How to Run a Successful Register to Win Campaign

Reading Time: 8 minutes

If your usual marketing tactics aren’t growing your email list as rapidly as you’d like, it’s time to think a little more creatively.

Step forward the register to win campaign, a fun, interactive way to reach new clients, showcase your photography business to a wider audience and fill up your diary.

What is a register to win campaign?

A register to win campaign is a form of lead generation marketing. You’ll have seen plenty of them out there, from modest product giveaways to more extravagant prizes worth thousands.

All entrants need to do is share their contact details to be in with a chance of winning. Add it to your marketing mix and it’s a handy way to generate numerous leads in a short space of time.

You can integrate a register to win competition into your online marketing strategy, with an ad campaign promoting it and an eye-catching landing page on your website to further persuade entrants.

Or you can personally invite people to enter at events and shows. As they fill in your form, you can take the opportunity to have a quick chat with a prospect about how the prize would work: the perfect chance to build rapport and interest.

For photographers, a popular prize to offer is a free portrait session. Limiting it to this means you’re not missing out on income from image and product orders afterwards. Or you could expand the prize to include a set number of digital files or credit towards photo purchases. Or mix it up with one winner getting the full package and runners-up receiving a free shoot.

Another idea is to consider partnering with a suitable local business, maybe a wedding supplier or children’s boutique, and adding a voucher element to the prize. This will widen your promotion’s reach, broaden its appeal and help build a relationship with a fellow entrepreneur.

Tips to maximise the chances of success

Register to win idea in place, here are a few tips to make it go smoothly:

• Think about WHEN you want the competition to run. You can link it to a seasonal event for a unique angle. For example, run it at the end of the year and you can specify that any photoshoot prize be taken between January-March the following year. Your copy can then be focused on a New Year treat and you’ll get bookings at a quieter time of year.
• Add a sense of urgency. You don’t want people to get bored seeing the same competition in their timeline for weeks on end. Build up some anticipation and then set a time limit for entries. Asking people to enter within five days of the launch, for instance, and they’ll be more likely to get it done as soon as they see it.
• Make sure you gain consent for using their data. Add a clear tick box so they can easily confirm they’re happy to be contacted.
• If you promote the campaign on socials, ask people to DM you for the entry form rather than adding a link to your website. This will please platforms like Facebook who penalise posts which direct users away from their site, helping to expand its reach.
• Committing a small sum to paid social ads will further broaden its reach.

How to get extra value from a register to win campaign

While the ultimate aim of this kind of competition is to grow your email marketing list, those extra names are worthless if they’re not genuine prospects.

While there’s no way to know that for certain, you can help yourself by asking entrants an open-ended question within the data capture form. Doing this means you can qualify which entries are more likely to be from someone you’d want to work with.

For example, you could ask them why they want to win. This could reveal stories and insights you’d never know about from a simple name and email address. Or perhaps pose a question linked to the type of session like ‘What does your dog mean to you?’ for a pet portrait session.

While it would be tempting to choose your winner based on the strength of their answer and suitability as a client, you’re ultimately bound by regulations covering how competitions are run.

If a competition is based on chance rather than skill, like a register to win campaign is, you must choose your winner randomly. Guidelines from the Advertising Standards Authority state:

“Promoters of prize draws should ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance. If a verifiably random computer process is used, the ASA would expect to see evidence of this. If such a computer programme has not been used, winners must be selected under the supervision of an independent observer (rule 8.24). Promoters must have evidence to demonstrate that the winner was selected randomly.”

The same guidance states that if you incorporate an element of skill, then you must use an independent judge or panel to decide on the eventual winner.

You also need to be careful to adhere to rules set by GDPR legislation and any social media platforms you’re using such as Facebook or Instagram.

All guidelines met and once your winner has been randomly chosen, you can then prioritise who you target based on their response to your open-ended question. You may easily be able to tell that certain prospects will value your products and services which should lead to a productive working relationship.

How to do effective follow-up using your business management software

Once your competition has launched and you’re acquiring leads, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid system in place for reviewing and acting on them.

The objective here is to sort those entries into the ones you think are valuable and worth pursuing, and those that aren’t. You’ll want to reach out to all of them, as well as congratulate the winner to get the ball rolling with their booking.

A dedicated photography CRM like Light Blue can automate the entire campaign process from start to finish:

• Use a form to gather all the entries, e.g. a Facebook lead-ad form, Light Blue’s contact forms feature or a third-party system such as Kartra, Active Campaign or Mailchimp.
• Send that data into Light Blue, directly if you used the integrated form, imported from a CSV or via Zapier.
• You’ll then have a contact record for each entrant, including the answer they gave to the question logged within the notes.
• Saving all this information as a query will display all entrants at once.
• You can then tag the winner, any runners-up and any leads you’re not convinced are worth following up.
• Adding a workflow for the winner allows you to list every step you now need to take from the initial “Congratulations, you’ve won!” message to prompts to follow up with a phone call.
• Using notes in the contact record lets you log all call attempts and responses (voicemail left, asked to call back at a different time etc).
• When you get hold of them and have arranged the shoot, create a shoot record including the date, time and location. As they’ve won a free shoot, you won’t need to add whether they’ve paid a holding fee to confirm the slot.
• If they’ve not yet confirmed the date, leave it as an enquiry.
• For runners-up who’ve not responded to phone calls, you can send an email template inviting them to check your online scheduling calendar. This could prompt them to take action.
• Measure the success of your register to win campaign by running a query that finds all shoots with a contact who came directly from it.
• You can also view a list to see the total amount of sales connected to those shoots.

