With this particular topic, I chose to do something a little different. Why? I knew every reader was always getting slammed with suggestions on how to run their business. I figured if I was doing something stupid to make my point, maybe they'd remember it more. Also, if you've listened to the "Building Your Business" podcast with Sal Cincotta, this is the basis for his comment about the pool.
What I've never figured out is why the tie and jacket I wore into the pool never shrunk or faded. The tie was a cheap one bought from a street vendor back in the days of trips into NYC. (Hey, I don't remember why, but I wasn't wearing a tie and suddenly needed one for a meeting.) The jacket is your basic off-the-rack navy blazer and was way out of style, but it never faded. In fact, I came out of the pool and left it on a lawn chair for a few days because I forgot about it! There's definitely something to be said in favor of cheap threads, LOL
- Direct Mail: Look for partners to share the cost of a mailing piece including production and postage. Bringing two partners into the mix for an oversized postcard mailing will reduce your cost by 66%!
- Limited Time Offers: Create short windows and cross-promote with other vendors. A wedding photographer might offer something special from a florist, for example. At the same time, the florist offers something from the photographer.
- Sponsor Community Events: Look for opportunities to work with other vendors to sponsor contests, projects and community events. When Vicki Taufer launched her first "Dog Days of Summer" pet portrait day she had a dog bakery, a pet food supplier and the Peoria Animal Shelter all involved. Again, other companies can help share the costs, but even more valuable is their ability to help promote the event.
- Don't Forget Other Photographers: Just because they're competitors doesn't mean you can't work together to stimulate the market and get your community behind a particular concept.
Very few photographers or for that matter small businesses in general, have the revenue to support 100% of everything they'd like to do to promote themselves. Look for partners in all your marketing efforts and pay attention to how much more bang for your buck you'll get if you're spreading the cost out over several wallets instead of just yours!