone is still your potential client is still going to go to your website before they ever book you. And if your website is not up to the task, well, that's going to ruin that lead right there. So website is absolutely critical, but a lot of people think that's all they need, but the website's not going to drive track traffic by itself. The job as though of the website is to kind of act like your storefront, but we still need to get people to walk by our store. We still need that foot traffic.
We still need the eyeballs on our storefront to say that looks like a cute shop. I should go in that's there's some cute dog pictures. I love dogs. Let me check it out. So that is just really the icing on that marketing cake is that social media, they, they, we have to focus on marketing and other ways and think about marketing in a bigger strategy than just posting on social media. Sure. Social media is important.
Do you have to have social media? I don't think so, but that's a whole nother podcast for a whole nother time today. We're going to be talking about that marketing. So remember marketing is so much more than just our website and posting on social. We're going to be talking about that. Now. There really are two different types of marketing.
There are what I like to call awareness marketing and make the phone ring marketing. Now that awareness marketing is letting people know that pet photography is even a thing because how many times do you say to somebody or they ask you, you know, what do you do? And you say, oh, I'm a pet photographer back up. Hopefully when somebody asks you what you do, you can loudly and proudly say, oh, I'm a pet photographer.
Do you have any dogs? Because a lot of us, I think, start to shrink when somebody asks us, what do you do? And we're like, oh, I'm a photographer. Okay. So is everyone in their aunt? But not everyone is a pet photographer and people love to talk about their dogs. So we should always, always, always every time someone asks us what we do, we should tell them exactly what we do and ask them if they have any dogs. But anyway, let me back up.
We're talking about awareness marketing. So when someone asks you what you do and you say I'm a pet photographer, what is their most common reaction? Usually it's something like real. What, that's the thing? You know, they, they have no idea. They're amazed by it. They're intrigued by it.
They didn't know about it. So if 95% of the people that we are same, I mean, of course that's not an exact number, but it's a lot of the people that we are saying. I have a pet photographer too, are in shock and awe that that is an actual thing. Okay. That tells me that we need more awareness in the
marketplace, that this is even a thing for people to do. Because most people it's not even on their realm of consciousness, on their realm of possibility. They have no idea this exists. So they're certainly not going out and looking it. So part of our marketing job has to be letting people know that pet photography is in fact a thing. And then that second part of marketing is called.
What I like to call, make the phone ring marketing. These are our different marketing promotions or actions that actually have some urgency and encourage people to pick up the phone and book with us because being a pet photographer is challenging with that urgency because if you're a wedding photographer, oh yeah, there's a wedding date. If you're a newborn photographer.
Oh yeah. There's a newborn coming on a certain date. There's a birth date. If you're a high school, senior photographer, that person is graduating high school on a certain date. All of these things, most of these other genres have dates associated with them.
Even at family photography, there, they children changed so much. They want to get a picture in that toddler stage. They want to get a picture before they lose their baby teeth. They want to get a picture, you know, before they graduate high school, whatever it is, there's a bit more timeframe, time sensitivity for most of our other genres, then pet photography, ours other than, okay, I have a puppy or I have a dog that's really, really old and maybe not doing so well.
Those are the only two times that we have kind of this urgency built into our John rhe, all of that other time in the middle of those, all those adult years of the dog's life, then it is very easy to say, even if they know about it and they want to do it. Oh, okay. Oh, I do want to do that.
I'll call her next week. I meant to do that. I'll do that tomorrow because people are busy. They are so, so busy. So we need to think about our marketing in those two different buckets awareness and make the phone ring marketing.
And I want to bust some other myths here because I know a lot of photographers in general, pet photographers as well are out there saying pet photography. Market's too saturated. There's too many pet photographers. Oh my gosh.
I'll never get any clients. Why do I even try? There's so many pet photographers. Okay. Yeah. There's a lot more pet photographers now than they were five years ago. But that's not a bad thing because now there's five additional people or 10 additional people in your market, advertising, marketing, making that awareness marketing.
So more people say, oh, that's interesting pet photography. Huh. And they start to look at it. And sometimes they'll book the first person that they find, or the person that was marketing to them. Sometimes they will find out pet photography is a thing.
And they'll do a quick Google search and search for other pet photographers as well. So all of a sudden that whole competition thing is not really competition. It's actually helping all of us out. It's actually raising the entire industry. So if you find yourself saying to yourself, oh man, mark is too saturated.
