Oh MAMA: Why Pregnancy Announcement Portraits are the New Must Have

oh mama

From Kim Kardashian to Kate Middleton, it seems like everyone is pregnant these days! Your expecting clients are definitely going to want need some pregnancy announcement portraits. There are a variety of cute posing options out there, ranging from the quirky and playful to the ultimate in sophistication. Whatever the style, here are some reasons these new portrait memories are so in demand and how to capitalize on them.

Teeny Tiny

Your clients’ babies are still itty bitty. You might not even know they are there by the 20 week session, especially if it’s the couple’s first child. So what’s the point, right? The point is, the mother-to-be’s waistline is still looking tiny too. Women love to show off their newly acquired motherhood status without looking… bigger. Encourage mothers to show off their figure in their favorite outfits. Depending on their personality this will be anything from jeans and a plaid shirt to a flowing dress and killer heels.

Time is on My Side

Most couples announce their pregnancy between the 12 and 20 week point, when the to-do lists and chaos are beyond the horizon, along with the discomfort and insecurity of the last few months of pregnancy. While these portraits cannot replace those incredible traditional maternity portraits, they are less time-sensitive and a little less stressful as well. Make the most of the timing by marketing (with permission) at OBGYN offices. This is probably the best (and only) place where you can reach your target market at this stage in the game.

Good News Travels Fast

In this world of social media, a single adorable portrait upload will tell everyone in your clients’ networks their wonderful news. Everyone can share in the good news at once. But where does this leave your sales? Well, the grandparents will be thrilled with a wall-sized portrait, as will the couple themselves. This session can also be incorporated into an album of maternity and newborn portraits, which becomes a much more substantial investment and commitment. You can safely sell your client their favorite pose as a low-resolution digital image at a discount with the purchase of a full year baby plan (three to four sessions throughout the year to capture every milestone). With logo placement on the digital image, you will get plenty of marketing value to make up for the discount.

Gender Reveal

Many clients will want to wait to announce their pregnancy until they know the gender of their child. That makes the news that much more exciting. For those clients that want to incorporate that element into their session, there are tons of fun ways to do so:

– A box full of blue or pink balloons, opened at just the right moment

– A simple yet charming “It’s a Boy” or “It’s a Girl” banner

– A slice of blue or pink cake

– A tiny pair of blue or pink shoes

– A bouquet of blue or pink flowers

You get the idea.

Sibling Surprise

For families expecting a subsequent child, it’s always fun to incorporate the first child into the pregnancy announcement portrait. Whether they like it or not, their family dynamic will change, and this can actually help get kids excited about the newest family member. Here are some fun poses:

– shirt that reads “single child expires on [due date]”

– sidewalk chalk or sign reading “Big Brother/Sister]

– ultrasound picture

– pulling a wagon with a teddy bear or other baby item with due date sign

– family shoe pose with empty baby shoes

These poses are just the beginning, and you can find a wealth of adorable choices online (hello pinterest) to suggest to your clients. Take advantage of this emerging trend and if you build good relationships you might just secure a few long-term clients in the process!

Have you done one of these sessions yet? Comment below to share your favorite pregnancy announcement pose.

There’s a Method to my Mullet: Turning One-time Clients into Lifelong Patrons

joe dirt

Okay, so I don’t have a mullet. The famed haircut has become more obscure with every passing year, (and that’s probably for the best) but it’s well-loved mantra lives on. Everyone knows it: “business in the front, party in the back.” While the mullet isn’t a sound fashion statement, it does have a lesson that will help you build your business.

Too many photographers and businesses in general try to lure in clients in with a “party in the front” mentality, offering too many discounts, promotions or more than they can or intend to deliver in general, leading clients to feel legitimately duped by the end of the transaction. Not only will they never return, but that bad experience (depending on the severity) will lead them to discredit the business to family and friends. With the help of social media and business rating websites like Yelp.com and citysearch.com, word-of-mouth marketing can do more damage than ever before. Granted, it can also do a world of good, but only if your playing your proverbial cards right. Don’t cheat your customers–you’ll never win that way. Never over-promise and then under-deliver. You’re better off all business than with a backward mullet.

Think of the mullet as a timeline.

Business in the Front

You want to be as professional as you can in the initial phone call. Don’t promise a deal. Don’t gush. Schedule a complimentary pre-session consultation. Insist on this step. In the consultation, keep the same tone. Only guarantee what you can. These are things like the length of the session, the scheduled photographer, the location and be sure to touch on any variables that can and might change. Be as honest as possible. If you have policies about missed sessions, late arrivals, minimum orders or anything of that nature, please do yourself and your clients a favor and be up front about it. You want to be warm, welcoming and gracious, but also very clear about your standard process. This will avoid unpleasant misunderstandings along the way. Once you book the session (after collecting a session fee) make sure that you follow up. Keep the professional vibe going as the session date arrives, be calm, welcoming and patient throughout the session, but not overly gratifying or apologetic. An even emotional keel will send the message that this is a business exchange, not a favor on one side or the other.

