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Category Archives for "Branding"

4 years ago

Produce a Filmmaking Masterclass – Marketing Hack #31

Marketing Hack #31: Produce a filmmaking masterclass

The whole thing started on Twitter. I followed the filmmaking blog of one of Europe’s top young filmmakers. His tweet put him in Miami a few years ago, right in my own backyard. Nino was on vacation with his girlfriend after having been at NAB. I did the only thing that you should do, when that happens–I invited them to breakfast. “If you ever need help producing a filmmaking masterclass in the States, I’d be happy to help.

A few months later I get a PM on twitter: “Are you still up for helping us produce a Filmmaking Masterclass in the US with Philip Bloom?” For those of you who don’t know, Philip is one of the most well-known HDDSLR shooters and instructors around, so there is a big opportunity in working with world-class talent like him.

Marketing is in large part positioning your brand. Being able to work together with a world-class group of people rubs off on your brand. Find the best expert in your field and offer to help them put on an event, a show, a film, an article, a workshop – anything that lets you get your brands name out there.

Long story short, I ended up producing 2 filmmaking masterclass workshops. One in Las Vegas and one in Key West, where I learned a lot from Philip and Nino. On top of that the workshops where a lot of fun to run, I made a little money, but most importantly are the connections I made with the instructors and the students. Philip has asked me to help him with some other workshops since then and my most recent video job is a result of producing those workshops: I got to be director of photography on a documentary film for Netflix.

4 years ago

Business cards call for an awesome Habi-matic – MarketingHack #30

Create a habi-matic for business cards

How you read business cards has much to do with marketing

OK. Last week I talked about printing a business card for a specific project (remember MarketingHack#29) and from my experience, many people I speak with think that business cards are not important in today’s digital world. I can just hear you say: “And now you’re saying how I read someone else’s business card is important to my brand? Come on – I mean it’s a little piece of paper, that we’re not quite sure to do with, once we walk out of a networking situation.” 

Let’s back up a bit. Marketing is “the process of  promoting, selling and distributing a product or a service“. So how does the other guys business card fit into this definition? Knowing your target audience is vital, but don’t forget that this group is made up out of individuals. The more you know about each one of them, the more you know about the whole, right?

Think of business cards as a key to the kingdom

Building a network has nothing to do with how many business cards are in your RolodexUsually a business card has at least one way of contacting this person, often more than one: email, phone number(s), website, mailing address, ect. It’s a virtual goldmine of avenues to connect with that person. However, if you just toss these little cards into a box or go as far as sticking them into a Rolodex (Do you even have one of those?) they won’t do you much good. You got to be able to have the information at your fingertips to be useful, which means the phone number needs to be in your address book; the address should be linked to the account in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. It would be even better, if you could connect with the person who handed you the keys to their kingdom, aka their business card, on Social Media, but in reality who has time to enter all that info in the correct places every time, without forgetting to do so? 

Make reading business cards a habi-matic

Make this a habi-matic (and no, that’s not the latest kitchen appliance as seen on TV). It’s a habit, you make automatic: Here’s what I mean – can you image a utopian world, where someone hands you a business card and while you are talking with that person, your staff automatically…

  • captures the information from the card,
  • fills in the missing items, by searching an online database,
  • creates a complete contact in your mobile address book,
  • syncs that info into your CRM and sends you a reminder to follow up
  • and sends a LinkedIn invitation to connect

…quickly enough, that you can actually ask the person, if they would like to connect on LinkedIn. Sounds impossible, right? Check out a screen cast of all this happening inside of one minute:

Using this opportunity for more than just accepting a slip of paper, but connecting (and then following up on that new connection), shows someone how serious you are about keeping in touch with them, it gives you all the info you need to promote, distribute and sell your services and that’s the definition of marketing.

So get off your butt, start developing a habi-matic and show your prospects how efficient you are.


