Other ways of getting the message out
What's your overall marketing strategy? You want to be
the first place consumers think about when they think about digital cameras
or the prints from digital cameras. It's your key to survival in this
rapidly changing market!
Conventional advertising is expensive. The combined
advertising budget of the Ritz and Wolf stores is enough that they can
afford to place newspaper ads. (At the left you see part of a full-page ad
in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Click on it to see it bigger)
But newspaper advertising is not only
expensive, it's not always effective. Here are a few low-cost ways to let
your market know that you offer great prints from digital cameras:
a digital camera everywhere. It's easy to do today, with cameras as
small as this Minolta Dimage X. Take pictures of your friends and make
prints for them. I guaranty they will all say something like "Wow, the
prints from my digital camera never look this good." That allows you to
tell them, and show them, about the services you offer.
signs in your windows. Karl Kantowitz of Village Camera in South Orange,
New Jersey, may have gone a little overboard. Click on the photo for a
Put signs and displays in somebody else's window.
The Downtown Development Agency had an empty window, and encouraged me to
put this display here. It shows that we handle classic cameras, talks about
the fact that we moved, and has one of my favorite digital images printed
12"x18". The text of the sign says "If the pictures from your
digital camera don't look this good, let us print them. We use real
photographic paper for prints that last." Click on the photo for a
Teach courses. I've taught in public night
schools and in conjunction with a local arts center. It's not only a good
way to build customers, you might even get paid. And quite frankly, the
studying you have to do to stay ahead of your students makes you more
knowledgeable about photography and digital photography.
Run courses in your own store. Don't be afraid
to charge for them. The prestigious Colorado Photo Academy says "if you
teach them, they will come." I really like this promotional piece,
which shows a student "honing" his photographic skills by putting
a classic Leicaflex SL to the grindstone. Click on the photo for a
By the way, the prestigious Colorado Photo Academy is
the back room of the Colorado Camera Company, a retail store.
Tom Gramegna of Bergen County Camera in New Jersey
promotes both digital and conventional photo courses in his store and on his
He bought enough folding chairs, planned a curriculum,
and charges $30 for a two-hour session.
Jim Scharzbach of Jim's Photo Lab in El Paso, Texas,
promotes photo courses with inserts in his finishing envelopes. He makes
highly-personallized inserts by popping the customers' images into the stock
insert, using a Noritsu 2911 printer. The image here shows your fearless
editor with his new granddaughter. Click on the photo for a
Be sure to take reservations for your classes and
charge a deposit.
Speak to every organization in town. Rotary
meets once a week, so they need 52 speakers a year. My town has three Rotary
chapters. Other service clubs like the Lions and Soroptimists have similar
needs. If you prepare a speech about current trends in digital cameras you can give it many
times. You don't want to pitch your own store - that would be tacky - but the message
gets out. And you'll almost certainly get a free meal and a commemorative
pen, in addition to meeting lots of great people.
Become known as "the person who wrote the
book." I've run some advertising that claims, "When it comes to
digital cameras, Chris wrote the book." You can't make this claim
unless you've got something to back it up. Here are two examples:
Roger Christian of University Camera in Iowa City,
Iowa has a 4-page handout he gives away. It answers a lot of questions for
most consumers, and does a good job of establishing him as the source of
digital camera knowledge.
I've created a CD-Rom book entitled "Choosing and
Using Digital Cameras" and have sold several hundred copies at $9.99
apiece. It's been a great marketing tool for me. Click on the photo for a
Originally I planned to put nothing on the CD except
"sell sheets" for the cameras I sold, but then decided to add
editorial content and charge for it. With each book sold we give $30 worth
of coupons, and if the consumers bring back all the coupons it generates
hundreds of dollars in sales. If they don't bring back any coupons, I've
still got their $9.99! To date we've sold more than 350 copies. More
about my CD book