Today we have a guest post from Bryan Caporicci of Sprouting Photographer.
We’ve all heard the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail” and we know it’s truth, yet so many photographers still run their businesses day-to-day without putting much time and effort into creating a plan. In the busyness of shooting, editing, having meetings, writing emails and making phone calls, we need to set aside time to work on our business instead of just working in our business.
We often think of running a marketing campaign in the “off” season to get more business when things are slow, but by then it’s too late; the time to run the campaign was two months ago so that your phone is ringing now. Simply put, you need to market in the “on” season so that it generates interest in your “off” season. The key is to be intentional and premeditated with your marketing plan so that you can be hitting the right market at the right time in a consistent manner.
I suggest taking some time this week to look at a month-by-month calendar for the next 12 months and put together a marketing calendar. If you need help with this, Design Aglow has a great Marketing & PR Guide & Calendar.
Here are the three steps I recommend for designing your marketing calendar:
- Brainstorm all of the promotions, programs and campaigns you want to run. Write these down on a blank piece of paper without any dates associated to them yet. For each idea, define its purpose, theme and call to action. Narrow this list down to your best 6-8 ideas that you’ll run over the next 12 months.
- Schedule those 6-8 ideas in your calendar. When do you want to run these programs/promotions? Do you want to tie them to specific dates or holidays? How long will they run?
- Plan out the timeline for each program. Work backwards and set out dates one month prior, which is when you will announce and start the promotion. Also mark a date two months prior, which is when you’ll want to start planning the program, designing material for it and putting the details together.
The Internet has been great for spreading ideas and reaching an audience, and I would certainly recommend incorporating an online component to the promotion of your campaigns (Facebook ads, Twitter, e-newsletters, etc). Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater though… it’s important to consider a strong offline component to your marketing initiatives as well.
Here are 25 ways you can gain local awareness and recognition. Each idea could be strategically tied to a specific campaign or be used independently to build your brand locally:
Creating a well-rounded marketing plan should incorporate 4 key components: variety in concepts, diversity in promotions, consistency in presentation and repetition in visibility. The ultimate testament to a successful local marketing plan is when prospects are calling you and saying that they “see you everywhere”.
Bryan is an award winning portrait photographer based out of Fonthill, Canada. He is a Fuji X-Photographer and is one of the youngest photographers to receive his CPA. He runs a popular educational website for photographers called Sprouting Photographer.