This post is Day 12 of 30 Ways In 30 Days To Redesign Your Life With Photography. This series seeks to provide you with practical steps to get you from wherever you are today, to exactly where you want to be – this year! If your goal has always been to take your photography to a whole new level, hang on and start enjoying a new lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

Have you started planning out your special promotions for 2011? If so, you probably have the standard ideas on the calendar. Valentines Day, a spring promotion with chicks or bunnies, pumpkin festivals in the fall, and of course Father Christmas come December.

Not only is it standard, your prospects and clients can easily expect it as well. And while they may be open and receptive to it, chances are it comes somewhat of a given in their lives.

What if you mixed it up a bit? What if you gave them the unexpected?

While marketing does follow a pattern every year, there is no reason you can’t shake it up a bit. While everyone is creating something that follows the norm, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Laying Out Your Calendar

There are only 12 months of the year. And as a business owner, there is no way to effectively create a special promotion every single month. Instead, focus on your year in quarters. Or if you are part time and that is too much work for you, cut it back to two or three times per year.

Take a look at your calendar for 2011 right now, and decide what are the best months for you to run promotions. If you have always been slow in April, that may be a good month to try something new. If you always take the month of August off to go on vacation, don’t plan something in July that will create a huge amount of work left over to do in August when you’ll be gone.

Choosing Your Promotions

Now comes the fun part. Let’s choose promotions. Did you know that every single day of the year is dedicated to some fun cause or event? Think beyond the national holidays, and go with the less known and a lot more interesting.

The 2011 List of Bizarre, Wacky and Unique Holidays will give you something to think about. This list is filled with possibilities. How about Creative Ice Cream Flavors day on July 1st? Or National Golf Day on October 4th?

Run through this list of National Holidays. You’ll find ideas like World Rainforest Week and Sneakers At Work Day.

Thanks to Donna for this list for natural health practitioners – with a lot of interesting dates that will match any business. How about Family Literacy Day on January 27th? Or World Theatre Day on March 27th? Or Women’s History Month in October?

And if you stretch out with your searches in Google, you can find special events in different geographical regions or cultures too. How about Belize? In May, they celebrate with a Coconut Festival, which could be made into a dynamic event just about anywhere in the world.

Incorporating The Ideas Together

After running through the above lists, did you find some interesting days, weeks or months that would fit nicely with your area of expertise? Now its time to set up your special events.

We’ll use National Golf Day on October 4th as our example, and build a special promotion around that date.

No matter where you are in the world, chances are you have one or two golf courses close by. No matter the size or the layout, a golf course is where big business happens. And a golf course is also unparalleled in natural beauty. Which means it’s the perfect place for any type of photography. Family portraits, business portraits, or even event photography – within a few steps of the clubhouse, you can find amazing backdrops.

Approach your favorite golf club, and talk to the general manager. Do they have a special event to celebrate National Golf Day? Would they be interested in doing a charitable function as a way to celebrate? Would they be interested in a portrait package deal for all those who attend?

With something this big, you don’t have to go it alone. Work with charitable causes, and find someone to help you put the event together.

With an event this size, you can get considerable PR for it as well. You can host a silent auction, raffles, or even a dinner/dance combo in the evening. Let your imagination run – and work with a team to gain even more leverage within the community.

You can see how quickly I can turn one idea into a huge event. I don’t recommend going this large your first time out. But every event has to start somewhere. Start simple; it may just grow from year to year as you gain more exposure, and more people willing to tag along and offer their own areas of expertise.

While this idea is perfect for the photographer that loves golf, you can also jump in with any other cause or event that interests you.

I’m heavily involved in literacy projects. So Family Literacy Day or Get Caught Reading Month is exciting to me. Why not work with a local bookstore – donate a book and get a free portrait? Or donate a portion of sales to a literacy campaign?

Again, the ideas are endless.

You can also see how events can take on a life of their own, which is why I suggest keeping it simple – two to four events per year. They do take some planning, but the rewards and opportunities are endless.

And a promotional calendar isn’t just for portraits; it can be for commercial work as well. Corporations love jumping in on a cause if they support it too. Not only can it keep current clients happy, but it can attract new one’s as well.

The Ultimate Purpose

Events bring in sales. However your ultimate goal is exposure, not profits at this point. If you bring in a few dollars from a business portrait on a golf event that morphs into a wedding client spending thousands at the same location a few months from now, that’s networking.

Events aren’t meant to bring in your yearly profits in one lump sum. Instead they are meant to bring in exposure, build your reputation, and provide points of contacts for future transactions.

If your goal is to be in business years from now, you can’t do it by staying in your studio and working one client at a time. You need to get out into the community, and build relationships with those around you.

With promotional events – large or small – the goal is to open up your doors to more potential customers than you ever could do in normal situations. And make connections that will last a lifetime.

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