*What if it is a friend or family member? Go ahead and party on. But don’t work with people who are close to you if you feel that you’re running a risk of harming the relationship over it. The best thing you can do in those situations is get the expectations out in the open and be clear about the arrangement ahead of time.*

During the sales meeting, you will have to suppress the urge to croon too much. To overdo it. Throwing in this and that, making the client feel like a VIP. But this should never happen unless you have a bonus structure carefully built into your pricing. This type of behavior seems like great service, but in most cases it actually hurts your chances of creating a satisfactory experience for your clients. Why? Because once you promise it, it’s expected. It’s not special at that point.

Party in the Back

The time to throw in a special bonus gift or go the extra mile is once the order is complete. If it’s ready early, call the client and they’ll be pleasantly surprised. Did they order everything on the menu? Throw in a generous gift as a thank you. Were they generally easy to work with? Throw in a few wallet-sized gift portraits or something like that.

Of course you have to be particular about the terms of the “party”. Try to avoid rewarding clients with things that have a time frame. Don’t give them something that will depend on another transaction. You might think this would be good to get repeat business, but there’s no telling what your schedule will look like when they want to redeem that free session or finally take advantage of that credit. Make sure the gift is part of the final transaction, and either tell them it’s a bonus gift from you or include a note so they know that.

The best practice with things like this is to do it sporadically, so it doesn’t become expected. All benefits go out the window if you’ve built up an expectation. The core of your success can’t rest on gimmicks, but a little extra here and there does build client satisfaction immensely.

Micro to Macro

You also want to apply the mullet timeline to your overall client relationships. If someone walks in your door the first time, there’s no reason they should have the same treatment as someone who has come to you for over ten years. One is a potential client, the other is a proven patron. It’s okay to celebrate those relationships, because both are exciting, but don’t do it in the same way.

Have you ever seen your cable company offer new clients half the price that you pay for their service? Banks do this too. Just like a backward mullet, this approach can be seen from a mile away and it’s less than flattering.

I recommend model searches during slow seasons to get new clients, as well as Facebook mixers for adults and parties for seniors. And let’s not forget referral programs.

For long-standing clients, make room in your schedule if you can. Give them an extra pose, or something of this nature. Offer a client appreciation luncheon or dinner, if you’re so inclined. These can be a great way to make old clients feel appreciated and allow them to bring friend that just might become a new client too. The more creative you can be with your “party” approach, the less of a rut you will create for yourself in setting an unreasonable standard in your day-to-day operations.

Comment to share your approach to getting new clients, rewarding old ones and exceeding client expectations every time.

There's a Method to my Mullet: Turning One-time Clients into Lifelong Patrons

joe dirt

Okay, so I don’t have a mullet. The famed haircut has become more obscure with every passing year, (and that’s probably for the best) but it’s well-loved mantra lives on. Everyone knows it: “business in the front, party in the back.” While the mullet isn’t a sound fashion statement, it does have a lesson that will help you build your business.

Too many photographers and businesses in general try to lure in clients in with a “party in the front” mentality, offering too many discounts, promotions or more than they can or intend to deliver in general, leading clients to feel legitimately duped by the end of the transaction. Not only will they never return, but that bad experience (depending on the severity) will lead them to discredit the business to family and friends. With the help of social media and business rating websites like Yelp.com and citysearch.com, word-of-mouth marketing can do more damage than ever before. Granted, it can also do a world of good, but only if your playing your proverbial cards right. Don’t cheat your customers–you’ll never win that way. Never over-promise and then under-deliver. You’re better off all business than with a backward mullet.

Think of the mullet as a timeline.

Business in the Front

You want to be as professional as you can in the initial phone call. Don’t promise a deal. Don’t gush. Schedule a complimentary pre-session consultation. Insist on this step. In the consultation, keep the same tone. Only guarantee what you can. These are things like the length of the session, the scheduled photographer, the location and be sure to touch on any variables that can and might change. Be as honest as possible. If you have policies about missed sessions, late arrivals, minimum orders or anything of that nature, please do yourself and your clients a favor and be up front about it. You want to be warm, welcoming and gracious, but also very clear about your standard process. This will avoid unpleasant misunderstandings along the way. Once you book the session (after collecting a session fee) make sure that you follow up. Keep the professional vibe going as the session date arrives, be calm, welcoming and patient throughout the session, but not overly gratifying or apologetic. An even emotional keel will send the message that this is a business exchange, not a favor on one side or the other.

*What if it is a friend or family member? Go ahead and party on. But don’t work with people who are close to you if you feel that you’re running a risk of harming the relationship over it. The best thing you can do in those situations is get the expectations out in the open and be clear about the arrangement ahead of time.*

During the sales meeting, you will have to suppress the urge to croon too much. To overdo it. Throwing in this and that, making the client feel like a VIP. But this should never happen unless you have a bonus structure carefully built into your pricing. This type of behavior seems like great service, but in most cases it actually hurts your chances of creating a satisfactory experience for your clients. Why? Because once you promise it, it’s expected. It’s not special at that point.