You can read how this process actually happens in the first post of my new blog series “Solving the productivity puzzle“.

4 years ago

How to convert prospects into hot leads in 60 seconds

Prospects to Hot Leads

You’re at a _________________________ (trade show, conference, business meeting, fill in the blank) where one of a few prospects hands you their business card.

You know that in order to turn prospects into hot leads you need to follow-up with them. Soon, which means you have to …

  1. enter their contact info into your address book, so you can email or call them later
  2. put their business card into your (physical or digital) Rolodex, so you can find it
  3. create a reminder in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, so you remember to follow-up with them
  4. send them a LinkedIn invitation

… but who has time for all that, especially if you’re meeting a couple of new prospects.

Then you look at the card and notice, that is only has the prospects company name and website, a ‘info@’ email address and a phone number, but nothing else. You’re gonna tell me that you remember the name of all the prospects you met at the event, if you wait to enter their data until that evening?

Make your prospecting bullet proof

What if there was a way, where you could have the business card scanned and read by an app? That would be pretty cool. How about an app that could go and find the missing info (name, job title, personal email address, …) automatically? Now we’re talkin’, right? What if all this info is entered into your address book with a simple click? Still not good enough? What else would you like it to do? Make a LinkedIn connection? Schedule the CRM reminder? Put the business card into your Rolodex?

I’d pay good money for the ability to go back to the office and have all that happen automatically – you can’t get much better than that, right?

Hang on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, it’s even better than that. I’d like to introduce you to Scannable, Evernote‘s smart scanning app. Not only does it do all this (well almost all of it), but it does it in real-time.

Convert prospects into hot leads with SannableBack to that business card you got handed to you by one of the new prospects you were talking to. Just this time you pull out your smart phone, launch Scannable and you’re pretty much done. The app finds the card in front of the phone, scans it, reads the information, goes to LinkedIn, pulls the missing information from the prospects LinkedIn profile, and places all the info into the right fields of your address book, which you can save in your address book and Evernote with a simple click. All this takes about 60 seconds and remember all you did was launch an app and hold the card in front of your phone’s camera.

While Scannable does all of this, I can go on chatting with the prospects, learning more about how I can help them create great visual content for the project they’re working on. I finish the conversation with one simple question “Would you mind, if I’d send you a LinkedIn request?” and thanks to Scannable, I can do that as they say “Sure, why not.

Oh, I forgot to mention the price of this service, although by now you’d agree that it will save you not only time, but also convert your prospects into hot leads (which is a little hard to put a price on): it’s free. I know, right?

I got my head in the cloud (along with all my data)

Cloud based business

How much more productive would you be, if you could …

…automatically answer every online contact request with a branded, personalized email from your company and get an alert to new inquiries via text, email and SMS from the cloud?

…enter each business card you’re handed into your cloud based address book and automatically pull in data from the card owner’s LinkedIn profile?

… see the last activity you had scheduled with that person, the client account associated with him or her and have the personal contact info from your cloud based client database on your screen when you look up a client on LinkedIn?

… automatically trigger the creation of a digital job folder,  add a customized to-do list (based on how you go from prospect to client) to your calendar and create a blank production book in the cloud when a client sends you a job request?

… store all emails, call notes, marketing efforts, past invoices, payments and briefs pertaining to a client account in the cloud, accessible from anywhere in the world?

… control image delivery to your client from your smart phone?

… create an expense report in the cloud just by photographing a receipt?

Sounds to good to be true? Welcome to your business in the cloud.

Def: Cloud based business, means that your data is stored in with an online service. That can be a photograph you are delivering to your client via Photoshelter, contact information for a prospect stored in SalesForce or your production book from the last job including all releases, insurance info and crew details in Evernote

There are lots of systems you can choose from.  Here’s how I use mine…

Cloud based SalesForce CRMMy day begins with my head in the cloud (literally)

The first tab that opens in my web browser is my SalesForce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System: the heart of my cloud business. It aggregates all client info – some automatically, some from other applications or web services – into one place.

