Vicki Taufer of V Gallery discusses the overwhelming success of her Dog Days of Summer charity event. She shares the marketing strategy behind this wildly successful campaign that made the pet photography market in her area explode.
Vicki has grown her passion for photography into a successful boutique studio, V Gallery. She created her brand using unique marketing concepts and building relationships with her customers and local businesses. Vicki attributes a large portion of her success to the high profile image she has created for her portrait gallery.
Vicki has been recognized in the photography industry by winning numerous international awards as well as being published in several trade magazines and books. She has also traveled around the world for the past seven years sharing her knowledge and experiences with other photographers.
Event Marketing with V Gallery
I grew up in Morton, Illinois which has about 17,000 people. I started my business, V Gallery, eleven years ago in the same town. Over the years, I had never seen professional portraits of pets on people’s walls. We decided to change that with V Gallery’s Dog Days of Summer.
Dog Days of Summer is an event we started to create a new market for pet photography in our area. We also wanted to help the local animal shelter and hopefully create a buzz about our business in the community. Here are the details. We set aside one day to photograph pet sessions every 10-15 minutes. The clients must call and book their session ahead of time. They pay a $25 session fee at the time they book and then bring a donation of dog food the day of the session. The client comes to the studio to view their images about two weeks after their session. We had over $10,000 in orders the first year by having the clients come back to the studio to place their order.
With very minimal advertising, usually just an email blast and posting on our facebook and website, we have sold out the event every year. Over the last couple of years we have photographed over 200 animals and have been able to donate truckloads of dog food to the animal shelter. As a result, V Gallery has also been on the cover of numerous newspapers.
It has been amazing to see how we created a market for pet photography. Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in the number of pet sessions we do throughout the year with sales averages over $2,000. We have also noticed that many clients visit our studio for the first time during the event. They are now exposed to our gallery and the rest of the work we do. It is not uncommon that we book numerous family and children sessions as a result of Dog Days of Summer. Once you create the market and have images, it is a great idea to get displays with the local veterinarian offices, pet boutiques, and groomers. If you do not have the studio space to host an event, I would encourage you to host at one of the vendors I just mentioned.
I have talked to photographers about our Dog Days of Summer event for several years at conventions and workshops and have received tremendous feedback of how others have implemented similar events successfully. I love these types of marketing events because everyone wins! Besides photographing sessions and getting free press, we are doing something positive for the community. Sometimes business is slow and having an event can be just what a studio needs to generate income and create a new market.