For articles, see F2 eZine Content Archive 5 - Jan - Mar 2001

Archive 5 - January - March 2001

Marketing News -

Designing Effective Promotion Pieces

By Maria Piscopo,
author Photographer's Guide to Marketing & Self-Promotion
Allworth Press

The design and production of promotional materials is your most important marketing tool next to your portfolio. First you'll need primary promotional material. These are visual pieces used for "personal selling" such as sending ahead to get an appointment or for leaving behind after showing a portfolio. For today's client, show print promotions. Electronic promos such as CD-ROMs can be used in addition to the printed pieces or as portfolios but it is the rare client that can hire you only from electronic promotion. The day may come, but print is still the number one choice. Some production methods for primary promotion pieces include: color photographic prints, laser color copies, ink jet prints, black & white prints. Many shooters like to mount images to pre-printed card stock for a more polished presentation. These methods work best when you have a small target audience or are just starting out with very little money or you want to produce very "custom" pieces!

When you need a larger volume of promos, you may want to invest in offset printed materials. They cost more money total, but are less labor and less per unit cost than any of the above. Design and quality of production is the key either way. You DON'T have to spend a lot of money for promotion pieces to do them well!

Text copy adds to the power and impact of your primary promotion materials. Your images make only a visual statement. To be really effective, you should add your marketing message such as "Black & White Portraits on Location" or "Architectural and Interior Design Photography". It will make an even stronger promo piece when you include a call for the client to take some action such as,"Visit our web site" or "Call for brochure". When you want to sell them, tell them!

Secondary promotional materials are used in self-promotion once you have the basic visual materials for selling yourself and your work. Some of these production approaches include: mini-portfolios, capabilities brochures, client-printed materials and specialty advertising items.

The mini-portfolio is not really a portfolio at all. It is a sample portfolio given to a client. The ultimate combination of concept, design, copy and photography comes together to produce a real "keeper" and a promo piece that clients can keep on file. Again, you need good design and planning, not just spending a lot of money. The most flexible format for a mini-portfolio is a presentation folder (add your logo label to personalize the cover) and inserts printed in advance and used as needed, depending on the client. This format is the most easily customized for individual client presentations.

A capabilities brochure can be combined with a mini-portfolio or used as a stand-alone piece. It usually is an information or text-heavy piece that includes your marketing message, bio or background, client testimonials, client list, facilities description, map to your studio and even equipment inventory. In addition, it can also be used to give to clients with cost proposals to help you get the job you are bidding for!

Client-printed pieces using your photos create opportunities for self-promotion. You get the value of the equity in a "household name" client and the client pays for the production. Depending on the client, you buy or negotiate a price to get several dozen or a couple of hundred copies on the same print run. When a client is printing single sheets, you can check to see if you can get your copies with the backside blank. Then, you can get them inexpensively back-printed with your own promotional copy.

When you have done everything else, be really creative and try a specialty advertising promo piece! These promo pieces tend to be best used for name recognition and reminders, rather than traditional selling promos. They are useful items such as pens, notepads, coffee cups personalized with your name and logo even your web site address - that you give to your clients. You can order from any catalog supplier of specialty advertising. Some creative ideas are photo notepads, photo calendars and the ever-useful photo printed mouse pad.

I thought I couldn't possibly see anything new in specialty advertising and then I get a really cool coffee mug from Lauren Brill, corporate photographer (yes, it has been done before but not like this!) I know she has done a good job because I have to hide it when I'm done with my morning coffee so I'll be able to use it the next day. Now, that's a promo piece! Whatever you choose, make sure it echoes the marketing message of your primary and secondary promo pieces and is good enough for the clients to want to keep!

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For articles, see F2 eZine Content Archive 5 - Jan - Mar 2001