Recorded: Welcome to the ReWork with Allison, Tyler Jones, a podcast dedicated to inspiring portrait photographers, to uniquely brand profitably price and confidently sell their best work. Allison has been doing just that for the last 15 years. And she’s proven that it’s possible to create unforgettable art and run a portrait business that supports your family and your dreams. All it takes is a little ReWork. Episodes will include interviews with experts from in and outside of the photo industry, many workshops and behind the scenes secrets that Allison uses in her portrait studio every single day, she will challenge your thinking and inspire your confidence to create a profitable, sustainable portrait business. You love through continually refining and reworking your business. Let’s do the ReWork.
Allison Tyler Jones: Hi friends. And welcome back to The ReWork. Today’s episode is kind of a shorty episode about a creative marketing idea that I’m going to discuss with Kathryn Langsford of Photos by Kathryn, in Vancouver, Canada, she’s going to talk about a promo that she started doing a few years back with her existing clients and how to bring them back in. Clients that she hasn’t seen in a few years. And just a really easy way to get them to have her as top of mind, remind them that she’s still there, and bring them back in. It was wildly successful for her. And I can’t wait for her to share it with you. Let’s do it. Well, first of all, it has been way too long since we have had PBK in the ReWork podcast studio.
Kathryn Langsford: Too long for me too.
Allison Tyler Jones: I know I’ve missed you. I wish we actually were in the same studio together. That’s the goal.
Kathryn Langsford: That’s coming.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. I need to come to Vancouver, because it’s really hot here right now. But you’ve come here today because we’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while. I’ve had a lot of our listeners ask, we need marketing tips. We need more ways to bring customers back into the studio or bring in new clients or that sort of thing. So one of the things that you and I had both done in our studio separately, and we did not even know that we had done this, we just had done this separately geniusly before we even knew each other.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. Great minds.
Allison Tyler Jones: Great minds. Yes. So I want you to talk about it. Tell me what it was?
Kathryn Langsford: Well, it’s a little campaign that I call… It’s not really a campaign. It’s sort of like a reach out called It’s Been A While. So should you want me to describe what I do?
Allison Tyler Jones: Yes. Well, for those of you who don’t speak Canadian, it’s been a while. This how America, in the US would say it been is like the… Yes. It’s bean a while. Yeah. So you call that it’s been a while since we’ve seen this face and mine, I called it something different.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. What’d you call yours?
Allison Tyler Jones: I’m trying to remember. It just literally flew out of my mind. First, I want you to tell what you did.
Kathryn Langsford: So what I did was I went back. So the first time I did it, I went back over my… I sort of pulled a client list. I went through and highlighted anyone who I’d love to have back. So the first time I did there was a good few people on there. [inaudible 00:03:27] good people. I selected people that it had been at least two years since they’d come. So it had truly been a while. And then, so of all those people and I’m choosing them based on all the factors that we think about when we think about great clients, like, were they great to work with? Did they spend a good amount of money? Are they a great fit with my service? So all of those criteria. So let’s say, I came up with, I don’t know, a hundred people.
Kathryn Langsford: And then what I did was, and this is, you need a good chunk of time to do this, but I had a good chunk of time because I was trying to drum up some business at the time. So I sat with those names. I pulled all those files, and then I pulled a great photo from each of those clients. If they’d been to me several times, I might pick a really early photo. And if it was just once I’d pick from the last session and I would choose a photo that they did not order. So one, that’s not sitting on their wall that they’ve already seen a million times because I want them to be struck by, oh wow. That was so long ago. Or look how young she is or whatever. So I chose a photo from each of those each family’s session. And then I put together just a really brief email.
Kathryn Langsford: And of course I couldn’t use like MailChimp or any sort of batch mailing for this because each email has its own photo, like its own unique phone. Right. So I had to do them all, just use the same template for each and then drop that photo in. So as I said, it’s like a full day spent to hunker down and get this. And then my email would read something like I was just going through old archives. I came across this photo and can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve seen your daughter or your family or your children. If you feel like this is a good time for photos, I’d love to see you again. I’ve got some openings in the next month. So really short call to action. I give them three dates. I make it sort of casual. Like it’s not like I’m just reaching out, because I did just run across this photo. That’s why I’m reaching out instead of, I want you to come back in, you have a choice of coming these three times.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right. Right. So it just felt a little bit more spontaneous.
Kathryn Langsford: Yep. Spontaneous. Authentic. And then in the tagline or in the subject line, in the email, I would say it’s been a while since we’ve seen this space. So peaks their curiosity, like what is she talking about? So, they might be more likely to open it. And of course with my CRM that I use, I can track opens when I send out emails. So, of course, I’m always looking at who is… So I’d send that out, and then I’d track, okay, who’s opening it, who’s not opening it. If they didn’t open it, I may even send it again depending who the person is. Or I might just leave it.