Campaign, client follow-up and evaluation all complete, you’ll easily be able to assess if a register to win campaign is worth doing all over again.

Accounting Software for Photographers

Reading Time: 10 minutes

We get it, you love cameras, not calculators. That’s why you’re a photographer, not an accountant.

But you also appreciate that part of being a professional photographer is managing the money side and keeping a detailed record of what’s coming in and what’s going out.

Whether you use an accountant or not, careful record-keeping is essential to ensure legal compliance and the smooth running of your business.

Here we explore why accounting software for photographers can simplify that process and compare some of the options out there.

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Five Positive Steps to Keep Your Business Healthy

Reading Time: 8 minutes

When business is quiet, it’s easy to panic. How long will this last? What am I doing wrong? Should I just give up?

And with panic comes the temptation to take drastic action. Maybe I should slash my prices? Or perhaps I could take on that job that’s not really my thing but would bring in some much-needed cash?

While there are times when this kind of action can help in the short-term, it also runs the risk of hurting your photography business. Both financially and reputationally.

Yes, gut feeling is helpful but using it alongside solid information will help you make better choices. Choices based on considered decision-making to get those client enquiries and bookings back up to speed.

Assess how your business is performing

Step one is to get a clear idea of how your photography business is really doing. Do the figures back up your feelings?

Light Blue can help here thanks to reporting tools which give you a clear overview of year-on-year and month-on-month performance. Keep reading to discover how you can add the “Business performance & opportunities” home screen to your own Light Blue account.

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7 ways photographers can use SMS messaging with Light Blue

Reading Time: 7 minutes

When it comes to client communication, the humble text message can work wonders within your photography business.

Short but mighty, an SMS message wields the power to nurture relationships, boost your reputation and showcase your professionalism. Not bad for a bit of tech first used 30 years ago by a software programmer to wish his colleague Happy Christmas.

Here we explore how embracing the text functionality within your photography business CRM can create tailored, high-touch communication between you and your clients. Building rapport and trust to keep your diary nicely busy.

Why use text messages?

Text messages go direct to your client: to the device in their hand, on their desk or next to them on the sofa. Deliverability success rates are good and, when well-written, they can feel more personal than an email.

Choose the topic and timing of your text well, and they provide an immediacy that’s more difficult to ignore than an unopened email languishing low down in an inbox. An approach that can genuinely help to strengthen relationships.

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How to run a successful Christmas mini-session campaign

Reading Time: 5 minutes

What’s the secret to a successful mini-session campaign? It’s not your set, it’s not your props, it’s not even your promotional image.

We spoke to newborn and family portrait photographer, Amy Knowles to find out:

“You need to sell an experience to people.”

“Photographers tend to obsess about the promotional image, the set that they’re using, the props they’re using. For your clients, I don’t think the actual image matters all that much.”
Amy Knowles, Slinky Photography

Amy’s been running her photography studio for thirteen years, specialising in newborns, babies, and families

Christmas mini-sessions have always been part of her business, which now make up about a third of her annual turnover. 

Amy runs her mini-sessions in a very particular way, which has provided her with consistent and reliable results. She now shares her approach with other photographers within her very popular mentoring group.

Read on to discover Amy’s tips for making your mini-sessions a success.

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Questionnaire Tools for Photographers – 5 Online Form and Survey Tools Compared

Reading Time: 6 minutes

As a successful photographer, your busy brain has a lot to juggle. Names, dates, times, locations, style preferences – all the minutiae required to deliver exceptional service.

And with new clients regularly coming on board, you constantly need to update that information with details of the next shoot and the next… 

With so much data to digest, harnessing the power of questionnaire tools for photographers will make the process stress-free and streamlined.

Here we explore a range of online form tools you can use to gather intel from your photography questionnaires. An easy, integrated way to supercharge your systems.

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Online Contract Signing for Photographers – 8 Tools Compared

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Whatever the industry, signing a contract seals the deal. Professional and transparent, a carefully crafted, comprehensive contract gives clarity and accountability to both you and your clients.

There’s a treasure trove of tech out there to make this part of running your photography business slick and streamlined.

But which online tool should you choose?

Here we explore the world of online contract signing for photographers and compare a range of tools to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

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A Guide to Questionnaire Templates for Photographers

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Gathering information about your photography clients is crucial to ensuring smooth shoots and relaxed relationships.

The more you know, the better you can tailor communication and select services to suit their unique needs.

But maybe your current system for getting your hands on this important detail is less than efficient. Another admin task to shift your focus away from all the other demands on your time.

Step forward the photography client questionnaire. A simple way to tackle the problem.

