A successful photography company will have a strong Marketing Plan, do you have one?...

August 08, 2017

I am sure many people in business will agree if there was ever a time when you could just sit by your phone waiting for it to ring as long gone. For that reason, if you are trying to make people aware that you are available for business, as well as your services, it's important to have a workable Marketing Plan.

 

I cannot imagine any successful photographer, becoming successful by accident, since it is common knowledge that it does not matter how good your photography skills are, unless you have a good business and marketing plan, your chances of being successful is reduced. 

 

Many of today's market specialist will probably agree that many of their ideas are just refreshed marketing ideas from yesterday with a modern upgrade to the way they make their daily presentation, on how they market a concept, product, or a service to a potential client.

 

I cannot say I was any good at marketing my photography company and brand, especially when I use to be a busy Event Photographer, since being busy was not due to any clever marketing on my part, but more about third parties assisting me on my journey and my brand in the market place.

 

All I ever wanted to be was the best I could be as an Event Photographer, for that reason I made sure I created a brand that was very big and visible with the help of a Business Loan, to the point that some people were surprised that Walter James Photography was me.

 

Especially when they saw my team of up to 6 people on many jobs, all kitted out with my company branded polo shirts and fleeces along with multiple work stations and 2 @ 43in tv monitors on stands, branded presentation folders, it all helps to create a brand and extension to your marketing that you have to live up to every time you do a job.

 

The building of that brand started by acquiring the right kit, with computers that were all made to my specifications, with the help of my first Event Photography Mentor, Mr Paul Felton of The Photography Company at the time, who set me up with the Kodak Brand that was a household brand in those days, with a setup that not many event photographers were using.

 

All the jobs I did big and small, went on to my Smugmug website, with their strong SEO at the time, it did not take long for pages and pages of jobs I was doing and my name coming up in other people's Google searches.

 

Which was further improved, due to unknown companies attaching their company name to my name, that again would encourage my name to come up more often on Google searches.

 

Along with social media, especially Facebook and word of mouth, many Event Organisers, I became their first option for a photographer for their events all over the country.

 

All this was a step up from the days when I use to have a 16ft nimlok exhibition unit in shopping malls and a mini DIY exhibition unit I made for Walter James the Portrait Photographer at the time, we use to put our exhibition units in shop windows along with various voucher offers, that were being supported by Kodak or Fuji at the time?

 

There is a saying that many artists with a paint brush, never realise their worth until they are dead, sadly many photographers are not very good at marketing their business, and sometimes it makes sense to ask for help or to form a marketing partnership with a third party, otherwise we would be like another photographer wondering where the next job will come from.

 

I can remember attending a BIPP or MPA seminar back in the days of film, where one of the speakers was a new husband and wife photography team. 

 

The presentation started with the wife, whose background was in marketing, and her journey with her new husband, when they got together he was a struggling photographer, with an archive of images that many photographers would have been proud of.

 

Realising the situation he was in, she started to market his photography skills as a photographer and manage his business, while he just took the photographs and the rest was history.

 

Sometimes in life, we all need help from a third party or making your life partner, part of your vision and photography business, which is probably why you see so many successful husbands and wife photography teams involved in photography these days.

 

Over the years I have been blessed with some good friends being there for me when I needed them, some even worked for free while I was trying to get myself established something I will never forget.

 

However,  sometimes I wished I had listened to some of them more, but that was a little hard sometimes if your middle name is "Hard Ears", today my partner Angela Denton stand by my side and supports my vision and dreams. 

 

Another experience I had, was when I was approached by a telesales marketing company, at lunch along with a colleague we learnt a valuable lesson about keeping records of our clients with view to marketing to them again in the future with images they did not buy or our other photography services at the time that they could take advantage of.

 

Good business house keeping when it comes to record keeping was something I was never good at, and looking back I wished I had engaged a third party to look after many of my record keeping.

 

Nevertheless, when it comes to marketing our business and brand,  it's important that we find a marketing strategy that suits our needs and our vision including financial pockets, because marketing is not one shoe that fits all, and sometimes it's about trial and error.

 

Especially when you see all the various Marketing Photography Educators that are available to you these days, it is so easy to spend money on a marketing concept off the shelve, and then sadly realise it does not work for you.

 

The most important thing to do is to be active in selling our photography service, with a specific idea on who our target market is and go for it, with the help of a well thought out road map, or business and marketing plan, many of which can be acquired free with a google search.

 

And if in doubt ask for help from someone you admire as a photographer, if not a photographer, there are many local business advisors who would be more than willing to help for a fee, as well as to help with developing your brand.

 

We also have various photography associations that produce magazines, with some good marketing content ideas, but you will have to subscribe to them, you also have various magazine sold off the shelves in certain retail outlets, like for example the Professional Photography Magazines, for which I got a mention in the March 2006, edition.  

 

In recent years we have seen some Photography Marketing Educators who have popped up on various social media platforms that you can reach out to, but it would be good practice to check out their credibility before parting with any money.

 

Again in recent years, we have seen a number of online Photography Educating platforms like Creativelive and The Photographer Academy, that probably makes more financial sense these days.  Since once you have downloaded the online market courses, they are yours for life, which you can watch or listen to at your own paste, and refresh yourself whenever you need to.

 

Sometimes there are some good deals to be had, especially when you think of the overall money you would be saving in a download workshop compared to all the cost of travelling, food, accommodation as well as the face to face contact with a Photography Educator.

 

 

I think the most important thing we should do, as mentioned above is to buy into a marketing idea that fits in with our brand and style of photography and that is sustainable financially since some marketing concepts can cost some serious money before you start to see any type of meaningful returned on your investment.

 

Creativelive link below...

(a) https://www.creativelive.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=S__BRAND&utm_content=B__EXACT&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI397q9uzH1QIVBZ4bCh3Q3g0REAAYASAAEgLScfD_BwE

 

The Photographer Academy link below...

(b)  http://thephotographeracademy.com/

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