I wish I could whole-heartedly tell you there is one.
Nope. Nada, get over it.
All too often I see photographers doing everything else, but marketing to get new clients. They think it’s their pricing. They think it’s their product line. They think it’s their work.
They change all this and frantically ask,” Why am I not getting any clients?”
You don’t have a pricing, product, style problem. You have a MARKETING problem. And you’re not willing to face it.
I know, Harsh reality. Sorry. #juliasmackdown.
I get why it’s so hard. Pricing, products, and style are easy to fix. It really is an easy button. A little mentoring here, a little shooting there and you can change a lot. It’s a linear process that can be fixed one-step-at-a-time. So why won’t that work with marketing? It’s because marketing involves more parts.
Marketing takes legwork, relationship building, persistence and consistency – it takes a committed effort and constant babysitting. Marketing is something you do over TIME, little by little. It’s concentric circles you work on to move toward the middle, not a step-by-step linear process that gets you to the end. And it requires self-discipline and devotion on your part.
No one ever said starting your own business would be easy.
Plus, marketing involves looking at multiple facets of your business, not just a single price sheet or adding in a new album line.
- You need to know WHO you are targeting. Why? So you can clearly message your promotions to hit her in the heart. So she feels like she was “meant” for your business.
- You have to study who else is out there and where they are falling short. Competition analysis is critical to making your own business stand out and be unique in a sea of other photographers.
- Your brand must ooze from everything you do and everything you are as a business. A strong identity and solid brand build trust, affinity and loyalty from your ideal client enticing them to book. And a brand means SO MUCH MORE than a logo, colors and fonts.
- You’ve got to communicate. Writing the right words and talking to the right people builds relationships. Relationships build trust. Relationships build businesses.
- Your promotions online have to to be consistent, persistent and strategic. Everything from your social posts, blog, website, email campaigns and online ads have to drive traffic to you. Then you must capture their attention and strategically nurture that relationship to create qualified client bookings. How can you do that without good communication skills, a targeted audience and an enticing/unique brand?
- In-person, you must build partnerships with other vendors and display your work. Work with charities and build up your community buzz. Build authority in your market and a referral base that blows the socks off anyone else. Marketing is still one-to-one connection.
All these things take time and effort. And sometimes a promotion you put out there ‘looks’ like it didn’t work. You spent a lot of money with zero ROI. Ugh, I’ve been there. But remember, EVERY promotion you do, every relationship you build is raising your awareness in the community. It will eventually payoff. But only if the other pieces of your business are in place.
Are you taking a hard look at your studio? Does it all work together in the big picture of your marketing? How does the consumer see your studio from the outside? Put yourself in her shoes, in her mindset and ask yourself if you would book you. If not, fix the issues.
Stay consistent, work persistently. Marketing has no easy button, but most business owners aren’t willing to look hard at what they are NOT doing, nor are they willing to put in the long-term effort it takes to build local trust. And let me tell you, that’s to your advantage.
If you #dothework, you’ll blow right past the competition, and attract a steady stream of qualified clients who are excited to work with you, and devoted enough to stay with you – year, after year, after year.
So heck no, there’s no easy button. And thank goodness there’s not. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.