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Meet Saskia Keeley

Saskia Keeley Photography - HUmanitarian Documentarian

 

She went from being a freelance photographer no one knew in New York City, to becoming a leading voice in conflict resolution on a global scale.

 

How Saskia Keeley Went From being a Freelance Photographer to Becoming a leading voice in conflict resolution on a global scale.

Background:

Saskia Keeley was a freelance photographer in New York City. She would take on small gigs photographing for her local school or tennis club when she could. Before working with us she depended entirely on getting projects from her local community when they needed her.


Saskia's Old Freelance Work:

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Problem:

Saskia always loved taking photos while she traveled and wanted to be doing something more impactful and altruistic with her photography. She wanted to make the world a better place.

The problem was that she didn’t know how to connect with the right NGOs, didn’t know how to raise the necessary funding for her projects, and didn’t have any existing reputation as a humanitarian photojournalist or documentarian.

She wanted to be making more money both online and through fundraisers so she could live her dream of helping NGOs internationally through both her photography and documentation.

Her website looked over 10 years old. Her beautiful photography was completely downplayed by the poor design of her previous website.

Her brand was presenting her as a small-time local photographer in New York City, which made it impossible for her to stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other photographers in her community.

She was not present on any social medias and had no established press. Saskia Keeley Photography needed a complete brand transformation, and Saskia needed a guided way out from her local photographer days to become the international humanitarian photojournalist and documentarian she aspired to be.


Our Approach:

Echo Studio was tasked with the following objectives:

  1. Redefine the Saskia Keeley Photography brand and find a new target market of NGOs Saskia would love to work with.

  2. Interview these NGOs to figure out their biggest pain-points, problems, fears, obstacles, goals and desires related to sharing and implementing their work for communities in need.

  3. Systematise and refine Saskia’s value proposition so that it would address these NGOs needs in the most effective and efficient way possible.

  4. Redesign a cutting-edge, mobile friendly, and aesthetically pleasing website that speaks directly to the targeted NGOs as well as to the supporters of those NGOs to inform them about Saskia’s talent and customized services that are tailored to them, and to raise money by selling her photography to supporters; all without ever needing to contact her.

  5. Connect with the leaders of each NGO via email or LinkedIn and craft a 1-page pitch on hiring Saskia for their next project. The pitch would also send them to Saskia’s website.

  6. While on the website, capture the prospects’ information and qualify them as a potential collaborative partner or not, so that Saskia could later contact solely the potential leads that are serious and a good fit for her services.

  7. Land her first project and document the results, so that we could create more relevant digital products (like an eBook, presentation, or online course) that cost nothing to produce in order to raise more money for future humanitarian projects

  8. Audit different marketing channels to see which were most effective in reaching more of her ideal customers. Craft marketing campaigns for the most effective marketing channel that are designed to drive more traffic to her website and increase exposure to new NGOs, secure donations, and close sales on her products.


Solution:

Echo Studio adopted an extremely agile approach to the project.

1. First we interviewed Saskia to outline the specific demographics and psychographics of her ideal customers, which turned out to be:

  • Struggling international NGOs focused on fostering non-violence with a strong need for exposure

  • affluent 40-55 year olds to support both Saskia and the work of these NGOs

2. Having defined her new ideal target market, we found several potential prospects that fit the description and interviewed them about what they were looking for in a freelance documentarian. We collected this data word-for-word as we knew we would be using their words in the text copy we were going to place on Saskia’s website.

3. Having gathered that data, we consulted with Saskia on how to create customized solutions, systematise and package parts of her process, and automate operational tasks so that she could focus on doing what she loves while we ensured her business operations and services were more clear, efficient, and easy for new prospects to understand.

4. With the new service defined and ready for deployment, we touched base with Saskia every day and actively iterated the design of her new website to reflect her beautiful photography, changing content, messaging, branding, and client demands that ultimately shaped Saskia’s new business as a freelance humanitarian documentarian.

5. In order to meet the ever shrinking 4-month timeline, the Echo Studio team proactively:

  1. acquired all the photography necessary for the website’s design in order to ensure that the full site would be prepared and tested in time for launch

  2. designed the photo galleries that exhibited Saskia’s workshops as it relates to her ideal customers on the Home Page

  3. explained her expertise and shared her personal story to connect with new visitors of the website on the About Page

  4. integrated an automated questionnaire that would:

    • qualify leads as both willing and able to work with Saskia

    • start the partnership relationship with prospects

    • and collect their contact information without needing to speak with her directly

6. After a successful and timely launch, we focused on connecting with NGOs and driving visitors to Saskia’s website by reaching out to her personal network and Instagram marketing as that proved to be the most effective for her business, likely due to its highly visual platform and popularity for philanthropic efforts.

First, we crafted 1-page cold-pitches to three NGOs. Then, we researched and analyzed the best hashtags related to Saskia’s target market of ideal customers, and selected the top 30 most relevant ones to include in all of her future posts.


