Redoubling Our Efforts

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I started our blog to communicate our business thoughts, creativity, crazy ideas, humor and even share some of our challenges. Right now our biggest challenge is to figure out what kind of marketing is the most effective for us. Sometimes it seems we meet ourselves coming and going trying to think of new ways to reach people. Recently we have doubled and even tripled our efforts, but even that’s not enough. At best marketing is a percentages game — if you present your message to a sufficiently large pool of people, and if your product is worthy, eventually you should find success. We know a lot of people, but not nearly as many as the collective YOU who read my blog and Facebook posts.

Our move to our new location in St. Nicholas in part was to make use of a more retail-friendly location. Although we have never turned down consumer business, the old house on Lomax Street was zoned for professional services, such as those for commercial shooters who primarily used slide and transparency film for publications. Not only have markets, demographics and buying patterns changed over the years, but technology has changed too, and there’s no going back to the kind of business we were before the 2008 recession. We needed to reinvent ourselves, taking the best of the old FotoTechnika while adding fresh, new services that are attractive to everyday people. We wanted a location that was more accessible, had good visibility with plenty of windows for signage, ample parking and a floor arrangement that is flexible and convenient for both customers and employees — all on one floor, with no stairs. We lucked into our location in the Mudville Grille plaza, which has the potential to be an ideal long-term home. We have a wonderful landlord and great neighbors, but we are about to enter the summer doldrums and we just can’t afford to wait for the holiday season to fill the coffers.

With the proliferation of social media and smart phones, folks aren’t using our signature service – photo printing – nearly as much as they once did. So we’ve broadened our services in order to be relevent to more people. We expect that you, your friends, colleagues, or your own business can use one or more of our services. Just take a look at the list; maybe there’s something you didn’t realize we do:

List of Services Rack Card

The counter card above is one of the many individualized cards we have created (and an example of our in-house graphic design), targeting specific products we can provide.

There are still so many who have never heard of us who could use our services, and we need to know where to find them. Here’s where you come in: we need your help with good ol’ word-of-mouth advertising. There aren’t many things that can bring a smile to our faces quicker than a customer bringing in a friend for introductions, but we also need business contacts. Saundra and I will be glad to present ourselves and our services to various groups and organizations, either at their location or ours. But the two of us are still very much involved in day-today production, so we need to make every visit count — specific contacts are what we need. So please continue to talk us up to your friends, but also think of contacts with businesses and organizations whom we can help with their more commercial needs. See our list of potential customer types – perhaps you can think of others.

• small businesses and retailers
• manufacturers
• hospitals and clinics
• banks and lending institutions
• galleries
• retirement communities and assisted living facilities
• interior designers
• schools and colleges (especially art and photo departments)
• churches
• non-profit organizations (especially music and art)
• restaurants
• attorney’s, accountant’s and doctor’s offices
• architects
• funeral directors (especially for memorial portraits for display)
• genealogists
• historians and historical societies
• entertainment venues and attractions
• big box and chain stores (especially those that are eliminating photo services)
• dealerships of all sorts
• realtors and developers
• sports organizations
• corporate offices and regional headquarters

The rack cards that explain all of our services aren’t the only thing we are creating; we are installing window signage as quickly as we can come up with clever ideas. The internet is great as long as someone knows our name or does a Google search, but in some ways it hampers us because, no matter how hard we’ve tried, the old location info is still “out there.” In addition to finding new customers, we need to get the word out to customers who only use us occasionally that the empty house on Lomax Street does not mean we’ve gone out of business.

As the last independent lab in our area, we are unique. We have some great ideas for expanding our services, but we need to increase our volume substantially before we can purchase more equipment or inventory. Please continue to support us with your patronage, and help us expand our customer base. As you chat us up, don’t forget some of our new signature specials:

Think Inside the Box Rack Card

(Click here to read our Think Inside the Box blog)

Photo Gifts Rack Card

(Click here to read our Introducing… FotoTechnika’s Photo Factory blog)

We want to be slammed all summer. If that happens, we have a couple wonderfully talented folks who would love to become the next generation of our production team, and we would be thrilled to hire them. In order to do that, we must have enough business to support them. So start sharing the word that FotoTechnika is alive and ready for new creative projects and please share your contacts with us so we can reach out to them this summer.

We look forward to seeing or hearing from you soon.

John

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