Intro by Skip Cohen In Part I of this special…
I shared the post below recently on my own blog and wanted to share it here on Marathon’s because it’s so important.
The pandemic has put all of us in the same boat – business has slowed down. For many of you, it’s almost disappeared, and you’ve taken the need to hunker down to apply to everything you do, including your business.
Well, now more than ever you need to make your name stand out. You need to be involved in your community, be helpful with your blog, share information that helps your readers and above all keep in touch with your past clients.
I’m not suggesting it’s easy, or that there’s even a formula for success, but I’m hearing so many great stories from photographers who are reaching their clients. They’re creating new business while staying safe and respecting everyone’s space.
An overloaded corner of a Koi pond is great to watch at feeding time. The Koi are beautiful to look at, but that’s as far as it goes. They’re decorative carp, bottom feeders who simply fight over food, but the photograph makes a point because that’s what so many of you are doing.
The pandemic has created some unique opportunities for artists brave enough to think outside the box. The big question is, how are you going to make yourself and your work different?
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.
George Washington Carver
So, how about you stop making excuses? Stop blaming the pandemic for the drop in business, even though it’s true. It’s time to start looking at ways to make yourself stand out in the community.
- Ramp up your blog: One of the number one principles in a successful blog is to be helpful. Start building a reputation as the leader in photography in your community. Start sharing tips on composition, exposure, posing, lighting, and the list goes on and on. Help your community raise the bar on their skill set, capturing memories.
- Be the town crier: Back in the late 1700’s one of the best sources of communication was the town crier, who’d wander through the community and shout out the news. Those days are back, and with a great blog, you’ve got an opportunity to share content with your readers about events going on in the community. For example, become the ambassador for a few non-profits. Everyone needs help right now, and you have an opportunity to help lead the way.
- Build a better brand: People like buying products/services from companies they perceive as giving back. Every business, including non-profits, need help now – find a way to give back to your community.
- Archived images and memories: Every photographer has archived images that currently carry an even higher value. Hunkered down for five months, your clients need to be reminded of all the great moments in their rearview mirrors. And to enhance that view, you’ve got a long list of great products to share. All it takes is a call to your lab and asking the question, “What’s new?”
- Use your phone: Telephone calls are back with a vengeance, and so is caring about each other. Pick ten clients each week and call to see how they’re doing. You don’t have to sell anything – just show you care.
- Find a few partners: I’ve repeatedly suggested you find other businesses with the same target audience and then work together to promote your products. Partnerships help you promote your business but save you money, and together, all the participants expand their creativity. There’s that old line about two heads being better than one. Find a partner that’s got the same target audience and then cross-promote each other’s services/products.
- Physical distancing and safety: You can promote your skills as an artist under the umbrella of being safe and respectful of every client’s health concerns. That means a portrait photographer will have a difficult time getting a client into his/her studio, but a better chance on location, especially doing portraits outdoors.
The bottom line is straightforward: STOP MAKING EXCUSES! I’m not minimizing how difficult it is to rebuild business now but doing nothing will get you just that – nothing! However, there’s been a giant paradigm shift in so many things that previously built your business’s foundation. Along with your target audience’s needs, the rules have all changed.
But nothing happens if you don’t get yourself out there and stop being content with being a beautiful Koi!