Sarah Petty has become popular and successful in her area by photographing children, families, and high school seniors in her own special style, which includes a bit of whimsy and a lot of fun. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Sarah, which appears in the 2008 edition of Photographer’s Market. Here, Sarah talks about the importance of marketing and making your clients feel special.
How do you find clients? Describe your marketing efforts.
I have as much passion for business and marketing as I do for photography. I am constantly thinking about new ways to attract clients. We send a super creative (and super expensive) mailing to new parents. This piece is designed to evoke emotion and attract clients who like our style. This kind of marketing has affected my business positively.
I also mail Christmas cards to my entire client list. Our cards are always fun. They include a Dr. Suess-type 9 x 12 book with a card that unfolds into a circle. My philosophy is that you can’t tell people you are creative; you must show them, which is why we hire a professional graphic designer.
We do a lot of advertising to promote our image, including an emotional television spot targeting the Mom audience that aired during Oprah. We communicate with our clients, especially our senior high school audience, through our Web site. We’re currently adding blogs. We also compile mailing lists of high school juniors and market directly to them with professionally designed marketing pieces.
Do you have different marketing strategies for each of your client groups (babies/children and seniors)?
Yes, we market completely differently for both groups. Although our logo doesn’t change, we have a look and a feel for each target market. I feel strongly that each target market should be treated as if they are our only clients. For seniors, our marketing campaigns have a completely different look, feel, and message than our children’s campaigns. For children, our look is playful and whimsical. For seniors, our look is more earthy and natural and all about them! From our price list, to our direct marketing pieces, to the way we package our images, everything has a consistent look and feel that speaks to that target market. Even the bag we package our images in is customized to coordinate with each marketing campaign. Our bags have a see-through pocket on the front where we insert an image from the client’s session. We then add colored tissue paper inside the bag and tags on the outside that match the feel of each marketing campaign. It is more time consuming to create these individualized campaigns, but it is critical to make everyone feel special.
Sarah Petty offers education to other photographers in the form of workshops and speaking engagements at conferences such as Professional Photogrphers of America. If you’d like to catch Sarah Petty in action, check out one of these upcoming venues below.
PPA Imaging USA – January 6-8, 2008, Tampa, Florida
Business Module: Marketing & Promotions (January 5)
Senior Portrait Artists (SPA) – January 19-23, 2008, Tuczon, Arizona
All day pre-event (January 19)
WPPI Convention– March 12-20, Las Vegas, Nevada
“Breathtaking Graphic Design to Make Your Clients Say ‘Whoa'” (March 16)
Texas School – April 27-May 2, 2008, College Station, Texas
“The Art of Building a Successful Boutique Children’s Photography Business”