This is bad. It's going to be too hard. I encourage you to try to think about it this way, that those other pet photographers in your market are actually doing your awareness marketing for you. But this is not an excuse to not do any awareness marketing yourself.
So yeah. Get back out there and still do the work. But anyway, those are the two types of marketing that I wanted to talk about real quick. Now let's talk really quickly about the four stages of wooing clients. Okay.
Stage one potential clients need to be aware that you exist. That's that awareness marketing thing we were just talking about. All right. So we're going to skip over that.
And now we're going to jump to step number two. They need to trust you. We only do business with people we know like and trust, right? Maybe you're saying, Hey Nicole, I don't know the guy that just came to clean my air conditioning or to fix my air conditioning. But I am pretty sure you probably Googled them before you had them come into your house or to come fix your AC. And you probably looked over some reviews. So this is really, really important.
The needing to trust factor can be from referrals from their friends. It can be from them looking at reviews online. It can be from testimonials on your website, just different areas where people can see, oh, okay. I, people have had a good experience with this business. Another great way to build trust is all, I don't know, start putting some pictures of yourself in some videos of yourself, on your website.
Also easy ways to start building trust and people to build a connection with you. All right. So step number three is we need to create the motivation for them to do something that goes back to what I was talking about by pet photography.
Often not having a date associated with the service that we are going to provide. And then step number four. This often comes after the experience and that is building loyalty. So how can you create an incredible experience for your clients so that they are loyal, they sing your praises.
They share about the experience with others. They just love you and recommend you till the cows come home. Those are the four stages of marketing that we need to be aware of as we move our clients through these particular stages. All right. Sounds great, Nicole. But what does that really look like? Well, I like to encourage my students to always be focusing on two things, leads and sales, because there's really only three ways to make more money in your business.
You can serve more people. You can raise your prices or you can decrease expenses. That's how you get more profit. And for marketing, I think the biggest thing we need to focus on our leads. This is so much more than posting a few cute
Instagram pictures or tagging a client or two on Instagram. Yeah, we can definitely do some social media, but if your entire marketing plan revolves around that, I want you to think a little bit deeper and think of some different ways that you can find some leads in your business. Now, what do we do with leads actually first? What is a lead? A lead is somebody that said, oh, that's interesting pet photography. I'm kind of interested.
And how they do that is by giving us their email address or entering a contest or in some way, raising their hand that they're interested in learning more. So my do not pass. Go do not collect $200 like must do right now. If you're in business and you don't already have, one is create an email marketing list, go to a Webber, go to mail, LER light, go to mail, Chimp, go to flow desk, whatever you want, go check it out and get a email marketing service. By the way, if you want to use flow desk, I love it.
It's super easy and straightforward and so easy to manage. And it's just awesome. So if you go to hair of the dog academy.com/flow
desk, you can save 50% off the annual plans for them, but there are also lots of other email marketing services. I don't care which one you use. Just use one because it is absolutely critical that you have a place in which you can send your leads. You can collect emails and you could then market to them through email, through sharing information. Oh my gosh, Nicole, what am I going to share in my email? It doesn't have to be hard. It could be something like, Hey, here's some great breweries that people in our market love.
Here's some great dog friendly hikes. Here's some dog friendly restaurants. What do your target clients want? If your target clients are young professionals that are active outside, any of those things could be really, really fun things that they would get and be like, oh, that's cool.
Then your email marketing becomes kind of like a little resource. You can use email, email marketing to ask yourself what do potential clients need to know before they book a session? Usually they have two really big objections. Number one is my dog's never going to be behaved for this. I would love to get pictures of fluffy, but fluffy will never sit still.
And number two is, oh man, those beautiful outdoor images are so great, but my dog can't be off leash. And most people think because of one or two or both of those things, there's no way they can do this. So our job with our marketing has to be dispelling those myths, every single chance we get, we can do that on social media. We can put that on our website. We can talk about that in our email newsletters. Oh, here's something, just write it up once and then you can pull snippets of it from the different places.
Put it on your blog, put it in an email newsletter. You can use that same content again and again, you actually should be saying those objections and dismantling them again. And again and again, till you feel like you're saying it just far too many times, because people don't know when new people come into that awareness marketing space for your business. Those are the objections that they are going to come up against. So we need to make sure that we can dismantle them so more leads, more sales. And then once we're figuring out where we're going to get some of our leads, you know, this could be from our website.
This can be from events. These can be from contests. These can be from charitable marketing promotions.
