Summer has arrived. I can tell by the way my dog no longer wants to go for a walk around the block because of the heat. At least that’s the excuse I use when my wife asks me to walk the dog – it’s too hot!
I do love summer tho. Sitting out on the deck and grilling late, talking to family and friends as the stars come out. It’s just the perfect time to take a vacation. But what about your marketing? Does it take a vacation when you leave? Or worse, has your marketing been on vacation as you toil day in and day out?
Planning a proper marketing campaign takes time. The number one reason why studios struggle or even fail is due to the lack of creative marketing planning. I think the reason why we struggle with that is that planning a marketing campaign is not a natural thing for us to do. In fact, I met a photographer at a workshop in Columbus, Ohio last month who told me it was actually painful for him to do it!
Most people I talk to confide that they just don’t know where to start in planning their marketing. They also have unrealistic expectations of what to expect from their marketing and many give up on their plans before it even has a chance to work! If this sounds a little familiar, here’s some advice to help you take control of your marketing.
Beginning no later than 8 weeks before the start of your campaign, ask yourself these 8 questions –
What’s the goal of your campaign? What do you want to accomplish? Is it to Generate sessions? Generate awareness?
Are you targeting new clients or existing clients? Both?
What’s your budget?
What the potential? How many names? How well known you are and how strong is the competition?
Which medias will you use? Direct mail, Social Media, Community Displays, Networking with other businesses, referrals, e-mail blasts, etc.
Timing (fish when the fish are biting)
Frequency (budget) How many time do people need to be exposed to your message before they take action?
The overall big picture – Budget for year round.
Helpful hint - If you tend to struggle with the content of your message, ask yourself – what problem am I trying to solve for my customer? In some cases, they don’t even KNOW they have a problem! You have to remind them
Also – how are you unique? What do you do as a photographer that’s different from your competition? It can be in the style of photography you offer. The experience of what you do. The flexibility you have in your schedule. The incentives you provide. How great you’ll make everyone look. The education of a true professional who has studied how to make people look their best indoors or out. You have to motivate people with creative information. Touch their heart. Don’t just slam away at the products they’ll get for a discounted price. Oh sure, there needs to be incentives but look at the car companies. Pay attention to their ads. They don’t just tell you that they have an engine, 4 wheels and safety belts when trying to sell you a car right? Nope. They help you IMAGINE what it’s like to drive that car. How would it make you feel? How would it make you look? How would your friends feel about you?
So, substitute that creative thinking with the kind of photography you provide. Help them imagine what it’s like to own the best portraits they’ve ever had? To hang those in the living room to be a conversation piece when friends and family come over. You get the joy of seeing those every day and your room looks like it had an incredible makeover. How would their friends feel about them after seeing them? How impressed they would be!
Once you have completed this exercise, you can begin implementing your strategy. And to think it just starts with a little planning. If you’d like your own studio planning guide, drop me an e-mail at Markw@marathonpress.net/. I’ll send you a free PDF that contains some great information as well as a 12-month marketing calendar that you can fill out and help you get started today.
mark weber M.Photog, Cr, M.Artist, CPP | director, consulting services
P: 800 / 228.0629 | F: 402 / 371.9382 | www.MarathonPress.com
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