Trey Ratcliff, a professional travel photographer who does some amazing work with HDR photography, has posted a video (below) and blog entry where he shares some rather revealing information regarding traditional, print advertising and marketing via social media. Here he compares actual sales results of his HDR tutorial video advertised in print within three different photography magazines – Shutterbug, Popular Photography and Photoshop User. The difference in results is amazing. While the print ad in both Shutterbug and Popular Photography only resulted in a handful of actual orders, Photoshop User generated results worthy of the investment. Ratcliff attributes it to the fact that it wasn’t just the print alone, given the fact that it was the same ad in all three publications, but that it was backed-up by an active online campaign by Kelby Media, the publisher of Photoshop User (as a side note, this is the only one of the three that I subscribe to). Ratcliff reinforces his findings by also pointing the online sales results he’s received from his ads on another photographer’s blog.
The beauty of new media is the accessibility and cost effectiveness to just about anyone who is just starting out with their own business endeavor, be it photography or house cleaning or cupcakes. But like everything else it has to be managed effectively. Just a few nights ago I was having this discussion with some friends here on Hilton Head. I was talking about the impressive results I’ve had with Facebook ads, particularly when it comes to my photography workshop programs.
Complete user control while targeting specific demographics – and setting my own budget – are big advantages over static ads in print, whether it be magazines or phone directories. A friend also pointed-out the fact that she noticed I make a concerted effort at keeping my the Facebook page for my business as responsive as possible. People today don’t just want to see what you have to offer but they need to know that they can interact and connect with you on a somewhat personal level. I think this is especially important for artists. In my work I’m also presenting an important part of myself, whether it be within a photographic print, portrait photography services or photography instruction.
I was fortunate to jump on the social media marketing bandwagon relatively early-on when I was just starting my photography business in Dayton back in 2003. I knew then that it was the future of advertising not to mention the enticing aspect of a tremendous bang for a relatively low buck. Like Ratcliff I had some prior experience in corporate marketing, coming to appreciate the importance of staying a step ahead of your competition when it comes to advertising and reaching your target market. David Esrati’s (owner of The Next Wave in Dayton) Websiteology half-day course on blogging for business and the WordPress platform was also a huge step in the right direction. Interactivity with the customer is something that was stressed as being absolutely vital for the success and impact of a business blog. If the interactivity and connection are missing than it becomes nothing more than an electronic version of the print ad