Today’s guest post is from Jen Basford of Seniors Ignite.

Jen Basford owns 3 girls photography in Edmond, Oklahoma.  She is best known for fashion-inspired high school senior portraits and the annual must-see fashion show she puts on for upcoming seniors each spring.  Jen is one of the top senior portrait photographers in the Midwest largely due to her out-of-the-box approach to marketing and client relationships.

Jen also owns Seniors Ignite (, an organization dedicated to providing next-level senior portrait photography education to photographers to help them grow their business.

Below, Jen shares her tips for how you can avoid making mistakes in your senior marketing.  Thanks for sharing Jen!!

3 Mistakes You Are Making In Your Senior Marketing and How To Fix Them

I’ve heard it time and time again.  You’ve tried everything to market to seniors.  And nothing works.  You just can’t get clients in the door.  No one is responding to your ads on Facebook, and your senior models aren’t referring clients to you.  What should you do?

The answer is not necessarily in what you should do, but oftentimes in what you shouldn’t do.  Many times you have great ideas, but there are some critical mistakes that photographers make when marketing to high school seniors.

1.  You aren’t building a relationship FIRST.

Today’s senior belongs to the Millennial generation, and this generation places great value on relationships and trust.  If you are out there advertising nonstop to your seniors by asking them to buy your products and services, then you have created an incredible disconnect.  They need to have a relationship with you first.  They need to feel like they know you, and what you are about.  You first have to establish trust and credibility by establishing a relationship (both virtual and, if possible, in real life), and then continually nurture that relationship.  So how do you do this?  Attend their school events – sports, drama, academic, etc.  Support their school fundraisers and donate to their charities.  Applaud your seniors’ accomplishments online.  Share information on fashion trends for senior portraits.  Associate yourself with brands they identify with (post an Instagram of a business they frequent and make a positive comment).  Build a personality online that is friendly and fun and approachable (separate from photography).  Volunteer at their schools and activities.  To build a relationship and trust you must be active and present online and offline with your target market.

Today’s seniors are continually connected to their world through mobile technology, which means they are marketed to from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed.  Without a trust relationship to distinguish yourself, you get lost in the sea of disingenuous businesses vying for their attention.  Create a relationship and desire for your brand by giving them a reason to trust you first.

2.  Stop using interruption marketing.

Interruption marketing – or ‘traditional’ marketing if you will – fights for your target market’s attention by interrupting them.  It’s pushy.  It shows up online in the form of ads on social media or by the person who friends you on Facebook and then tries to sell you something.  It shows up in print in the forms of direct mail (that comes to your house) and magazine ads.  It basically says ‘I have your attention and I’m going to try and sell you something.’  You haven’t given your permission; it’s simply an interruption to your day.

Stop.  These tactics are no longer effective to your target market.  To quote Seth Godin (author, blogger, and America’s Greatest Marketer), “There’s too much going on in our lives for us to enjoy being interrupted anymore.”

So then how do you market to your target client?  Through permission-based marketing.  Build a relationship and trust.  Have your target audience raise their hand to hear what you have to say.  Date them first.  You can’t ask someone to marry you if you haven’t taken that person out and gotten to know him or her.  Marketing is the same way.  Have them get to know you first.

3.  You’re not providing them with something AMAZING.

Whoa.  This one isn’t an easy one to swallow, because we all want to think that we are giving our clients something incredible, something epic, but in reality there is something missing.  Think it’s just about ‘awesome images?’  Nope.  Today’s high school seniors can get that almost anywhere.  What are you providing to your clients that is AMAZING from start to finish?  Forget one detail and your clients may turn elsewhere.  This generation wants it all.  They are driven by a sense of belonging and a degree of fame.  Give them anything less, and it’s not worth their time.

Take a look at what you offer your clients – from the first phone call all the way through to final delivery.  How does your website look?  Does it reflect your brand, show your best work, grab their attention?  Or is it a template shared by most of the photographers in your area?  Do you provide your clients with an AMAZING finished product, or do you simply hand over the disk for them to figure out how to display their images?  In a sense, are you providing your target market with something that is AMAZING that stands out from the rest?  Or are you figuring out what to offer based on what ‘everyone else does?’

Create something AMAZING and stand out from the rest.

Ready to get started?  Let us help you!  Download the FREE guide from Seniors Ignite ’12 Low Cost Marketing Ideas That Will Grow Your Senior Business’ and let us show you how to stand out from the competition and build relationships with your target market.  We want to take you to the next level and grow your senior business.

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Jen Basford

3 girls photography

3 girls photography seniors

Seniors Ignite

Topic Tuesday – {3 Mistakes You are Making with your Senior Marketing}


heck, yes i do!

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