I didn’t even let her finish her sentence before I said “No, I’m not interested, please take my number off of your call list.”
“May I ask why?” she replied, not in the huffy way that you’d expect from someone who’d just been given the brush off, but more with a sincere curiosity.
“Because I don’t want to lower the perceived value of my brand. I do not offer deals or discounts, it’s just not how I choose to do business.” was my response.
She gave it a moment’s thought and replied with a question, “Do you advertise?”
“Of course” I replied, somewhat amused.
I think I might like this girl.
“Living Social is advertising, it’s exposure and it’s without risk.” she said.
It’s at this point that I’m hesitant, but curious. I decided to hear her out and the rest of our conversation included talk about brand identity, risk, cost effective solutions and demographics, by the time we finished our conversation I had agreed to take a meeting with her to consider putting together an offer that didn’t have me lose my ass or put me out of business.
Locally, the boudoir portrait offers I’d found ranged from the low-low price of $69 to the tip top of the pile at $99. These offers included too much product and the price the client actually paid was far less than my actual cost for a session, THEN take out Living Social’s cut and what the *cough*
I won’t even cast a sideways glance at my gear for $69.
I expanded my search to a national level and found that a few acquaintances whose work I admired and knew to have solid businesses had recently run offers through Living Social. Throughout the course of a few days I’d been in contact with those photographers and had gotten good honest feedback about how they’d structured their offers and gotten really solid advice based on their experiences.
In addition to researching past deals, I also ran the numbers. Comparing the costs and time involved with varying product, the easy answer was to go digital because of the very low cost however, that wasn’t the answer I chose. Setting aside the short term costs, I looked toward long-term potential and profitability and what I needed to offer needed to create an impact and for me impact comes from wall art. With my numbers ran and a structure that covered my session expenses *and* my cost of goods sold, I was ready for my meeting with my Living Social representative.
I would not commit brand suicide. I would not compromise quality for quantity. It took me a long time to create my brand, the services I provide and I would not sacrifice those standards for a quick buck.
Period. End of statement.
Into that meeting I went – with my running shoes firmly attached, fully armed with research and numbers as ammunition. I got the deal I wanted. High enough to pre-qualify my client and ensure that I didn’t sell more than I could deliver. I had a very positive experience with Living Social and it is now part of my marketing plan. The exposure does wonders for my SEO, my sales average is no lower than any other client and these sessions fill my calendar during the slower months.
Does this lower the value of my brand?
I don’t believe that it does. I do believe that it expands my reach, the ability to get in front of women who hadn’t considered a boudoir session prior to seeing my offer or those that had been considering it for quite some time but needed that teensy little push to take the plunge. Either way, I think with a little research and a lot of thought running an offer through Living Social can be a very effective method of marketing.
What do you think? Have you ever ran an offer on any of the various deal sites? What was your experience?
Shakin my booty,
Images courtesy the very fabulous Christine May of Click Photography.