1. Mark's Marketing Moment
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Make a Fresh Start in the New Year

by Mark Weber, M.Photog.Cr, M.Artist, CPP

Happy New Year everyone! It’s hard to believe a new year has started and for many people that means a time for new resolutions. For many that includes, weight loss or a change of some bad habits.

Speaking of changes, are you stuck with the same resolution about your business you’ve had for the past couple of years? The one where you say – I’ve got to do something about my marketing! Or, I can’t keep doing the same old things because I’ll keep getting the same old results. Sound familiar? Yeah, I know. We’ve all been there. Here’s the top 10 marketing excuses I hear –

  1. I can’t afford to do any serious marketing.
  2. Why does social media advertising work for everyone else but not me?
  3. I don’t even know where to begin to start my marketing.
  4. I tried doing a direct mail piece once and it generated zero calls.
  5. I think I can hang on with what I’m doing now.
  6. There’s just too much competition in my market.  Everyone is under-cutting me on price.
  7. I’m a well-known, high-end studio. I didn’t have to work hard to get sessions before.
  8. I’m getting burned-out. It’s harder than ever to make a living at photography.
  9. I have tried every kind of marketing at one time or another and nothing works in my area any more.
  10. I’ve cut back everywhere I can and I’m not sure I’m going to survive another year. I’ll give my business one more year or find something else to do for a living.

I think we can all agree that running a business is challenging. Chances are that if someone had outlined what it would take for you to get where you are right now, you probably would have said “no thanks!” Yet here you are. That says a lot, but what does it mean?

Okay, we’ve seen the top 10 traits to a successful business or a successful person right?  Primarily they include these traits –

  1. Driven
  2. Goal-Oriented (See my November blog)
  3. Confident
  4. Passionate
  5. Budget-Minded
  6. Self Reliant
  7. Humble
  8. Resilient
  9. Focused
  10. Open Minded

I’ve interviewed a lot of successful business owners over the years. They all have a combination of those top 10 ingredients listed above plus one more thing – a Positive Mental Attitude.

So where do you start?

Step 1. Step back and look at your business with complete honesty and list your business strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, abilities and inabilities, and opportunities and in-opportunities. Once you have that, move on to Step 2.

Step 2. How are your 5 “Balances”?

  1. Marketing Balance (It takes a combination of efforts)
  2. Financial Balance (What’s your marketing budget? Yes, you need one!)
  3. Goal Balance (See my October and November Blogs)
  4. Reputation Balance (How well are you known in your community?)
  5. Personality Balance (ability to get involved in your community)

Step 3.  What are you willing to do about the combination of Step 1 and Step 2? I can guarantee you are going to push yourself further than you have ever pushed yourself before, but for all the right reasons. This is just a taste of what a good marketing plan is like. Write your top 3 action items down and set a deadline for them. It’s what we do with our MAP Program members (although that has ongoing help to keep you accountable!) and it keeps you and your studio relevant, responsible and profitable.

Inspiration is a mighty big motivator. It’s why we attend photography workshops, listen to music, read poetry, gaze at the stars or look through image after image of beautiful photographs. It improves our attitude, desire and resiliency to be the kind of entrepreneur we deserve to be.

This month’s blog sort of touches on all of these things.  Enjoy another tongue-in-cheek parody I’ve written for you.

Link for the 2014 Future of Retail Study

Link for the PhotoShop info

Link to the our Marathon PPA Loan and Show books
Loan -http://www.marathonpress.com/product/Loan13/
Show – http://www.marathonpress.com/product/Show13/

Happy New Year everyone. See you next month!