Some people love marketing, some people think of it as a chore. I myself love the marketing aspect of my business. Marketing can be fun believe it or not, maybe it’s just me? It is however, an important part of your business model and when done right, can really help things move along. Fall and Spring are the busiest times of the year for photographers. How can you make your marketing efforts more effective?
1. Map out a marketing plan.
You can’t just say one day, hey I am going to create something and put it out there. It’s more effective when you sit down and write out at LEAST a 3-6 month plan. You want to think about it, write it down and maybe sleep on it. Don’t just post something to regret later. This needs to one make you a profit and two make sense. Marketing doesn't have to cost a ton of money either, it just needs to work. Having a plan and taking note of your clients reactions can help you in the future. If you put something into action and it doesn't get much response, you know you need a new direction. Learn from your past mistakes and perfect your marketing plan.
2. It’s never too soon.
It’s never too soon to announce that your booking for fall or spring. I typically announce I am booking for fall in the summer (a season ahead). You want them to start booking and be able to fill in the gaps. If you announce in the fall you are booking, then everyone will book at once and then the gaps will not be filled. If you want a full calendar, then booking early is in everyone’s best interest. Make sense? Plan ahead and get to them before they even start thinking about booking. How do I get them to book early? ...(See step 3)
3. Offer incentives, NOT discounts.
You want to offer some kind of incentive to get your clients to book early. Let’s call it the Early Bird Special. You don’t want to get paid less in your busy season, it's your busy season for a reason. You want to make a profit, so offer an incentive. Maybe it’s a free print or product. Maybe if you book now you get 25 free Holiday cards with your session? I mean $25 in cards is better than 50% off a session and I right? We want to work smarter, not harder. There is no reason to discount your sessions during the holidays or ever. I NEVER discount my sessions because that is just attracting budget buyers. They will stalk you and ONLY book when you are offering a dirt cheap deal.
4. Model Call
Create model calls during your off season to promote your upcoming busy season. This way you have fresh new images for your website and marketing. People like to see new content and this is the perfect way to get fresh images without offering a discount. Putting out a model call makes you seem less desperate. Model calls are not meant to make a profit, but to advertise your work. You can have control over the location and what they are wearing, use this to your advantage. This is a chance to shoot for yourself and advertise the sessions you want to book.
5.. Update your Website.
During your off season, when you are planning our your marketing plan, make sure you also update your website BEFORE you start marketing. You want fresh new images to grab their attention (update your blog). You want to really make an impression the first time they see your work. Off season is the perfect time to make sure everything is up to date. Go over your pricing, make sure it still works for your business. Things change and that's okay, make sure it's ready before putting your marketing plan into effect!
Make sure you are creating a marketing plan that works for your business. If something is not working, then reevaluate your plan and make needed adjustments. This is the beauty of making a plan and writing things down, we learn what works and what doesn't. Main thing is, do what works best for YOU and YOUR business.