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There is simply no better way to supercharge the power of your marketing efforts than by becoming a PPA Corporate Member. Doing so connects you to the thousands of PPA members and it's one of the best ways to reach our members because you are identified with the association's efforts to protect photographers, increase their income, and enhance their purchasing power!

There are many sizable benefits and marketing opportunities you can take advantage of as a PPA Corporate Member:

  • PPA Facebook Page Giveaway (Platinum Exclusive)--NEW for 2012! Put your newest products in front of over 15,000 friends of PPA's Facebook page. (One Facebook giveaway per year, offer exclusive to Platinum Corporate Members.)
  • PPA Member Welcome Kit Promotion--NEW for 2012! Promote your company to all new PPA members each month in their PPA Welcome Kit. (Approximately 600 PPA New Member Welcome Kits are distributed monthly.)
  • Imaging USA booth discounts and priority placement.
  • Use of member mailing list (exclusive benefit for corporate members).
  • Inclusion in the PPA Online Coupon page.
  • Visibility and exposure on a variety of PPA member communication materials such as websites, email newsletters and membership mailings.
  • And many more benefits

Contact your PPA sales representative for more information on PPA Corporate Memberships.

As you well know, the photography industry is not static. New techniques and technologies always appear. That is one reason why photographers should seek constant education to remain at the top of their game. And one of PPA's member benefits helps photographers do just that: the Merit & Degree program.

When you hear "degree," you might think of what you receive after completing a university curriculum. But a PPA professional degree is different--it's a way photographers can track and promote their ongoing progress in the industry. Since 1937, PPA has used the Merit & Degree program to encourage members to grow and to recognize achievement that meet our high standards in art and service.

And that focus on growth is really the heart of the matter. The steps taken to earn PPA merits and degrees--from excelling in competition to continual education and service--only help strengthen photographers' skills. Plus, clients often see degrees as symbols of quality. So earning a PPA degree can give photographers one more reason for telling potential clients why they should call them, rather than the competitor down the street. All of this can lead to more successful photographers, which can also spell out good things for vendors in the industry!

Support from business partners like you is part of how PPA is able to make the industry stronger through benefits like the Merit & Degree program. We constantly encourage members to never be done learning, an attitude that can help them successful image-makers for years to come. And that only helps your business, too.

For more details on the Merit & Degree program, visit www.ppa.com/degrees

If you haven't already done so, can you please take a moment to complete a short exhibitor survey? Your valuable feedback will help us to improve Imaging USA for next year. And, if you respond by Friday, February 3, you'll be entered in our random drawing for five $50 Amazon gift certificates. Click here to begin: https://vovici.com/wsb.dll/s/c193g4e326

Have you heard the good news? ShopPP is here, and your company is listed in it already!

For the first time, Professional Photographer's loyal readers and online visitors will be able to find everything they need and want in ONE PLACE with this new online buyer's guide! With ShopPP, your best customers can search for you by name or by category. Then, you can woo them with words, entice them with video or pictures, and send them over to your own site to purchase.

Exciting stuff, right? That's why we gave you a helping hand to start. We've already set you up with a free Basic listing! You're ready to go, and all that's left to do is bedazzle the photographers even more.

Don't miss your chance to take FULL advantage of ShopPP:

Photographers are notorious for focusing more on their art than on their businesses. PPA has been working to change that mentality over the years with business education, business resources...and competitions like MarketShare.

MarketShare is the PPA's new marketing competition. It celebrates the creativity and effectiveness of photographers' marketing activities while spreading those ideas. The intent is that photographers will be able to gather up more inspiration for their own marketing by seeing what their peers have done (via the entries).

Photographers from PPA and our sister association the Society of Sport & Event Photographers (SEP) have until July 31, 2011, to enter online for free. There's a chance for the entrants' peers to vote on their favorites, and an expert judging for the best in each category (which will result in cash prizes). Those Best in Class winners will also get a free registration to Imaging USA 2012, where PPA and SEP members will vote to decide the all-around People's Choice winner from among them.

With this focus on the importance (and fun!) of marketing, PPA is again turning photographers' attention to business. After all, their success is our business.

Learn more about PPA's MarketShare competition here: www.ppa.com/marketshare

One of our goals here at Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is to help photographers realize their potential. And one of the ways we inspire and offer advice is through Professional Photographer, our official magazine. It's also the perfect place for companies like you to have photography products reviewed.

After all, this is the magazine that pro photographers need to read, according to the Magazine Association of the Southeast's GAMMA Awards judges and our readers themselves.

There's No Better Place...
During those recent GAMMA Awards--which recognize editorial and design excellence in magazine publishing--Professional Photographer was named the best business-to-business/association magazine in the Southeast.  Judges applauded the "highly practical content" and so much more (see all the 2011 awards and quotes here). Of special note, though, is the Best Service Journalism award granted to "The PPA Business Handbook," a business guide for photographers created through the findings of PPA's Financial Benchmark Survey. It was honored for "giving photographers exactly what they need to profitably run their businesses" with "actionable advice."

These awards validate Professional Photographer's 104 years of helping readers excel in the photographic industry with professional advice and inspiration. Plus, the simple fact that it has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in the industry speaks to the value photographers--your clients--place on its contents!

...To Submit Your Product for Review
And you can be a part of it with a product review. It's easy to submit your product for consideration:

  • Email Joan Sherwood, Professional Photographer's senior editor.
  • Provide your product release or details about the product or service in the email.
  • Write your subject line in the following format: "For review: Company Name..."

It's always smart to be where your clients are, and Professional Photographer magazine is an award-winning location. If you're interested in more opportunities with the magazine, visit www.ppmag.com/mediakit.

