David Dutton’s Photography Marketing Tips

photography marketing tips

You have perhaps never heard of David Dutton? I, your humber KISS U Professor, went to college with him 15 years ago, and I was there when he woke up to the amazing world of entrepreneurialism. I watched the switch flip, and saw him stare wide-eyed into the possibilities of the future. I literally saw it in his eyes. In the ensuing years, Dave has made his living helping others improve their marketing. He has built a successful business out of selling sales and marketing…marketing.

Kiss U: Tell us a little about David Dutton. Who are you? What do you do?

David: Well, I am still trying to find myself. Maybe I need to go on a hike or take up yoga. Next question?

David: But seriously… I own a celebrity branding and marketing agency. My partner and I take on twelve clients a year typically who want to develop a personal brand. We take them into a photographer’s studio and help them create a brand that people can trust. Typically they are service based businesses. photography marketing tipsWe also run “done for you” marketing campaigns for our clients. I have published four books although I failed English twice (was I suppose to share that?). This all started back in college when I started making a living on the internet selling ebooks and affiliate products. that is another story for another time. I will share one last thing about that though. People seem to be amused by this story when I speak. My mortgage was paid by google for many years because of a travel site I built. They have a program called adsense which paid me. The irony of the story is I have never flown on an airplane in my life but I have made thousands from a travel site.

Kiss U: Who are some companies you’ve worked with in the past?

David: Many of the companies we have worked with would not be known in the mainstream but are big companies in the online world. I wrote sales copy for Phil Pfister, the World’s Strongest Man at the time. Eben Pagan, who runs a twenty-five million dollar company hired my company to run their coaching program.

Kiss U: When I say “Professional Photographer” what is the first thing that comes to mind?

David: Artist. We work with photographers who help our clients look like celebrities. We like to use those photographers who have that extra edge…or artistic angle.

Kiss U: If you could sit down with a photographer who’s been in business for a few years and is struggling to grow, what would you ask them?

David: How much time do you spend marketing your business? The owner of the company should spend most of the time generating leads. Deal flow is the name of the game. If you have enough leads coming in, you can get to the point where you turn down the jobs you don’t want. That only happens when an entrepreneur is strategic about his marketing, consistent and does it big.

photography marketing tipsKiss U: What are three simple tips to improve the effectiveness of that photographer’s marketing efforts?

David: When we start a marketing plan for a client, we want to know who is the target market and where do they hang out. Once we know that, we focus all of our efforts on contacting the prospects through those mediums. So tip number one is to ask yourself those two questions. Tip number two would be to starting getting the contact information of their prospects and start sending them valuable information to help them make an educated decision. Lastly, and this is a tough one, always be able to walk away from a deal. I can’t stress that enough. Whoever can walk away has all the power.

Kiss U: Which is more important for growth: Sales or Marketing?

David: Interesting question. I would say sales because nothing happens until a sale is made. However, without leads, you won’t make sales. This is a trick question. :-)

Kiss U: What is one common mistake small business owners make when attempting to reach new, potential clients?

David: I don’t even have to think about this answer much. Most small businesses owners we see try and be like everyone else. They let industry norms rule their business. They should be thinking about if they were bidding for a project against nine of their competitors, why should a person choose them over everyone else….including doing nothing at all about their photography needs. What can they do that the other nine are not?

Kiss U: What do you see people doing right?

David: See above answer. There is money in that answer.

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Kiss U: What should professional photographers stop doing?

David: Putting pickles on their hamburgers. What I mean by that is they are doing $10-15 an hour work but they bill their time out at say $50 an hour. There are things in their business such as a building a website, sending emails and a thousand other things they could be outsourcing to someone else so they have time to market their business.

David: Let me give you a real example. An hour of my time is $250. Thats what I bill out to clients. Right now I am in the middle of a massive Linkedin marketing campaign for my own business. When I say massive, I am talking about connecting with 1000 new connections in a few days and sending each one a personalized email. I can’t do that all myself. That is where Phyllis comes into play. She is a lady I hired off of Elance.com to do the work for me. She is putting the pickles on the hamburgers for me. I am paying her $13 an hour. These new connections will make many many times that from the plan I put in place.

photography marketing tipsKiss U: If you had $1,000 to invest to help a photographer grow their business, how would you spend it?

David: Great question. I feel the pressure – ha. I would spend part of it on marketing training to learn a very specific skill such as marketing on Facebook or some other marketing area. I would spend another part of the money on publishing a real, physical book. Yes, they still make those. There are so many reasons why we help clients publish books as one of our main strategies. The main one being because they lead to new clients (aka money). We don’t do anything unless we think it can become an asset and not a liability.

David: Imagine going to a meeting with a new potential client who is also interviewing your competition as well. Instead of a brochure or just an online portfolio, you lean over and pull out a book of your pictures, open it up, sign your name and then slide it over to your prospect. How do you think they will react? I know how they will react because this is what we do in many other industries. They are blown away and want to do business with the person who wrote the book on the subject. In this particular case, I would do a book of pictures. Another cool benefit is now you are renting shelf space in their house for years to come and all it cost you was $2.25.

David: By the way, am I getting paid for this interview? That answer is worth a bunch of money in my humble but accurate opinion.

Kiss U: No, you’re getting free exposure – and isn’t that what we all want in life? Now back to the questions. What if you only had $100?

David: Hmm…this is really tough. I would probably invest in making some sort of educational based marketing piece such as an article called “9 Questions You Need To Ask Before you Hire Any Photographer”. I would design it like a magazine tear sheet with a big photography marketing tipsass photo of the photographer at the top. I would then print out a 100 and start going to free networking events to pass them out. People will assume this was a write-up in a magazine and then they would perceive the photographer as an expert in their field.

Seriously, am I getting paid for this interview????

Kiss U: Yes. You were promised a cup of the best coffee of your life, and we will deliver on that promise. Also, we will give you a free, signed copy of our book as soon as you help us get it published.