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The First-and-Next Marketing Technique (As Told Through iPhone Photos)

Are you stuck figuring out how to market yourself?

No need for overwhelm.  Scale back and try what I like to call the “First-and-Next marketing technique.”

It goes like this:  Think about your clients, and ask yourself the following two questions –

1) Before they hire me, what will they do FIRST?

You know those evil grocery store managers who put a giant stack of Oreos right next to the milk?

Let’s think like them for a second.

The best time to sell a dog leash is right after someone gets a new dog.

The best time to sell a bookmark is right when someone’s purchasing a new book.

The best time to sell Band-Aids is right after someone buys their kids a new bike (they’re gonna need them):

The First-and-Next Marketing Technique (As Told Through iPhone Photos)

 So, fill in the blank:

“The best time for someone to buy my services is right after ___________.”

Put another way:  What PRECEEDS my services, like a dog to a dog leash?  A book to a bookmark?  A bike to Band-Aids?

Now go to that “first step” place and market right there.

For example:  Ask a local boutique if you can put a small card in the dressing room during their spring sale that says something like –

“That looks great on you!  You should wear that to your next photo session…”

Same idea for the mirror of your favorite hairstylist:

“Don’t let that great hair go to waste!  Book a photo session to follow your next appointment…”

Find a place where the next logical step is to get pictures done, and make your pitch right then.  Let them know that it’d be foolish to do X without also doing Y….

(And by the way?  The boutique and hair stylist will love it, because it helps them make the sale and book a follow-up appointment, too!)

2) What will my client do NEXT?

Okay, so they’re looking at your services now.  But once they’ve got what you’re selling, what would happen next?

Quick story to illustrate:  So I’m at a large antique shop in Havre de Grace, Maryland, and I’m starting to feel dizzy because the place looks like a giant Room of Requirement. Booth after booth of interesting curiosities, many of them beautiful, but I’m faced with the same question:

Yeah this is cool, but what the heck would I do with it?

I mean really, what do you DO with a painted thimble or a rusty antique ladle?

Then I stumbled upon a bucket full of antique cookie cutters, and spied within it a brilliant marketing tactic:

A handwritten recipe tied to the cookie cutter.  Suddenly I wasn’t just looking at a cookie cutter, I was imagining making cookies.  (Mmmm…lemon meltaways!)  I could practically taste the frosting.

A simple recipe changed the item from one more thing in a jumble of stuff to something I could see myself leaving the shop and using.  That’s the difference between a sale and not.

The seller of cookie cutters asked themselves:  OK, if someone bought this, what would they do next?

Ask yourself the same question.

So someone buys a print – what do they do next?

Lure them with a Pinterest board showing ways to decorate a home with photography.  Throw in some beautiful blank handmade gift tags they can use when they gift these prints to aunts and uncles.

Show them what happens next. 

Stop freaking out about marketing.

Just ask yourself – what does the client do first?  Go put your marketing cards/posters there.  What happens after the client hires me?  Those ideas go on your blog and website.

First-and-Next is always a solid place to start.


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  1. Katie Church on May 9, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    This is genius! Thank you for the great tips. Hidden in plain sight, as always.

  2. taren on May 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for all the great tips!

  3. Tricia on May 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    genius! Now I just need time to do it all!

  4. Kell on May 16, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Thank you so much! I’ve been really stuck on how to convert the people thinking ‘That’s pretty’ into the people thinking ‘That’s awesome and my home can’t go on without it’. Love the idea of including presentation ideas and Pinterest suggestions.

  5. Sara on May 16, 2013 at 3:25 am

    Incredible advice!!

  6. Brian on April 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I love common sense posts like this, that get people thinking or give them direction, without trying to sell them a workshop. Thanks for posting.

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