Holiday Re-Marketing

Now is the time to prepare for holiday sales! The goal of all marketing is to attract interest in, build desire for, and generate sales of your products or services. Why not do this several months (or even years) after a shoot? Your images are still valuable and can have new life breathed into them with re-marketing. And email is one of the most cost effective tools to achieve your re-marketing goals.

Remarketing with emails-Reasons Why

Emails reach your audience fast and are inexpensive to create. Depending on your email and image hosting providers*, you may have little to no upfront cost in creating your holiday re- marketing campaign other than your time.

Consider these 5 good reasons to email your customers this holiday season:

1. Email to alert customers that their images are online for re-orders 2. Email to remind customers their images are still online 3. Email to advertise seasonal items (ex: holiday cards and ornaments) 4. Email to give customers gift ideas for the upcoming holidays (ex: iphone, cases, canvas wraps, mugs, etc.) 5. Email your customers to alert them about a sale or “special” you are conducting (ex: consider suspending any late fees as a way to get more participation!) Remarketing with email-Where to start

Mark your calendar with some of the key holiday dates including: Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consider making your offer available for a specific and limited amount of time which will drive your customers to a purchasing decision. Holiday order cut-offs should take extended holiday shipping times into account.

Make sure to use an email program that will allow you to track your success in order to make future improvements. Make sure to include these details in your holiday re-marketing email plan:

1. Test subject line effectiveness by comparing open rates (consider an A/B test) 2. Test graphics, layout & offers with click-thru rates, and more specifically, the clicks per link in your email. 3. Personalize the email whenever possible (drop in one of the customer’s images if possible (But don’t give away too much! You may want to use a watermark) Take advantage of these ideas and prepare your own re-marketing plan. Other upcoming holidays to consider as re-marketing opportunities include: the Fourth of July, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day. All holidays are eligible for a promotion!

The proof is in the pudding-Re-marketing with email success!

One colleague recently put email re-marketing to the test. He shoots several large annual events and collects emails at these events. He rolls his email database over year-to-year because many of the attendees are the same among his events (while making sure to remove unsubscribes and bad addresses that occur due to regular list churn).

He ran a Christmas e-mail promotion to a year’s worth of his events and exceeded $28,000 in extra sales! These sales occurred on roughly 10,000 emails meaning he collected about $2.80 for every email address. (a strong case for collecting emails even when you are shooting pre-pay events!)

He then designed a Valentine’s email campaign with a couple of creative marketing strategies. The promotion was for a limited time only and advertised a 50% discount off a digital download. The perfect gift for procrastinators and for images where you have already sold prints and gifts! His Valentine’s promotion exceeded $12,000 in sales in just a three week period. This promotion used the same set of email addresses which had generated so much additional revenue at Christmas just a few weeks prior.

Email is a great way to test all of your holiday re-marketing ideas and is a wonderful tool to collect additional revenue. Design your email plan today and have a Happy Holiday season!

Quick ideas to improve email collection

Don’t let interested buyers and website traffic go to waste! If you shoot special events such as parties, races, proms, graduations and even sports pictures where you are selling online (instead of doing prepay) you need buyers to be able to get to their images! It is also highly possible that you have interested buyers hitting your website before you have the chance to post your images online.

To improve your sales you can do 2 things:

1. Get contact information for every attendee or potential buyer at your event. 2. Capture information for buyers who beat the images to your website and let them know when images are available. Here are some ideas to help you accomplish collecting contact information.

Create a form on your website that allows you to collect contact information and the event name of the images the customer would like to see. Get customers to this section of your website by:

o giving out password cards that list the URL to visit to sign up for email alerts o giving out password cards at your event that contain a QR code that links directly to your website to sign up for email alerts o listing your URL on Fliers/Handouts/Programs/signage o making use of digital signage such as a JumboTron You could request cooperation from the event organizer to facilitate email collection by offering to provide them with a copy of the contact information you collect. Many of the above ideas could take place prior to the event. Whenever possible, we highly suggest collecting emails prior to and during the event as opposed to depending on customers to visit your website on their own. This allows you to be proactive after the event!

One way to collect emails at the event is to use a 2-part password card. Ask the customer to fill out one half with email addresses and allow them to keep another half listing your company name, website and event details. Make sure to use boxes in your email collection space! This will make your cards easier to read by forcing users to PRINT!

We also suggest that you capture emails for those who are visiting your website prior to your images going live so that you can alert them when their images are available to view and purchase.

