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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
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| | Re: Baby show vs magazine publication?
Hi Jennine - I'm a newbie too!
You have lots of good advice here already. I personally think that the trade show would be a great way to get your name out there, whilst letting you get direct feedback from your target market all the time. From my (limited) experience in print adverts, unless you can afford prime positions and big sizes they won't have much impact. Advertorials and editorial coverage works great if you can get it, but small ads on their own don't stand out enough.
Your product is similar to infant portrait photography in the way you will probably go with the marketing, in that its an emotional sale. People don't need your product, but they want to remember how it feels to have a newborn child. Top line photographers will advertise in specialist magazines, but you can bet the baby show will be FULL of specialist photographers. You will be competing with them for people's attention and budget, and the fact that you are offering a unique product will help you stand out. I'm a startup photographer, I don't photograph babies (pet portraits is my thing) and I did a couple of shows last year that absolutely filled my calendar and gave me a great start. In fact I got too busy and quickly found out that I couldn't cope with the level of business I was generating.
Definitely don't attempt a hard sale! Just talk to people about their babies / pregnancy, talk about your product and so long as you are genuinely passionate about it, it will generate business. The competition idea is a great one and very effective, maybe offer a free package as a prize and run a 'guess the number of sweets in the jar' type thing. I do it at shows and have quickly built up a database a few thousand strong. If you follow up on these people quickly (I do a mail shoot and phone them up) you should get bookings. I also run special offers at a show, maybe giving a special discount for people who book there and then (if you have time to take their bookings), or soon after. It gives you a reason to call them up after ("don't forget our special offer runs out this week, so book now" etc) .
Don't wait for people to come to you, try and engage them in conversation as they walk past your stand. A question about when their baby is due will engage them more effectively than launching straight into a product pitch.
I disagree that you can't get a quick return from a show, so long as you do it right you can.
I think it would be worth your while to see how the infant photographers market themselves in your area, and 'steal' their best ideas. The Mother's group idea is a brilliant one, also see if you can show your work in baby shops. Are there relevant charities you can work with to get your name out there? Shopping Centre displays is a popular marketing tool for photographers, its expensive but I know photographers who do two a year and get most of their business from just that (I have no direct experience doing this myself). Can your local hospitals display your work? Don't just leave brochures in a waiting area, try and get them included in info packs. A friend of mine had a baby last year, the hospital recommended a photographer, had his work on display, even allowed him in to pitch to new mothers! See if you can build a relationship with the hospitals, some judicious freebies to the staff might help in all this.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!