Tag Archives for " award "

4 years ago

Why We Love Awards (And You Should, Too!): Marketing Hack #25

Awards. Go after them

Who needs awards?

Awards. I’ve mentioned them as Marketing Hacks before (#4 and #5). They need a lot of preparation – press kits, BTS (behind the scenes) photos, bio’s, ect. for movie submissions and printing, mounting and shipping for print competitions. They are time-consuming and can get expensive – entry fees can range from a couple bucks to several hundred dollars per image or film. Who’s got time for awards?

Awards may actually hurt your feelings. Actually submitting awards to a contest is a pretty emotional experience – especially, if your work ends up in front of a panel of live judges. You’ve toiled and labored to create this image or that film, only to have it rejected by an anonymous group of people, after having paid money for the privilege. Who needs that?

Let’s take a look at some benefits awards can bring to your work:

Benefit #1: Learn from awards rejection

If you don’t want to get any better, then please stop reading. No seriously. You’re just gonna get pissed off. Still with me, ok – here it goes: Listen to the judges. Ask them why work got rejected, many times you will not get an answer, but sometimes you can strike gold. These guys and girls are comparing dozens or hundreds of works. They are looking at the state of our industry at this point in time. If you win awards–great–more about that later, but let’s look at loosing and trust me you’ll do more of that than winning.

Check out what my friend and fellow photographer Chris Winton-Stahle (@WintonStahle) has to say about the benefits of loosing in a recent Chicago Tribune interview:

The constructive critic a judge could give you is invaluable, if it lines up with how your clients judge your work. I try to get an explanation of why my work didn’t win every time I enter a contest and loose. Set realistic expectations. I get about 1 in 10 requests answered.

Consider the awards competition you enter: If I enter an architectural photo in a competition put on by wedding photographers, they may not be the best people to get comments from, so you may be throwing your time and money away here. If it’s a panel of architects, professional photographers and art buyers from that field, their advice on why the photo didn’t win is invaluable – if you can get it.

Benefit #2: Awards validate your work

For some reason the phrase “award-winning photographer” holds some weight with clients. Now hear me out, you won’t get hired because you won awards, but all thing being equal, if it’s you bidding against another photographer, the win may factor into the clients decision on whom to hire.

The more prestigious the award, the more bragging rights and weight it will carry. Winning an Oscar, Grammy, Tony, Emmy is definitely more valuable than winning Bob’s dry cleaner’s photo contest. Local film festivals are easier to get screened in than national or international ones. The more well-known the awards are that you win, the more value they add to your work. On the flip side these are harder to win to.

Benefit #3: Use your awards to market your brand

Branding is what MarketingHacks are all about, right? You want to burn your brand into their brains as many times (and as unobtrusively as you can (if you’re not sure why that’s important, check out How to master social media: Read a Book.) Awards give you a great excuse to put your best work in front of your target audience. Who can get upset at you for letting people know you won!

The work that accompanies your awards is typically your best work too, which is why you want to put that in front of your clients anyway, right? Hey the last award I won, we put together a whole marketing campaign, based on that one award: How to fire a marketing broadside at your target audience.

Awards can be rewarding

Chasing awards for awards sake–in my opinion–is not worth the cost of entry. However they can help you get better, let clients know that your work merits recognition from your peers and they can offer a great opportunity to market your brand.

How to fire a marketing broadside at your target audience!

One of the mistakes I’ve made in my career is to rely exclusively on my images to get me booked. That may have worked in the past, but as I get ready to push my business this fall, I know my clients want to see more than just pretty photographs.

I’ve quoted this before, but it’s so valuable I’ll mention it again–Heather Elder* (@heathereldersf) creator of Notes From a Rep’s Journal said “The bottom line is that relying solely on your imagery to speak for you has become dangerous. Adding your voice to that imagery is as dangerous, but for everyone else, not you.” That sounds great, but how on earth do I add my voice to an image?

Add Your Voice

Clients – at least the ones in the B2B space that I’m working with – are looking for more than just an image: they want a photographer who has a strong Social Media presence, one who understands how small businesses market themselves online, one who is recommended by his/her clients and who takes them behind the scenes of productions he’s worked on. On top of all that they expect award-winning photography and video productions.

Integrated Marketing Campaigns

With this in mind I’ve started to create integrated marketing campaigns, which focus on a very specific group of people but are executed across a very broad range of media:

Website

The target of your campaign is your website. Everything should bring your client to a homepage that proves to a potential customer one thing only: you are capable of producing the job for them. And how they can contact you (check out how to automate that first customer contact). OK, so that’s two things, but you know what I mean. Does the first image your visitor sees on your site tie into your marketing?

