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Annual Tune-up – no, not for your car

November 2012

Can you remember the New Year resolutions you made last year? It’s been said, by those who say these things, that if you print out your resolution and put it where you will see it every day – like the bathroom mirror – you are three times more likely to achieve all or a greater portion of your goal.

What does that have to do with growing your business, expanding your market and generating more sales?

A lot, actually.

You make New Year resolutions about things that are important to you, but do you take time at the end of the year to reflect on what you can do next year that will significantly expand your photography market footprint?

Following is a brief outline of questions to ask yourself. If you take the time to respond honesty (otherwise, you are cheating yourself) and you look at the results of this exercise on a daily basis, you could very well have an extraordinary 2013 or position yourself for an absolutely phenomenal 2014. (Remember, Rome, Apple and all good things took time to build.)

Ask yourself these questions:

As a photographer, who am I?
Do you specialize in four or five areas? That’s not specializing.  It is generally better to specialize in just one area, maybe two. Saying you are a wedding, sports, nature and aerial photographer is going to be hard to convince all but the very naïve that you are accomplished in all those specialized disciplines.

How am I positioned in my market?
Are you one of eight commercial photographers in a city of 40,000 people? In other words, is your market saturated? Is your studio competitive with other commercial studios? Can you photograph items that other studios cannot? Are you only relying on local business or are you reaching out to nearby larger metropolitan areas where photographers have to charge more for comparable services?

What will it take to grow my business?
Is your fine art or commercial work distinctive enough to set you apart from others in your immediate market? Will modifying the style of your work give you an advantage? Do you have the equipment you need to compete with other commercial photographers, or their talent and experience?

Do I know who are my “A” clients?
Your “A” clients, or customers, are the ones who must buy your work or services in order for you to be successful – not just break even. They are the ones on which you want to spend your marketing dollars and efforts. Your “B” customers keep your cashflow steady and pay the bills. “C” clients/sales provide the gravy that just comes your way and supplements your “B” sales.

What is my strategy for growing my business/sales/client list during 2013?

This is where you list three to five items that you think are important to your growth. Each item is specific, not generalized, such as “market more” versus “focus my marketing on (fill in the blank) by doing (list the steps you will take, what you will need and what it will cost).”

If you answer the questions, make this list and refine it several times between now and January 1, 2013, you will be positioned to focus your energies and marketing dollars where they will achieve the best return on your investments in time and financial resources.

If you want to send me your list, I’ll be glad to give it a read.

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.