In the vast landscape of marketing possibilities, navigating the starting point can be a daunting task for many. Whether you’re launching a new business or looking to revamp your current marketing strategy, the key to success lies in knowing where to begin.

One of my favorite things I get to do in my job is to talk to people all over the country. Regardless of being a new business or a veteran of this industry, one common struggle I find with most studios is with their marketing strategy. They simply don’t know the first place to start.

Does this scenario sound familiar –

OK, I need to promote myself but what should I do? Should I do social media advertising? Should I consider direct marketing? How expensive is that? Is it worth it? I’d like to do a promotion but I don’t want to come across as a discounter business! I heard word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective. That’s great but how do I generate action on that? Can I depend only on that? 

Before you know it you have talked yourself out of doing any marketing right? It’s a common problem and prevents photographers from reaching their full potential.

Here’s a solution for you – Have a goal. Be specific about it. State what you are trying to accomplish and by when. For example –I want to photograph 15 children by (insert date) with an average of $XXX.XX

Now you have a specific goal that is tangible and achievable. Now you have an idea of what sort of revenue this would potentially generate and how aggressive you need to be with your advertising to attain that. 

Consider all your branches of marketing and how much money, time, and effort it will require. You can also determine who can help you get the word out. Networking with other businesses can give you a big boost in your campaign. 

With this information, you can begin to apply a financial budget and write down the details of your plan. Putting your plan in writing greatly increases your chances of success. Be sure to include what you need to do and when on your marketing calendar.  Create your budget from that.

All this takes time. Start putting your marketing campaign together about 8-10 weeks ahead of the date you want to start. This gives you time to do your research, order any printed materials needed to support your campaign, create some fresh images to use for samples, and update your website to support your campaign. 

Be sure and use testimonials in your advertising too. What people say about you is more powerful than anything you can say about yourself! People trust the words of others. If you don’t have any testimonials, reach out to your VIP customers you know well and ask them if they would be willing to share one with you. Explain what you’re doing, etc.

Make it easy for them too. Nothing they have to fill out or an email they have to look for. Just ask them why they love coming to you and write down what they say. Read it back to them and edit as needed later. Often times the customer gives you more than you can use. You’re looking for that quick powerful paragraph people can quickly get inspired by.  

Don’t forget that marketing requires a balance of marketing efforts. Community displays, networking with other businesses, social media advertising, personal invitations to your VIP customers, and at times, direct marketing.

Lastly, make sure you have a fabulous website that supports your message. Make sure it gives people an experience when they get there. It must inspire. It must address all the areas of concerns they might have with answers that reassure them. Nicole Begley has one of the best websites that is an example of this. Check it out HERE.

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