3 Tips to Maximize Your Photography Budget this Year
You’ve set up your AEC or CRE firm’s marketing budget for 2017. You followed the rules for a comprehensive, effective strategy that aligns with your firm’s goals to keep existing customers, attract new ones and drive conversion rates, setting aside (lean) 2 percent, (target) 4 percent and (stretch) 6 percent of your top line budget for each scenario, respectively — to ensure all bases are covered.
Now, how can you get the most out of professional architectural photography to ensure better results in each of these scenarios?
Ours is a visual industry. And more and more AEC & CRE firms are realizing that professional architectural photography drives their marketing — and are seeing results. Here are three things to establish when it comes to architectural photography decisions within a marketing budget.
Focus on which AEC/CRE markets you profit from most.
This should already be the base of your marketing, but for photography’s sake, narrow it down as much as possible and focus on getting more of those images this year with your budget. For example, is there a segment within the segment?
Do you go after K-12 school projects, but want to niche more to capture private K-12 school projects?
Do you have better margins on design-build projects than simply build only projects in a certain segment?
Are industrial commercial properties for manufacturing and distribution a better business strategy for the next two years based on area market trends?
Identify your upcoming high-profile projects completing in 2017.
Think ahead to the projects completing this year. Which can be used to leverage more new projects in your desired market segment? Which projects are award worthy? These need professional photos that tell the story.
Determine which end-use ways you’ll use the images most often this year, pick a pair.
Pairings aren’t just for wine and cheese. Shooting for end-use pairings are simply thinking about two of the primary ways you’ll use the shots. Examples of end-use pairings could be RFPs and your website, proposals and presentations, creative content (ex. blog) and industry events or conferences. So what's the best pairing for your firm this year?
If some of your photography this year is strictly for documentation purposes, it’s fine to have a project manager or marketing coordinator play photographer. Have them check out my DIY vs. PRO blogs series to get some pointers. But for images contributing to company goals or building marketing momentum, professional architectural photographers are skilled at getting you more bang for your photography-budget buck.
Having these three items considered ahead of time — your most profitable markets, your highest-profile projects and your best end-use pairings — all help lay strategic groundwork for really effective planning. Bringing an architectural photographer to the table early in the process, with these three decisions already mapped out, put your AEC or CRE firm in a prime spot for successful marketing in 2017.
Now go crush it this year!
About Heather Conley
I've been a marketing professional for more than 20 years and am still marketing now, with my camera. I'm happiest when interactively collaborating with my clients and shooting on location - - particularly when I can get up high on a ladder or in a lift bucket! Gone are the days when a creative 'team' came to the table to manage a project. The middlemen have disappeared, so the creative direction, technical knowledge and project management skills I offer give my clients great value and help them simplify the process. As the daughter of a custom woodworker, one of my first gifts as a child was not an Easy-Bake Oven, but a tool belt to start building something. An appreciation of the finer details and quality of craftsmanship is at the foundation of what I do; the passion and artistry I deliver for my clients is why we continue to collaborate year after year.