Kathryn Langsford: If they opened it like once or twice, I would be likely to just leave it. If they opened it 20 times and maybe didn’t respond, I might think, okay, they’re thinking about it. They’re interested. And I might follow up with a text, like hoping you saw my email. I found the cute photo of your son. So just like a one more touch in there so that I can… If they are thinking about it, then they might be likely to go. Yeah. Yeah. We’re thinking about it. I’m just looking at those dates. They don’t work. And then we can start a conversation.
Allison Tyler Jones: I love that.
Kathryn Langsford: So I would say the first time I did that, honestly, I probably booked 10 sessions, which is great. Great, because these are qualified people who I don’t even… They already know how I work and it’s a good fit. And then what I would do is I set a timeline for… It’s ideally people, it’s been at least two years since they’ve been in. But what I would do is every year I’d look back at the people who haven’t been to me for two years or more, and then do it every year based on that group of people.
Allison Tyler Jones: I love that. So that’s just keeping people that already love you coming back again and again.
Kathryn Langsford: Yeah. And the feedback… Some people, they see the email, whatever, it doesn’t really interest them. But the people who I’m hoping for, are the people who we’re thinking about coming anyway and they just hadn’t gotten around to it. And it is just perfect opportunity. And so many times the response to that email is, ah, I’ve been thinking, you were on my list. I really wanted portrait this here. Thank you so much for reaching out. So it just reaches out and grabs those people that you know are out there. You just don’t know how to connect.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah. It just triggers their awareness. Like, shoot, I really need to do that. How many times have we had clients that have come in that haven’t been in for a few years that are just like, I’m so sad that we haven’t been in, that we’ve missed these years and it’s because they just got busy. It’s not because they didn’t love us. And they were cheating on us with other photographers. It’s just that they’re busy.
Kathryn Langsford: Which, to be honest, it is sort of where the idea for this came from is hearing people say, “Oh, I wish I hadn’t let so much time go by.”
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah.
Kathryn Langsford: What I am using in terms of the words I’m using and the method I’m using is I’m using information my clients have already given. That they wish they hadn’t waited so long, that it has been too long, that photo of their daughter, she just looks so young and she’s nothing like that anymore. Those are all the things I’ve heard my clients say already. So I’m assuming that a lot of people feel that way when I say it in that way and send them a photo of their daughter from six years ago.
Allison Tyler Jones: I love that. Well, and if you don’t have a hundred past clients to send it to, somebody that has not been in business quite as long, this could, I think also be, just as effectively done by text. If you have your text message app on your… I have my text message app on my MacBook. And so the apps there, I can just drag a photo into a text and say, Hey, look at this face. I just ran across this today. When we were doing some work on this server, I help you guys are, well, I just love this boy’s face and his eyelashes or whatever. And it’s just like, oh my gosh, that’s so cute.
Kathryn Langsford: There is no reason why it can’t be done by text. It’s the same thing. The only difference is you can’t track the opens.
Allison Tyler Jones: Right.
Kathryn Langsford: But honestly, it’s the same thing. And to be honest, when I talk about starting this, I probably started doing this at least 10 years ago, maybe 12 years ago and text just wasn’t the way it is now. So, I would say text would be just fine. It keeps it casual.
Allison Tyler Jones: Yeah, exactly. And just I’ve been thinking about you. So, that’s one way. Another way could be posting something on Instagram. Posting a picture of a session of a family that you loved and would love to see again, tagging them and saying this was four years ago or two years ago. I’m sure this little guy is so big now tagging the mom. There’s a lot of ways that you could do that in a very casual way, but still getting the message across.
Kathryn Langsford: I think we all could say that we would like more, really great qualified leads, but what happens when we get contacted by a potential new client, we sometimes have that hit in our stomach of, oh, it’s not a good time right now. I don’t want to call them. What if they ask me hard questions? Oh, I don’t really know that I have the words to say. And we put it off until we call and they’ve already booked somebody else, or maybe we don’t ever call or we’re just letting things fall through the cracks.
Kathryn Langsford: So if you ever find yourself in this type of situation and you feel like, I just don’t know the words to say, or I don’t know how to talk to these people, or am I doing it wrong? I have a solution for all three of those things. If you go to do therework.com, we have three different free resources for you. One is our ultimate client consultation guide that is going to help you step by step, walk that prospective client through your process, how it is that you work. It has all the little speed bumps, so to speak, along the way to help you remember to say all the things that you need to say. Next is our cheat sheet of frequently asked difficult questions that has a exhaustive list of all the hard questions that clients come up with that will help you get started on answering those confidently so that you don’t have that feeling in the pit of your stomach anymore. And you’re going to pick up that phone immediately.
Kathryn Langsford: And lastly is our sales sabotage evaluation tool. And that is going to help you to figure out where you are screwing up, because we all do at one time or another. So go to dotherework.com and wherever you’re at in your business. If you’re needing to rework your message, if you’re needing to rework your answers, if you’re needing to rework your sales process, they are all right there on that very first page, they are free. They are resources to help you and your business. Go do it. Download them now and start doing better. Start booking those clients confidently and start selling them your gorgeous, beautiful work, because they need it.
