From the April 2012 issue of our newsletter, Let's Grow. For a FREE subscription, CLICK HERE

Getting Great Customer Photographs


Nothing brings products alive like a good photograph. And when the photo includes a delighted customer showing the fruits (sometimes literally!) of their labor, their happiness shines through in a way that inspires others.

What's more, most gardeners love bragging about their successes. Although some may not admit it, tomato-growing can be a very competitive sport. Photos of others' outstanding results encourage the rest of us to emulate them.

So why not give your customers a forum for sharing their successes ... and gather some material for future marketing in the process? Here are some tips on getting some great submissions.

Contest or Album? You have two options for generating photos: 1) you can run a contest, or 2) you can start an online photo album and invite customers to upload their photos for your consideration. (You may want to prime the pump with a few photos of your own.) A contest may generate a little more fanfare. An album may take less time to manage.  

Spread the Word. Whether you run a contest or create an album, promote it wherever you can: on your website, in your emails, on packing slips, in your catalog and on Facebook. If you're running a contest within Facebook, be aware that you must follow specific guidelines. Read Facebook Promotions 101 for more details.

What Do You Want? Tell people exactly what they need to submit. Specify that the photo must be of your product, and ask them to identify what it is. Encourage customers to include people or pets in the photo and tell you their first names. Be as specific as possible, and you're more likely to get just what you need.

How Do You Want It? Remember to provide technical details. What format and resolution do you require? Should photos be emailed? Uploaded online? Will you accept prints via snail mail? Will they be returned? If you're running a contest, what is the deadline for submissions? Can one person submit multiple photos? Specific instructions increase the number of usable submissions and minimize questions.

Is There a Prize? Prizes aren't an essential part of the process, but they help. They don't have to be extravagant, and often free product is the best prize of all.

Get a Release. Be sure to get permission to use photo submissions in future marketing, whether it's on your website, in your catalog, or in email marketing. Asking for the release when the photo is submitted simplifies the process later on.

Tout the Winners ... and the Runners-Up. Once you have photo submissions, make the most of them. There are lots of ways to do so: One savvy marketer we know asks if customers would like their friends to be notified if their photos are selected for the company's online gallery. A client of ours includes a customer photo in every single enewsletter. And one of the most popular enewsletters we produce for our clients is a roundup of customer photo submissions.

Encouraging customer photo submissions provides fun for all concerned, and makes your marketing easier to boot. If you don't already have a photo submission program in place, why not start one now?

Grow Your Business -- Contact Val

Helpful Articles

For helpful how-to articles from past issues of Let’s Grow, our newsletter of marketing insights for the garden industry, click on the links below.