I met with a photographer over the weekend that will be starting a new job come the New Year. She’s been struggling with her business all year, and just can’t seem to pull in even a part time income from her photography any more. Her husband’s job is on shaky grounds, so rather than waiting for a big hit to their income, she’s decided to take a desk job. She wants to continue her business on the side, and hopefully bring it back up to where it was a couple of years ago.
So I started asking her about how she has marketed her photography business this past year.
- She sent out a newsletter twice, with a few updates about her studio.
- She sent several email notices for sales.
- She uses Facebook and Twitter.
- She updated her website back in the early summer months.
- She submitted a portrait for an auction for a local school in early fall.
On the surface, it may seem like she’s fairly active. Until you dig a little deeper.
Saying you “do something” and “doing it actively” are two different things.
It’s easy to say you use Facebook and Twitter. But what does that really mean? Do you have thousands of friends and followers? If you send out a note (or tweet) do you have instant response? Can you easily get clients every day if you send out something new? One hundred friends won’t cut it. You will not get business if you are friends with your family and immediate friends. It takes thinking way outside the box, coming up with a huge list to market to, and doing something different and unexpected.
It’s easy to say you already send out a newsletter. But what’s in your newsletter? Does it get action? Do you gain clients every time you send it out? Does your list for recipients grow every week? How many do you send it to? Again, if you’re not getting results, you aren’t using a newsletter properly.
A common problem with small business people in this economy is to assume if you’ve tried something, you know everything about it. In reality, unless it’s been a complete success for you, it’s still an untapped market.
Marketing for the most part encompasses a finite list of possibilities. But its how active you are with it, how motivated you are to gain clients, and how many sales you capture with it that determines how well you are at marketing with that idea.
I decided to give my photographer friend a couple pieces of advice. I gave her a couple of tips about her newsletter – her response, “I’ve tried newsletters and they don’t work”. I gave her some advice on using a website to market a business – her response, “Everybody has a website and they just don’t bring in the amount of customers I need to survive”.
Pretty standard comments from a business owner who is struggling, and has shut down from trying to grow his or her business.
Are you seeing yourself in this post? If so, read on.
The only way to turn your business around is to quit seeing the negative in what you are trying to do, and turn everything into a positive. Again, marketing for the most part encompasses a finite list of possibilities. It’s how you use it that will make you fail, or make you a success.
Next time you find yourself saying, “I’ve tried that method of marketing before”, ask yourself three questions.
1. Have I been successful with this form of marketing before?
2. Could I learn something new about this method of marketing, and take it to a new level?
3. Has the person I’m listening to been successful with this type of marketing? Is so, what are they doing differently than me, and how can I take their ideas and use them myself?
If a marketing method isn’t working for you, chances are you aren’t using it to its greatest potential. You’re missing a key point. You don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle. One piece could literally change the way your business operates forever.
So, the next time you take in marketing advice, how are you going to handle it?
It could be the difference between you having a great 2010, or not.
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