I mean, there's just so many different ways. It can be normal inquiries on our website. Think about different ways that you can get leads in your business and then think about how you can nurture those leads, how you can dismantle those objections. And then let's think about how we can make them an offer. Remember that whole urgency thing, pet photography makes it really, really, really important to actually have some sort of regular offer.
You know, this can be a special type of session. This could be a special product. This could be a special price for the session. I'm not telling you to go discount.
I'm not a big fan of discounting, but I don't mind if you're doing like a charitable promotion, in which case you are offering like a special offer to the charity supporters or plus, or minus your own people. And you know, it goes to support the charity. So in essence, that is a discount, but it doesn't come across the same way as, Hey, just today, 50% off. That sounds desperate.
The, Hey, we're doing this special promotion in conjunction with this business or this charity, or to support X, Y, Z, or because it's August, you know, it can be a reason, any reason you want a, we're having a dog days of summer promotion, things like that that may have a little bit of a special offer. The, the key for those special offers is just usually how it's positioned and how it's worded. So for instance, if you have a session fee, that's usually $250, maybe during the dog, days of summer, that session fee can go towards a product credit or the session fees reduced, or half that session fee is donated to a charity. That's one of my favorites or reduce it.
And then it gets donated to the charity. You know, if it's a, a session retainer that you have, in which case the session fee goes towards a product credit, and maybe it's a little bit less of a session fee and they still get the full product credit, or they get a double product credit or whatever, just figure out what makes sense, make sure you run it through your pricing and your cost of goods sold, jumped back over to episode number 85, where we talk all about pricing and business pillar, number four, if you need a refresher for that, but just make sure that it's still profitable. And it's helpful sometimes to know kind of what your session average is. So that way you kind of know how much to discount.
I don't mind just counting my sessions for different marketing promotions, $200 or so, because I know that my average sale is going to be at least $2,000. And I know that I'm still profitable with that little bit of a discount. So I can use that as a way to, you know, get more urgency. You can also have urgency in your marketing and in your offers by having a limited number. So maybe there's only three sessions left in October, or maybe there's only three sessions left before, you know, before you're done for the year until your calendar is closed for the year, whatever it is, there's different ways to have urgency.
Usually that is via price for a limited time or a limited number of sessions. So those are the different things. And so to recap, we need to have some awareness marketing and then we need to do our, make the phone ring marketing and our make the phone marrying marketing involves looking for more leads and then making more offers to those leads. That's really it. That is all business is, is letting people know, Hey, pet photography is a thing it's pretty awesome.
You should do it. Yes, your dog can do it. Hey, let me talk to you some more.
Let's get some let's, you know, what do I have that's of interest to you? It's this? Would you like to do this? And then here's some special offers, that's it? So let them know you exist. Start the conversation, make an offer. That's what we need to think about in terms of all of our marketing in our business, and just figure out ways that we can focus on those three things. Like I said, sitting at home, just doing social media all the time is not usually effective at doing this, but we can definitely leverage some social media, leverage some good old fashioned conversations, leverage working with other businesses, working with charities, doing events, having contests, all these different things to get eyes from our market onto our business, have those people raised their hands.
We continue the conversation and we make more offers. Therefore getting more clients, therefore making more money, therefore taking more pictures of wonderful dogs. So people have these lifelong memories. So it is a win, win, win for everyone. So anyway, I hope that helps.
If you are a little overwhelmed at that email marketing thing, we do have a full email marketing workshop inside the hair of the dog academy. That was a fairly recent addition. So if you've been an academy member for a while, make sure you check that out. There is yeah. That email marketing workshop in there.
And if you're not an academy member, well, we'd love to have you just jump on over to www.hairofthedogacademy.com/academy and put yourself there on the wait list. And we will let you know, as soon as we open those doors again, thanks again, everybody for hanging out with me for the past six weeks as we went through these six business pillars, I hope you found it helpful. If you have take a screenshot of this podcast on Instagram, share it in your stories, tag us at hair of the dog academy. Let us know what the most impactful pillar was for you. What you're working on.
We would love to have that conversation with you. And in the meantime, we will catch you next week when we are coming back with some dog training conversations, as it relates to pet photography, can't wait, have a great week. Everybody see you soon. If you enjoy this podcast episode, go ahead and take a screenshot of this episode on your phone and post it up there on your Instagram stories and be sure to tag us at hair of the dog academy.
And we would just love to see how you're listening and a full disclosure. Sometimes we just like to give away a little pet photographer, swag in the form of hair of the dog t-shirts and sweatshirts. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and share that screenshot of this episode. And don't forget to tag us at hair, the dog academy.
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