Party in the Back

The time to throw in a special bonus gift or go the extra mile is once the order is complete. If it’s ready early, call the client and they’ll be pleasantly surprised. Did they order everything on the menu? Throw in a generous gift as a thank you. Were they generally easy to work with? Throw in a few wallet-sized gift portraits or something like that.

Of course you have to be particular about the terms of the “party”. Try to avoid rewarding clients with things that have a time frame. Don’t give them something that will depend on another transaction. You might think this would be good to get repeat business, but there’s no telling what your schedule will look like when they want to redeem that free session or finally take advantage of that credit. Make sure the gift is part of the final transaction, and either tell them it’s a bonus gift from you or include a note so they know that.

The best practice with things like this is to do it sporadically, so it doesn’t become expected. All benefits go out the window if you’ve built up an expectation. The core of your success can’t rest on gimmicks, but a little extra here and there does build client satisfaction immensely.

Micro to Macro

You also want to apply the mullet timeline to your overall client relationships. If someone walks in your door the first time, there’s no reason they should have the same treatment as someone who has come to you for over ten years. One is a potential client, the other is a proven patron. It’s okay to celebrate those relationships, because both are exciting, but don’t do it in the same way.

Have you ever seen your cable company offer new clients half the price that you pay for their service? Banks do this too. Just like a backward mullet, this approach can be seen from a mile away and it’s less than flattering.

I recommend model searches during slow seasons to get new clients, as well as Facebook mixers for adults and parties for seniors. And let’s not forget referral programs.

For long-standing clients, make room in your schedule if you can. Give them an extra pose, or something of this nature. Offer a client appreciation luncheon or dinner, if you’re so inclined. These can be a great way to make old clients feel appreciated and allow them to bring friend that just might become a new client too. The more creative you can be with your “party” approach, the less of a rut you will create for yourself in setting an unreasonable standard in your day-to-day operations.

Comment to share your approach to getting new clients, rewarding old ones and exceeding client expectations every time.

2013 Focus on Seniors LIVE EVENT

2013 Focus on Seniors LIVE WEBINAR EVENT!

You don’t want to miss the 2013 Focus on Seniors live event! I’ll be hosting this all-day event live, on January 3rd, starting at 10 a.m. MST. I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this information with you and help you jump-start the new year with this incredible, energy-packed program. With the help of our amazing guest speakers, Craig Stidham, Blair Phillips, Brett Jarnagin and more, the senior season will be covered in every detail.

We’ll discuss:

  • the essentials of a senior marketing concept–techniques that get the phone to ring
  • what parents and students look for–in a live Q&A session with actual clients
  • social media trends–the good, the bad and the ugly
  • pricing and packaging–how to take your brand from average to outstanding
  • sales discussions on how to handle objections and maximize every sale

There’s too much to gain in this SPTV production, and we don’t want you to miss out on this excellent resource for the perfect senior season.

So hurry and reserve your spot for this event NOW by visiting UKANDU.COM

Add a comment and let us know what you want to hear about most in the live show!

Jazz up your Facebook profile picture!

Social networking has become a way of life for so many of us—it’s the perfect platform to reach out to your clients, both existing and potential. It’s imperative to create a good first impression on your social networking profiles, because it is very possible that this platform is the first time a client views your work, which is why I’m so excited about this week’s What’s New at Ukandu Sale.

The Marketing Monsters have created 8 incredibly eye-catching sets of “social media brag tags.” They’re the perfect way to spruce up your Facebook profile page in just a matter of minutes. Simply add in your favorite portraits and business logo, and then update your profile picture!

Choose one set, which includes four different templates, for only $10, or go all out and grab all 8 sets for just $30! Save up to 50% during the next 48 hours only!

Choose from Bright Floral, Elegant Lavender, Modern Sapphire, Simply Traditional, Eclectic Bloom, Spring Garden, Sweet Dreams and Classic Collage.

Tour Update: Stuffed with Seafood and Pizza

A week after leaving home, the Sandy Puc Creative Edge Kids Tour and Gypsy Family Caravan are still plugging along…

We're all still in great spirits as we made our way through California and up to the Northwest.

On the way to Sacramento before Wednesday night’s show, we decided to stop at the pier and have a bite of seafood, because living in a land-locked state like Colorado doesn’t provide you with such luxuries. We ate more shrimp, crab and calamari than you could imagine!

You can't get this kind of seafood in Colorado!

After we were stuffed to the gill, believe it or not, we decided that we could not leave without getting some of the famous Tony’s Napoletana Pizza. We ordered 2 pies, and they were 22 inches each! We could not even fit them in the car!

The box was so big, we could not get it in the door!

The Sacramento show was fantastic. We finally got our missing display images, which helped make the final layout look absolutely gourgous. The crowd was fun, and I could feel their energy radiate as I was teaching.

Rest stop in northern California right before crossing into Oregon. Love the light!

Yesterday was dedicated to driving, and then driving some more, as we made our way up to the beautiful Northwest for shows tonight in Portland and Saturday in Seattle. The weather up here is refreshingly cooler, and the scenery is absolutely phenomenal with all the picturesque pines and lakes.

What's a road trip without the junk food?

Can’t wait for tonight’s seminar in the City of Roses!