Result:

Echo Studio completely redefined and launched Saskia’s new business. She went from being a freelance photographer in New York City no one knew about to being a sought after documentarian for NGOs on a global scale:

  1. We helped Saskia start a business she’s passionate about by reevaluating how she could stand out as a photographer in New York City while also doing something she deeply cares about

  2. We ensured her new site spoke to her new target market by interviewing actual prospective NGOs that would be good candidates for working with Saskia, and altered Saskia’s services and presentation to cater to the needs of those NGOs

  3. We crafted and sent highly-relevant cold-pitches to these prospective NGOs and had a 100% success rate securing a partnership with the three we reached out to (the END Fund, Women Across Frontiers, and ROOTS) using an automated questionnaire we integrated into Saskia’s website

  4. We ran three fundraising events by selling Saskia’s beautifully acrylic-framed photographs to financially support her projects with the three NGOs

  5. After documenting each project we exponentially increased exposure and raised even more funds by:

  6. The relationship was so successful for Saskia that she remains an ongoing client to this day and we are still implementing our growth strategy and iterating additional site enhancements several years after her initial launch.

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SASKIA’S STORY

 

What did your life or business look like before being introduced to Echo Studio?

Well, I was a freelance photographer. Being a photographer in New York City is tough. There are tons of people trying to make it in that world and it just wasn’t working out for me.

I was doing small gigs here and there. Some at the Lycée Français [local high school] and some at the Hampton Racquet [local tennis club]. Obviously I wasn’t deeply passionate about those projects, but they were what I had access to and I relied on them.

I was the friendly school photographer you know, and I wanted to be much more than that.

Then you came in, and just changed everything. We started with the rebrand. You told me about niche and how important it was to get specific. Asked me all the right questions. Helped me figure out what I really wanted to be doing instead, and I went from the New York City photographer mom no one knew to Saskia Keeley the humanitarian photojournalist & documentarian.

At first, I honestly didn’t think any of this would work. I thought you were just another consultant trying to sell me dreams. But, look how far we’ve come Adrien... It’s crazy!

I knew absolutely nothing about websites or social medias or anything like that. I didn’t grow up with any of that. And, I just realized how much was going on in that world that I knew nothing about.  Clearly, I was far behind and had some serious catching up to do. But I actually really liked that I didn’t have to do any of the catching up myself. You just did it all for me.

You made me a beautiful website, which I’m very very happy about and love sharing with my friends. You made my LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. You reorganized and redesigned everything. Basically, you just upgraded me completely.

What motivated you to invest in Echo Studio services?

That first session we had. Where I realized you know what you’re talking about, I was never going to understand that world, and that this could work.

I was your very first client right? And, obviously, that was a bit scary at first, but you pulled through. You really showed me that this didn’t have to be some stupid dream I’d talk about at dinner parties anymore, and I’m really thankful for that Adrien.

How is it different from other services you may have been involved in the past?

It has absolutely nothing to do with any of the services I’ve used. You’re like a full-time business partner and they were more one-off services, which meant they weren’t really invested in my success for the long-term.

You’re different in almost every way because our incentives are aligned. If you do well, I do well. If I do well, you do well. I really like that because it makes us both accountable rather than a one-sided exchange of services that could go any which way.

You’ve written for me, you designed my books, my presentations, my social media profiles, my website! You’re more involved than anyone else.

What surprised you the most about Echo Studio?

Oh, the transformation was night and day. I mean I’m running a completely different “business” than I was before we started, so everything. Everything was surprising.

If I had to pick one thing it would be that people actually bought my products online. I didn’t know that was possible, and I told you from the beginning that I didn’t think that would work.

Yet, here we are. Proved me wrong again! [laughs].

How has Adrien impacted you and/or your business?

How have you not? There wouldn’t be a business without you. I’d still be working at the Lycée!

Maybe the most exciting change for me is the photo workshops. I really really like doing that work in the world. Your presentations do a really good job sharing that message and I’ve connected with some very serious people because of them. Not sure if I already told you but I’m going to be publishing a chapter in an academic journal on conflict resolution, and that was a direct result of presenting at John Jay [College of Criminal Justice].

[...]

Also that I don’t have to worry about social media or email campaigns. I never really liked that stuff and giving it to you makes my life SO much easier, not having to think about that.

Having successfully built your business online, where do you see yourself in 6-12 months from now?

Doing more workshops! We’ve been in the Congo, India, the West Bank and now here with Pico Union in Los Angeles!

You know ideally I want these workshops to spread globally and be applied in any areas of conflict. We’re already on that path, so I don’t know, we’re doing it!

It’d be nice to have a TED Talk and secure some even bigger grants [laughs].

If someone is skeptical about Echo Studio, or feels that the investment is a big stretch for them, what would you say to them?

I mean it depends for everyone right. Clearly people are going to have a different take. All I can say is this has worked wonders for me. I wouldn’t be where I am without it, and I’d strongly encourage anyone else to do the same.

Personally, I don’t think the investment is a big stretch. For everything that you do it’s beyond worth it. You’ve always been upfront about providing serious value before anything. Plus, don’t you offer like 2 weeks for free or something? That’s crazy! They have nothing to lose, so why would they be skeptical?

If you have any different thoughts or would like to add anything else, please feel free to add whatever you'd like.

If you’re over 50, don’t believe what you think about technology. We just can’t realize how quickly it’s evolving and you just shattered all of my skepticism within the first week! So yes, for the people listening to this I’d say, “Trust Adrien. He’s smart. He knows what he’s talking about. And he takes really good care of me, like all of his clients.”