In the first part of this segment, we covered the actual context of the marketing pieces that you create to attract new and returning clients. (be it the home page of your website, a tweet, a door hanger, and so on) Now I want to delve a bit further into the context-values relationship. Once you have considered the context of your marketing, it's also important to study the context of your reader, particularly the WHEN and WHERE of their situation when they encounter your marketing—whatever it may be. At first, this might seem a bit cumbersome, but over time it does become more and more natural. And it's definitely worth the effort. Then, one final step is to discover the specific values that can be discerned through the context of your target market. Each photographer will find slightly different values from their type of niche photography and their location. For example, a wedding photographer in Kentucky will have a different context and value system in their target market than a wedding photographer in downtown Chicago. Even more so, when compared to a headshot photographer in Los Angeles or a senior photographer in Portland. While you know the culture of your location more intimately than I do, it will be easier for you to identify the values of your community. In fact, they are very likely your own values, if you have lived there for some time. This is a good time to step back and consider what values really mean. Because when we correctly identify our target market's values, we can instantly create a perceived value in our product through our marketing. In most cases, there aren't good or bad values—just different values. And as we all know, from region to region and one life stage to the next, values absolutely vary. Here are some of the most common personal values:
As you read through, you will see several that jump out at you. These are your own values—what really makes you tick. Those values are the really important things in your world. This is a valuable distinction to make. We all live in the same world, but it couldn't be more different from one person to the next. So it's key to identify our own values and then step back and consider our target market.
First of all, what is their context when they come into context with your marketing? This is important, because there are some underlying values attached, no matter what their overall life philosophy might be.
For example, if they are reading emails and they come across your eblast, their mindset is one that values time, efficiency, order, organization and deadlines. Some of these work in your favor. Time and deadlines, for instance, can be addressed in your email marketing with the use of limited-time offers. Because they are sitting down, typically giving their email their direct attention, time is in your favor and you can afford to provide more information than with, say, a social media update or a poster.
Context is discussed more in the previous segment, but not as much with attached values. You should also consider your target market. A bride-to-be checking her emails is a lot different than a mother of four. So put yourself in that niche market's shoes and think about where their mindset will be at that given moment and how best to harness that energy for your message.
Finally, your target market's values are likely to be similar from one person to the next. (Though very possibly not similar to your own at all.) This is great news! Once you know your target market's value-system, you can easily address it in your marketing time and time again.
Image, Image, Image. Looking cool. Luxury. Personal achievements. Playing up physical attributes (i.e. hair, biceps, eyes, so on.) Being one-of-a-kind. Reputation, relationships.
Memories, legacy, purity, family, love/affection, serenity, stability, reputation, keeping up with the Jonses, relationships.
Time, efficiency, legacy, family, love, dependability, value, quality, reputation, keeping up with the Jonses, relationships.
Image, image, image. Looking incredible. Luxury, Playing up physical attributes, reputation, quality, value (sometimes), reputation, keeping up with the Jonses.
These are a few of the most common target markets that portrait photographers cater to, but an even more isolated demographic will be even easier to assess. No matter the context of the situation, these values are very likely to be operating in the foreground or background of their minds. Values do change over time, so the same person in the same city who spent $5,000 on their wedding photography might find themselves searching for a much different price-point a few years down the road when welcoming a new baby or two. This is natural.
If you serve different niches, simply address different values in each campaign type. For a safe bet, relationships and keeping up with the Jonses are typical values that people are focused on when getting portraits. Sometimes people are really private and just want to preserve their memories exclusively for their own enjoyment, but moreover it's about showing off the talented graduate, beautiful bride and groom, the glowing mother-to-be, the beautiful newborn or the cheerful family of five. So you can throw in phrases like, "Share with family and friends" or "you will love to display in your home" and that will hit the nail on the head for people. Remind them who will see the portraits!
This ties up the loose ends for this series. I hope it's helped you really isolate the context and values of your dream clients. Please feel free to share comments, questions and feedback!