Building a Strong Business: Part Three

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Tips On Improving Your Marketing Plan
By Judy Grann, Cr.Photog.,CBM, ABI, VP SuccessWare Inc.

A plan for your marketing is a key element of your business plan (read more about preparing a business plan in Part One), but it cannot be completed until you have established your products and prices (read more about pricing in Part Two). If you market aggressively to gain business, but do not have properly priced products, you could literally market yourself into a troublesome financial situation, something that we see all the time!

So it is vital to understand your target market, what you intend to sell to that market, and at what price (assuring that you have achieved a profitable Cost of Sales) prior to marketing your business. Once this is done, here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Create a plan for specific marketing strategies that are a good fit for attracting prospective buyers’ attention for each of your major product lines; try to strike a balance between “Image Marketing,” which helps to build your brand, and “Action Marketing,” which is designed to build business when you need it.
  2. From your business plan you will know what financial resources you have available. If your resources are limited, you will need to focus on some low-cost marketing efforts that will take personal time but will conserve your cash.
  3. Consider any or all of these marketing strategies:  Forming partnerships with other business owners, friends/connections; obtaining display locations; mail, or even hand out, your marketing materials to clients and prospects; blogging and social network marketing; charitable marketing.
  4. Schedule all the steps needed to accomplish your marketing goals. Schedule everything: From deadlines for creating marketing pieces to times to meet prospective marketing partners.
  5. Track your marketing progress. Start by querying your clients to understand what is working and what is not. You need to have a method to track where clients heard about you, what they discussed with you, what interests them. Track their progress through to the sale so that ultimately you can see what is working and producing the most benefit at the lowest cost to you. SuccessWare has inquiry tracking tools that work for any photography specialty, but even if you have to do it by hand, it is essential for the success of your business.

Part One: Preparing a Business Plan
Part Two: Creating and Pricing Products

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There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Nigel Merrick (Photography Coach) at 9:37 am

    Everything in here is spot on, and I especially like the distinction between time spent on image marketing vs action marketing. Unfortunately, too many photographers are spending too much time on “photography marketing” – trying to show off their work in too many places, hoping it will sell itself.
    Also, sadly, far too few will actually put these ideas into practice!

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