We all use benchmarks every day to help assess where we are and how we need to get better. You may have started the year with a goal to lose weight or otherwise improve your health. If so, you're probably using a scale or measuring tape to keep track of your progress. Your doctor also uses benchmarks like your blood pressure or cholesterol readings as indicators of your overall well-being.

In the same way, PPA helps photographers measure the health of their current business practices through the Financial Benchmark Survey and its analysis. These tools give studios key performance indicators (benchmarks) based on financial data compiled from hundreds of studios. The PPA benchmarks are the industry standards, giving photographers goals to aim for when managing their numbers. And PPA uses those benchmarks to guide photographers to better success--by setting annual goals, tracking income and expenses against budgets, and recognizing ways to control costs while increasing profits.

PPA is the only organization that conducts such comprehensive financial analysis for photographers, and we're currently recruiting studios for the 2011 Benchmark Survey. By participating, photographers not only help themselves to a free analysis from PPA accountants, they also help the industry by providing the data used to build these benchmark tools--tools every photographer can use to improve bottom lines.

Expect to begin seeing results of the latest survey and analysis at Imaging USA in New Orleans. In the meantime, encourage your photographer customers to participate in PPA's Benchmark Survey--it's good business for everyone!

As a Corporate Member, you have the ability to market your business directly to PPA members--just rent the PPA mailing list! With 22,000 member mailing addresses that can be segmented by city, state, or even the type of photographer, you will have a handy pool of qualified prospects. Interested in sending your marketing message to this list? The Corporate Member discounts make it even more appealing:

Platinum Corporate Member

  • Unlimited use of the list
  • List rental at 30% discount with 7,000 free names

Gold Corporate Member

  • Limited use of 20,000 names per year
  • List rental at 20% discount with 5,000 free names

Silver Corporate Member

  • Limited use of 15,000 names per year
  • List rental at 10% discount

Bronze Corporate Member

  • Limited use of 10,000 names per year

If you're ready to rent the list, please contact Cheryl Pearson at cpearson@ppa.com or 404.522.8600, ext. 230 for our list broker's contact information.

We've added an all-new event at Imaging USA this year to honor the hottest of the hot images of the International Photographic Competition. Here's how it works.

In order to qualify for a Grand Imaging Award, images not only have to earn a merit in one of the world's toughest photographic competitions, they also have to be judged the best of the best--awarded entry to the Loan Collection. (What a strange name, huh? Not so much when you consider that years ago, these were the images that formed a traveling exhibit for museums and prestigious public gatherings.)

But let's go back to the future. On Monday, January 17 (6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.) we'll award prizes in each of the International Photographic Competition categories. We'll also honor the 2010 Photographers of the Year--all the photographers who merited all four images in the competition. So many outstanding photographers. So many beautiful images--that's one happy hour.

The Grand Imaging Awards celebration is open to everyone attending Imaging USA. To make it an even happier hour, there's a cash bar, light refreshments and the opportunity to visit with friends, so come on over and help us cheer on the best of the best.

Do you date your customers? (Date, as in cultivating a relationship, I mean.) Farrah Braniff, CPP of Farrah Braniff Photographs in Houston, Texas, does. She knows the power of connecting and making a good impression, and she put that into her marketing.

"As photographers, we are our brand," says Braniff. "Our customers have to like and relate to us."

Creating the First Impression
Braniff sees websites and blogs as her best chance to make a good first impression to her customers. "I want my website to be like a really good first date," she laughs.

Think about it: A first date is your chance to make your date want a second one. It's the first chance to get the other person invested in you. And because it's the first impression, even the smallest items matter on a website. Many potential customers will make decisions about you based on what they see on your site, and you don't want to give the impression that you're outdated or unprofessional. The font, the grammar, the layout...it all means a lot, especially for the more sophisticated consumers.

To make a great first impression, Braniff focused on her sites' design, technical improvements and "voice." While she loved her previous website, she couldn't update it by herself (and fresh online content is so important). So Braniff redesigned both her blog and her website in Adobe® Photoshop®, and then partnered with Into the Darkroom to bring the technical pieces of the puzzle together (like search engine optimization).

Into the Darkroom put the main skeleton up, allowing Braniff to then populate it with images and text. This allowed her to blend in the same eclectic feel that she has in all her printed pieces--a mixture of contemporary, colorful images, softer black-and-white images and handmade quality (with textures that mimic fabric, ribbons and handwritten fonts). It's important to have that connection between all your marketing pieces.

Having an authentic voice is also very important to Braniff, for she knows that she is her brand. She wants the website and blog (and all marketing) to really look and sound like her. For example, she pays a lot of attention to the "About Me" section on a site because she wants to establish common ground. She'll say she has children, as mothers are a huge target market for her. "Be yourself," she advises. "You want to sound human and approachable, not dry and business-like."

And that's what she loves about blogging. "Your blog doesn't have to be just about your product--it's about you. It helps your customers get to know you in a different light, and writing from the heart will develop readers."

In her blog, Braniff has developed themes, or reoccurring posts, which help her stay accountable. Her goal is to blog four times a week...or at least twice, depending on her schedule. She knows that you can't just write a single post and expect to have a readership. "It's like working out," Braniff explains. "Commit to it for at least six months before you look to see where you're at and if it's worth keeping up."

Keeping up with her blog and website is definitely worthwhile for Braniff, and she says that her customers comment about them often. To her, it's a great way to connect with people throughout the year.

Leaving the Last Impression
But Braniff doesn't stop with the online connections. What makes her marketing so effective is how she ties everything together into creating a remarkable experience.

"The best marketing is to have a client tell friends about you," Braniff states. "The more remarkable their experience with you is, the more 'stuff' you are giving them to talk about! That's why we do anything we can to stand out...because they'll talk about it."

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