Marketing Help: Is Your Website Worth Every Penny?


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

How important is it as a boutique business to have something tangible to hand a prospective client that gives them an immediate impression of your business rather than saying you should check out my website (when you get home and hopefully you remember me when you are in front of your computer)? No matter how great your website is (which it should be fabulous), as a boutique business you need to do the unexpected.

People expect you to hand them a business card. They expect you to maybe have a brochure to hand them. They expect you to say “Go check out my website.” What they don’t expect is for you to hand them a mind-blowingly creative marketing piece. We suggest creating one (yes, we said just one) marketing piece that becomes the “This is who we are” establishing piece. We would rather you use your budget to create that one wow piece than waste funds on a sad little template postcard or other mass advertising effort. When you can afford to do a second activity really well, then add that.
Of course, you might notice that we’re not using the word brochure when it comes to what you need in this case, and that’s for good reason. What do you think of when you hear the word brochure? Probably a tri-fold little thingy that has a few pictures and lots of unnecessary words, right? It includes a lot of stuffy info about how and when a company was formed and a lot of blah blah blah. Our advice is to save that stuff for the secondary navigation on your website.

The analytical buyer may want that information, but it doesn’t need to be in your establishing piece. The goal of this piece is to create something that evokes emotion and makes people want to know more about you and your business. You want this piece to generate leads, make the phone ring, position you as a leader, and encourage prospects to refer you. Instead of a borefest of a brochure or saying hey go check out my website, create an establishing piece that shows what you do. Make it your intent to recreate in the recipient of your marketing piece the same emotion (that’s the word you need to remember) a customer feels when she does business with you.
Be a control freak with your establishing piece. Think of it as that one great picture you use everywhere online, on all your favorite social networks—your go-to profile picture. Your establishing piece is the one thing you want to share with everyone. How do you do that? Remember these simple rules.

1. Quality is a reflection of quality. All of your marketing pieces—but especially this one—must mirror the quality you offer to your customers. If you received a beautiful marketing piece from a company and showed up at its retail location or online store to find something completely opposite, you’d be irritated and disappointed and wouldn’t trust the business. The same is true in reverse. If you sell quality, you need marketing pieces that mirror that quality. There is no magic answer to how to convey the quality you offer, but if you can create a piece that folds, twists, or sings when people interact with your marketing, it will help generate the response you want.

2. Most people don’t read, they look at pictures. Your establishing piece has a split second to grab someone’s attention and pique their curiosity. So keep the written part short. Instead of massive content, shoot for massive emotion and focus on tapping one of the five senses. If you’re a restaurant, make them salivate. If you’re a designer-clothing shop, think about how your message tweaks their self-perception. Be wary of too much content.

3. Emulate other’s results, not other’s brands. You’re marketing your brand, not your competitor’s. So often boutique business owners will attempt to emulate someone in the same industry or business, copying them almost exactly. But how will you ever stand out if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else? Get creative with your establishing piece and make sure it markets only you. Of course, you can look at trying to emulate the results of successful companies and people. But realize that Disney became Disney because it was a leader—it set the bar. And that company you view as the one to catch up with? As soon as you copy it, it will come up with something new—it was creativity that made it the leader of the pack.

4. Hire a pro — someone who wants you to be different. Would you let an amateur represent you when your life is on the line? Of course not. So when your business is on the line, hire a reputable graphic designer and reputable copywriter for your establishing piece. Often, you can work cost-effectively with these fellow creatives by trading goods and/or services. You offer something cool and unique—how could it benefit them? A photographer could offer to trade a photo shoot for a designer’s next campaign. A web designer might offer to build a website for a copywriter in exchange for some web content. Think of how you can create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the professionals who work on your big marketing piece.

If you want to be seen by your clients as Worth Every Penny, it’s important to invest in this establishing piece early on. At Sarah Petty Photography we’ve used some of our pieces for 2 years not only as a direct mail piece, but also as an auction display piece, as a co-marketing piece, as a companion to displays in other businesses and in many other scenarios. So rather than looking at this establishing piece as one shot in the dark, know that you’ll be using it in multiple places to represent your business over a few years to establish your worth-it prices. Need more marketing help? Subscribe to our blog.

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