Don’t forget that cell phone numbers could be a valuable (and quick) way to reach customers. Make sure to add a space for mobile numbers on your contact information form.

For help with any of these methods, contact a CCS customer development representative. We do have tools to facilitate all of these methods!

 

A New Way to Pay: PayPal is now available for CCS customers!

Candid Color Systems® is making it easier than ever for customers to buy their images online by offering Express Checkout from PayPal (ECS). PayPal is the worldwide leader in online payment solutions and the Express Checkout option has been shown to be the most effective way to pay for products and services on the Internet. In fact, according to a recent comScore study, when ECS was added, conversion rates increased by as much as *20% and overall sales increased by 1.2%.

*When compared to a standard checkout process 

Secured Payments

PayPal provides customers with a secure payment option that does not involve constantly typing in sensitive banking or credit card information. Payment information is stored securely online and credit card numbers and accounts are never shared with merchants.

User Popularity 

PayPal studies have shown that users feel confident when they click the “Checkout with PayPal” button and trust the services provided, which is evident in the increasing number of worldwide users. Barron’s online reported that PayPal’s registered users recently rose 12% to 110 million.

Streamlined Checkout Process

PayPal’s streamlined checkout process is simple, convenient and very user friendly. Customers can avoid sometimes lengthy checkout steps and can quickly finalize their purchases.

User Behavior 

A survey conducted by Jupiter Research in 2007 also concluded that 60% of consumers make their payment choice before they reach the payment page. Having multiple payment options available to the consumer guarantees a positive user experience.

In addition to all of the benefits listed above, there are no additional fees for using PayPal nor is there any additional admin set up required. You will also still receive your payment in the same amount of time as before.  Overall, the Express Checkout method is going to be a win, win for everyone and we are excited to see the positive effects that it’s going to have on your business.

CCS Offers Quick Turn Around

Whether you are ordering manually from Candid’s software, or your customers are placing orders on a CCS retail Web site, print orders will be fulfilled quickly. Standard print orders and in-stock items will usually ship from the lab within two to three business days. Customized items, such as matted prints, gallery wraps and framed prints will require an extra two or three days for completion.

Non-mounted items requiring artwork, such as Attitude Panos, Level Two prints, and Virtual Groups, typically take three to five business days before they are able to be printed. This timeframe may vary slightly depending on the amount of orders waiting for completion in the lab, retouching and other factors. Once artwork is ready, the printing process should be complete within two to three additional business days.

Turnaround rates apply only to the amount of time an item is in the lab being produced. Production times may be elongated especially during peak times. From May 15 until about the third week of July, customers should expect orders to take an extra three to five business days for completion. Please keep in mind that shipping times will vary depending on the order’s final destination.

Should you find the need to expedite an order, rush services are available at the following rates beginning Monday, March 19, 2012:

  • 1 Day rush – 25% of total lab print cost of the order, with $5 minimum
  • 2 Day rush – 15% of total lab print cost of the order, with $5 minimum

For more information regarding turnaround times and rush options, please call Customer Support at 800-750-0494.

 

Increasing Photo Sales with Green Screen

Increasing sales has several different meanings.  It can mean increasing the number of events booked, increasing the size of the average order, or increasing the percentage of customers purchasing.  Green Screen can have a positive effect on all of these ways of increasing sales.

Close up and waist up Green Screen shots

Our retail division has been photographing graduations with Green Screen now for about a year a half and the sales have consistently been higher with Green Screen than without.  Comparing a series of graduations that occurred in Spring and late Summer of 2009 which were not shot with Green Screen, with those same graduations shot with Green Screen in Spring and late Summer of 2010, the sales are up over 30%.  The main factor that we believe caused the sales to go up so dramatically was the effective use of Green Screen.  We are currently utilizing Green Screen for a waist up Second Shot and the Close Up shot and sometimes using a ¾ length Green Screen shot for both the 2nd shot and a Close-up Shot.  Contact your Customer Development Representative for details on how to do this.

Why is Green Screen so Important?  Green Screen allows us to provide multiple background choices that are customized for a given university, high school, iconic scene, etc., increasing the chances that our customers will be drawn to one or more of these background choices.  In the past, numerous backgrounds would have to be purchased or created in order to provide multiple choices and to do so would be quite expensive, usually about $200 per background.  Worse still, a unique photographer and unique photographic equipment had to be provided for every background, further increasing the expense.  Last, using several different backgrounds increased the floor space necessary to photograph, sometimes exceeding the available space and therefore, cutting down on the number of backgrounds that could be used.

