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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“.

last year

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?

a couple of years ago

Your filename must include this one word – if you want to work

Your filename can get you work

Have you ever seen an image called IMG_0235? Do you have any idea what’s in that image file? All I know for sure, is that the file before was called IMG_0234. “Why should I care?” you ask “Don’t you know that the icon of the image is right by the file?

Use your filename for good – not evil!

Honestly, when I got into digital photography my files were names IMG_0236. Then I read Peter Krough’s The DAM book (that stands for Digital Asset Management by the way), where he suggests to change that camera given filename to something better. His suggestion is simple: name-date-identifier-image_sequence_number.

Every single one of my filenames look like this: depuhl-150915-15ABC01-0236. The date format is year-month-day, so that when you sort a bunch of images they are in consecutive order when sorted by name. Looking at any filename allows me to know, when I created the photograph it, which year the clients project started, what client I created it for and which job that was for this specific client. [All of the later information is in my job number 15 the year the project started ABC an abbreviation of the clients name and 01 the first job I’ve shot for this client. BTW that job number is in every estimate, invoice, production book, as well as being the reference number my crew puts on their invoices and receipts.]

Sounds like a lot of work? Really it’s not. When I shoot tethered, my RAW image processor Capture One does all the naming for me automatically and when I shoot to a card (photos or video) the first thing after importing the card to the image/video folder is that I run all files through a little app called ‘Name Mangler’ replacing IMG_ with depuhl-150915-15ABC01- automatically (notice I leave the image sequence number after the underscore alone – I do want to keep that). The second thing I do is to back up all those RAW files to my backup server – but that’s another story for another blog post.

Is it changing the name really worth the extra time it takes? Let’s find out.

I set up my camera to name my files, you say

That’s a great start and many of today’s camera allow you to customize the filename to a certain extent – oh, before I forget, while you are in that menu setting up your filename make sure to add your copyright information in camera as well (If you don’t know how to change your copyright info in camera read this blog post)- however Canon limits you to a 4 alphanumeric characters plus 4 numbers in their newer cameras and your name must be in your naming convention – I just can’t get the 6 letters in depuhl to fit into 4 spaces.

Why include your name in your filename?

My name in the filename led to my LinkedIn Profile pageI know I took that photo, why waste valuable space in the filename and add my name. I mean my client knows it came from me.” you may think. “Isn’t that a waste of time?” You have to think a little more long-term than that. Here’s what happened to me yesterday.

First I notice that someone from a very large multi-national company I worked with a few years ago, viewed my LinkedIn profile. In these large B2B companies art directors come and go, so I was not surprise that I did not recognize the name.

A few minutes later I get a request to connect on LinkedIn. “I’m interested in talking to you about possibly doing some photos for us again at …” (I’m not gonna tell you who the company is, but my abbreviation for them is MSS). “Would you have time to talk today or tomorrow?” This is a Fortune 100 company, which means that the person contacting me today was not working there 2 years ago, when I photographed for them the last time. She definitely wasn’t an employee in 2010 when I photographed the image that led her to my LinkedIn page.

The secret sauce in each of my filenames:

I don’t know how many art directors have worked there between the first one I worked for with for this brand and the one who contacted me yesterday (I know there where at least three), probably more. Do you want to rely on your name getting passed down through multiple art directors – many of them come with their own stable of photographers? And how are you going to keep track of new people working in large companies all the time – that’s not easy either. You think my name got handed down to the new AD? Not a chance, so how does one make sure, that a new employee of an old client finds you? Well, I’m glad you asked …

a couple of years ago

Marketing Hack #19: Start a discussion in a LinkedIn group

2 ingredients needed to get hired

Last week I got hired by an agency owner. Turns out a branding agency referred me, although I had not worked with them. However a motion graphics shop had referred my work to that branding agency, although I had never worked with them either. We were joking about this on the job–you know what the agency owner told me? “That’s how I got your name, but your website showed me that you can get my job done.”

We all have a website that showcases our work. Extra points for an active blog that gives your target audience a behind the scenes peek at how you work. A vibrant social media presence has never hurt anyone either; so that’s the content side of your business

Where do you find your audience?

Content is only half of the equation. Without an audience, it won’t make a difference – actually that’s not correct – without the right audience it won’t make a difference. So how do you get your name out there? (Mutual friends that introduce you to a Motion Graphics shop, who pass you along to a branding agency, whose owner recommends you to an ad agency is not really a viable business model, in case you were wondering.)

LinkedIn Groups make a great place to find your audienceFinding your target audience is a lot easier today, since everybody is online; which also makes it a lot harder, since all of your competition is online as well. How do you then go about getting your brand out there? One great place are LinkedIn groups.

Everybody is already here

Start a discussion in a LinkedIn group of – and here’s the secret – of people who are potentially looking for your work. I won’t post a discussion in a group devoted to plumbing. That would be a waste of time and would basically be the same as the ad agency owner calling me to fix her leaking water heater. No. She calls me, because I can meet her need for a photographer. Come up with a topic that interests your clients – again it does me no good to start a discussion on water heaters in a group of photo buyers.

Earlier this year I started a discussion asking if personal work mattered to photo editors. It got some great response from members of the group. Do this consistently and you’ll be on their mind, if they are looking for a photographer.

7 years ago

How to use the web to promote your (photography) business.

Photography by Depuhl is cautiously testing the waters of paid advertising. The first ad began running on December 16th, 2009. Although I have been creating photographs for clients since the late 1980’s, the way of selling yourself as a photographer has drastically changed. You used to have to purchase expensive ads in printed annual professional directories to have your work seen, have an agent that had all the connections – a route that I just could not afford as a beginning photographer. Today I can determine down to the $0.01 how much an ad costs, which search phrase triggers it, when and where it is displayed, …

Screen capture of the first paid ad for photography services

Screen capture of the first paid ad for photography services

Paid advertising is the logical next step for our online presence. Back in 2007 I made the decision to put a professional website up online. It is created with an awesome photoshop plugin called sitegrinder. This is my first step in a concerted effort to use the web as my primary sales tool for my fashion and product photography.

In 2008 Photography by Depuhl pursues its online network in earnest …Continue reading