More than just a calendar and address book app, it links everything together, so my client’s personal cell phone number from last year is at my fingertips and I can easily see the last estimate I sent them while I’m on the phone talking about our upcoming project. The digital documents don’t have to be stored in SalesForce – in my case, I use Evernote. 

SalesForce – the center of my cloud universe

SalesForce leads the cloud based CRM space.Here are three channels I use to capture new leads into my SalesForce client database:

The contact form on my website

When a prospective client fills out the contact form on my website, they are actually entering their data into SalesForce, which then sends them an automated personalized email response and notifies me that I have a new lead. All this info is accessible via the web interface or an app on my phone (Read more about it on this Strictly Business article: Quick Tip – Automate).

The subscription button on my blog

I use a MailChimp plugin on my WordPress blog to send all subscriber information straight to SalesForce. That plugin also sends email updates to my subscribers when I publish a new blog post and maintains my mailing list. All day, every day. Don’t have to think about it.

Business cards

I take a photo of the card, Scannable reads the card, saves it to the address book on my phone (pulling in any information that’s not printed on the card from the person’s LinkedIn profile) and adds my new contact to SalesForce. All in about 30 seconds. (Find a link to watch a real-time business card scan at the end of this post).

This photo lives in my Evernote cloud

4 years ago

Print a Business Card with your best project – MarketingHack #29

Create a custom business card

Really? In today’s digital fast paced world you’re telling us to create a business card?” I can hear you think “Man, that’s so old school.” Ok. So I’m not advocating to make a card for every single job you’ve made, or even for your best ten or twenty images.

OWOH Business Card frontI’m talking about that one signature video or image, that’s out of this world and really stands out. Use projects that give you instant street cred. Something that is so unique, that your audience identifies your brand with the project. “You’re the guy that shot the _______________.” In my case it’s a short documentary film I created in Afghanistan a few years ago.

Can a business card make someone forget what they were saying?

I often give this card, right after I’ve handed my regular business card – and it stops people in their tracks and it answers a ton of potential questions in about 2 seconds:

Ok, so he’s shot a video in Afghanistan, that means he can produce my project that requires some production or travel.

Wow. The image is pretty powerful and that single frame already tells a story – looks like he’s got his cinematography down.

Hey look a national award. This must be a good film.

This is one of those business cards that people keep and it instantly brands my business into their brains. I love the face of this card. It’s simple, powerful, makes an immediate impact and is very memorable.

How to make your business card even better

OWOH Business Card back As for the back, I’m always surprised at the question I get, once people have flipped the business card over: “Where can I see this video?” Really? The URL is right there!

I also need to redesign the other elements. By now the film has won 3 more awards. It’s been the topic of a TEDx talk. The social media accounts printed on the back of the business card are no longer the accounts I push.

Guess I’ll need to redesign the back and reprint them.

 

Printed collateral stands out in today’s paperless life

Remember MarketingHack #17 “Link your postcard to the cloud” That’s a printed postcard I use to get my target audience to engage with my brand online. The sky is the limit – posters, shirts, stickers, ect.

My favorite vendor to print my business card

If I need a new business card, stationary, poster, ect. I print all of those with Vistaprint. Their quality and price are fantastic, their customer service is great and I’ve been happy with every interaction we’ve had. If you have something that needs to get printed, use this link for $10 off.

5 Instagram Mistakes you can’t afford to make

5 Mistakes to avoid on Instagram

“Photographers have a huge advantage on Instagram.  You already have the most important thing for great Instagram content: awesome photos!”
~Sue B. Zimmerman

Last week I got to interview Sue B Zimmerman (@theinstagramexpert) after listening to her on a webinar put on by productivity guru Steve Dotto (@dottotech). Their discussion made me rethink how much attention I pay to my Instagram account.