Here we explore how introducing templates can help save time, streamline pre- and post-shoot planning, and boost your customer service reputation.

Read on to get ideas and inspiration about using questionnaire templates for photographers.

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Using Psychographics to Build Your Photography Business

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Hear the word ‘psychographics’ and what immediately springs to mind?

A terrifying shadow slowly creeping across a shower curtain? The crazy swirly pattern on Austin Powers’ wallpaper?

Nope, this has nothing to do with movies, horror or otherwise. And everything to do with getting scarily high numbers of enquiries to your photography business.

Welcome to the world of psychographics and how they can help you understand what really makes your target clients tick.

Continue reading “Using Psychographics to Build Your Photography Business”

Recycling your marketing spend by using a referral network

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Ian spent some time chatting with Michelle Szpak recently for her training hub and community for photographers. Below is a little taster of the topics we covered in our chat.

It’s near impossible to only market to clients on dates that you can fulfil, so how can you cut down on waste from enquiries that you’re unable to work with because of other commitments?

It’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture from time to time.

As you go about your day to day work, you’re consciously and unconsciously gathering all sorts of information that can help you to run a more effective business.

I had been running my photography and videography business for the best part of a decade and was fairly good at looking at things like where my enquiries were coming from, what my return on investment from those activities was, average customer spends and so on. 

But there was one piece of information that I hadn’t reviewed which would have made a substantial impact on my marketing.

It was only in a quiet moment during the pandemic lockdown that my curiosity was piqued and I really wish I’d looked at this sooner!

Day to day I recorded all of my enquiries, including those that I couldn’t do, keeping track of where the enquiry came from, the date the client was enquiring about and why the client didn’t proceed with booking – e.g. they told me they’d booked someone else, they ghosted me or the lead went stale, or I was unavailable on their date.

This gave me useful insights into which marketing channels gave me the most enquiries, but also how well they converted and what the average client spend per marketing channel was.

But something I hadn’t explored in any detail was the enquiries that I hadn’t booked because I wasn’t available. 

I’d never given those much more attention than to respond with a standard email listing a few other photographers, wishing them well, noting why I wasn’t booking that enquiry and moving on – a few seconds of my time in total. 

Why bother spending any more time? I’m not going to convert that client.

Well, when I looked at how many of those sorts of enquiries I had, I realised that they made up a substantial percentage of all of the enquiries I got through the year. 

Everybody will market their business in different ways, using a blend of strategies that involve a combination of your time and money in order to generate enquiries. If a substantial percentage of those hard earned enquiries are falling at the first hurdle because you can’t take the booking, then a portion of your marketing efforts are being wasted too.

It’s near impossible to only market to clients on dates that you can fulfil, so how can you cut down on waste from enquiries that you’re unable to work with because of other commitments?

You, times two

One answer would be to engage an associate photographer. Any dates that you weren’t available for could be passed on to an associate, and since you’re keeping the booking in-house you would still be getting some return on your marketing efforts.

Check out this guide on working with associate photographers using Light Blue.

But when is the right time to hire an associate? You’d need to make sure that there’s enough enquiries coming in regularly to sustain that relationship. 

That doesn’t happen overnight, so is there a half way point?

Building a close referral network 

Earlier I mentioned that I handled enquiries that I couldn’t fulfil by blindly recommending the same handful of photographers – I didn’t check if they were available or not, I simply passed on a list and got on with my day.

But what I could (and should) have done was to build a referral network of a small number of photographers with a similar style and price point, and then referred each enquiry to just one of those photographers. If my network and I shared a calendar of our availabilities – not the fine detail of what we were up to, just an indication of who was free/busy on a given date – then I could confidently refer one of my network to the client and say that I knew they had availability.

That wouldn’t have needed to take a great deal more time than my old approach, a quick check of the shared diary and then selecting the right email template is all it would take.

So why bother doing that? I’m still not booking that enquiry.

Referral networks are a reciprocal relationship and while I’m sending my unavailable enquiries to my network, some of my networks enquiries will be coming to me on dates that I can do.

I can record who I passed my unavailable enquiries on to and which members of my network have sent work back my way when I get those new referred enquiries, so I can ensure that my referral relationship is fair and balanced.

Essentially I’m recycling my unavailable enquiries and turning them in to new enquiries from my network.

What about larger referral networks like Facebook groups, forums and organisations?

It’s less likely that you’ll have a direct exchange of referrals from those larger groups, so keeping track of who you passed work on to and who sent work your way would be much harder.

Instead it could be an idea to think of the whole referral group as one source.

That way you’re able to see the balance of how many jobs you’re bringing into the group and how many are coming back to you. If you’re part of several groups then this allows you to understand which groups are providing a fair relationship for you.

Having all your business information in the right place makes the job easy.

As I was going about the daily running of my business, my Light Blue database was quietly amassing a wealth of useful information. When I took the time to step back and see the bigger picture I had all of that information together already, so there was no need to fiddle with spreadsheets or take time collating and merging information.

Light Blue’s powerful querying and reporting tools did all the hard work for me.

The important lesson is to make sure that you’re reviewing this information on a regular basis so that you’ve got the insights to make smarter decisions.