When it Comes to Marketing, There’s Room for Pushing and Pulling
Question: I’ve heard of two types of sales strategies, push versus pull. How can I pull a client in versus push a client in and make a sale?
A “push” promotional sales strategy is when you use a variety of activities to get your message in front of your client. Using this approach, your marketing materials are “pushed” in front of your ideal client and buyer.
In a “push” approach, you actively promote your brand through traditional marketing tools such as direct mail, emails and cold calls. You are in complete control of the message you send out, how it is seen, when and where.
Pull Out the Stops
“Pull” marketing is about developing relationships that attract your ideal client to you. It demonstrates the value you offer to prospects so they are attracted to your products and services. “Pull” marketing activities build relationships and can include blogging, tweeting, LinkedIn networking and podcasts.
The idea behind “pull” marketing is to build a fan base so your potential clients follow you and actively look forward to seeing new work and blog updates. Your goal in “pull” marketing is to cultivate connections and relationships with your clients and potential clients by offering up relevant and interesting news and building a community of “followers.”
Chase Jarvis (www.chasejarvis.com), a photographer known to many of you, has created an international following not only due to his talent but to his ability to inspire others to follow him. He generates excitement and energy through his live program modules, where he has guest speakers discussing industry topics and behind-the-scenes videos. His commitment to what he does and the people he speaks with inspires his followers and his willingness to share his honest opinion and those of others has generated an enormous following.
Your goal in “pull” marketing, as a photographer and entrepreneur, is to develop a strong personal brand and voluntarily give your audience a reason to follow you on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as opting into any newsletters you produce.
Below are five important points to consider when developing your “pull” marketing plan:
- Are you updating your blog on at least a monthly basis?
- Are you connecting with clients you have worked with through LinkedIn or Facebook if you have a personal relationship with them?
- Do you share relevant personal projects with your potential clients to keep them involved and updated on what is inspiring you both creatively and personally?
- Do you have an understanding of your target audience and what is your unique contribution to this market? Is this demonstrated in your website, blog and your communication with them?
- Do you network by participating in events where you will be able to see your clients and other industry professionals? Word of mouth and personal referrals are still the best ways to get new business.
Developing connections and relationships with new clients always takes time, so patience is required. But the more active you are in maintaining and developing your fan base, the more success you will have.
Make a Push
As we are in a very competitive industry, it’s necessary to use both “push” and “pull” techniques to generate and maintain an active client base. Remember four important “push” strategies:
1. Send bi-monthly email promotions to your targeted client list, built through a database service such as Agency Access. Typical categories for a lifestyle photographer might include regional and national advertising agencies, book and magazine publishers, corporate in-house creative departments and design and PR agencies.
When designing your email promotion, pick compelling images that draw the viewer in and are appropriate for your target market. Monitor your analytics to develop a secondary lists of clients that have opened your email and clicked through to your site.
When following up on an email promotion, it is helpful to include a link to a professionally designed PDF portfolio that includes a title page with your name and contact information. The PDF should be reflective of the market you’re targeting and should be sequenced for flow in a similar fashion as your print portfolio. But unlike your print portfolio, it should not be longer than 25 spreads or 50 images in total. Linking to a PDF portfolio makes it easier for a client to quickly look at your portfolio without calling it in.
2. Increase your odds of being found by placing your portfolio in an online portal – and reap the benefits of exposure to a broad range of clients who you may not have necessarily marketed to. Visitors to portfolio sites could be looking for your subject matter and style, as well as talent in your geographic region.
3. Send bi-monthly direct mail campaigns to between 100 and 250 of your top prospects. That list should include your dream clients and those clients who have expressed interest in your email promotions. Depending on your overall budget, this can be as simple as a well-designed postcard or an elaborate gatefold presentation or catalog.
4 Make client calls. It’s very important to set a weekly schedule to contact potential clients to arrange face-to-face meetings to show your portfolio, in addition to building a rapport with clients likely to hire you. Keep a record of the calls you have made and enter in follow-up dates and any relevant details regarding the clients’ accounts.
Most important in your “push” is maintaining and updating a yearly marketing plan that schedules your electronic and direct marketing efforts. This will keep you on track and assist you in monitoring what has been most successful for you in generating business.
John Berthot has over 15 years of photography experience, and an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. Among other positions, he has been a Photographer's Agent at Stockland Martel and an Advertising Director at Magnum Photos. He has been a creative consultant for the last two years, founding Focus in 2009. He brings his extensive experience in assisting photographers on all aspects of commercial, editorial and fine art photography. FOCUS
1. Pump Up the Personal, Skip the “Salesy”
2. Blending Your Creative Nature With Your Sales Efforts
3. Dialogues Podcast: Effective Methods for Strong Client Relationships