In case you’ve lived under a rock for the past 5 years, Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service and, as a visual content creator, it’s basically made for photographers.  If you’re not utilizing it, well, let’s just say your missing out on a large market segment. I wrote about the importance of Instagram in getting hired last December on Strictly Business: Why a Strong Brand Online is Worth More Than Your Skill Set.

Within 5 years of its launch Instagram celebrated 400 million users,  placing it in the top 5 US Social Media networks; that is a little misleading, since it’s owned by Facebook. Since Instagram does only one thing, it’s simple to use – but that simplicity can be difficult to use well.

Sue talked to me about the 5 mistakes you can’t afford to make on Instagram:

Instagram Mistake #1: setting your account to private

Mistake #1: Setting your Instagram account to private ensures that no one, but your followers can see what you post.

I made this mistake when I started. Social Media is social so don’t keep your account to yourself.

Sue does recommend that you keep your account set to private, until you write your bio (see mistake #3), post a minimum of 9 fantastic images and/or videos (see mistake #4) and come up with a strong Call to Action (see mistake #5). Once you’ve populated your profile – open your Instagram (IG) to the world! Interact with people, reply to tags, @mentions and shares.

Instagram Mistake #2: using a generic IG avatar

Mistake #2: Using the generic Instagram avatar, will make sure that everyone knows you’re an IG newbie.

Ah, the profile picture. Mistake number 2 is uploading one that has nothing to do with your business. The only way you can do worse is by not uploading anything. Then you get this beauty:
Instagram Avatar

Sue says you should put your smiling face on your account. People want to know who you are (and that they’re following the right instagram account). Make it specific to your brand – it can be your logo, but I agree with Sue, I like to have my face up there. The same goes for your IG your username in your brand. Make it the same as your twitter handle (mine is @photosbydepuhl) or your brand name or your own name. The good news is you can change the username on Instagram.

Instagram Mistake #3: not writing a good bio

Mistake #3: Leaving your bio blank. Or writing a bad one.

Your bio, is the first thing people see on Instagram, so make it easy and tell them something about yourself.  Don’t leave it blank or write something completely irrelevant. (You should set your account to private, until you have a strong bio written.)

True, it’s not easy to write an effective bio in 150 characters. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. Don’t forget you need to include your call to action in here as well (more about that in Mistake #5). This bio is the first impression your making on IG. Make it count.

Instagram Mistake #4: posting everything and the kitchen sink

Mistake #4: Posting photos of everything. Or posting underexposed, blurry, badly composed photos.

The Instagram feed for your business should be just that: photos and videos about your business (not breakfast – unless you’re a food photographer; not cats – unless you’re a pet photographer; not cute kids – unless [say it with me] you create portraits of kids).  If you want to post those images, create a personal Instagram account.

Keep your account focused. Sue says that you should show only the images and posts that build your brand. When someone clicks on your IG feed, your brand should be immediately clear. Remember you can post videos on Instagram, as long as they are under 15 seconds long, like this one:

Include finished photos and behind the scene shots, Sue says it’s important to humanize your IG account.

Instagram Mistake #5: forgetting to add a call to action to your link

Mistake #5: Not writing a strong Call to Action for your link. Not including a link at all is the only way you can make this mistake worse. You get one link on Instagram and one link only. It’s in your bio, so choose it wisely. Once you’ve decided what your want to feature – your website, your blog, your newsletter, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts – don’t just say “Click here.” instead include a strong Call to Action. Read my blog. Join my mailing list. Watch my video. Make that sole, lonely link that IG gives you count!  The one saving grace is that this link – like your username – can be changed.


5 Mistakes you can’t afford to make on Instagram was originally written for “Strictly Business” the blog of the American Society of Media Photographers. 

4 years ago

Anticipation builds audience – Marketing Hack #28

Anticipation can build an audience

Anticipation = Excitement = Engagement

We’re all looking for ways to expand our audience, but it’s not about the quantity of followers (I know shocking). It’s about the quality of people who consume our content online.

