Winter commencement ceremonies will begin taking place at colleges around the country in about a month’s time. When well executed and properly marketed Winter grads can provide a great kick-off to 2012 with added income to start the new year, plus it’s a great way to prepare and train new photographer recruits for Spring grads. With the time remaining before these winter commencements you still have some time to execute last minute details that can make the difference between being more profitable, or merely maintaining the same level of sales as last year. Here are some helpful hints that you can still implement in time for this month’s ceremonies.
Collect emails – Collecting “fresh” primary and secondary email addresses for each graduate is critical! Don’t rely solely on lists provided by the school since as many as 15% of the emails provided by the college may be incorrect. This is crucial for creating your email marketing. By sending emails you are guiding your customers to order via the Internet which cuts down on office labor and decreases print delivery time. This process is as important as talking the photos and you must have a strategy for collecting as many as possible. Whether you attend rehearsal and gather email addresses there, or collect them the day of the grad with employees that have been trained for such an exercise, the more you can collect the higher your sales will be.
Set up Email Campaigns prior to Grad ceremonies – Once it’s has been configured and the emails have been queued, the email campaign component in CORE software automatically transmits marketing emails periodically throughout the year. Marketing to your customers requires that you be proactive. Our software is designed to help you reach out to your customers and doing this in a timely manner will get their attention and increase sales. It is a proven marketing method delivering a sales spike each time an email is sent to your customers.
Shoot Multiple Poses – By shooting several poses—handshake, flag shot, third shot, friends and family, etc.—the graduate and their family have a variety of pictures from which to choose. This frequently leads the customer to purchase more than one pose, which can increase your average sale per graduate.
Substitute green screen for the second, or flag shot – We have seen grad sales as high as 33% more with green screen than without. The upside is largely dependent on the availability of iconic backgrounds on campus and the quality of the photography of those backgrounds. Any type of background, indoors or outdoors, can be substituted for the green screen.
Queue Email Campaigns – Queue email campaigns within 24 hours notifying your customers that their event is online. Getting your email proofs out within 24 hours not only impresses your customers, but sales take off on a much quicker timetable Be sure to check your email reports within 24 hours of sending out the first email to your customers. Look for clues like unopened emails, bounce backs, or low activity from an email provider.
Upload images Quickly – Upload images and have them online within 24 hours after the graduation has been shot. If you can get them online with 6 to 8 hours, all the better.
Queue Paper Proofs – Queue paper proofs to print and mail within 48 hours after the shoot.
Deliver PR Images within 3 days – A great idea is to offer to burn a disk on site the day of the ceremony and hand it over to your contact before you leave the campus on commencement day. But, if you can’t do that, make sure you deliver them in your contact’s hand within 3 days.
Make sure to offer Quick Retouching – Offer retouching services and advertise through your website and in the emails sent to prospective customers. Your cost is $3.00 and you can retail this great moneymaker for $10-15.
Up-selling Options – Pearlized paper, retouching, and specialty products like plaques, statuettes, framed prints, collages, and holiday greeting cards can also add to your revenue stream. Frequently, customers will spend the extra money to have the best product possible.
Negotiate with the presenter – Negotiate with the presenter to face the audience and look at the camera with the graduate, as opposed to the old handshake shot which captures the back of the presenters head. (CCS has a flyer that shows and explains this entire point.)
Keep the sequence cards in order – Get the card reader(s) at the ceremony to collect the cards from the graduates in the sequence they graduate, and string the cards on a fish stringer after they finish reading the names. If the presenter is unable to help with this task, have a staff member do this. When done properly all graduates will be kept in the exact order in which they were photographed.
Shoot Party Pics® – Before and after the commencement ceremony photograph friends and family. Remember to distribute password cards so your customers can be directed online for further sales.
Time is short but some last minute planning can create some long-term results for months to come! To become a Candid Color customer and learn more tricks of the trade, sign up for a FREE account at candid.com or contact our Customer Development team today!