How to Create a Killer Marketing Plan for 2016

Marketing.  

Love it or hate it, it's the most important part of your job.  It's what gets your name known in your community, brings in clients, and pays your bills.

It can also be very confusing.  Where do you even start?

I believe that to run an effective marketing campaign there a three things you must know. 

1. Know what you do.

This seems pretty straight forward but the reality is many of us are not clear on what we do.  Instead, we look around and try to do what others are doing, or what is popular, or what we think our clients want.  And I'm speaking from experience!

At the beginning of my career I shot "photo journalistic" weddings.  Why?  Because that's what was popular at the time.  Every successful photographer I met was a photo journalistic wedding photographer.  I wanted to be successful too!  So that's what I did.  

But guess what?  I hated shooting weddings.  

After two years of doing something I hated, I was burnt out and uninspired.  What I really wanted to do was work with babies and families, in a studio.  So I took a leap of faith, and started shooting what I love in a style that was 100% me!  And it made all the difference.  

When I figured out what it was that I did, I suddenly stood out in the crowd.  My work was unique.  I was happy.  And my business started to grow.  

Sandra Coan, film photography on Little Bellows

2. Know who your people are.  

Just because you're a newborn photographer doesn't mean everyone with a new baby is your ideal client. Right?  Some people love posed images of newborns curled up and sleeping in baskets and some people love unscripted lifestyle images of diaper changes, nursing and first snuggles.  Two very different kinds of clients.

Your people are clients who love what you do.  They love your style.  Your point of view.  So get to know who your people are.

Look back over last year's contracts.  Who were your three favorite clients?  The ones who totally got you.  The ones that cried from joy when you showed them their photos and then bought your premium package without batting an eye.  Now ask yourself, what do they have in common?  Figure it out.  Write it down.  Create an ideal customer profile based on those similarities. 

Those are your people.

When you know who your people are, everything falls into place.  You know what images to share, what your website should look like, where your pricing should be, what social media platforms you should be active on... all of it.  Because you know what your people like, what appeals to them, what they can afford and where they "hang out" online.

And here is the best part, the more you share what you do with your people, the more your people will tell their people, and your business will grow! Yeah!!

Sandra Coan, film photography on Little Bellows

3. Know how to communicate what you do to your people.

This is the marketing piece.  Know what you do, and tell your people about it.  That. Is. It.  

So, how do you tell your people?  

  • Blog about things your clients care about or need help with (like what to wear to a portrait session, or your favorite park for family photos).  
  • Share your images on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, where ever it is that your people are, and engage with your clients.  Talk to them.  Respond to their comments.  Build a relationship.  
  • Grow your list.  Capture client emails and send out newsletters that are full of beautiful photos and great content.  
  • Become known in your community.  Sponsor a local event or little league team.  Host a fund raiser.  I always love using my marketing budget to help out my community.  
  • And most importantly, don't feel bad about marketing.  Marketing is just sharing what you love with people who want to hear about it, and there is nothing wrong with that!

 

 

 

So, lets do this!  

Get out your brand new 2016 journal and write.  What do you do?  Who are your people?  Once you've answered those questions, make a list of five ways you are going to communicate what you do to your people this year.  Then do it.  Put it on your calendar and make it happen!

This year is going to be your best year yet!

cheers!
-Sandra  Coan