Imagine if I had 100,000 followers that we’re 70-75 year old, female asian women who love knitting. I’m sure these ladies are the sweetest group of followers ever, but how many of them do you think are in the market to hire a visual content creator and advertising photographer in the US, who specializes in making mind changing videos and product photography? I think you’d agree that a more valuable audience would be a 100 designers, advertising execs, production people and content creators, right?

Well I’ve forgone the asian knitting circle and produced a video for the première Design high school in the US, which happens to be in Miami. Year after year it cranks out a group of World Class fashion designers, architects, filmmakers, industrial designers and graphic artists.

Why do this work for a high school?” you may ask “it’ll be years before those kids are in a position to hire a professional photographer or commercial cinematographer.” I gotta hand it to you–you’re right, however there are 25 years worth of alumni that are in that position and being that this was for the 25 year anniversary, you could feel the anticipation for this event by the alumni, faculty, staff, parents, community and supporters. So how do you capture their attention? I’ve got two words for you: Anticipation. (OK that’s one word, but I’ll say it again – anticipation drives excitement, which gives you engagement).

How to build anticipation

Many people knew about the creation of this video. From the school administration and faculty, who helped us find the right alumni to interview to engaged parents and  excited alumni giving suggestions, from the world-class executive producer, who helped me put this together to the current students, who we filmed in their class rooms. Everyone knew something was up.

Of course it helps that the event is built on anticipation as well, that there’s an 25 year anniversary involved, that the person featured in the event and video is one of Miami-Dade public schools top educators. You still gotta build anticipation. Let me tell you about a local event I worked on, although the principles apply to any size audience.

Keep it under wraps

You can talk about it, you can Instagram behind the scenes shots of the project (check out my IG feed and let me know which of those images are your favorites), you should make a quick 16 second edit for IG, but the one thing you can not do is share the video. With anyone. Not with the people featured in the video, not with the people you’ve interviewed, not with anyone who does not absolutely, positively have to watch it – like your producer and one person who has the authority to approve it.

Every time you share it with anyone outside of that circle, you lose some anticipation.

In the end 5 people saw the video (outside my immediate family) before we premiered it at the event: my exec producer, an associate producer, myself and the assistant principal from the school (we wanted to dot our i’s and cross our t’s to make sure there was nothing that the school would object to) and one other principal from another school, who has no connections to this school – I wanted one unbiased opinion.

Teasers build anticipationTease it to influencers

5 days before the event launched, a short teaser video goes up on social media and is featured in an email blast to everyone at the school and the community, who is invited to the event. Many people came to me in the days leading up to the event saying they are excited to finally watch the final version.

Control you content

As soon as we had picture lock on the edit, the password protected Vimeo link, used to collaborate with my production team, went dark. Downloads were never enabled and even the AV team got their copy for the show the evening of rehearsal day – barely 24 hours before the event – with explicit instruction, that the video was embargoed until the actual first showing. It wasn’t even used in rehearsal – I had created a special clip for that.

Strike the iron while it’s hot

Once the cat’s out of the bag–so to speak–share your content as broadly and as quickly as possible. In this case the official copy of the video was on social media, less than 90 minutes after the live showing – I had to get home from the event and had the first comments soon after.

Share it from one central place

Figure out where you want the attention, which followed the anticipation, focused on. Release your content in one place and then share that place with everyone – in this case I embedded Vimeo link on one Facebook page and shared that page with my other pages, the schools page, the alumni page, the PTSA page and key influencers.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the share

I’ve done the same for other social media launches. Don’t be afraid to ask certain people (especially those that take the time to like or comment on your content to share it with their followers. Be polite and nice about it, thank them for their contributions, but ask for the share straight up–oh and don’t do that with each one. Pick 2 or 3 a year, find the audience that loves to share the anticipation and go for it.