We’ve all heard the old adage that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Never is this more true than in your photo and video marketing efforts. It’s terribly common in marketing to create a photo or video that might look brilliant, and success seems like a slam dunk. But, for whatever reason, your target audience simply didn’t respond to the image. If you read that last sentence, and said to yourself “Target Audience?” The source of the failure might have just become apparent: you might not have even identified the target audience before you started! With this two part series on the pre and post production aspects of photo and video marketing, we’re going to walk you through some simple yet incredibly effective techniques to ensure that you reach your marketing goals with your photo and video marketing efforts.
The Purpose of Photo and Video Marketing
Our primary goal should always be to craft a message with our imagery, whether it’s a simple photograph or a promotional video. Our efforts should always be directed towards evoking a response to our imagery, whether it’s instilling a sense of confidence in our brand, or eliciting a specific response from the viewer. In order to craft an effective image, we need to ask ourselves some key questions about who we’re selling to, and to what part of the sales funnel our efforts are directed. Remember that the sales funnel encompasses a wide as well as a narrow spectrum. The wide spectrum is most keyed toward branding and awareness efforts, while the narrow end is focused on very targeted messaging, with a specific call to action. For this discussion, we’ll focus on the wide end of the spectrum. Before any efforts are made toward any part of the sales funnel however, we must identify our target audience.
Identify Your Target
Here’s a key point to remember to help you identify your target audience: do not market to the clients you already have, market to the clients you really want! This is not to say that the clients you already have aren’t the right ones, but they may not be. Perhaps your clientele falls into a certain niche. Is there enough of them? If you find that your clientele is mostly made up of 20-somethings, and you’d like to broaden that base to 30 and 40-somethings because, as a demographic, they have more disposable income, you may have to make some changes to accommodate them. It starts (not ends!) with your photo and video marketing imagery. If your ideal client is an upper-middle class mom with children, then guess who your photo and video marketing should feature? Indeed. Form an image in your mind regarding this target client. Go on the internet and grab a few pictures of people who fit that profile. Put them up on a board. Burn that image into your mind, and you’ll burn it into your marketing and branding efforts. We now know what the ideal client looks like, but what are they really like? Let’s find out.
Identify Your Target Audience Characteristics
So, we’ve identified what appears to be a 35 year old woman who has children. What else can we state about our ideal client? Remember, this is an imaginary client. We can make up whatever we want! We want our ideal client to have some disposable income. Perhaps our product is a bit of a luxury item, so our target audience needs to have a certain amount of money to spend on luxury items. This means that she probably lives in an upper middle class neighborhood, drives a mid-tier foreign automobile, and enjoys nice clothes. We’re getting very specific now. The more specific we can get, the easier it will be to identify the right imagery to appeal to this person. That, incidentally, is what this exercise is all about. We need to identify different elements that we can place in our image that will appeal to this person. Perhaps we’ve identified a mother of 2.5 children who owns a home worth $500,000 and drives a car that’s worth $57,000. She likes to think of herself as living a comfortable, honorable lifestyle. A key point to consider is that an individual with these characteristics is also likely upwardly mobile. So, we determine that our imagery should feature a woman with 2.5 kids who lives in a $750,000 home and drives an $80,000 automobile. Now we’re on the bull’s-eye. Let’s get down to business!
Identify Targeted Beliefs
Now comes the creative part. We need to identify what we want this ideal client to feel when they look at our photo and video marketing imagery. We’re playing with human emotion and psychology here, so we need to be insightful. Perhaps we want them to feel luxurious, exclusive, pampered, or special. We know that our product is a little expensive, but not exclusively or prohibitively so, and that will help guide our efforts. We don’t want our images to be so over the top that our ideal client feels like this product is an unobtainable fantasy. It needs to be only slightly out of reach, or appear that way. We want her beliefs to either be modified or confirmed when looking at our photo and video marketing imagery. This is our goal: to help her make up her mind. When looking at our imagery, she should feel and think: I deserve that! It looks fabulous! Too expensive? How much is it? What would my life look like and feel like if I had that product?
During this identification of targeted beliefs, we’ll naturally start to come with some potential problems that might enter the client’s mind when contemplating our product imagery. This is good! We want to know about potential barriers to the targeted beliefs. We’ll deal with those next!
Identify Barriers to Targeted Beliefs
It’s likely that as you were creating your client’s targeted beliefs, you came across some potential barriers to that preferred outcome. Perhaps the client will think that this product is too expensive? Maybe they’re not sure about the quality of the product. Does it just look nice, but is in actuality, cheap? Perhaps there is another competing product on the market, and the client might go with that one just because of name recognition? These are all potential areas where we might run into problems. Now we must consider, how can we overcome these objections? Now, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to overcome all objections with a single image. You might have better luck overcoming more objections with video, but this should not be your primary concern. Your primary concern should be, can we overcome one or two of the most common objections in the imagery? If so, fantastic! We can kill two birds with one stone. If not, that’s certainly ok! As long as our photo or video marketing images reach our target and appeal to them, we’re way better off than if we were shooting in the dark, right? Every step gets us just a little bit closer.
You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!
If we’ll follow these simple preliminary steps when we craft our photo and video marketing efforts, we’ll be so much further along than we would otherwise be. Too many marketing imagery efforts start with the wrong question: do we know anyone who we could use in this photo campaign? This is precisely the wrong question! Never go with what’s available to you. You may get incredibly lucky and have someone on staff or an existing client who fits this bill, but it’s not terribly likely. Yes, this does mean that you may have to put in a little bit of effort to locate and secure the right people, locations, props, and style elements that will appeal to your ideal client. However, remember that while shooting fish in a barrel is easy, the biggest fish are too savvy to be in your barrel!
Now that you’ve got some great ideas for the type of imagery that would look and work great for your new photo and video marketing efforts, don’t run off half cocked! We haven’t discussed post production and distribution yet. Many marketing efforts will do just that: come up with a great (or perhaps not so great) marketing image, and really have no plan for how to get the most people to actually SEE the images! That’s the subject of our next installment in this series: photo and video marketing distribution and ad campaigns!
I Don’t Have The Resources for This Kind of Project!
Many small businesses or owner-operators may not have a marketing specialist or marketing staff to handle this level of detail. Others may, but they’re overrun with work, and don’t have time to go through the careful planning a photo and video marketing project like this entails. The good news is that in either of these cases, we’re ready to step in and lead the way! Remember, Schnebly Hill Media is not a group of film students using your marketing dollars to fund a pathway to Hollywood or a travel photography career. We’re digital marketing specialists with an emphasis on imagery. Our mission is to help businesses grow. When your business grows, so does ours. We rely on our reputation as business professionals. Have a photo or video marketing project you’d like to discuss with our team? We’re happy to help! Our initial consultation is FREE, so take advantage of us!
Don’t miss Part II of this series, where we discuss what to actually DO with the images and videos you’ve created. You weren’t going to just slap that video up on YouTube and hope for the best, were you!? Of course not ;>) Read on: How to Get Your Content Distribution Network Started