"If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got."
From Tony Robbins to Mark Twain, there's a list of people who get credit for that line, but the importance is how it's translated. So many of you want to grow your business, but you don't want to change the process. You keep doing the same old things, but anticipating different results!
Let's start with your website and blog.
- Clean up the images. Are you showing your very best work or just playing the quantity over quality game?
- Do all your images look the same? Vary your technique and use your images to demonstrate your skill set.
- Are you posting to your blog at least twice a week? If you're only posting every full moon or so, then you might be hurting your business more than helping it!
- Are your website and blog easy to navigate? Don't make your audience work to find what's most important.
- How's the design and feel of your online real estate? For most of you, your target audience is female. Don't get too caught up in a high tech look, if you need something softer with more feminine appeal.
Relationship building is your strongest marketing tool!
- Everyone is looking for new clients, but so often forget about their own database of past customers. Stay in contact with your database. Pick up a phone now and than and call a favorite past customer just to see how they're doing. Communicate with past clients about new things you're doing and special promotions.
- Be involved in your community. This is all about giving back. You're looking for the community to be good to you, so you better be good to your community.
- Own your zip code! Regardless of your photographic specialty, get out and knock on some doors. Even a wedding photographer walking into a realtor's office can say, "My specialty is weddings, but if there's anything I can ever help you with in photography, just give me a call."
What good is working to create the greatest images of your life if nobody knows who you are?
- Email and direct mail are all part of expanding your reach, but they mean nothing if the pipeline is always empty.
- Social media gives you a level of reach today which just a few years ago was exclusive to magazines and newspapers, but so many of you are either barely involved or over-involved. Or, you spend too much time working to impress your peers. Remember too, there are no erasers on the Internet, so be careful what you post, stay relevant and be helpful to your target audience.
- Publicity and editorial are ongoing, but you're the only one who can make it happen. Publish a new press release each month and don't forget to send it to the Chamber of Commerce, various associations in your community and opinion leaders.
- If your "About" section is all about your gear, history or awards you've won, then you've completely missed the boat. Your target audience doesn't care what you do or how you do it - they want to know why you do it. This is your opportunity to be a romantic and talk about why you love being a photographer. Potential clients want to know if you can be trusted to capture the kinds of images they want.
There's a lot more to building brand-awareness. This is just one "seed-planting" post to get many of you thinking about things you've been ignoring. You might not have a sign on your desk suggesting your complacency is creating a marketing rip tide, but if you're disappointed in your business that might just be your warning.
But here's the best thing about being an artist - everything is fixable!