Backgrounds utilized for Green Screen

 

Gluing the entire selling process together is CCS’ dedicated software which allows photographers to have CCS cut out the image quickly and cost effectively.  The photographer can then choose one of two methods or both methods to apply the backgrounds and show the customer the image on one of the selected backgrounds.  The first method is called pre-rendered.  In this method the photographer photographs a number of thematically suitable and attractive backgrounds and chooses six to eight of these to be pre-rendered by CCS.  This means CCS superimposes the subject onto each of the chosen backgrounds to be displayed online and, if desired, on paper proofs which are mailed to the end customer’s home.  The cost for pre-rendering images with Green Screen backgrounds is 20 cents per image for the first background and then 5 cents per additional background.

 

The second method is referred to as dynamic and this method is strictly used for online viewing and ordering.  In this method a small number of event specific backgrounds are selected by the photographer/customer as the default backgrounds for that event.  A large selection of seasonal and themed backgrounds is also available online from CCS.  The end customer selects a pose and then chooses a background.  Both are instantly merged together and displayed online for the customer to view and order.   The customer can try out any background offered.  When the customer finds one which he or she wishes to order, they simply place the order in the usual way online and CCS fulfills the order exactly as ordered, including zooming and cropping preferences indicated by the customer.  The cost for dynamic Green Screen is 1 cent per image to process the originals and then 1% of any online sales for prints and products from that dynamic image.  (Standard online commissions are in addition to this 1%)

Pre-rendering Green Screen can also be used for sports in situations where you do not have an attractive shooting location or if the weather prevents you from shooting in your preferred location.   Dynamic Green Screen can be utilized for sports, family and individual portraits as well as parties and events.  We believe parties and events provide a huge opportunity for increasing sales with Green Screen because of the unique product that can be offered.  Green Screen before and after displays are important to excite event guests with the Green Screen process of being photographed and then choosing their own backgrounds online.

 

Offering Green Screen is a great booking tool.  The fact that is relatively new and not offered by many photographers gives you a competitive advantage that can enable you to book more events. 

We have multiple articles posted at http://candidnet.candid.com in the software section and the developments blog on shooting Green Screen and posting/marketing those images using CCS’ free CORE and Quicpost software.

Please contact CCS Customer Development at 1-800-336-4550 for more information on Green Screen.

New Ideas for Driving School Portrait Traffic Online

                                                                                                                                                       When taking school day pictures, think outside of the pre pay box and give the speculation, or view first, method a shot.  By speculation we mean taking pictures, offering paper or online proofs (or both) and taking orders by collection at the school, through mail or online. There is no pre pay hassle involved.

There are many benefits to using the speculation method, including increased customer satisfaction. Most competitors will offer a pre pay method in which pre pay envelopes are delivered to the school a week or two before the shoot and distributed to kids to take home to parents.  Of course, parents are supposed to select a package on the envelope, include payment and send the envelope back to the school via their children.  This can be a stressful and lengthy process for both schools and parents. By switching from pre pay to speculation, however, you can provide simplicity and peace of mind. Once parents become accustomed to viewing proofs before ordering, they will prefer that system because it offers greater certainty that they will be happy with the end result.  They will see exactly what they will get before they are monetarily committed. There is also substantially less paperwork, order entry and assignments for the school. All of this results in fewer calls to the school and a happier school administrator.

Many photographers stay with the tried-and-true method of pre-pay because they fear lower participation rates and sales with View First. We have found several ways to maintain and increase sales with the View First method of marketing. First, email marketing is essential. Collecting good email addresses and using a series of emails in a campaign as a reminder to parents to purchase is important. Recently, we have also increased traffic to view and purchase photos online by allowing parents and students to choose their own yearbook image. This new offering also increased customer satisfaction. This additional reason to view photos online translates into sales. The ability to select the yearbook pose online also serves as an additional reason to market to students and parents with messages such as “remember to select your yearbook image online this week.”

This online yearbook pose selection feature can also be used as a selling point when approaching a school about booking their business. If the school that you are presenting to often has students asking to choose their own yearbook images, this could be a huge competitive edge over others bidding for the job.  Any offer you can make to ease the process of the school picture day is beneficial for the school administration. For both photographers and clients, this is a win-win situation! CCS is providing our photographers the opinion for retail customers to select their yearbook poses online. Many of our school customers have expressed interest in this feature, which goes hand in hand with the speculation method.  We also provide several automated email marketing tools.

To become a CCS customer and begin using the yearbook pose selection feature or our email marketing tools, please contact our Customer Development Department at 800-336-4550.

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