Mailers

Yes – physical good old-fashioned postcards. With all the emails, Facebook messages, PMs, videos, texts and SMS’s we get today it’s easy to drown in a sea of electronic messages.

Old-school post card connected to the cloud.

How do you compete against this onslaught? Go old school (with a twist): send a handwritten postcard. Clients appreciate knowing that they weren’t part of an automated campaign, filled in with their <FIRST NAME> <LAST NAME> and thanking them for the opportunity to bid on a photography job for <THEIR COMPANY>. A handwritten than gets noticed.

 

Online Context

So where’s the twist I mentioned earlier? Well on the back of the postcard is a link that goes to a landing page with the same image, a client testimonial video and a contact form that integrates with my CRM along with all the automation that comes with it. This page continues into a blog series about this shoot, that details how I estimated the job, pre-produced and scouted the job and how the job actually got photographed. (For a more detailed explanation of how the physical postcard gets integrated with my cloud-based CRM, check out this weeks #MarketingHack #17: Link your postcards to the cloud!

How broad can you go?

The sky is really the limit on how far you want to take it – social media memes, customer video testimonials, organic Facebook campaigns, winning photo contests, behind the scenes videos, online recommendations on LinkedIn, periscope live broadcasts… All these pieces of content make up the voice you need to promote your small business today. How many more channels can you think of that this image could be integrated into? I’m trying to hit a narrow audience in the broadest possible way.

 

 … but does it work?

That’s the $64,000 dollar question, isn’t it? As you can imagine a lot of work goes into creating an integrated marketing campaign. “What’s your ROI?” you might ask. Well, let’s look at one example.  In this case, I entered a professional photography contest hosted by the Florida Guild of Professional Photographers because winning an award gives me another reason to showcase my work to my target audience, even if they’ve already seen the image before.  Here’s my investment:

  1. Entry fee to a photo contest: $5.00
  2. 16×20 print for said contest: $26.00
  3. Postcard: ¢10 per card and ¢35 postage
  4. Video of client testimonial: $0.00 – produced by me
  5. BTS video: half day rate of a photo assistant to shoot 4 hours of video

A decent return in the first few weeks:

    1. The client bought more images from the shoot, because of the publicity and awards it was generating
    2. One of the best organic Facebook campaigns I’ve run in a long time
    3. A multi-day photography booking, because of this campaign

The real secret is to cross promote these channels: the postcard leads to the landing page with the video testimonial; the news of the award sparks the curiosity of how the image was created and goes to the “how to” blog series; the periscope live broadcast builds excitement before the photograph is even produced (and lives as evergreen

content on the blog); the LinkedIn recommendation causes someone to check out your profile and leads to another visitor to your website… You don’t have to create a linear campaign, where step 2 follows step 1. Someone can enter this integrated marketing campaign at any point and go to almost any other channel to get more info.

As I’m getting ready to come out of the slower summer months and gearing up for a busy fall, a marketing campaign like this can drive the visibility I’m looking for and ensure that new (and repeat) clients are hearing the voice I’m adding to my imagery.

(This post first was written for and published by the American Society of Media Photographer’s strictly business blog.)

4 years ago

Marketing Hack #5 – Enter a competition for marketing professionals

Congratulations! You’ve won gold at the MarCom awards!” reads the letter I receive earlier this year. MarCom stands for Marketing and Communication a competition for marketing professionals. I submitted “On Wings of Hope” to the competition and I’m thrilled to win another award for my first documentary film.

On Wings of Hope wins Gold at a competition for marketing called MarCom 2014

On Wings of Hope wins Gold at MarCom 2014

There are more than a few competition for marketing people out there and there’s other types of competitions from advertising to some other zappy creative profession, so you got to be a little selective in entering them, since -like at a film festival- there are fees that range from a couple bucks to several hundred dollars per category. (You can check out how film festivals are a great marketing hack in last weeks post: Marketing Hack #4: Have your work screened at film festivals)

Where do I start?

That being said, the contests need to be relevant to your target market. Say I create an image or video in a field that I usually don’t work – let’s say automobile photography – submit it and win (which is unlikely, but stay with me). If most of my clients are corporate organizations, that never look at car photography, that win is worth next to nothing.

However, if you win in a competition for marketing (even a local or less well known one), it will reflect on the quality of work you produce and even have new people look at your work, just because it won an award.

Let’s get practical (How to select a proper competition for marketing professionals to enter)