Kathryn Langsford: I find it’s also a good technique when a client of my post, a photo of their child’s to comment on, oh my gosh, he’s changed so much since you had him in the studio or maybe not even that specific. Like, I can’t believe how grown up he is. And lots of times that leads to like, I know we need to get back in there. That really makes them realize how long it’s been also.
Allison Tyler Jones: And I think when I speak to other photographers and some of our students in our membership and a lot of them will say, well, I just never really considered reaching out to my existing clients because I just felt like they know where I am. That they’ll call me when they need me. But really, I think what we do is such an intimate experience that we’ve become part of their family. You know, we have experiences with these people and document special times in their life. And so them hearing from us and us having that on our radar, like, Hey, it’s been a while. It there’s no pressure. There’s no big full court press on somebody. You’re just saying, Hey, if you need a session here I am. That’s really a nice thing. It’s not a negative at all.
Kathryn Langsford: No, they appreciate it. Especially the busy ones with lots of moving parts, and you know who those families are. There’s a handful of those people that I reach out to annually and just say, okay I want to get you on the caliber for September. I know that you’re going to want something in the fall. Let’s figure it out. I know your schedule will be crazy when school starts or whatever. I mean, that’s an example of what I might say, but yeah, people really appreciate that. It takes the service and makes it all that much more personalized.
Allison Tyler Jones: I love that. So how we did ours is mine was very analog. What I did is I, on my printer, we do all of our fine art prints and house, as you know. And so I took little thumbnails there, probably like three by three, not even that big, maybe two by two, again, same thing that you just said was a print. It was an image that they didn’t buy, like one of my favorites from the session or something. And I printed them out and then cut them out and tore the edges and then did a little… This is my scrapbooking background showing here. Did a little piece of tape that kind of floats it off the background of a piece of paper. And on the card I had these cards printed that had a quote. I think it was an Oprah quote and I don’t have it in front of me, but it said something like, “Every day I look at my life and say, I’m truly blessed.”
Allison Tyler Jones: And so it was formatted in really cute type. And that was underneath this image that was like floated off the back of this beautiful image. And then the quote. And then on the backside of it, then I double matted it. And on the backside it was black. And then in silver pen, I just wrote, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. And this is one of my favorite images from our session. I’d love to see you again soon, give me a call and let’s create something new together.” And then I just signed my name. So there was no deal. If you come in, you get free holiday cards. If you book before this, you get this. It was literally just a love note, and the image and that quote on the front wasn’t branded. So it was just this little black and white of whatever picture was from that session, floated off the back of this quote.
Allison Tyler Jones: So you could frame that actually. And it was really pretty. It looks really nice. And then the handwritten note in the back, and then it had like a really sexy envelope. And so that was really great. And we booked probably three sessions off that I might have sent 20 of them, because I didn’t have a lot of clients at that time. But, a couple of my clients’ houses that still have those, either up on their refrigerator or like in their office, like leaning on their bookcase. I loved that so much. You know? So, sometimes we send things for different reasons. Of course, we’d like to book more sessions, but it’s also like a love note to clients. To let them know that I’m here, this is worth doing, it’d be worth doing again.
Kathryn Langsford: Yep. And if you hit them at the right time, it brings them back in and it’s just… I would never do anything like this at a busy time. Because it does require that I sit down for hours. If I remember correctly, that was like a full day eight hour project. But it was worth it. And I wasn’t too busy to do it. So, it worked out, and I’ve done it periodically over and over through the years.
Allison Tyler Jones: So whether you’re doing an analog, making up a really pretty thing to send to somebody, whether you’re putting it into the body of an HTMA email, like you described, or whether the quickest down and dirtiest way to do it would be to do it by text, just letting your client know that you’re thinking about them. And that we’d love to see you again. I feel like marketing to your existing clients is the absolute best way to build your business.
Kathryn Langsford: Agree.
Allison Tyler Jones: Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you being here? I know that you have so many demands on your time and so many demands on your attention. You could be watching Netflix. You could be listening to a true crime podcast, but you’ve spent time here at the ReWork learning to make your portrait business better. And that really means a lot to me. If there’s somebody that you feel like could benefit from this episode, that you could help them and help us spread the word in helping other portrait photographers, build better businesses. Please go to where you’re listening to this episode and hit that share button and share it with them.
Allison Tyler Jones: And if you have time and can give us a review, you don’t even understand how much that means to a little tiny podcast like ours, to see those reviews and see how we’re helping. And if you have another minute and can send me a DM and let us know what you would like to hear in the future, what you really enjoyed hearing about, may be things that weren’t that great, how we can do better. We always want to do better and we always want to support the portrait photography industry in helping you build the best businesses ever. Thanks again so much for being here.
Recorded: You can find more great resources from Allison at dotherework.com and on Instagram do.the.ReWork.