Thursday, July 17, 2008

[B]Business Day Thursday: It's The Little Things That Count

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Sorry for the very late post today - I spent most of yesterday installing our new Epson 9880 printer - and, of course, there is always a hic-cup or two along the way. All seems good to go now and we are ready to put the printing pedal to the metal.

The other reason for the delay today is the gigantic project I'm working on as we speak. I'm just finishing the 12th - whew! -4 foot x 8 foot banner for one of my favorite clients. That includes photography, iStockphoto searches, and extensive Photoshop razzle-dazzle. I have to say though, I'm very pleased with the results as they really turned out way cool! The final banners will be displayed at the Bat Mitzvah evening celebration. They follow the theme of the event and really adds to the over-all room decor. This is the fourth time for this type of project. I'm not going into a lot of detail today on the project as I'll save it for an upcoming Technique Tuesday.

On another note, thanks to everybody who read last week's article entitled, "7 Really Easy Things To Sell To Add To Your Bottom Line" and generously left your suggestions too. Remember, if we hit 20 suggestions, I'll send my "Digital WakeUp Call" tour 4 1/2 hour DVD to the person I deem the best idea. So if you missed it, hit the link, give it a read, and post your suggestions.

It's time we get on with our topic for today, "It's The Little Things That Count." What makes your studio memorable to anyone visiting. Is it the beautiful drive up to the studio's pillared entrance, the fabulous wall portraits and wedding images displayed in the $300 frames, or is it your receptionist warmly welcoming the patron and offering them a comfortable seat in your luxurious well appointed surrounds? Well, for many of us, we know that's not the case. Many of us have store front studios, some meet potential clients at another location, perhaps Starbucks, but most photographers operate out of a residential studio. All that is well and good, but remember, it's still about that impression you leave with your visitors. Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

So what can we do to compete with the big boys? Do just what they do? How to build your brand? Hold on now, don't stop reading now because you think you are too small to even think about brand building - the fact is, no one is too small to build their brand. Do you know what "building your brand" really means? It simply means making a very positive and lasting impression with your clients. And, it's a simple plan to execute for most everybody.

Here are a few ways to make the difference. Many studios offer coffee, tea or a soda to their clients. But, how do most do it - simply by making a run to the refrigerator, grabbing the refreshment and offering it to the client. Why not add a little sizzle to the presentation. LaDawn has come up with the idea that when we offer our clients a refreshment, we should wheel in a small serving cart with the items readily available and then assist the client with their choices. What's the difference between the first and second way - simple, the second is classy and most of all memorable - it simply makes an impression.

We also have the little candy bowl on an end table easily accessible to the clients. It's filled with the really good Dove chocolate. Across the room is another very decorative candy bowl filled with triple coated gourmet malted milk balls in two flavors - dark and milk chocolate. Once you bite into one of those candies, it is truly a memorable experience. My buddy, Kent Smith, who I mention occasionally here, has his candy dish filled with personalize "Kent Smith" chocolates. I think that's a great idea too. Check out right here. They have some great ideas for personalized favors and various items for the bride and groom. These same items could also be personalized with your own studio info and given as a courtesy gift to all visiting your studio. Just browse their site, lots of good ideas there.

Here is another great idea a number of photographers are using. It's about adding pizazz to your delivered products. One of my favorite labs, Millers Professional Imaging, now offers "Boutique Packaging" for many of their products. It's sort of the ultimate Amazon gift wrap - you order your prints, canvasses, etc; add the boutique packaging option, and everything shows up ready to deliver with sizzle to the client. Check it out right here.

Wait, there's more. How about going really "First Class" with Marathon Press "BellaGraphica" design line of products. Although a lot of these products are targeted for marketing your business, they have a special packaging collection too. This collection consists of bags, boxes, sleeves, etc. that really showcase your work when delivered in the BellaGraphica collections. Here is all the info right here.

Your budget not quite there yet, then check out BagsAndBows right here. It's another great source for gift boxes and gift bags that can really spruce up your image, leave a great impression, and build your brand.

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