Marketing is not just getting clients to your door. It is the entire experience from the sales copy output, to the communication with an inquiry, all the way through requesting clients to refer you to their friends. Getting your arms around key aspects to marketing can help make the entire process a little less daunting and a lot more fulfilling and successful.
These keys can help prevent you from mowing a dead lawn – much like our friend in this article.
This article boils down five key marketing tips to ensure you’re marketing effectively and easily. These are not all encompassing of everything you need to know – but they are a great starting point for drafting your marketing plan.
#1 Marketing never stops
Perhaps the hardest part of business is that marketing must never stop. We can’t make a decision just to sit on our laurels. Marketing is like a huge rock that you need to move from one place to another. You’re unable to lift it with your hands. You’re unable to move it yourself (as we will discuss below), but if you do some hard work at the beginning, you can keep the rock moving toward your desired location.
Once you get it going, you can’t stop or you’ll be stuck. Once that rock is rolling, it is easier to keep it rolling by little nudges and pushes and the occasional shoulder thrust against it. But keeping it going once it is already moving is EASIER than having to restart. If you let that huge rock stop, how hard is it to start again?
You’ve lost inertia. You’ve lost energy. You’ve lost time.
Get a monthly administrative day that you focus on setting up your marketing for that month and use automated systems. I am a huge fan of Buffer and Meet Edgar for Facebook and Twitter. I love using the Tailwind App (affiliate link) for scheduling Pinterest. These can easily be paired with IFTTT.com to expand your social media and blogging automation reach.
I personally take the first 2-3 days of the month to schedule all emails and social media marketing and get the calendar for the month in concrete. This helps to balance the number of hours I want to work to keep a family/life balance – but also helps me to get all of the “time suck” type stuff completed and out of the way.
If you don’t commit to a day like this, you will end up pushing off marketing as you get busy with clients and the rock will stop moving.
#2 Marketing is methodical
As photographers, we strive for consistency in our artistic output and income cash flow. Marketing is definitely no different. You must be methodical in all areas of the marketing including presentation of brand, tone of voice, consistency of posting.
When you start sending mixed messages through a change in tone and presentation of brand, your potential clients become confused. This confusion starts to break down your potential client’s buyer confidence. Buyer confidence helps to create a better experience from before they become a client, all the way through the entire relationship. This confidence makes clients amenable to policies, pricing and more likely to refer you to others (even if they don’t book you themselves!).
On the flip side, many of you may be so overwhelmed with just getting marketing put out there. If you’re one that feels like you can’t even get a consistent schedule, now is the time to create one. Be methodical and consistent. In point #1 I provided automation tools and a tip for how to get your arms around it – but you need to have a set schedule of when marketing content is being delivered to your audience (potential and past clients).
The quicker you get methodical, the faster you will see your marketing schedule come together. The structure provides a checklist and brain trigger so you can easily formulate the content you’ll be putting out to attract clients.
Plus, the less time you spend falling down a social media hole, the more time you have to commit to family, business and life.
Structure the marketing calendar so that each day of the week has a different mission based on what you’re trying to achieve for your business.
- Tuesdays – deliver a blog post of a recent session
- Wednesdays -provide information of upcoming events with your business
- Thursdays – post an engaging question for fans
- Fridays – deliver a content blog post (what to wear, how to prepare for a session, etc.)
I personally love using Meet Edgar as a social media automation tool because I can put all of this into MeetEdgar and schedule by these categories so that the library actually never “empties”. I don’t have to worry if I miss an administrative day (see Key #1 in this list). Yes, it could end up posting the same things but with the way that social media views are going, your clients don’t see everything anyway! Besides, if you save 52 engaging questions for the Thursday Question post – you technically don’t have to touch that category for a year!
#3 Marketing requires ethics (and legalities)
At the very core of marketing is the message you’re sending. You can wrap up false and deceptive messages in pretty glitter and bows, but potential clients will see through it. And they won’t like it. It is important that we, as business owners, hold ourselves to higher standards and ensure we are abiding by the ethics that our clients would expect in us and by the laws we are required to follow.
The biggest trip-ups in deceptive marketing are through the use of testimonials that were given in exchange for an incentive (cash, gift card, product), sale pricing (slashing the price of a collection or product that was never sold at the original price), failure to disclose referral fees, and free product offers (giving a “free” product with purchase that price was inflated to cover the free product).
#4 Marketing is not a solo sport
A huge void in marketing plans often exists in the failure to create business affiliations with other business owners in your community. Remember our rock? It is easier to roll that rock if we have help. Marketing is easier if you have help from others.
Also, have you ever noticed when you’re out in public that crowds tend to gather? Traffic backs up for no reason in certain spots? This is because humans are creatures who naturally want companionship. If you look around the world you’ll see natural pairings and companionships in various places. Even most animals approach life together in schools and flocks. This is because everything is safer and easier in numbers.
Going at business alone can be dangerous. You run the risk of burning out, being overwhelmed, and/or going slower than you would with a companion. I know, I know, many of us are business owners and entrepreneurs because we desire to run our own business – but let us be honest: even working in an industry where we work with people, it can still be lonely. We want that companionship. We fear failure and crave a safe feeling of companionship. Sitting behind a computer (or camera) for hours on end and working through paperwork can feel very isolating. You start to wonder if you are the only one going at it. You wonder if you are the only one struggling with feeling overwhelmed.
See more on Building Business Affiliations for Success.
#5 Don’t reinvent the wheel
As business owners, especially creatives, we feel that originality is what we must do in all areas of business. But guess what: this is exhausting your efforts and hold you back.
That rock isn’t rolling as fast or effectively as it could be.
Take a look around to see what is working for others.
Examine the success rate, investment of time and monetary resources, as well as the extra benefits they may be receiving from their action.
Here are some resources with ideas for your marketing:
One additional note: automation is wonderful, but make sure you are adding your own spin to the actions you are taking. Do not simply copy and paste. Someone else’s exact copy, images, etc. is not going to work for your brand and voice. Once you’ve figured out your own spin, make sure you are working with the Rule of 3s in business. The Rule of 3 is that it must be done three times to achieve a specific result – but it also requires that every action gives me at least 3 benefits before I will engage in that action.
Marketing is an area where this rule definitely comes into play. Any business affiliation, investment of money, or creation of content (blog post, social media post) must give me benefits. For example, blogging can be a daunting task but has benefits that give awesome returns. If you blogged one session, these are the benefits you can get out of it:
- provides value to the client
- gives the client a way to talk about me
- provides an all-around session view to potential clients
- content to use on social media (see the schedule above!)
- promotes SEO (search engine optimization)
- showcases current work
Now, it is time to get to work. Carve some time out of your schedule, get these items injected into your business and lay the foundation to begin building your marketing strategy.