These key elements were quickly addressed, and marketing and promotion began in cities from Indianapolis to Miami. Some cities became “A” level... destinations repeating every year. Others became “B” level... every other year locations. “C” level cities were usually smaller or experimental towns that seemed worth trying. The sessions themselves would take place in one of two potential locations... either a vacant shopping center space that would be donated through corporate retail leasing agents, or the host humane society would have their very own, on-site education room that could be turned into our studio for however many days appointments might be booked.
Promotion and marketing efforts took place partially through the host organization and the rest was up to our studio efforts in reaching out to pet related businesses... groomers, veterinarians, etc. Obviously, repeating cities meant “past customers” could be marketed to as well... not only for their possible return, but for their enthusiastic referrals! Soon, one third of our sessions from town to town were repeat customers, one third referrals from past customers, and the final third would come from one of the marketing efforts listed above.
Also, an exclusive 800 number was established in order for appointments to be taken. And wardrobe recommendations were given along with price quoting in order to qualify the potential customer.
Originally, from this point on, there were three sessions booked per hour with the goal of shooting for two and a half days straight at about nine hours per day of shooting. The goal was to actually photograph 65 families and maintain an average of about $300 per sale. We would run two of these events per month and there was a studio representative to follow up the next week to present the images and close the sale.