By Scott Bourne
1. The first thing you need to do if you want to get paid for your photography is identify the right audience. NOTHING else matters. Nothing. If you get this wrong and EVERYTHING else right you WILL fail. So spend time getting this right. Here's why.
If you’ve judged your audience correctly and you’re giving them the products they really want to consume, they’ll be back - again and again and again!
2. Every marketing decision you make (branding, advertising, public relations, social networking, etc should be tied to one simple goal.
3. You have to have the right message for the right audience. People are busy and distracted and there's lots of noise to overcome. Make sure the marketing decisions you make match your intentions. How?
Understand the circle of engagement.
3. Fair Exchange
Let's break these down.
Your audience will discover you if you make sure your marketing efforts are aimed at the right time, place and prospect. If you sell high-end brides wedding photography but you advertise your services in Motel 6 lobbies, you will not be discovered.
Today's marketing needs to recognize that consumers have very little downtime. When they do have downtime they go mobile. If you're not pursuing mobile you won't be discovered.
Marketing photography is a balancing act. You have to tend to business, craft, science, etc. and still make sure that you convey feelings. Emotional connections result in a connection to marketing expression. You can accomplish this very simply by being yourself. by being intimate, by being connected, by being authentic. Being true to your own heart - in short - being your own brand.
Your clients will pay ANY price, any price at all if you've followed the aforementioned advice and you make it clear to them you're price is fair. This requires education and information. You can't just demand a lot of money. You have to justify the VALUE. People pay more attention to value than price and when they make the decision to buy, they do so because they think they are being treated fairly.
Traditional marketing tended to be nothing but broadcasting one to many. Customers were merely passive recipients of an opportunity to be sold. Now consumers demand to be involved in everything - even marketing. This is accomplished with community. Community is built around common interests (niches) and an opportunity for the consumer to respond to the marketer.
The opportunity to interact with marketers happens in the social arena. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc. are places where the communities form. Photographers have to be there too or they will be overlooked.
If you've followed along so far, you know that all these things make sense. Now how to wrap this up into an action plan.
You have to be willing to accept as fact, some truths that you may not know or agree with yet, but to succeed you have to open your mind. Keep in mind everything that has already been said and now flavor it with the following facts…I call them The Seven Rules of Successful Photo Marketing.
1. You are not your photography
2. People do not buy what you do they buy why you do it
3. If you don't offer a USP (Unique Selling Point) you are just a commodity and that's the very last thing you want to be in the photo business
4. Try to make sure you share the same beliefs, feelings and desires that your clients do
5. Put your clients' needs ahead of your own - really - this is just mandatory if you want to succeed
6. Don't be bashful - despite your inclination to avoid tooting your own horn, when you hit a home run, let the world know
7. Show the work show the work show the work show the work show the work
With this basic plan and your agreement to adhere to the Circle of Engagement and the Seven Rules of Successful Photo Marketing, you have a better chance at thriving than 95% of your competitors. Now go do something about it.
Illustration Credit: © kentoh - Fotolia.com
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.