THE ART OF MARKETING YOUR TRUE SELF
I wanna make you cry.
I wanna make your children cry.
I wanna make your children’s children cry.
If this reads like a creepy monologue
from an early ‘90s horror flick, you’d be
wrong; this was actually the formerly
revised contents of my About page just
a couple of years ago for my wedding
site—you know, that page consisting of
sunshine, happiness and good times,
designed to entice your audience and
tease them with the positivity to come.
I was about a year into the game, I’d
raised my prices and several inquiries
were rolling in each week. It seemed
poignant and fitting to me that when the
response we receive to delivering our
work manifests itself in tears of gratitude
and connection, my About page should
communicate that emotional goal in
some way. So I went ahead and typed
Unfortunately for me, the net
response to it was a grand total of
no inquiries for a couple of months.
I had attempted to zero in further
on my target audience using market
polarization (I’ll explain this in a bit) as
an experiment, and it nosedived. Quite
Why had it failed? It was less
about being a dramatic misfire on
the execution, and more about not
considering my audience: I did not
have a large enough audience on
which to leverage such a dramatic
move, which is one of the fundamental
rules of polarization when you’ve
already built an audience. I had
changed my About page to something
that made no sense to the broader
number of couples simply looking for
a creative wedding photographer, and
they hadn’t bothered to go any further.
And why would they? It was a little bit
So what is market polarization
exactly, and how do we go about it?
It’s just another way of saying “market
segmenting,” a technique that can be
used to focus on your target market. To
polarize is to bring in the unknown to
your brand or your art, to have a stronger
voice that resonates deeper with those
who connect with it, and at the same time,
divides others. It means taking a risk, and
importantly, reaping greater rewards when
it works out.
I want to be hired by creative,
down-to-earth couples who are not
too hung up on details but who also
enjoy dramatic portraits and prioritize
photography. Naturally, we should
show what we want to sell. Some
potential clients might look at my
landing page, think that my style is too
moody, and not bother to inquire. And
that’s fine by me—they were probably
the wrong clients for me anyway.
(THE RIGHT WAY):
AS A PERSON, CREATE A
WITH YOUR CLIENTS
If you want to dive deeper into the
personalities of your clients to increase
connection and trust, show them how far
your own personality goes. Maybe you
have strange hobbies. Maybe you swear
like a pirate over email. Maybe you cut
your sandwiches into rectangles instead of
triangles. Celebrate it. People don’t need
a stale safety net anymore. They also don’t
need folks who cut their sandwiches into
rectangles, but that just might work for you.
OPENING PAGE: Oli Sansom stitched 80 individually shot images together to form this
portrait of the groom, an outside-the-box approach fit for a photographer (and client)
willing to try something different. THIS SPREAD: A bride and groom pose for Sansom, who
taps into his inner Wes Anderson, the king of modern cinematic quirk.